Making History! Tying The Knot!

  Intro image

Today I just did something I've waited my whole life to do.

I got married.

No separate-but-equal, no domestic partnership paperwork, no kinda-sorta-real-but-not-really.  No my friends, none of that. Today I married the man of my dreams and it was officially recognized by the State Of California.

A real bona fide marriage.

History was made today and I'm a million miles in the sky.

Having only been married for a few hours I must say that my brain is a bit overwhelmed. We had a major commitment ceremony 3 years ago in Austin, Texas before a hundred or so friends and family. That event goes down as the most important day of my life. But today, well, today I'm simply blown away by the opportunity to have my relationship recognized by my state and by those around me. I never thought it would be necessary but I do feel equal. And equal feels so very good!

I now get to join the ranks of my parents who have been married 47 years, both of my sisters (married over 20 years, both of them!), and the countless other individuals who dedicate their lives to each other and hold dear the institution of marriage and the promise of love, care, respect and commitment. And I got to do it the very first day it was allowed, joining the dozens of other couples in love all over the state of California.

To the countless couples who took advantage of this historic day–may you always cherish each other for the rest of your lives.

To the county employees and Los Angeles clerks who provided such amazing service–your smiles and words of encouragement make me realize that love is love, pure and simple, and that sometimes there's just not enough of it.

It feels good. It feels right. And to the naysayers and objectors of same-sex marriage, well, I simply cannot hear you. I'm married, elated and happy, and to me that's all that matters right now.

-matt

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Ok, so many friends asked what I'd wear to my own wedding. Since that big day was covered 3 years ago our trip to the Registrar's office was simply a formality. Hey, I didn't need to dress up. Boy, was I wrong. After completing interviews with the LA Times, NPR, KTLA 4, NBC4, ABC 7, FOX LA and the Whittier News, well, I realized I could have gussied up just a bit. OH REALLY, who cares???? I'm married now! Married! YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Below are some quick snaps from this morning.

Adam-interview

The day started at 6:30am for us and we were immediately greeting with other couples waiting to tie the knot. We were also greeted by reporters. TONS OF REPORTERS. Today I felt like it was a special press gathering. Here's my Adam being interviewed.


Cindy and elaine

These lovely ladies, Cindy and Elaine, have been together 40 years. FORTY YEARS! They were in line in front of us and to be able to witness their special day really touched me. Look at those gorgeous smiles!

Lining up

People lined up and tents were set up for the anticipated rush of couples.

Reporters

Reporters, reporters, reporters! These hard-working folks remained professional and objective but it was quite obvious how they felt as they offered enthusiastic well wishes to everyone all morning long. And check out that outfit at 7am. Lord I don't know how she does it.

At-the-window

Here we are at the window filing our paperwork. I'll have you know that I am officially listed as the "Bride" because the paperwork and forms had yet to be updated. I thought that was HILARIOUS! These photos were taken by KTLA's Jamie Chambers who snatched my camera out of my hand and started snapping like a pro. I dunno, maybe he was. Thank you Jamie! 

Marriage Ceremony

After filing we were given a call number complete with clip art from 1993. But still, were were number 8! 

The ring

Here we are in our Wedding Cubicle, for lack of a better phrase. Red roses were handed out to everyone and I thought that was the sweetest gesture. Naturally I would have had a different flower, something more snazzy and me, but hey, it's the sentiment that counts! Adam is about to put the ring on my finger. How come it looks like we're on an airplane?

La times and nbc

A reporter from the LA Times as well as an NBC cameraman asked if they could cover our ceremony. I told them only if they let me take their pictures. They were both so completely sweet. Plus the reporter is a South Paw. WOOT WOOT!

Just married 

Look how happy we are! You wouldn't know that I just completely had a full-on crying fit 30 seconds before. I was so happy, something tells me my man was kinda excited about it too.

Adam on cam

KINDA EXCITED ABOUT IT until it came time for the cameras to roll again. He's not one for being in front of the camera. Me? I'm a ham. BUT A MARRIED HAM!!!!!!!!

Interview

It's hard to answer such profound questions when there's so much love and commotion all around you. Still, we did our best. When asked if today was everything we expected we both answered about how it was so much more than we could have imagined. It was. It was surreal and amazing and fun. This isn't going to be on TMZ, is it?

Just married!

As one of the first couples done with the whole process we made our way to the photo gazebo area. With a sunny day full of happiness and love all around my HUSBAND (yes I said HUSBAND!!!!) and I stopped for a few quick photos. Today I realized that I am the luckiest man alive and also to take a booster chair and step ladder any time I stand next to my man.

Wow. We're married. It just can't get any better than that.

 

School Of Stock

School of stock
 

At least 5 times a week I get emails about photography, specifically food photography, and all the assorted ins and outs involved. I'm certainly no master but I'm always happy to help out with any information I can provide. I didn't exactly take the most orthodox path into photography so my experience should always be taken with a tiny grain of French sea salt.

Having said that I'll probably begin to focus a bit more of photography here at Mattbites since it seems those are many times the most popular posts. Expect to see more photography related entries here along with embarrassingly shameful glimpses into my life. Nothing is for free, people!

This morning I've been digging the entries by Joel Barhamand over at Photoshelter.com. The site is geared specifically towards photographers shooting stock and doing a bit more than just shooting for blogging, but still, it's a treasure trove of information from someone in the field and a really great read. I just finished reading the Tools Of The Trade series called "Lighting For Lifestyle" and it's remarkably similar to the method in which I shoot. I love light, I love airy scenes and oodles of space and I could not be without my v-flats ever!

Check it out and read some of the other entries. I'm really loving the post about Production Values, too. It's not always so easy to produce a shoot and make it go over smoothly and this entry might even make you a bit dizzy.

Happy shooting!

The Long Beach Antique Market In Pictures and Jesus, In Fur.

On Sunday me and my big redhead and our best friend Dana (a/k/a the uber famous Skampy) headed to the Long Beach Outdoor Antique and Collectible Market held at Veteran's Stadium. This once-a-month event is a massive meet-up with just about everything you could imagine and a bunch of stuff that will either make you laugh or stop and pause and say "Hey, I remember that!"  It's loads of fun and great for stocking up on props and unusual items for the studio and a great opportunity to see the colorful locals of Long Beach. It's people watching on a grand scale.

I decided to get some snapshots for design inspiration and thought it'd be fun to share. Not many people realize that before I began doing what I'm currently doing I began as a graphic designer and swap meets like this never cease to inspire and amaze me with the piles and piles of ephemera and knick-knacks of yesterday. Let's take a look, shall we?

2nd-of-and

Shapes and Letters
I could go crazy with all the amounts of signage and letters and shapes found at the market. Some things are just beautiful as is, like this motor parts sign. What are those things, anyway? Such amazing textures and surfaces.

Color-block

Colors everywhere
Color usage of the past is such an inspiration to me. I'm particularly fond of the late 40s, the entire 50s and the early 70s. We can skip the 1980's altogether though.

Nagelicious

Speaking Of The 80s
Here Dana models the decade's finest eyewear. In the middle is total Body Fuzion and far right is one of the greatest contributions to the world of art: Patrick Nagel. And would you believe there was an ENTIRE vendor dedicated to Nagel reproductions? Why am I hungry like the wolf?

Sunglass-follies

Eyeglass Follies
I'm glad Dana was willing to model some of the market's finest eyewear. Yes, that's a pair of eyeglasses in the shape of a behind with legs wrapping around the head. Dana was especially happy with the Bloody Mary Eyeglasses, not so much with the beer. And then there's yours truly, eyes twitching and watering because the real prescription in the vintage frames really hurt. And then I made a face that made my tooth disappear. What's up with that? I swear they are all there. But I should probably check again.

Bedroom-&-den

Foreclosure
I didn't have the heart to tell this doll family that they will probably be defaulting on their mortgage and moving into a Barbie Camper shortly. It's happening all over California really. Besides, that's the most haunted San Francisco Victorian Dollhouse I've ever seen. I bet Karen Black and Bette Davis are in the attic. Watch yourself.

Table-and-chairs

So Much Good Stuff
In case you don't know, Long Beach, California is passionately in love with all things vintage. And I dig that. It's so much fun to see all the tableware of yesteryear and I drool over all the colors. It makes me feel I'm a kid again when I see all that Tupperware!

Beatles

All My Troubles Seemed So Far Away
There were several scrapbooks I came across filled with nothing but Beatles clippings from newspapers. It made me realize their impact on popular music and it made me think of my dad on Father's Day. He's a huge Beatles lover. I LOVE YOU, DAD!

Record player 

Ipod Shmipod!
Both Adam and I freaked out when we saw this. If you're around the same age you probably remember these record players, too. I know I gave mine a true workout; it was always spinning my 45's of Diana Ross, Olivia Newton John, Captain & Tennille and Donna Summer.

And yet people have the nerve to think being gay is a choice and not by birth? I have just offered you scientific proof. Move on now. Really.

And saving the best for last…

Jesus-on-pelt

I give you Jesus On A Pelt.

I'll let you absorb that for a minute.

So yes, there is he, the redeemer, the liberator, the savior, artfully painted on racoon? Fox? Squirrel? And whyyyyyyyyy? Surely there's a story behind this and when you walk the aisles you realize that there are always a million stories behind these objects. But this really takes the cake. I've seen him on cars, stickers, bodegas, t-shirts and even tortillas, but animal fur is completely new to me. He really does work in mysterious ways.

The Long Beach Outdoor Antique & Collectible Market is held the 3rd Sunday of the month. Visit their website for more information.

Superstar Food Stylists

William working

Now doesn't this just make me happy? Those unsung heroes of food photography, the ones that really make it all happen…I'm talking about Food Stylists!  And a good food stylist is worth their weight in gold, I'm tellin' ya.

Make sure to catch the Food Network Challenge: Superstar Food Stylists tomorrow with repeats throughout the week. That's my friend William Smith up above, one of the contestants on the show. I just worked with him again this past week and the man is a genius. It's people like him that make me look good!

Introducing Teri

Perhaps one of the greatest things that has happened to me lately was getting the nicest email from a photography student at Art Center College of Design. She expressed interest in working together in an educational capacity and for about two weeks I was completely floored. Me? Matt? What on earth could I possibly to do help a student? Let alone a student from Art Center??????? After getting to know Teri (it turns out we have a mutual friend, the ever stunning and sweet photographer Gabriel Goldberg) and some very official paperwork from the college I am now super pleased to say I am working with wonderful young student on an independent study program. As in, this doofus is a mentor! With a student from Art Center! Can you believe it?

Like almost every situation in life, things run both ways. In getting to know Teri I am inspired by her interest, creativity and desire to learn. These qualities are almost eclipsed by her talent….man oh man she's good. And while I'm happy to share my experience with her I'm also secretly in love with the fact that I get to learn what she brings to photography and what drives her to create. And we both have graphic design backgrounds. I think that's mighty neat.

Here are two shots which sum up how amazing she is:
Myolives

Mycitrus

Teri also has a great blog about photography and design (and some gorgeous polaroids, too!) and you should check it out here.

I hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend and Teri, thank you thank you thank you!

Summer Breeze

1) Makes me feel fine and
2) Makes me feel like updating my banner

You might need to clear some cache or refresh some browsers to see the horribly cheery, bright new banner here on Mattbites. In fact if you look closely enough you'll see a Grinning Dork and I have no idea who he is but he insisted on putting himself in the banner. Please excuse him.

Of course I went and changed everything without realizing there was this nice little thing from Typepad:

Featured

There I am, right between Cute Overload and my girl Martha. Does it really get any better than that? I don't think so. And have you seen Cute Overload before? Oh my gosh if you don't click on it to check it out I might never forgive you. And if you're like me you'll be pinching yourself and taking your temperature and sitting down from dizzy spells because of all the freakin' painful cuteness on that site! Augh! It's just wrong in all its cuteness.

Anyway, that's the update. I know I've been lean on the food side of things, I promise to get back to it soon enough. Plus some shots of the studio as it shapes up and some fun pictures, too.

This is me thanking all of you for your support, wonderful messages and taking the time to read Mattbites. I really do love you all.

Taco Love

Veggie-tacos-large

Things I will not argue about nor generally discuss in mixed company:

1. Politics
2. Religion
3. Tacos

Since you're already reading, my answer for this is simple: What is the point? I cannot change minds and sometimes it's really pointless to enter debate on such things. But if you ask I'll tell you 1) I'm pretty much in the middle (and you thought I was some crazy left-leaning liberal?), 2) my grandfather was a Presbyterian minister and the church was a big part of my world and 3) tacos are quite possible one of the world's most perfect foods ever created, hands down. You can't tell me any differently.

I can't say I'm a taco expert but I'm pretty sure if you were to sample some of my DNA you'd find a few strands of taco on those little ladder wrungs. You'd also find house music, red wine, a flair for the dramatic paired with rusty Shields & Yarnell moves and some specks of tattoo ink. What I'm saying is that tacos are to me what bagels are to this guy and what chocolate is to this other character I know. I am a taco.

Wait. That didn't sound the way I meant it to sound. Oh well.

I have some dear friends who spend their days and nights in search of the perfect taco but I haven't the heart to tell them that even a mediocre taco is still better than no taco at all. And really, I know you'll agree; savory fillings wrapped in a warm soft tortilla drizzled with a dash of sauce or squeeze of lime. OR, again, savory fillings wrapped in a crunchy fried shell and topped with cheese or tobasco sauce. OR, well, you can see why you just can't define a taco.

Where I grew up tacos meant one thing; where I live now they mean something else entirely. But rather than pretend to be an expert or create any rift whatsoever I've learned to just go with it. Seriously. Besides, it's hard to argue when your hands are busy holding fluffy clouds of perfection to your mouth or fighting orange grease from dripping down your elbows.

Taco, I love you.

Peppers-collage

Chile Poblano & Grilled Summer Squash Tacos

This is what happens when your significant other (soon to be real-life husband, thank you State of California!) leaves you alone for weeks on end. You get lazy, you don't want to shop for one, and you rummage through the fridge looking for things to create a meal. And for some reason I found poblano peppers and squash on my counter and everything I needed to make veggie tacos. I'm sure I have some relatives back home who would sling chorizo at me for making tacos sin carne, but whatevs I say. I'm Californian now, damnit. And you know what? They were amazing. Full of flavor and smoky goodness because I grilled the veggies before topping with queso anejo. And really, anything with cheese on top is going to be good, donchathink? There's not really a recipe here as much as a method so please forgive the inexact quantities.

2 Poblano Chiles
2 yellow squash
1 large purple onion
1 bunch of cilantro
a handful of queso anejo or a few dollops of queso fresco or sour cream
salt and pepper
some olive oil

First, you'll want to put on some Freddy Fender and crack open a cold one. I actually made a Michelada to enjoy but it didn't taste right so I made another. That one didn't taste right either so I had to make another one. Wouldn't you know I messed up again so I had to start all over again. Aye. Oh yes, the peppers. First you need to get the skin off of the poblano peppers by charring them over a flame until they get black. Yes, you are burning them but it's ok; you need them black and charred so that the skin comes off completely. And man do I love that smell. Once you're done place them in a paper bag for a few minutes so that they steam. Remove from the bag, say a few curse words in Spanish because you're impatient, and rub the skin off of the peppers. I do this under running water because it's just easier and you'll want to get rid of all the seeds and stem, too.

Once complete, pat dry the peppers and slice into strips and slice the squash lengthwise. Slice the onion into rings and then drizzle olive oil over all the veggies. Cook on a grill until tender and then place the strips of vegetables in corn tortillas and season with salt and pepper and a crumble of the queso anejo and chopped cilantro. And then have another beer and cry because they taste so good but no one is around to enjoy them with you and also because sometimes Freddy Fender just really breaks your heart.

Michelada-08