“Shame and vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity”


Especially in younger neighborhoods around Chicago, you’ll notice that when young women — and some men — pass store fronts with big windows, they will turn their heads to see their reflections. It’s almost as predictable as it is annoying.

Those same people will never give anyone any eye contact, but they’ll always give themselves a once over any time they’re able to.

This only happens when their heads aren’t buried in their phone screens or taking selfies to share on social media.

In my French class this week, we talked about the phenomenon known as selfies. Selfies being the now ubiquitous self portraits we see on social media. Girls and guys hold up their phone and snap portraits of themselves then they post for all the world to see their duck lips, cuteness, hotness, hairdos and whatever the fuck else.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Fucking Fairest of them All? 

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Vox: how climate change makes hurricanes worse


I keep hearing talking points on the fake news declaring any discussion of climate change as political. See here and here.

Politics ≠ science.

But writing politics ≠ science is declared a liberal talking point, therefore dismissing or even trumping the statement.

It’s sad really.

Science is predicting with great accuracy what’s happening. But that doesn’t matter when the truth is trumped by a political view point. Ugh.

Also: Houston is experiencing its third ‘500-year’ flood in 3 years. How is that possible?

 

Twin Peaks, big fans, contrived art, sado-masichism and you


My favorite show from the 90s was Twin Peaks. It was on Thursday nights at 10 p.m. when I was in my Sophomore and Junior years of high school.

At the time, I worked at a sandwich and ice cream joint called “Mayberry’s” on Lexington Ave in High Point NC. My typical schedule had me working every Thursday night until around 9:45. After work, I would race home to catch as much of the show as I could.

I loved every second of Twin Peak’s madness. The variety of characters. The dreams. The supernatural. The giants. The little people. Bob! Bob! Bob! It was truly a fascinating, and sometimes unnerving and scary show. I’ve rewatched all the episodes many times as well as re-watched the prequel “Fire Walk with Me.”

When it was announced that a new season of Twin Peaks was being produced again, I was through the moon. I waited for it to return and I subscribed to Showtime on Amazon Prime so that I could keep up with the show and revel in it with all its fans.

I’ve watched all the episodes and rewatched several of the episodes. And just when I think, “Yeah! This show is going to be off the hook. IT’s going to rekindle all my feelings for how great it was and no can be!”

That’s when I deflate like a child pulling on the mouth of an inflated balloon. Continue reading

I’m going to be 42 for a long time


If you asked me today, “How old are you?”

My response would be 42. I’ve been answering that same way for the past year.

That makes me a liar.

I was born in September of 1975.

I’m only 41. I’ve spent a whole year as a 42 year old, when I could have been reveling in my 41s.

What an idiot!

So for the next year starting September 7, I’ll be able to honestly tell people, “I’m 42.” No more of lies. No more deceit.

Here’s some news: I’ve been writing again. Almost every day. My morning routine right now is getting up about an hour or two before my wife Tina. I either make a pot of coffee or a single cup of instant coffee, packets that I picked up in France last April. Because everything French tastes better even instant coffee. Ha.  Continue reading

the devil wants my lenses


I take a French class every week. Recently, the topic of discussion was superstitions. We talked about Voodoo, Réne Descarte, rationality, culturally specific superstitions (French superstitions vs Turkish superstitions), etc.

I find all religions/faiths and many cultural behaviors to be superstitious, and while I claim to not be superstitious, I often question my claim as superstitious thoughts creep into my head all the time.

When something happens in a pattern, science explains that sometimes — we as humans — attribute these things to something larger than ourselves, like a deity or a devil or any other number of fairies, goblins or leprechauns.

Superstitions claim misfortune might be caused by breaking a mirror, opening an umbrella inside, walking under a ladder, being taught a lesson by a parental god, being tested by a wily devil, not praying the right prayer, or simply failing to knock on wood that one time I said, “I have the best lens choices in the universe!”

Knock on wood. 

Over the last couple weeks, I’ve had to replace two lenses. These are literal misfortunes, as I feel like replacements have cost me a literal small fortune.

One of the lenses was — in a general sense — inexpensive (around $600). The other one was for my Hasselblad, which is the rough equivalent of buying property in Trump Tower.

My Hasselblad is medium format camera. Working with a medium format system is like owning a luxury vehicle like a Ferrari. You don’t take the car in for anything without seeing your wallet lighten by many pounds.

I had to buy a battery for it recently and it set me back $375. A battery for my DSLR would cost between $40 and $65, for a generic brand or name brand respectively. There’s  no generic option for Hasselblad.

Buying a new 35mm lens — which I use most for interiors or architecture — would be $5200. On eBay, you can find used ones for $1500-$4500. But that’s risky as I found out. I ordered a used one off of eBay and it was dead on arrival. So I had to send it back to the seller, which ties up several thousand dollars until the return is processed.

Because we have a big interiors job next week, I ordered another one. I don’t use credit cards, so I’m basically tying up liquid cash.

Another unfortunate lens mishap happened in my studio. I was using a camera to videotape an update. Here’s a shot below of part of the space. There’s a long strip where I can throw a ball with my dog. We occupy the area behind where my camera is for photography.

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I had my dog with me last week. I was washing my car in the shop area and I had a camera setup to record an update for a vLog. The floor was wet and it’s already very slippery.

As I was about to throw the ball to my dog, she was headed straight for my camera on its tripod and her head was facing me as she ran away. “Nooooooo!” I yelled as I sprinted after her. She turned. Started slipping. And I slipped trying to get to the camera, but it went down.

If a camera is a face and a lens its nose, it landed smack dab on its snout. The lens shattered. Fortunately the camera was unharmed (cross fingers and knock on wood).

Ha.

On the surface, it’s tough not to see these financial blows are not some kind of message from an unseen force attempting to discourage my creativity.

Is this a message from the Lens Gods or the Productivity Gods saying, “We don’t want you to be productive?”

We want to use financial stress as a distraction! 

My view, though, is to not let those superstitions to prevent, paralyze, stymie creativity. I’m pressing on. These things happened. They just happened. That’s it. They were accidents. They were and are explainable by natural causes.

My human brain might try to attach mystical explanations or place more emphasis on them because in a pattern … lens lens lens lens + money money money money = stress stress stress stress stress — that somehow is attractive.

There is no amount of prayer, of self sacrifice, of worshiping the unseen that will bring back those lenses nor would it protect my other lenses that still work.

Shit happens. And it’s when I try to attach superstition to natural events that I get caught up in distractions from creative expression.

Well, fuck that.

 

 

 

“The rise of Arab atheism”


I’m not sure I agree with the title of this piece (atheism pertains to no singular religion), but I can surely find interesting bits from which to drive validation. Emphasis is mine below. Link in title below as well.

A snip:

The issue most often cited by Arabs as their first step on the road to disbelief was the apparent unfairness of divine justice. The picture they had acquired was of an irascible and sometimes irrational deity who behaves in much the same way as an Arab dictator or an old-fashioned family patriarch – an anthropomorphic figure who makes arbitrary decisions and seems eager to punish people at the slightest opportunity. Dire warnings, constantly repeated in the Qur’an, of what would happen to non-believers had clearly made a strong impression on them in childhood.

“The idea of eternal hell was very disturbing to me,” said Mohammed Ramadan, an Egyptian. “I was nine when I asked my parents why would God punish us for ever when we live for an average of only 70 years.”

A Saudi who is known on Twitter as “Arab Atheist” was troubled by the question of why seemingly decent non-Muslims should be punished by God. Arriving in the US to study at a Jesuit college, he began to realise “how similar all religions are” in their basic teachings. “In Islam,” he said, “we are taught that all non-Muslims are going to hell. I had Jewish neighbours who were the kindest and sweetest couple and it made me wonder, why should they go to hell? And suddenly Islam started to crumble in my eyes.

The rise of Arab atheism Across the Middle East, governments are cracking down on non-belief. But Arab atheists are becoming more visible –   by Brian Whitaker   –MONDAY,  29TH JUNE 2015