Tag Archives: Photography


… from the road!

This week I’m at the beginning of a mini vacation and whirlwind meet ‘n greet tour of a number of wonderful places in the northeastern United States… and Buffalo. With special Fan Club tickets to the Pearl Jam show in Buffalo on Saturday night, airline tickets being what they are, and me with my new fuel efficient Mazda 3 (Sport, with SkyActiv technology), I made the executive decision a few weeks ago to drive from Buffalo to Cambridge, Massachusetts while making a stop in upstate New York to visit my friend and fellow blogger/writer Gordon Bonnet (his twitter handle is @TalesOfWoah and his blog is Skeptophilia).

But before that I had a few things to sort out. Step one is getting across the border. Last time I made the trip I was harangued at the Peace Bridge by an overzealous guard. In addition to the usual “What’s the purpose of your trip? Where are you staying?” questions the following exchange occurred: 

Guard: “How do you know your friend?

Me: “We grew up together.” 

Guard: “So you’ve lived in the United States?” 

Me: “No he used to live in Canada?” 

Guard: “So why is he living in the United States?” 

Me: “He went to grad school in Wisconsin and then got a job in Chicago. He switched jobs and moved to Cambridge. Met a nice girl and got married.” 

Guard: “So is that why you’re visiting? To get a job?” 

Me: “No sir. I have a job. I just want to visit my buddy.” 

[Handing me back my passport] 

Guard: “Have a good trip.”


This time the trip across was a lot smoother, even if it did take 45 minutes to complete. With it being the long weekend and with there being a Bills game on Sunday it was amazingly busy. The border guard did rummage through all my stuff and check the wheel wells of my car for contraband but other than that it was uneventful. Oh, a lady a couple rows over was detained for reasons unknown, so I guess that was exciting.

Saturday night was spent in a packed arena in the armpit of America watching one of the most exciting bands of the last two decades. Pearl Jam has graduated from 1990’s grunge to good old fashioned Rock and Roll and they put on a show that I certainly won’t forget. Smart phones being what they are I managed to capture a few things. Here’s a taste (oh yeah, I caught myself a Mike McCready guitar pick too):

Sunday brought a quick 90 minute drive down to see Gordon. It was everything I hoped it would be, and then some. I’ll admit it, I have a serious man crush on him and he did not disappoint. Aside from writing a thoroughly entertaining blog, he’s written some thoroughly entertaining books, and he’s a SCIENCE TEACHER! Anyone who knows me knows that science is my favourite -ence. 

We chatted about writing. We talked about art and creativity. I got to see his son working on his art (glass blowing and other assorted glass creations). He made me a cheese and bacon sandwich. He even let me see his writing hole… er… workspace. He probably has the best window ever for looking out of. The picture doesn’t do it justice:


So it’s been an eventful weekend to say the least. Tune in next week as I continue my quest to meet as many writers as possible. With any amount of luck I’ll get to tell you what Richard B. Wood drinks at the pub, what kind of flooring is in Alex Kimmell’s house, and where A.J. Aalto’s favourite place is to dump a body.

Stay tuned!

~ Andrew

Kev Makes Good

If you read this blog you know about  my history with the writer/director Kevin Smith. It’s been a hot & cold, up & down, tumultuous & tenuious “relationship” that has been going on for more than a year. Well, last night in Toronto, in front of 500 die-hard fans and countless thousands of others on the big screen in over 500 theaters across North America, Kevin and his organization did what they do best, and in the process provided me with some much needed closure.

Upon hearing of his live show in Toronto I sent Jordan Monsanto and Meghan Quinlan an email asking if my art swap deal could be realized. In what can only be described as “lightning fast” reply Jordan indicated she’d put the request in to the venue to have myself  +1 put on the guest list. That was Monday. I was assured a response by Friday. It came and a friend and I were off to the show.

Trying something different, Kevin was doing a live podcast with Jason Mewes (Jay and Silent Bob Get Old) at a movie theater and simulcasting it to theaters all over North America (I’m told over 500 screens). After the hour long podcast Kev and Jay would do a Q&A taking questions from Twitter as well as the live audience.

A few weeks before the show I received an email from Jordan indicating that the venue had oversold the show and were eliminating everyone’s +1’s from the guest list. At first I was a little miffed, but I still had a ticket and I had a friend who was already going (more on that in a second) so I wouldn’t be flying solo. Arriving at the theater I realized something: the venue has control. The bag check, pat down, electronic wand treatment they were giving people was ridiculous. According to Jordan, they weren’t even allowed a merchandise table, which is unfortunate as I was going to leave Kev a gift that I made from my alphabet photography:

“SMOD” by Andrew F. Butters

I lied and said I was only in the possession of a cell phone, and no camera and took my seat. Front row, just to the right of center:

Row AA is good, right? Why yes it is!

Kev doing his thing. Mewes lounging on the couch.

I decided in advance that I would not go to extraordinary lengths to get Kevin and Jay my photography, or to get to the mic to ask a question. I was going to just sit and enjoy the event, and am I ever glad I did. I had a front row seat to a one of a kind event surrounded by TV cameras and hundreds of other great fans. My friend, who recently quit his job and is now writing full time had other plans.

Robert Chute wrote a book, Self-help for Stoners, and really wanted to get to the mic and give Kevin the book (to whom he had dedicated it, along with Joe Rogan). Well Robert had his moment, and he didn’t make a giant douche of himself (which is easy to do when your host does a lot of poop jokes). I completely failed Robert when I didn’t get a picture or video of it! For this I completely apologize and can only say that Kevin was completely gracious upon receiving the book. I was so close to the stage that when Robert handed the book to him I could see Kev off point to the cover and then hear him say, “Oh yeah, I know you!”. So, go read this book (I’m talking to you too Kevin!) Don’t let the title fool you, even if you’re not into smoking pot, the book is great.

So one thing Kevin wanted to do with the show was get in a lot of questions. This would probably be the only downside I saw to the event. Personally, when I go see Kevin Smith I go because he often answers a question with a 45 minute anecdote that leaves you gasping for air, holding your sides, peeing your pants laughing. Because he was answering rapid fire questions in an effort to get as many in as possible (presumably to ensure interaction and continued interest from the remote theaters watching) the responses, while well put together, genuine and honest, just weren’t the type that are in Kevin’s wheelhouse. As such, moments felt rushed, which is hard to do for a 3 hour event, and he didn’t get the chance to really work up the audience and deliver many “hit ’em out of the park” punch lines.

All in all though, it was a remarkably enjoyable experience, and Kevin’s love for Toronto and Canada in general comes through quite naturally, even when he’s not plugging his final movie, a Canadian tale about hockey titled “Hit Somebody”. I can say for sure I’ll go see it, and so will at least a few thousand other Canadians who watched Kevin and Jay rock the stage at the Scotiabank Theater last night.


Lend Me Your Words


A new site is up and running specifically for this project. You can find picture #2 along with the results from picture #1 here. Future pictures will be done through the other site in an effort to keep my personal work separate from the project.


So while suffering from post-concussion syndrome I got this idea that would allow me to explore some creativity without me needing to be on the computer for too many minutes in a row (screen time hurts the head).

I wanted to put the adage “A picture is worth 1000 words” to the test. I posted an original photo of mine and asked the people of the internet (mostly Twitter, but also the blogosphere, Facebook, and Google+) to lend me 100 of their words in response to the picture.  Once I had received 1000 words I would then edit the submissions and post the completed work as a little bit of “flash fiction”.

The only rules were that people submit 100 words (or thereabouts) in the form of full sentences and that I would only rearrange full sentences and not just grab words here and there to create new text.

I am pleased to say that in less than 24 hours my post became the 2nd most visited page on my blog (next to the one Kevin Smith did a shout out for on Twitter – to 1.5 million of his followers) and I received just over 1000 words from 10 different people. I’m in the process of editing and I plan on having something complete soon.

At any rate, this has spawned a new idea for me that a couple friends think has some legs. I want to put a whole bunch of these 1000 Word Pictures together, a hundred words at a time, from anyone and everyone who wants to contribute (and hopefully some well-known / famous people) and publish the collection, or display it as an art exhibit, and use it to raise money and/or awareness for a worthwhile cause.

So what do you think? Do you have 100 (or so) words rattling around in your head just itching to get out? Do you know Margaret Atwood or Rick Mercer, and can you get them to spare some words? (please say yes, that would be SO cool). If so then please, email me at thousandwordpicture@gmail.com or comment directly to this post as I present to you the 1000 Word Picture (100 at a Time) #2:

I’ll Take “Words” for a 1000 Alex…

Another Update!

The final results from the first photo are in and can be found here (at the new site).
Thanks to everyone for participating. I look forward to seeing where this takes me…


This was a huge success. So much so that I’m going to continue with this project and eventually put a collection together to raise money/awareness for charity. I have started the 1000 Word Picture (100 Words at a Time) #2 here. Once I get roughly 1000 words submitted for that photo I’ll post another, and so on…

More information to come on the project as a whole and the charities / foundations it will help support.

Thank you everyone!

Out with a concussion and unable to string together more than a half hour on the computer (and having deplorable handwriting) I’m in a bit of a creative holding pattern. Then I got an idea… maybe it’s not even a new idea, but it’s new to me, so I’m running with it.  It is said that a picture is worth 1000 words and I’d like to put that to the test.

Here’s the picture (thanks to Instagram for the iPhone – and yes, that is me):

Now, I need 10 people out there to each lend me 100 words of their own based on what they see. I need exactly 100 words in the form of complete sentences. As few or as many sentences as it takes, but totaling precisely 100 words when you’re done.

Post them as a comment here or email them to me or Twitter DM them to me or whatever, so long as it’s electronically transmitted to me somehow and there are exactly 100 of them I’ll take it. I’d prefer if they were written in isolation, free from the influence of other responses (I must try to maintain some semblance of scientific control over this experiment, you know)

I will then rearrange the complete sentences as I see fit (without taking single words here and there) to put together the 1000 words that this picture is worth. Read my blog, go through my Twitter feed, send me an email asking questions… all good ideas to start the words flowing. All I need is 100 words from 10 people, and I’ll do the rest.

I’ll post the completed work here and then credit each contributor with a link to their original words in a footnote. Please let me know if you are not OK with that and I’ll omit you from the list.