Traditions Spoiled But Never Thrown Out

When it comes to family and traditions I’m sure I can relate with a lot f you. Whether it’s evolves holidays, like Christmas or special recipes that have been passed down for generations, I’m sure there is a commonality that can be found within it all. But I’ve come to notice that  none of this would have been at possible if it wasn’t developed under our home. A home that I grew up in until the age of twenty-one. I was fortunate enough to live under one roof for almost the entirety of my life, with parents who supported and developed three boys. It’s responsible for some of the best memory’s and special moments in my life, well, forever.  Our house was also a place where all my friends would go to hang out. It would serve as our playground, movie set, theatre, and even music studio – (We literally moved everything out of our living room and moved in a drum set, amps, guitars, and microphones to develop an album).  When we were told that we had to move, the next few months would be very emotional and nerve racking for the future was so uncertain. As a teenager, I was forced to look out into an abyss for the first time in my life. The home and the family and friends that grew within it would contain many traditions, but many were also left behind. That’s why I have chosen to focus this article on the move and adapt some images that I captured from it.

“The Nest”

the nest

403 Conestoga Way

My mother likes to use the analogy that we are her “birds” and the house we grew up in was our “nest”. When the day came for us to move out she told us that, “It’s time to fly away.” The photo above is the last photo I captured of our house before my mom and I drove off in our separate directions. I was bound to live with a friends family for a month in Milpitas and my mom stayed with her own friend for a few months in San Jose.

tree thinking

This is my brother Alex as he sits under our favorite tree in the backyard of our house. I imagine he’s listening to a song by The Beatles because that was one of his favorite bands at the time. The look on his face represents the emotional state we all had throughout the last few weeks at our house. We reflected on the good memories and developed sad ones at the same time. The future was uncertain, at times truly stressful and scary, but a part of me was also excited for a new life filled with new challenges ahead.

The story here contains more chapters than I’m presenting on this post but someday I hope to reveal it in it’s entirety. A long with an extensive amount of photos taken from the last week of living in our house I also wrote a series of poems, stories, and personal thoughts on a typewriter. I was able to record all of this four months or so before our move.



My mom and dad got in a divorce a little less than a year before they decided to put the house up for sale. My dad ended up living in a small studio in Willow Glenn after spending twenty-five years developing the house into what it was. My mom stayed home but couldn’t afford to live in it after the split. She now lives in Morgan Hill and my dad lives in a two story house in Modesto near my older brother.

After the boxes were packed, furniture was moved, and all of the nooks and crannies were dusted, it was time to celebrate all of the hard labor, good memories, family, and the new years ahead of us. And nothing says “celebrate” without some old cigars found in my moms dresser.


Ever since the divorce and after moving out of the house I’ve seen a change in my family’s traditions. Has anyone experienced the same or find it difficult to maintain traditions when things don’t exactly stay in tact? How important is it to hold onto a family tradition when they don’t feel or work out the same way as they used to?

It’s been almost five years now since we moved, and although that doesn’t sound like a lot of time has passed by it feels like much much more. A lot has changed over the years and I’ve been able to build a lot more character because of it. When reflecting on the years since then I can’t say I’m attached to the house anymore but it will alway remain a special and meaningful place in my heart and soul. The family has learned to deal with the changes and adapt new traditions in the process. My mom and dad have grown more susceptible towards each other and can finally put the past behind them.

I encourage you to take a family portrait the next time you’re together. You don’t have to do it in a studio, or pay a professional photographer to take it. Just set the camera up on a tripod or ask the neighbor to take it for you. After that turn off the television and cell phones and enjoy a family meal together where you can discuss some of your favorite memories together. I think it’s also important to talk about world issues and inform your family about some causes you are passionate about. After all, change starts at the dinner table.



All photos taken by Matt Baca – 2009




Above is a link to a video I shot from one of the occupy movements that occurred in San Francisco on October 22nd, 2011.


It’s been nearly two years since the movement of Occupy Wall Street unfolded. I felt that it was not only necessary but a huge step for our nation to stand up against the 1% and voice our displeasure with the way things are run in our government. We’ve known of  the corruption, the capitalism, and the trillions of dollars in debt that this country is drowning under, but the occupy movement was the first time I saw my country do something that showed that we as citizens no longer wanted to put up with it. We wanted jobs, we wanted to tax the rich, and we didn’t want the elite to influence our politicians with personal “favors”. But wait, nothing has changed? Where did everyone go? I walk the streets of San Francisco today and I don’t see people marching down Market St. or setting up camp in front of the City Hall, waving flags and signs, shouting together in united fashion,  “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!”

I don’t have an answer, but I do believe it paved the way for a new perspective of our country through our people. It was crack in a glass house, and it’s only going to be a matter of time before it spreads even further.

*Occupy was the first time I noticed how powerful new media/social networking could impact our society. Through apps on our phones like Twitter, popular hashtags (#) were born: #occupy #OWS #occupywallstreet - The world was suddenly aware and capable of updating new locations to occupy while motivating those who continued to protest. News was suddenly published faster than any newspaper or broadcast. Through other apps like that of Instagram, (a tool that allows people from all over the world share photos with one another) photos of the occupy movement showed progress and helped develop a new breed of news worthy imagery.

What you should know about “Occupy”:

1. Occupy is a leaderless protest that was sparked through social networking. [1]

2. It began on September 17th, 2011 in Zacutto Park near New York City’s financial district. [1] [2]

3. A Canadian-based organization/magazine known as Adbusters initiated the call for protest. [1]

4. A number of issues were raised by Occupy Wall Street, such as: social and economic inequality, greed, corruption, and the influence corporations and multi millionaires/billionaires have had on our government.

5. The movement spread from New York and triggered a series of occupy movements in places like Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, and even London [3]

Get familiar! Be AWARE!

I encourage you to watch this documentary; Park Avenue: Money, Power, & the American Dream. “Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney presents his examination of how the gap between rich and poor Americans has become so stark, as illustrated by this famous boulevard in New York City.” [4]

You can watch it for free here:

It’s even streaming on Netflix and YouTube.

Sources: [1] [2]

The New York Times – “Occupy Movement (Occupy Wall Street)” [2]

The New York Times – “Occupy Supporters Stage Protest in London” [3] [4]



Welcome to mouseburger. My name is Matt Baca and I am a millennial based in the south bay looking to broaden my readers view of the world.  The intent of this blog is to examine new media and its effect on today’s society. It’s part of an online photography class I’m currently taking which investigates how social media, the Internet, and digital photography affects, for better or worse, social change.  I personally hope to bring about awareness and knowledge on important topics that are currently in motion.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socratess

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