Hey United States Postal Service! It’s okay to be nice.


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I came to the studio today to let in People’s Gas to turn on our service. I checked the mail, and I found this note on a piece of mail the carrier left.

Keep in mind, the mail was made out to our exact suite number.

I don’t think the USPS has a right to piss people off right now. They’re fast going extinct.

I’m not sure what the problem of leaving mail made out for that suite number might be. But apparently it is.

The issue is that — not only are we sharing the space between three artists — my company is incorporated under r25 productions, inc. but we’re now doing business as Wittefini.

Bill is under his name and we have the other artist. So we might get business mail under many different names. So the names I had to put on the box were many.

But seriously, you can’t leave a nice note or have a printed piece of paper that explains the mail protocol? If it’s so important, it’d be the case.

I had no idea that a mail box required more than mail to a certain group.

The poor carrier is going to have to learn all our business names before leaving us one parcel.

I felt that the note was a little yell-y. Like, “Hey asshole, put your fucking names on the box or you’re not getting shit!”

They also retaped off the box so that the carrier would remember NOT to put mail in our box.

Like I said, the USPS is going extinct. We’ll likely bypass them all together at some point with direct deposits and online bill paying.

But really, you should be nicer. It makes a world of difference!

 

The Pope predicts my miserable future … and his own


The Pope — that genius — told people that it’s better to have children than to keep pets, like dogs and cats or else wind up miserable and bitter.

That’s according to this article anyway.

The article reads:

The Pope criticised couples who decide not to have children during the service, saying they had been seduced by the myth that a life of material comfort is better than raising a family.

‘You can go explore the world, go on holiday, you can have a villa in the countryside, you can be carefree,’ he said.

‘It might be better – more comfortable – to have a dog, two cats, and the love goes to the two cats and the dog. Is this true or not? Have you seen it?’, the Pope added.

‘Then, in the end this marriage comes to old age in solitude, with the bitterness of loneliness,’ he went on to say.

Well, firstly, it wasn’t my decision not to have kids. We tried. Even employed science with a little more investment than I would care to admit.

So either god or evolution made that decision for us at the moment.

Yes, we know there’s adoption. But I hate adopted kids.

[I'm adopted, you bozos!]

But, you know what? Isn’t it weird that the Pope himself is making a judgement against himself and people like him? Isn’t it better for him to stop his Popedom, get married and have some fucking kids?

What giant douchebag.

 

 

The random incoherent thoughts of Deepak Chopra


 

Screen-Shot-2014-05-21-at-4.44.53-PMAlthough a joke, this web site generates random words into sentences very similarly to the always dimly lit bulb Deepak Chopra.

I mean, really. The guy confuses otherwise smart people to think of him as intelligent. He’s a random word generator mixing science with the art of woo.

I love these two random generations:

The universe is at the heart of universal balance.

and

Perceptual reality constructs a jumble of fulfillment.

Generate your own Deepak Chopra quotes here.

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A brilliant vacation ends with a bump in the road … for the better.


This week was one of the weirdest and most fulfilling.

We returned from an excellent vacation packed with sights, smells, and intrigue. We saw lots of Northern California in a way that Tina and I do best.

While we were gone, we were approached by several different clients asking for estimates or scheduling us for some amazing work that we want. Our goal lately has been to hone what work we accept and only do the kind of stuff that makes our portfolio shine. And that’s what’s been happening.

We had two inquiries about an editorial shoot and also a catalog.

Ahh, what a dream. We love editorial. It’s our absolute favorite thing to photograph.

Another agency client asked us for a table top shoot as soon as we could get to it upon our return. This agency has locations here and in Los Angeles. We’ve been lucky to photograph interiors and portraits with them, and this was going to be our very first time hosting them in our studio!

We were so excited.

But this is where the week got weird. Really weird.  Continue reading

Fathers pledge devotion to their daughters in unsettling ceremony? Some trends deserve all the criticism possible


From this Design Trend article (emphasis on poorly written sentence mine):

A new father-daughter chastity phenomenon is leeching across the United States.

“Purity balls” are similar to weddings, except the father marries his twelve-year-old daughter. The goal is to maintain the girl’s virginity until marriage.

During the ceremony, the fathers present their daughters with purity rings, and the duo become boyfriend and girlfriend, the Daily Mail reported.

“You keep this on your finger and as of this point you are married to the Lord and your father is your boyfriend,” the father says as he hands his daughter the ring.

The girls then “silently commit to live pure lives before God through the symbol of laying down a white rose at the cross, before engaging in a wedding-type dance with their father.”

Having sex with, kissing or touching a man (other than their fathers) before marriage is strictly prohibited.

Read on

Via Cynical C

Seriously, spam hit a new low


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In my email mailbox, I get some amazing spam. But this one takes the cake. From a supposed funeral home called Hubbell (Simply Compassionate), they write:

We would like to express our deepest sorrow for the untimely death of your beloved
friend and inform you about the life service celebration that will take place at
Hubbell Funeral Home on March 13, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.

Please follow this link to get funeral invitation.
Please be there to honor the memory of your friend with her closest people.

Our best wishes and prayers,
Nikhil Grimes,
Funeral home assistant

Seriously, I almost responded, because I needed to know what friend of mine died. 

 

How to make it in photography: sell overpriced bullshit to photographers


Have you heard?

fStoppers is holding an amazing photography workshop and conference at the end of May. Seriously. This is an event not to miss.

The greatest of the great will be there. Aaron Nace. Dixie Dixon. John Keatley. Mark Wallace. Michael Grecco. Mike Kelley. Peter Hurley, to name a few. They’ll be there to teach you the intimate and intricate details of photography that you, yes you, can integrate into your workflow, your inspiration, your perspective and your idea set.

It’s an opportunity to expand your knowledge while visiting an exotic location.

Oh. Did I forget to mention that the workshops are all to take place in Nassau, Bahamas?

Yeah, you’ll get to learn from these greats in paradise.

How much does it cost? You ask bright eyes and bushy tailed.

Well, you gotta get there. So there’s airfare. And per night at the selected hotels is generally $200/night. A little less at the budget hotel and a little more at the other.

You’ll be in resortland, so add in over-priced food to your budget.

Oh, and you’ll be in the fucking Bahamas, so if you’ve got kids, a spouse or a girlfriend or boyfriend (or both), you have to take them. Because who tells their spouse that they’re going to an important photography conference in the Bahamas, and I gotta do it alone.

How much is the conference? You ask with furrowed brow. 

That’s a good question. The menu for classes is a la cart. So a two-day seminar with Aaron Nace on how to plan your  dream photo shoot is $1500. One day to learn to light the Keatley way will set you back $750. Four-hours learning to shoot interiors like Mike Kelley, a measly $400.

Do the rough math for Tina and I to go — and for just me to attend workshops — add up airfare, miscellaneous travel expenses (cabs, trains, dog sitters, a beer at O’Hare, an Egg McMuffin in transit), accommodations, overpriced resort food, and a menu of outrageously priced photography workshops packing your days while you’re visiting fucking paradise … so now you gotta stay three or four extra days to soak up the sun and see the sights … I’m guestimating dropping between $12,000 and $15,000.

Let’s do some more math.

How many photographers do you know who do photography full time?

I do. That’s one.

I recently attended a bar powwow that my buddy Bill organized for photographers. Out of the ten photographers in attendance, I think three of us were full time. Three.

The average income of a photographer, I’ve heard is around $50k. On this site, it’s $25,000.

So let’s pretend that the average income for photography is around $35,000. Our income happens to be on a higher end of the spectrum, but we’ve been doing it for a while.

I personally don’t have $12,000 to $15,000 to spend, so I’d have to use credit or not go. If I depleted $12k to $15k, that’s much more than my average budget for gear, replacement gear, expenses, gas, mortgage, shoes, food for Talulah, a meal or two, other travel, other expenses.

Part of my point, though, is that more photographers are hobbyests and part-timers than full-timers. And what’s more attractive than spending five to ten days blowing hard earned dough in Nassau?

The target for a gig like this are photographers who are yet to make it. So they are probably on the low-end of that income level or they’re working a full-time job hoping to break into photography full time.

And what’s going to set a part-time photographer back from going full time more than blowing a shit-ton of cash on a frivolous vacation/workshop trip to goddamn Bahamas, where you’ll be sitting around watching Aaron Nace remind you a thousand times a second why you suck and he’s a genius.

This effort is literally the most egregious wannabe-photographers ripoff I’ve seen in a long, long … long time.

There’s so much shit, and I mean horse shit, marketed toward photographers, a herd of creative people nearly going extinct in the most rapidly changing market that it’s faced since Mathew Brady published images of dead soldiers during the Civil War and blew up how awful war is.

What fStoppers and all the photographers at the workshops are doing is a grift. They’re hustling a crapload of hopeful photographers into a den of thievery.

This workshop should be in a place and in a pricepoint that makes more financial sense for the market that they are targeting. As it is, they are handicapping the hopeful, pie-in-the-sky next generation by sucking their wallets/accounts/credit dry as an Arizona desert.

Because, as it seems, the way to make it in the photography world … is to literally sell hope and other garbage to sanguine photographers.

Yes. This means I’m not going. And I’m sure fStoppers and the rest could give two shits if a guy like me was there.

But if you are going, consider yourself hustled. I’m sure you’ll learn a lot. A ton, really. If the cost isn’t prohibitive to you, good for you.

I hope what you learn turns that $15,000 into a bottomless trough of clients with fat photography accounts and endless photographic and creative pleasure.

My recommendation is go to Nassau. Skip the workshops and buy every single one of Aaron Nace’s online videos.

You’ll save a ton, learn a lot and get a better tan.

D’uh … it’s called COCKpit for a reason


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If you’re on the side of the fence that think gender equality is a load of shit, I found your best friend.

Napkin note from a passenger that flew WestJet reads:

To Capt./Westjet, The cockpit of airliner is not place for a woman. A woman being a mother is the most honor. Not as “captain”. We’re short mothers, not [illegible]. Sorry no P.C. P.S. I wish WestJet could tell me a fair lady is at the helm, so I can book another flight!”

Take that WestJet!

Via Cynical C

It’s official: IKEA is hell on Earth


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Yesterday, Tina and I ventured out to the Schaumburg area to do corporate head shots.

Schaumburg is a near-Chicago suburb that features such amazing attractions as:

  • Our client …
  • A Wal-mart, Costco and a large mall called Woodfield …
  • And the closest thing we’re all going to get to hell … otherwise known as IKEA.

And just like hell, IKEA is where all people are attracted to, because it’s fun to be bad, but that hellish IKEA sucks the life out of you and you may never leave once you enter. It’s never ending. And it’s a Bermuda Triangle of exit signs with no exits.

Tina and I have been discussing remodeling my home office, which is our second bedroom at our two bedroom condo here in Uptown, Chicago. We’d like to do it on a budget, so IKEA could be a decent solution.

Right?

Maybe not. 

Tina’s idea was to use IKEA as the solution for the things we’d like to add to the space, namely some kind of pullout couch, so that guests don’t have to sleep on an air mattress when they visit, and also make the room a little more comfortable when she works with me. When Tina works with me, she pulls a chair or two from our dining room, and she always complains that it kills her back.

ikea-6Recently, Tina visited IKEA and found a sleeper sofa couch thing, named Friheten, corner sofa bed with chaise. On first glance, the Friheten seems like a good solution. It’s somewhat comfortable. It would fit in my office. It turns into a comfortable looking bed.

Done and done.

But after a third look, the bed would be perfect for one person, but a big pain in the ass for two. If two guests slept on it, one person would be forced to schooch out, shimmy maybe, off the foot of the bed, should they need to pee in the middle of the night.

IKEA Products are THE Shit. 

Not to mention, the couch is IKEA. And after a year, the chaise arm will be lying off the side of the couch. The pillows will be ripped open and stuffing falling out. In two years, the thing will be a pile of saw dust and nails, which is somewhat less comfortable than Tina sitting on our dining room chairs.

IKEA products are a ticking time bomb of worthlessness that falls apart minute by minute.

My parents instilled in me many disciplines and an amazing education. My dad worked as a furniture designer and has been in the furniture industry his entire career. If anything, IKEA is the exact antithesis of quality, and my dad instilled that in me. When I walk through a place like IKEA, and I touch the furniture, open a cupboard or close a drawer, I get nausea like Alex in the final scenes of A Clockwork Orange.

At one point, we passed two IKEA employees setting up a vignette area, and I noticed how much trouble they were having with a shelf. “The irony,” I thought. Even the employees struggle to put IKEA shit together.

And that’s what it is. Shit.

When we arrived in the IKEA parking lot, we headed to the food area to grab a bite. You can’t shop IKEA with an empty stomach. While we waited for Tina’s panini to toast, a creepy old man hit on Tina until I walked over with my oversized tray with a plated chicken wrap on top. He explained to her that this was the third time he’d been to IKEA in two weeks.

“On purpose?” I asked.

He laughed and said, “Yes.”

We sat our tray down on a table near another table with an elderly couple. The woman was wearing a faded pink, one-peice, snow suit with a purple nit hat. Tina and I rolled our eyes. After stomaching a the nastiest chicken wrap ever and Tina’s order of a panini, we cruised off onto the floor to SHOP!

The food court is on floor three, so we descended to two to find the couch we were looking for. We walked all of floor two, which didn’t include the items we were shopping for. Tina recently went to another IKEA which was setup a bit differently. So we escalated back up to floor 3. We found the couch and kicked its tires a little. Laid on it. Took some selfies.

I brought up my concern about sleeper number two getting the shaft. The bed was great for one person.

So off we went looking for a legitimate sleeper sofa. We found one, but it wasn’t setup, so we couldn’t test it fully. “Why wouldn’t IKEA setup the ONLY sofa bed on the floor?” I asked.

Then I remembered that it’s IKEA, and the army-sized manpower and resources are likely not available for the Sisyphean task of setting up something like a sofa bed.

Set a Time Limit

When we arrived at IKEA, as I was turning the key ignition to the off position, I told Tina, “You’ve only got an hour in here, and then we’re leaving.”

Tina check her watch, “That’s not a long time. We have to eat, too.”

“Then I suggest we get moving,” I said.

At around the one hour and fifteen minute mark, clearly past anyone’s time limit for spending time at IKEA, we were looking for the exit. You see, everyone has their IKEA limit, and mine is less than 5 minutes. Some people push longer. But EVERYONE has their IKEA limit.

There are many exit signs, but they are for emergency use. To actually get out, you need a compass, dropped bread crumbs, a drug sniffing dog, CIA-level clearance for information acquisition, and a hacked GPS to get past the patented IKEA GPS blocking technology.

Finally, I saw a glimmer of what appeared to be a path toward the escalators. But we had to pass through a small opening between the frames department and a kids accessories department. Tina led the way, only to be blocked by a woman with a child sitting in a shopping cart.

Tina approached with purpose and determination. “Excuse me, ma’am,” she said as she slowed to not hit her.

Tina had to stop. The woman surely heard her.

“EXCUSE ME, MA’AM!” Tina said as if the wait were a thousand hours and the woman was a slug.

The woman finally moved, pushing her cart clear enough for us to pass.

Tina clearly pissed the woman off, a woman who had clearly passed her IKEA limit, too, and as we were about 10 feet, I happened to look back to see the woman start opening her mouth to damn Tina. “Lady, you didn’t have to be so RUDE!!!” She called out.

Tina, amped up IKEA-induced adrenaline, shouted back, “I had to ask you TWO times to move out of the way!!!”

The other woman started to scream something in response and I said, “Nope! Nope! Just leave it alone! Don’t even worry about it. This is IKEA! This is IKEA!!!” It was as if to say, you are both possessed by demons and I am the only Jesus here strong enough to dispel the demons that have taken control of your tongues. Leave each other be. You were both possessed!

This Story is longer than Homer’s Odyssey!

You and I both want this story to end, but it didn’t.

Tina’s possession took control one more time and she decided she wanted to buy something at IKEA, so she chose a $0.99 hazelnut candy bar. We went to one line, and the cashier said, “This is a debit card only line, ma’am.”

“Yes,” I said, “Thanks.” I clearly had not heard what he said, just that he said something.

“This is a debit card only line,” he repeated.

“Yeah, yeah,” I shushed him with a wave of my hand.

“THIS is a debit card only line,” he said yet again.

A wave of IKEA-drenched confusion flushed from my brain. “Ohhhhhhhh … this is a debit card only line.”

So we had to go to the one fucking line that accepted cash … the longest line … for a $0.99 candy bar … at fucking IKEA.

While Tina waited in line, I noticed a grocery area and tried snapping a photo of two Zombie women conflated by a $10 bag of Swedish meatballs. Clearly, they were brainless, otherwise they wouldn’t be buying frozen meatballs from a goddamn “furniture” place.

We drove away, and as we drove, I noticed the temperature drop on our on-dashboard thermometer.

Says me as we sped away, “Clearly, IKEA is hell. It’s getting colder as we drive away.”

 

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