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    • Toros beisbol!
      So FINALLY made it to a Toros baseball game during my last visit in early May. I am a huge baseball fan and appreciate all levels of the sport. 

      Have been going to TJ for years now and this is the first time I have ventured out to a game. This is Part of my “More to TJ than ZN” psychi....and boy do I learn more and more that TJ is such an awesome place. This is true for everyone and even moreso for a Midwest boy like myself! 

      Anywho, loved all aspects of it. Took a quick Uber of 143 pesos and got there in no time. About 30 minutes from centro if I recall. Driver knew the drill and left me right at the main gate. Went to the ticket counter and asked what tickets they had. Said as cheap as 45 pesos and at the time had centro for 100. Decided to splurge and went with that. Sat behind home plate on the second level. Good view and had damn near a whole row to myself. Starting to think you can buy any ticket and sit wherever the hell you want! 

      Festivities were great. Tons of food, cheap and delicious drinks and hot cheerleaders all over!

      I was in the spirit so got a Toros SnapBack for $150 pesos from the hottie selling them. Overall a GREAT time. Loved it. Cheap and fun. Great date night idea. Only regret is not having done this sooner. Will be back for sure. Actually considering being there next week. Got a Tuesday, wed and Thursday’s series. But Tuesday is the only game I can catch and that is the stateside all star game that I planned on watching at HK Tuesday evening. 😔 so have to figure out what I want to do. 

      In any case, great experience and to those that haven’t and are sports fans...DO it! And to those that haven’t and are NOT sports fans...DO IT! Good experience. Just another one of the many things to do on TJ! 

      Pics attached. 
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      • 45 replies
    • Cosplay favoritas
      Certainly I'm not the only one who loves it when chicas dress up in sexy costumes. Aside from the Halloween outfits or the common Sexy Policia costumes, and not counting the guy who would bring gorilla masks. Anyone else bring their favoritas sexy costumes?

      Mmmmmm, my inspiration, Liv Tyler as Arwen.


      ...and so it began with a couple of my little favoritas      



      Another favorita loves the vampiresa nights.   


      What can I say?    

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      • 12 replies
    • Vintage Latinas
      Latinas are the sexiest women now and in days gone by.
        • Agreed
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      • 8 replies
    • Music Matters
      Sitting here on my computer typing up some stuff and listening to 91X, this song came on and clicked some fond memories. 

      To me it's a cool video too.



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      • 122 replies
    • Random Pics out and about TJ
      Another day at the office
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      • 85 replies
    • Clean TJ bathrooms
      Some of the most valuable advice from Amigos...clean places where you can take a shit.

      Here's a pic of a clean toilet.        
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      • 31 replies
      Any of you know this chica who won the benz this year?
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      • 7 replies
    • HK, Steaks, and more chicas!!
      Just arrived in TJ today, and it didnt take me long to have a great time.  Meet a little a 20yr old spinner at HK.  Taylor was her name and making sure that I had a damn good time was her game.  She was alright!  Also my back was bothering me,  and now it feels great.  It's a TJ miracle!
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      • 69 replies
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  • Blogs

    1. fotofreak
      Latest Entry

      DEP (descansa en paz) is the español version of RIP.  DEP-11.thumb.jpg.e03d90d726e554ef132c086963199b37.jpg

      As many of y'all know, I make prints of all my photos and give a copy to the person I photographed.  Often, I wind up carrying a photo of someone for more than year before I see them again.  My fly fishing vest weighs about five pounds fully loaded and a lot of that weight is a pocket filled with prints.

      Every couple of months, I print the previous months' shots for myself, too.  I keep them in a box in my room.  From time to time, I'll pull the box out and look at all the people I've shot.  One of my main motivations for taking photos is to be able to "look longer" at a person.... a while ago, I had opened up the box and started looking at the photos and realized there are quite a few people I've photographed who are no longer living.

      There's a woman named Erica who is often around ZN in the evenings.  She has a young daughter, Carmen, who I've watched grow from babe in arms to spunky young kid.  She also had a son.  I only met him twice and photographed him one time.  He was killed about eight months ago.  Erica had told this to me a while back.  I printed more copies of the photos I had of him from that one evening, including one of him, Erica, and little Carmen all together.  I made a set for Erica and a set for Carmen.  When I saw Erica by the church a few weeks ago, I dug around and pulled out the photos.  It turns out that day would have been his birthday.

      This is David, the young man no longer with us.


      There are a few chicas who are no longer with us, too.  Some of y'all know my story with Ashley, one of the walkers. For those that don't, the first time I shot her, she asked me to make her beautiful in the pic because she needed a "good" photo for her funeral.. she was laughing as she said it and I laughed, too, because I knew what she meant - oftentimes when people die unexpectedly, the family uses some awful photo for the memorial that's the only one they have of the person.  

      This is the photo I took of her that night.


      Ashley and I became good buds over the coming months.  She worked for me translating once in a while. On March 11, 2017, she was murdered along with five others (including her novio Chato) in her apartment on Primera.  I wound up being the one who claimed her body from the morgue.  Her father and I later spread her ashes back to the California beach where she grew up, running up and down the cliffs and in the waves.

      The next photo is one of my photos of Chato, her novio.  He didn't die in the apartment but was shot in the head.  He died at Tijuana General the next morning.  He adored her.  When I would see them and give them their photos, Chato would snatch them from Ashley and spend the next hour just smiling and looking at the photos by himself.  In looking longer at this pic of Chato, I had a realization about photographic prints - it's a way to hold time in your hand.


      Pat worked in Zona Norte for more than 25 years.  The fella with her is Jim - her husband of 25+ years.  They lived in a tiny room off Negrete with their many cats.  Pat adored her kitties and that's what we always chatted about.   My amigo Gregg (the one who paints photo-realistic watercolors of hookers and whatnot from Zona) introduced me to her back in 2015.  He told me he first saw her dancing at one of the clubs in TJ and she was a knockout back then.  Over the years, as is inevitably the case, her looks deteriorated along with her health.  But she still had a few clients from time to time.  The other walkers would get pissed with her because she offered BBBJs for 50p when she was desperate for money.  This photo was taken somewhere around October 2015.  In the summer of 2017, one of my intel messaged me as I was traveling in the States and told me that Pat had passed away.  I hear that Jim is still around but I have not seen him since.


      Sunny was one of the chicas that I knew of (thanks to TJA) but didn't meet until late 2016 due to a medical crisis she was having.  One of my fixers had asked me about her symptoms and it sounded very serious to me.  I saw her later that night and waved her over.  She knew who I was, too.  I told her my thoughts about her symptoms and suggested she get to a doctor or clinic quick.  She did the next day.  It was serious and she needed about 900p to get better from it.  I gave her the money and she actually started crying on the street.  For those of you who knew her, this was unreal.  She offered to clean for me, translate, wash my car, whatever as repayment.  I didn't take her up on the offer.  But we did start hanging out a bit.  We were over at the Nelson having a smoke and cold beverage, seated out on the patio area.  As we sat shooting the shit, no less than five different Mexican guys came over near us with big smiles and holas, etc.  Sunny waved them all off.  After the third or fourth one sauntered near, she slams her bottle down on the table and says, "Jesus fucking Christ.  I am so sick of all these goddamn Oaxacan pineapples!" ---- referencing, of course, the short rounded body type and spiky hair that is so prevalent on Mexican guys under 40. Ahh, Sunny.  She disappeared back in December or early January of this year.  Not too long after that, I kept hearing this song:

      A pic of her and Rita (still around near as I know!)  Sunny is on the left.  Her comment about the photo was, "Fuck.  I look like shit."


      Then there was Ruby aka Monster (depending on when you met her....)  She was a gangbanger from LA.  Her entire face was tattooed so she wore heavy makeup to cover it.  When she first came to TJ, she didn't wear the makeup.  My amigo Gregg did a painting of her back then.  I think it's on his website still.  In the last few months of her life, I would see her sitting on the curb or in a doorway, staring blankly off in the distance.  She always perked up when I'd see her but I knew things weren't going well.  The last time I saw her, she was talking about maybe working in the call centers and wanting to get out of Zona.  A few weeks after that, by all accounts, she had been picked up, severely tortured, and then killed.


      I met Venessa pretty early on in my shooting days but I didn't photograph her until much later.  She was in the book Tomorrow is a Long Time which came out in the fall of 2015 and was a look at the HIV situation in TJ.  There is a documentary about it also from KPBS.  http://www.tomorrowisalongtime.com  However, Venessa said she only had hepatitis in the book.  Days after its release, she learned that she had HIV, too.  Now if you didn't know, treatment for HIV in Mexico is legally required but it's also free.  Venessa chose to not get treatment at all anywhere.  In January of 2017, one of my intel called me and said she was in the hospital in San Diego for an abscess.  No one knew her last name so I started making  inquiries and even reached out to the writer of the book above.  He called me with the news that Venessa had passed away two days prior.


      He told me his name was Juan but I'd heard a few other names for him.  I went with Juan.  This photo was the first one I took of him.  He waved me over and motioned for me to take a pic of him and his dog and his amigo.  He always had a huge smile when I'd see him.  (in fact, one night, nvspider and a few other Amigos wanted to do a lap around the alley with me just to see me in action.  Juan and one of his tatted up buddies came literally running over to me... Spider did the appropriate thing to do when a ratero comes running towards you, which is duck in to a store or bar, until he realized they really were just coming up to say hello and give me a hug.)  A few years later, Juan had grown taller and taken to smoking meth.  I have a great photo of him obscured by a cloud of meth smoke.  But predictably, that path led to his demise a few months ago.


      Gordo was an interesting character to me.  He was an artist of the drawing/painting kind but from many other accounts, he was also a con artist and known for ripping off and setting up Gringos.  During the time that I knew him, he never pulled any bullshit on me.  He was from MX City.  He lived in Zona with his girlfriend Maggie who is also a bit of an artist.  He disappeared for some time last year and when he returned, he was way thinner.  Gordo told me he'd been with his family in DF where he also found out he had stomach cancer but that he'd gotten treatment in DF and expected to recover fully.  He didn't.


      Those of you who've been around for a while probably recognize Kelly.  He was a massive alcoholic, getting black out drunk frequently.  He lived in the building where one of my fixers lives.  I saw him out on NYE a few years ago and he begged me to take his photo with his girl.  Of course I did.  I carried the prints for a while waiting to see him.  When I did and gave him the pics, he looked at them and then ripped them in to pieces, dropping them in to a trash can.  Back in January or so, my fixer called me and told me he'd died in the doorway of his room.


      Anyone that attended @sampson's Fiestas over the years knew Big Lou.  He was an Amigo under a few handles over the years.  He passed away last year after battling with his illness for almost a year.


      Last spring, just days before TJA went dark, one of my favorite Amigos, Caprese777, was killed by a car full of drunk/high teenagers when he was on his way home from work.  @Melcher Dingle and I went to the funeral in Las Vegas, which was actually supposed to be one of the days we were all going to be drinking and carousing in TJ at the usual circuit of LC, GP, and La Gloria.... Caprese was a giant ball of energy, laughter, and chaos.  He lit up the room when he was there in a way that few people can. 

      A shot from one of our afternoons in LC:


      And while R1 never consented to pics (ironic, eh? :coverlaugh:) from me, I would be remiss if I didn't mention him and how much I still miss hanging out with him on the streets.  We had a little ruse we'd play on the locals and say we were brother and sister.  It was the day before the spring Fiesta in 2017 when I learned of what happened.... and then a day after that, Ashley was murdered.

      So if you've made it this far through this crazy long post, I'll just say something that Kurt Vonnegut did - Goddammit, you've got to be kind! 

      I'll go one step further and break it down a bit more: be kind to yourself and be kind to others.

      DEP to all my fallen friends and Amigos..... 

    2. Another year gone by since last celebrating Mothers Day por mi amiga.  I got off work at 4:30pm and jammed south.  Zero traffic. Breezed thru customs with my 6 month visa.  

      As I came down the PedWest MX side ramps, I pulled up Uber.  5 cars ? 4 mins away.  Cool. Set destination at 5th y Negrete and “Confirm”.  “Finishing trip nearby”. FUUUUUCK.  I remembered people in Uber FB group saying to cancel but I could see he was coming over the bridge.   Ok, give it a shot. 

      The nearby destination was where I was, “La Chapparell.”  Sweeet.  Lady jumps out, I jumped in. Fast and easy.  The Uber, not the Chica.  HA!!

      At 5:50 about half the florists are closed, but my favorite is one of the florists open.  

      300 pesos later have a nice flower arrangement and I am on my way to relax with mi amiga.  

      Cambio 18.1 at 5:15pm by KFC/7-11, 18.0 by PedWest mall.  


    3. TexasOcean's Tijuana

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