Michigan Ambience

I bought three albums this morning: Two-Sawn Forrest Recordings by Sound Psychologist, In My Neighborhood by Julia Bondar, and obsolete machines by radius. The last one cost me $23 but the album is almost three hours long and I also got the limited release CD’s as well. All of these are Michigan electronic artists.

I had to talk to my probation officer this morning about being allowed to go to my sister’s graduation ceremony in Interlochen on Sunday. Of course he said this was okay. I also told him how I’ve been talking to Mr. Paul Deering, the owner of Deering’s Market on Union Street, and how I’ve been talking to him about renting a room out of his house on Union Street. He said he’d consider it.

First Day Of Summer

Today was a nice hot day, the first day that really felt like summer. I woke up and had a couple beers. I smoked a pipe on my grandparents’ porch. Rode my bike around Boardman Lake, sat in a couple chairs right on the shore and listened to a couple of podcasts. Instead of going to the coffeeshop before work to read, I rode down to the beach and sat with my feet in Lake Michigan. The water is still very cold. I did that thing that some people do on the shore where I shoveled sand into a mound with my hands and made a little pool for my feet. On my way to work I ran into my mother and little sister riding their bikes around. I gave her a hug and proceeded on my way. The water level on Lake Michigan is abnormally high. The water at the boat launch is starting to flood into the parking lot. Work was very busy, I was told this was the busiest night in the young restaurant’s history, by a thousand dollars!

Trees, Clouds, and Snow

Back when my family lived on an old red brick street in the old Central Neighborhood here in Traverse City, Michigan, there was a sign that read “Tree City USA”. This title actually came from The Arbor Day Foundation when they named the town such for our exceptional urban forest management. TC is tangled with beautiful old trees. A majority of them are oaks and pines. There are a couple trees that have been designated with plaques remembering them as waypoints for natives who used techniques to put strange bends in their trunks. One massive tree in the woods behind the old mental asylum was struck by lightning, split into several large pieces and has since been covered in graffiti and dubbed “The Hippy Tree”. The old oak trees of Traverse City have character, living through hundreds of cycles of hot, moist, abundant summers; and cold, frozen, hard winters.

I want a photography project to showcase the beauty of the trees of Traverse City. I want to show their symbiotic relationships with it’s citizens, many of whom the trees out-live. The trees in town are different from their cousins of the forest. They’re pruned, decorated with Christmas lights, gardened around, and kept alive through their natural life, avoiding being turned into furniture.

The clouds that come off of Lake Michigan vary splendidly here in Traverse City. The wind usually blow them in from the west. In the summer they’re fluffy and low. In the winter they’re grey and high. I’m remaking my list of subjects to include the clouds that float over our town.

Snow. What natural occurrence defines northern Michigan more than the lakes? The first snowfall of every year inspires feelings of merriment. It makes us thankful for the warmth of our homes and the food in our stores and restaurants. The last snowfall of every year invokes gloom. I want to devote a few rolls of film next year to fallen snow and the beautiful forms it takes.

People come to Traverse City for a multitude of reasons. Some come for the cherry orchards, some for the wine, some for the bars, some for the dunes, some for the forests. The people who live here, stay here for a feeling of peace, sitting on their porch amongst the trees and birds and people biking around. Or they stay just for the book they’re reading with their feet up by the fire as five foot drifts of soft white snow blows up around their car. This is a beautiful place and I believe there’s an infinite world of art to be created within it’s boundaries.


Payday. I put away a majority of my money into my savings, paid some court fines, bought a pipe, and upgraded my WordPress account. I now have the domain jakekenney.blog. I don’t know if it was worth the money— I could’ve bought a sweet video game or a couple good books for what I spent. This is basically just a journal/diary that anyone in the world can see. I doubt many people, especially people I’ve never met before, really care about my poor life in a small tourist town in northern Michigan. I shouldn’t have put so much money into my savings as I don’t have enough cash left over for coffee, cigarettes, and film development over the next couple weeks. I guess I’m going back to the bank to shamefully withdraw fifty bucks.

I really like my new pipe, it was worth the money. It’s small and has a pretty finish on it. I got my Zippo pipe lighter from Amazon today. I keep it all in a nice little clay pot that I got from a thrift store in Sault Ste Marie. Did you know Sault Ste Marie (pronounced “soo saint maree”) is the oldest town in Michigan? Although native Americans have lived there for over ten-thousand years, it was founded by French fur traders three-hundred and fifty years ago. Detroit was founded fifty years later. Sault Ste Marie is home to the Soo Locks, where ships moving along the St. Marys River between Lake Superior and Lake Huron are able to bypass otherwise impassable rapids by being lowered or raised by changing the water level in a large steel chamber. I was in rehab as part of my probation and every couple weeks an elder from the nearby Chippewa Tribe would come by and we’d do a ceremony where we’d smoke a peace pipe. I offered up some of my tobacco once and I still have the same bag. The smoke represents the spirits of our ancestors. You’re not supposed to inhale the smoke, it’s seen as being greedy. The smell of this particular tobacco reminds me of those ceremonies.

I guess I owe $588 to the transition house. That’s quite a steep bill for a month in a trailer beside the jail where I’m not allowed to drink or go to the movie theater.

Black and White | Roll 2

This morning I went to The Camera Shop and was told my film was still drying. Not more then a half an hour later I thought how I was told they’d be developing my film last night. So I called back and fifteen minutes later my film was scanned and ready to be picked up. I printed an 11” x 14” copy of #11 for the house. If you look at that photo, the building on the far left is where I’m living temporarily. The small building in the center is the prosecutor’s office. The building behind it is the courthouse. The concrete building on the right is the Governmental Building. I wanted to print a full-frame (2:3) photo for the house but I got this 11” x 14” frame from Goodwill and it would’ve looked odd. My framed photo was hung in the office.

All of the photos on this roll were taken around the Boardman River here in Traverse City, MI, between Boardman Lake and the old dam. My favorite on this roll is #27

Olympus Infinity Jr. 35mm Ilford Delta 100

edit: I deleted most of the photos from this Black and White project due to storage constraints on WordPress and the fact that I prematurely quit this project.

Black and White | Roll 1

Random. That’s how I would describe my first roll of film in this project. This week was more about experimentation and I learned a lot about this camera and film. The most obvious thing I learned is that the viewfinder has quite a wider view than what is exposed on the film. There’s a box inside the viewfinder that I thought was just to help center the shot. Now I realize that is more or less what will actually be exposed. I didn’t keep to any one theme on this roll. Some things that do tie them together are my interest in pine trees and upward perspectives, but one of my favorites defies these subjects: 19. Something I think this camera and film capture well is a sort of casual delicacy. In other words the photos can be simultaneously careful and spontaneous.

Olympus Infinity Jr. 35mm Ilford Delta 100

edit: I deleted most of the photos from this Black and White project due to storage constraints on WordPress and the fact that I prematurely quit this project.

Michigan Passenger Trains

Another day, another trip to the AA meeting on Sybrandt Road. Another set of blue train engines from Great Lakes Central. According to a page on GLC’s website, they’re working on a passenger train from Ann Arbor to Traverse City. This is both awesome and a little quirky. I mean why Ann Arbor? I mean I understand it probably has to do with where the tracks go but what if you want to go to Detroit, the largest city in the state? Will you have to change trains? Or Grand Rapids, the closest city? Or Lansing, the capital? I’ve read before that these tracks go through Owosso, where I was born, so that’s cool I guess. Sometimes my mind will wander into fantasies about public transportation. This probably has a lot to do with playing SimCity as a kid. As soon as I heard about a hyper-loop possibly going from St. Louis to Kansas City, I started imagining a bullet train from Grand Rapids to Lansing to Detroit, and another, more leisurely train from Grand Rapids to Traverse City. This and a sweet metro system throughout Detroit – something on par with Portland’s MAX trains. This and maybe a few little streetcars in Grand Rapids and Lansing/East Lansing, with maybe one in Traverse City that runs along the bay between the state park and State Hospital.

Damn, my head was all over the place today. I seemed to get along just barely. I’m still kicking myself in my mind after how many times I fumbled my words today. Whatever, time to reset and forget.

Community Mental Health

This morning I stopped at my grandparents’ on the way to an addiction treatment class. I keep my tobacco and pipe on their side porch now. I had a smoke and said hello. Further down Washington Street I think I saw an old friend pull into his parents driveway but I don’t know for sure. I was a little late to the class, blamed it on a bathroom emergency. In the class someone said they used to steal bikes to get across town. I thought this was funny and talked about how one time I was drinking with some people at the hippy tree in the woods behind the state hospital and passed out. In the morning I stumbled out of the woods and stole someone’s Jetta because I was too lazy to walk home.

One of the shitty things about being wrapped up in the legal system here in Traverse City is having to participate in worthless, publicly funded shit that I don’t want to participate in. For instance i have to go to Community Mental Health. This place is shit. If you look at the reviews online you’ll see that I’m not the only one who’s disappointed by this place. They’re arrogant, unmotivated, and don’t seem to really want to help people who may really have problems and could benefit from psychiatric treatment. It shouldn’t be surprising, I guess, seeing as how they deal with people who either have to go there and aren’t interested in getting mental help (such as myself) and people who are so far gone, drenched in the stench of poverty, addiction, and depression and who can’t afford to go anywhere else. One thing that I do like about the place is just talking to an impartial person about the happenings in life. It gives me a small amount of satisfaction just to share with a stranger a glimpse of the different dimensions of my day.

A couple years ago I was in Telluride, Colorado, and bought a pair of headphones from a store there called Digitiqe. I loved these forest green, minimalistic, over-the-ear headphones – listened to many a Youtube videos/movies/podcasts with them. I don’t remember exactly when I lost them. I’ve had some good headphones since including two pairs of bluetooth Sony headphones. Right now I mainly have been using Apple EarPods, which are great for work, but they plug in through the lightning port so they obviously don’t work for when I’m charging my phone and won’t work with my laptop. I don’t want wireless headphones because those need to be charged and have quite a noticeable latency issue. I liked the look and feel of those headphones I bought in Telluride, so I called Digitiqe and they said I was looking for the Urbanears Plattan 2. Indeed I was. I added them to my cart on Amazon. I’ll have to wait until I’m not a broke bloke before I can go ahead and get them, which should be in another ten days or so. At least I have them pinned down though.

Identity Crisis

I really hate having to manage all the different identities I have online. I feel like I have to have a consistent style through all my social media. A certain aesthetic must be maintained. A part of me wishes that every person was only allowed one account to be used on every site. No usernames, just legal names. Your profile pic would be the same on your Facebook, Google account, driver’s license, and passport. Of course this would stifle much much creativity and part of what makes the internet interesting is the ability to be anonymous.

Not Where I’m Supposed To Be

Today was another successful day at work. Yesterday, I forgot to mention what I ate. “The Bacon Explosion” A smoked piece of pork wrapped in bacon and topped with cheddar, bacon, and barbecue sauce. Today I had a brisket sandwich.

I signed out of the transition house to go to an AA meeting. But instead I met up with DJ, who gave me a couple bucks for a pack of Smoker’s Choice. Now I’m at the Brew. I feel weird. Depressed maybe? I finally have a place to live and what seems like a steady job, but the sense that I might go back to jail is looming. Plus, the weight of loneliness and the turmoil of the last four years sits heavily on my soul. Hopefully the weather improves. I think I’ve read that this can be the most depressing time of year for a lot of people. It makes sense.

I saw a kid I used to know from the parking lot of the Brew back when I was living at The Whiting Hotel and would hang around there everyday and shoot the shit. He said he’s living down in Detroit. He was stoked about how little he pays for rent. It makes me wonder what I’m missing down there, and how I might be wasting my twenties in this town.

I was thinking about renaming this blog. Jacob’s Daily Journal is just a little bland. I want to incorporate the word electrocuter somehow since I’ve started to use this nickname on other sites. The name was inspired by the name of a song by Dabrye on the album Three/Three. 

The Walk to Sybrandt

We’re supposed to go to six AA or NA meetings a week at the house I’m living at. I don’t always go to the meetings when I sign out for them, though. Sometimes I go to the coffeeshop. This week they were playing free movies at the State Theater downtown and I saw BlackkKlansman and A Star Is Born. I actually didn’t get signatures for all six meetings this week so I had to say I lost my signature sheet. When I do go to meetings, I enjoy the walk. Most meetings are about an hour’s walk away. I’ll listen to podcasts and smoke cigarettes and when I get to the meetings I’ll play PUBG Mobile on my phone. This isn’t to say I don’t listen and even share occasionally, I just don’t think it’s necessary for me to be a 100% invested in all this bullshit I’m required to do.

This morning I walked to a meeting on Sybrandt Road next to the Sara Lee factory. Most of the walk is on train tracks that run along Boardman Lake.

On my way back I found this make-shift skatepark that, oddly, I’d never noticed before.

Trains rarely come through Traverse City but today was an exception. I heard the whistles and thought I’d take a video of the underside as it passed over but when I saw there weren’t any cars attached I decided against it. Two connected engines rolled by and I failed to get a picture of them. They were blue and said “Great Lakes Central” on the side.

Credit: Bruce Beck

I want to mention a YouTube channel I’ve been enjoying lately. It’s called Gabriel Traveller. His vlogs (and my little brother’s smugness over going to New Zealand and Vanuatu) are part of what’s motivating me to go to the UK next year. He’s not like some hyped up, over the top travel vlogger. He’s very level headed and has been traveling for almost thirty years. He’s on a tight budget and usually alone unless he runs into people he’s met before. Check him out? https://www.youtube.com/user/gabejedmo

Around 5:30 this afternoon I went to another meeting in the Central Neighborhood. On the way I stopped at The Camera Shop. They were selling what appeared to be a Nikon Coolpix A1000 for $150 (They repaired it and the owner never picked it up and they’re trying to recoup the costs). I like walking through the Central Neighborhood, the largest and oldest neighborhood in town, because my parents moved into a house in this neighborhood when we first moved up from Flushing.