In Search of Treasure Island

The 2014 Treasure Island Musical Festival has just started its second day. There are animals and hoolla hoops and a whole lot of fun.

 (bryan farley)


pictures from day 2014 day 1

 (bryan farley)


I am typing on my New phone at the Painted. wonderland booth, so this post is clunky.


 (bryan farley)


I have added galleries from last year too. When I find a better connection, I will add more images and words.

Here are music photos from 2013

Here are pictures from 2012

Costume Roller Derby

October 11, 2014

Santa Cruz, California

Photo Gallery

 (bryan farley)

Last weekend I photographed the Santa Cruz Bombshells’ final bout of the season. Santa Cruz hosted the New York Bad Apples at the Kaiser Permanente Arena. Because the bout was held in October, there was a costume theme. Because this was roller derby, a costume theme seemed a little redundant… until I participated.

 (bryan farley)

Almost every roller derby skater and official adopt a persona and name. I have a derby name, (it’s P Giddy), but I have not really lived up to it. I wondered if a costume theme would negate personas. Would some people dress as normal people? What is a normal person? Am I a normal person? Instead, it was double fun.

 (bryan farley)

The previous weekend, I bought an old train conductor’s hat in downtown Oakland and decided that I would wear a vest I bought twenty years ago. I also bought an antique lighter that I can use for business cards, but I do not really use business cards. (Perhaps I will start now that I have an old lighter… I don’t smoke either.)

 (bryan farley)

It seemed that the teams hit each other harder than usual. I have watched enough derby to know these things, or at least think that I know these things. It is possible that the skaters hit the same as usual, but this time they did not avoid contact. The collisions were worse, but I have never worn a conductor’s hat to derby.

 (bryan farley)

The highlight may have been the National Anthem by Kristi Garcia. When the National Anthem is the highlight, it is either really bad or really good (usually bad.) Kristi was really good. Since I do not photograph the National Anthem, I do not have a picture of her signing nor of me running out to tell her that she was amazing. I have a blurry picture of her hugging someone I believe is her boyfriend or brother. I actually hugged him. We agreed that she was amazing.

 (bryan farley)

The halftime and post-game presentations were also excellent. Santa Cruz is not my home league, but they are a lot of fun. Downtown Santa Cruz is fun too. I could write a short story about downtown Santa Cruz. Their downtown has a store that only sells flip-flops near a store that only sells high quality tea. That is like being obsessed with trains, but never riding on them… or calling yourself P Giddy and never smiling.

 (bryan farley)


My Next 30 Years Living With Epilepsy

At the high school where I teach, students wear shirts that say, “You are stronger than you think.” Besides having epilepsy, I have dyslexia fueled by paranoia, so that the first few times I read the shirt, I thought it said,

You are STRANGER than you think.

As a person who has lived with epilepsy the last 30 years, I am probably a little stranger than I think I am. I do not always play by the same rules as everyone else, because I am unable to do so. The rules were not designed for people like me, so I have been forced to go my own way. In my effort to fit in, I have become strange. I am stranger than I think… but here is the joke. Everyone is a stranger. Everyone is different. It is as if we are, to paraphrase a Jack Johnson song “Stranger Together.”

The 2009 Camp Coelho Summer Camp for children with epilepsy occurred at Camp Wawona in Yosemite. (bryan farley)

When I had my first seizure 30 years ago, I was a high school student. I was traumatized. Five years ago, I wrote about the struggle on the 25 year anniversary when I began to accept living with epilepsy. I was also aware that I was beginning to experience a transition. I was beginning to feel grateful.

My Next 30 Years-3061

I have also become stronger. Besides the scars on my knuckles from fighting an invisible foe, I have become stronger from living daily with epilepsy medication. When I was sixteen, I took barbiturates two times a day. I have taken medication two times a day every day for 30 years. Those of us with epilepsy often discuss how we become stronger because we get up after we fall. I became stronger because I got up when I was medicated. I built stamina. How bout you?

 (bryan farley)

I have become a lucky old son these first 30 years of having epilepsy. I do not know what more I could have wanted. Tonight I spent the evening with my kids. Today I was listening to music and I realized that I have photographed many of the performers that I was hearing on my radio. Because I have experienced trauma, people trust me with secrets that they would not share with their therapists. I have some of the best friendships… people who have been with me for more than 30 years, people I trust with my secrets.

I wanted to say more, but I am tired. I want to go to sleep so that I can start “my next 30 years.”

I owe much to so many. Thank you to all my friends for keeping me alive and well.