Happy New Year Links Round up


icelandriver2

There’s lots of things to do today, and I’ve been relatively quiet, so here are a few things I’ve been looking at, for whatever reason. Maybe you’d be interested:

From Digg.com:

From TYWKIWDBI:

Personal viewings:

The result of a google search for couples boudoir.

My friend Ryan’s inspiration (example above): These Incredible Aerial Photos of Volcanic Rivers in Iceland Look Like Paintings

From Cynical CNews Reporter Passes Out on Air and Then Finishes Report

 

 

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I almost became a Catholic over the holiday break


On our ride down to North Carolina, Tina took over driving for a few hours. I took the time to rest my eyes and catch up on social media.

On my Facebook feed, a young, Catholic girl posted an article that blew my mind. I mean. I’m dying to see how this current pope is going to change the current dismal perspective of Catholicism, but this particular article threw their efforts into overdrive.

Here’s the article if you want to read it.

The title reads: “POPE FRANCIS CONDEMNS RACISM AND DECLARES THAT “ALL RELIGIONS ARE TRUE” AT HISTORIC THIRD VATICAN COUNCIL”

And then the mind blowing began.

This in particular:

In a speech that shocked many, the Pope claimed “All religions are true, because they are true in the hearts of all those who believe in them. What other kind of truth is there? In the past, the church has been harsh on those it deemed morally wrong or sinful. Today, we no longer judge. Like a loving father, we never condemn our children. Our church is big enough for heterosexuals and homosexuals, for the pro-life and the pro-choice! For conservatives and liberals, even communists are welcome and have joined us. We all love and worship the same God.”

And later:

“God is changing and evolving as we are, For God lives in us and in our hearts. When we spread love and kindness in the world, we touch our own divinity and recognize it. The Bible is a beautiful holy book, but like all great and ancient works, some passages are outdated. Some even call for intolerance or judgement. The time has come to see these verses as later interpolations, contrary to the message of love and truth, which otherwise radiates through scripture. In accordance with our new understanding, we will begin to ordain women as cardinals, bishops and priests. In the future, it is my hope that we will have a woman pope one day. Let no door be closed to women that is open to men!”

The words in that article, this passage above included, would almost — ***ALMOST*** — cure me of disbelief.

This section was pure gold:

Through humility, soul searching, and prayerful contemplation we have gained a new understanding of certain dogmas. The church no longer believes in a literal hell where people suffer. This doctrine is incompatible with the infinite love of God. God is not a judge but a friend and a lover of humanity.

When I read most of the article to Tina, her response was, “Man, I’d consider becoming a Catholic again.”

That’s the rub.

The article is so well written and so ideal to what the church should do, but it gets too caught up in hoity toity, we’re right, they’re wrong bullshit.

It took three paragraphs before I said to myself, and Tina, “This is satire. We’ve been duped.”

So I looked further at the web site it was hosted on and sure enough, the site is satire.

Gold, though. Gold. Pure greatness.

Cheers to those folks at Diversity Chronicle. That was the closest I’ve been in a LONG time to consider even considering the consideration of a considerate thought about admiring the church.

And then you see stuff like this story (about how white American evangelicals reject science), and all that hope for the world is a flatulent balloon sound.

But then there’s the following, and my hopes are rejuvenated.

Affordable Healthcare is an Obamanation


Over at the liberally liberal of all liberal publications, The New York Times, there’s a business article called: “New Health Law Frustrates Many in Middle Class.”

When I clicked to read the article, NYTs wanted me to sign up for a subscription fee, but I refreshed the screen a few times and it showed me the article for free.

The lead-in said that a family of 4 with $100,000 income would have to pay $1,000/month for health insurance through Obamacare.

Out of curiosity, I went to healthcare.gov and varified it. It’s true.

The article reported:

The cheapest insurance plan they can find through the new federal marketplace in New Hampshire will cost their family of four about $1,000 a month, 12 percent of their annual income of around $100,000 and more than they have ever paid before.

Later in the article, it explains that healthcare should not exceed 10% or it becomes too taxing on someone’s income.

Ten percent is too much.

Did you read that.

Ten percent is too much, and the article said that people making $100,000 weren’t able to cover 12%.

In response, the wife in the article said, and I quote:

“That’s an insane amount of money,” she said of their new premium. “How are you supposed to pay that?”

Insanity, dear readers, is paying 12% of one’s income to pay for healthcare.

Do you know what Tina and I pay for our healthcare?

We pay upwards of 25%, closer to 30%, of our annual income for health insurance.

I pay out of pocket for mental health care, because our deductible is over $12,000.

Basically, the woman in the article is saying, “Fuck me sideways. That’s fucking ridiculous that I would have to pay 12% of my income on health insurance. Anybody who pays more must be a fucking idiot.”

Our application is pending review and approval right now. And if the preliminary information is correct, we could save over $250 a month to get better coverage, a $1500 deductible, and many other perks.

$250 a month.

That’s $3,000 a year.

So maybe it’s going to suck for those making $100,000, but it seems heavenly for yours truly. I hope that the $100,000 earners get better rates soon.

But for the past 5 or 6 years, having to pay as much as we do, it’s pretty damn awesome.

Christmas next year could be pretty damn sweet.

 

 

still working on them tables


tablesThis has been quite a week for Tina and me.

We learned some bad news. We lost two accounts that made up about eight jobs, two of which were in New York City.

It appears, at least for now, that our NYC work has dried up. It’s my goal to land a bigger and better client to replace this one. Said and done, we weren’t making too much off the work trips to NY. We love that city and love seeing Luis V. and Becky F., so it was always fun to go.

We’ve been raising our rates lately, and are declining lower-paid work in exchange for jobs with higher price tags. As a financial conservative, this is tough for a guy like me.

But the quality of our work is improving, and with that, we should chase higher-quality customers.

On the heels of bad news, there has been a flood of positive words. A local magazine will be publishing the images we took of the tables above, and the response from our client was that the magazine “complimented your gorgeous photos.”

We attended an event with a national luxury interiors magazine last night and received, quite possibly, some of the highest praise from their publisher I’ve ever heard. She introduced us as a high-quality, photography team with a portfolio of amazing work as well as two of the best personalities in the business.

The stars are also aligning with strong possibilities of landing a beautiful studio space soon. Stand by for details.

And the mother of one of the models we’ve worked with a few times sent us a note this week that read:

Lauren has worked with several other photographer teams since the catalog [for our client]. To date, I think your set-up/shot plans, energy and direction, and brilliant finishing are not to be duplicated.

All I know is, I should be re-broadcasting those words with bullhorns from rooftops.

We continue to attract attention from bigger and better clients. I can tell it’s taking it’s toll on this blog. Day to day hits have plummeted.

It’s fine. I’m directing more energy — positive energy — toward creative efforts.

Tina and I hope to roll out our new brand soon. And I’m going to be dedicating much more time to social media and marketing to drive traffic to us.

 

 

That this graphic exists excites me and depresses me.


MarriageMap2-1

Yesterday, Illinois joined the growing number of states to provide  equality to same-sex partners.

It’s news that makes me happy. But it also is depressing that marriage equality is an issue. That people with a dusty old book can demand certain people shouldn’t love one another because of the target of their sexuality.

I don’t mean to be negative about something so positive. But it feels weird that in 2013, the world acts like a bunch of 1900s-ers.

I mean, really. Not only should this graphic be all green. It shouldn’t be news.

It shouldn’t get people upset or think storms and earthquakes will result from pissing off the guy in the sky.

it’s because Obama’s president and there’s no prayer in schools


Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 3.33.21 PMAn Indian American is set to win the Miss America contest?

Has Donald Trump turned into a commie?

Show me a stinking birth certificate on this woman who is claiming to be born on US soil!

HONK.

Check out this awesome display of American racism. It’s amazing.

By the way, if the head deity is in charge, if he is in complete control, why would you oppose his power of decision like that?

 

 

Life is tough. That’s why there’s West Elm


You know what I got Tina for our anniversary?

A rug.

A rug to match the drapes.

Oh, and I got her a stomach ache. The dinner we ate at Province was sooooooo filling. We were both wallowing in grunts afterward.

Mind you, the meal was delectable. But food shouldn’t be consumed in great excess. Not because it says so in the bible. But because sometimes I want enough room in my innards to drink a beer after dinner.

But this damn rug. What the hell was I thinking? We shopped for jewelry that day, too. But shopping for jewelry is goddamn worthless to me. I know, I’m a guy.

And I’m kinda cheap. But …  Continue reading