5.31.2014

Big Boy Chair

I'm a big boy (as my papaw used to say). I have one of those camping chairs that I got when I first moved in to the apartment (over a year ago). It says--no joke--Big Boy Chair. Because it supports up to 350lbs. The funny thing is, it's kinda tall (or was when I opened it for the first time today)--and my feet didn't hit the ground.

I'm digging it though. Sitting outside and writing.  Looks a little like this:
The second chair is for anyone that wants to come set a spell (can't really get away from my Kentucky heritage).  It's not a big front porch, but me and a couple of neighbors chilled on my patio for a few hours this afternoon. And that was cool by me.

It's been a great weekend so far. I had a Daddy-Daughter Date Night last night. We went to Thai Grille in Westerville and OMFrigginG was that place amazing!--AND--it's in walking distance. How can you beat that? You can't. Trust me. The Pad Thai was amazing.

Today was slated to be spring cleaning day. And for the most part, it has been. Minus the 4 hours chilling with a couple of my neighbors.

I got a funny email last night from a friend who was rather curt and seemingly indignant that I unfriended her on Facebook and it made me laugh.  I expected it from a few people...but I figured that after nearly 3 weeks off, I was OK. It just made me chuckle.

Since I got the new writing desk, the old Steelcase desk is gone.  So that room that was my office (And somehow never quite became the studio I had envisioned) is now my room to work out in and possibly store things (I have some shelving in there). When I save up enough for the love seat, the futon will probably go in my bedroom (since the treadmill isn't in there--or won't be when spring cleaning is done).

I stopped by Brew-Stirs last night after taking Jen home. I have to say that I really had a great time. It wasn't crowded. Everything was chill and the people were cool. And it was actually..fun. Nothing weird like the last time.

So far it's been a good weekend.

Although I think I'm gonna head inside now and grab a bite to eat...charge up the laptop....dig out the citronella candle for future outdoor writing.

Oh...and finish spring cleaning.

Tomorrow will have some jamming.

Looking forward to that!

Have a great rest of your weekend!

-A.T.

5.29.2014

Short and Sweet

None of the books I've seen on becoming kick ass published writers actually list how to get over that hump and actually start writing.

That's the rub, isn't it?

I have a jump drive full of story starters and ideas and short scripts. I think that it's (past) time to fire that shit up and start fleshing them out...not necessarily as screen plays, but full on stories. Short stories. Long stories. Goldilocks just right stories.

Dammit man...start writing already!

Book Reports For Jesus And Other Observations

A friend of mine has regular bible studies at his house. I've known this couple for a few years and they never struck me as the in-your-face-Christians that seem to be all the rage these days.

So, it kind of caught me off guard when he told me that he leads bible studies and was a youth pastor in their church and did I want to come by sometime for bible study.

He asked again tonight and I had something come up, so I couldn't.

But if I didn't....would I have gone?

I really don't know.

I'm not necessarily an atheist. I do believe that there is energy...a force...a will, if you will, that is greater than what we normally tap in to as humans. Not sure if that makes me some kind of theist...agnostic...or what.

I think Jesus was a great teacher. I think he had some good ideas.
I think the same about Buddha. And Eckhart Tolle. And Wayne Dyer. And Richard Bachman.

I don't have a problem with Christianity per se.

I have a big ass problem with organized religion. Organized religion has always been, at its core, a way to keep a large group of people in line. I don't really feeling like stepping on any toes right now...I'm just clearing the cognitive cobwebs tonight. I know that churches and other religious groups do help people--sometimes. Almost as many people as they wind up hurting--sometimes. And if you go to a service and get the spiritual fuel you need, then cool. I wish you well.

My problem is...I've seen behind the curtain. There's nothing quite like working on a media production team of a church to realize how finely choreographed the service actually is. It's like when Dorothy actually sees the 'Wizard' behind the curtain. She can no longer believe in the Great and Powerful Oz.

Thing is...she didn't go out and ruin it for the Lollipop Guild. They still believe in the Great and Powerful Oz. Dorothy just gained a different perspective. She had gone a different path, so to speak.

And I guess that's what it's really about, isn't it?  Paths.

I'm not quite prepared at this point in my life to say that there is no God.

However, I am prepared so say that there is no complete understanding of God and that most of what people know about 'God' has been by and largely influenced by the machinations of humankind.

To me there has to be a string theory for 'the higher power.' Physics has its M-theory. Is there a G-Theory for God?

I don't know.

I think, though, in my heart of hearts that there has to be.

The other side of the coin is this. If there IS some kind of theory or proof of the true nature of God, will people be ready to accept it? If the neighbor you've secretly hated for years because he's Hindi and all those heathen non-Christians are going to hell suddenly becomes your brother under this new theory and principle of God. Could you accept that?

The 'system' of religion thrives on divisiveness. Don't like the Catholics? Come to the Methodists.  Not enough structure for you? Come to the Lutherans.

It doesn't make sense to me that this book, one single book, could spawn over 40,000 denominations of Christianity. How does that happen? Good question.

Clearly its written in such a way that interpretation has something to do with it.

It still boggles my mind. That's just Christianity. That's not even counting the different flavors and splinters of the other major religions.

That's way too much of a variance for me to say 'I'm right, and you're wrong.'

Again...just clearing the mental dust bunnies. I know in my heart what the key is...the rosetta stone of this puzzle...but I don't know that this forum is the best outlet for it. I think perhaps a book would be a better venu.

We shall see.

Right now, though, I'm a little too...meh....to continue with this train of thought. Not sure what's flowing in the undercurrents below my consciousness, but something tells me I'll be busy in my Dreamland workshop.

******<>*******
Speaking of my workshop...(worst segue ever)
I've notice that since I don't really have FB anymore to feed the links to people, the number of people that regularly read the posts has been declining to about the 10 people I expect.

It's not enough of a reason for me to go back to FB...just an observation.

Alright. Time to sign off for now.

-A.T.

5.27.2014

On Faith

I hope that multiple posts on the same day don't throw the 6 of you off that still check here since I ditched FB. But, regardless, I didn't feel like this stream of consciousness could be tacked on to the turkey salad post.

A question has been nagging in the back of my mind for quite some time (since I was about 13 to be perfectly honest)...

How do you share the truth about something if the only "proof" you have is the feeling in your heart...your soul that what you are saying is a universal truth?

So...here's the thing. I think organized religion has it wrong. By setting up an 'Us and Them' construct, they immediately doom themselves to missing the entire point of this god-thing anyway.

Here's something else I know.

No single religion has it 100% right. And, no single religion has it 100% wrong.

Chew on that for a few minutes. I have been since Friday night when a friend invited me to come to a bible study at his house.

I don't think he's what I would call a militant christian, but I definitely sense that he believes there is only one answer to this God-riddle and he and his church have the Rosetta Stone. It was comforting that he didn't hold to a specific translation that I needed for this group.

For the record...I am not an athiest. I am not an anything. If you ask me to pick a side, I'm likely to disappoint you. Do I think there is a higher power? Yes. And that higher power is love.

The Bible was a good book, if not a bit wordy, with a lot of good lessons. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was also a good book with a lot of good lessons.

Who decides which books get to be 'inspired by God' that millions of people follow?

See? That's my point. No one knows what has been rattling around my brain...heart...soul...that is waiting to make its way to the page. How do you know it's not inspired by that which you call God? If you are of the Faith, can you really sit there and tell me God doesn't still work through people? Do there have to be certain 'signs' for people to sit back and say Ahh...yes...HE has been communicating with God.

I don't think it works that way.

But to be honest...I have no friggin' clue. If the book ever sees the light of day I suspect some will say it's divinely inspired (the irony of which will be revealed when the book comes out). Others will say it's a work of Satan. And (if I'm very lucky)...most will say...That was a good book. A bit wordy, but there were a lot of good lessons.

Time will tell.

 

-A.T.

You Big Turkey

I had plans for a yummy salad for lunch today. Opened the bag of lettuce and it smelled....bad. There was no visible browning on the leaves...well not on that many of the leaves anyway. It just smelled...off. So...scrapped it. Thankfully I brought enough turkey for 4 days worth of salads (or 2 days of eating just turkey). So...it seems that it will work out well.

The irony is...there were two ...well three options in the above scenario. I could have been pig headed and consumed the salad anyway. I could have been pissy about my crappy lettuce. Lastly, I could have done what I did, recognized that I still had enough for a decent lunch and went on with it. Option 2 and 3 would have had exactly the same outcome, with one notable exception--I would have been in a foul mood had I been pissy about my bad lettuce.

And...really...it's just lettuce. That shit goes bad all the time. Life goes on.

Life always goes on.

I'm not sure what kind of mood I'm in right now. Perhaps more introspective than normal (which is really saying something). What do you do when you get the point in your life when you feel like you have something to say...to write...and it's not something you can put off any longer? Do you eat the lettuce anyway? Or go straight for the turkey?

Gobble gobble.

 

-A.T.

Firsts and Lasts

The weekend is always one of reflection for me. I usually go to the Westerville Field of Heroes, a display put on every year honoring those who serve and have served our country in the military. This year they had 3000 flags on display.

I generally cart quite a bit of my photo gear and have gotten some great pix in past years. They were on Facebook, some of them. Which means, they were pretty much fair game for anyone to use/steal/etc.

This year, I went armed with my trusty Instax Mini90.

I did take one digital pic, though.


Took it with my phone to send to a friend who wasn't able to make it to the fields this year. I took about 10 or so pix with the instant. I'm really happy with the way they came out. I took a couple of pix of the pix (yeah, I knew I said I wouldn't do that...sue me).


Sent those to my bro because his company helped with some of the aspects of the First Responder's memorial. 

It was a very humbling and amazing experience, as it always is. If you want to see the rest of the pix from there, or the pix I took at the zoo--let me know--I'll be happy to hang out and share those with you :-) (now...to be completely forthcoming (because I never stretch the truth on this blog)  I am going to go back to the zoo with my DSLR and get some digital shots of the Heart of Africa exhibit. It was just so amazing).

This weekend was...well, fun. I found myself laughing a lot more than normal...having fun and socializing. It was truly a great weekend.

While at the memorial, one of the volunteers recognized my zoo hat and we got to chatting about conservation and unplugging from the digital bombardment we are faced with every day.

And we hit upon an interesting topic.

My generation is the last generation to have ever gotten lost. Current and subsequent generations, thanks to their phones will never again need to wonder where they are or how to get somewhere.

Think about that. 

That kind of technology is powerful....but also desensitizing.

Do you remember when phones were not portable? Not even cordless?

I do.

Do you remember when your TV only showed local broadcast stations?  When they actually signed off for the night and didn't sign back on again until the 5AM Farm Report?  

I do.

Do you remember when the Internet was not accessible by civilians? When it existed only on college campuses? 

Do you remember when there was no 'social media'? No cable TV? And certainly no satellite. 

Do you remember when there was a wall that divided Germany. And on one side of that wall was freedom and democracy and on the other side was oppression. And when that wall was torn down by people who could no longer be repressed?

I do.

I know all of those things sound all grandpa-esh, but the thing is...I'm only 42. All of those things happened within the last 30 years.  That blows my mind.

And it scares me. We are so happy with how well we advance our technology...so smug with our progress that I'm concerned that no one is stopping to think if we should be advancing it. 

I know...pretty heady thoughts for a Monday...er...Tuesday morning (I told you the Field of Heroes always makes me think).

Anyway--enjoy your day my friends. And if you like, try something interesting if you don't believe me about the technology--go out somewhere for a couple of hours and leave your phone at home. 

Then tell me if you don't think we're too tethered to our tech.

Peace
-A.T.

5.26.2014

Apologies

Sorry guys. I'm not really sure who Jonas Harman is or how the hell he got a post on to my blog. I gave the information to Google/Blogger and they are looking in to it. Don't worry. I've changed all my passwords and they assure me nothing else has been compromised.

For now they want me to leave the post up until they finish their investigation.

Again, apologies. And Happy Memorial Day and a heartfelt thank you to those of you who read this blog and have served our country.

Thanks,
A.T.

5.25.2014

Not The Droids You're Looking For

I don't know how much time I have.

I can't really go in to too many details here. This thing has already turned my life upside down and if they manage to find me--it won't be turned upside down, it will be over.

I've been hacking various blogs..trying to get the word out. I don't really know how many people read this A.T. guy, but hopefully someone will remember this post when this shit really goes south.

I'm taking a big risk with this, but the worst that will happen is they knock on this shlub's door and find out they've got the wrong guy. By that time I'll be long gone.

Nano Flush. You may not know about it yet. But you will. Unfortunately, it will be too late.

Forget science fiction. Nano-technology exists. Hive-mind programming exists. And there are far more nefarious entities than the government out there. Using the American public as a massive test bed for experimentation.

There was a movement by aging hippies urging everyone to "Kill Your Television." Sadly, they weren't too far off.

Back to Nano Flush. I haven't got much time on here before they trace my proxy route back.

Here's the thing. Avoid ANY urinal or public bathroom with an electronic scent dispenser that is moisture activated. It will look like a dish strainer in the urinal with a blinking LED. Red while you are urinating on it, Green when the "scent" has been released.

Only it isn't the scent. The time that it takes the LED to turn from Red to Green is the amount of time it takes 100 nano-bots to traverse up the stream of urine, back in through the urethra and in to the blood stream of the subject. The kinetic model of these nano-bots were based on salmon spawning.

Yes. I know it sounds far-fetched, but believe me--if someone told you 20 years ago that a generation would walk this earth that would never be able to get lost again, you wouldn't have believed that either.

The division I worked in conceived the nano-bots as a means of delivering vaccines in third world countries. But we were quickly dismantled as soon as we proved it could work.

I really don't have much time left. Already the power is starting to glitch in this coffee shop. A sure sign that they are trying to narrow the search grid.

If I get a chance to upload the schematics before they shut me--

shit.

They're here. I have to go.  Please...don't believe the press. Stay away from Nano Flush.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

-Jonas Harman


Looks Good On Paper

We are becoming too wrapped up in the own importance of our tech.

There. I've said it. You can quote me on it.  For those that have known me for any length of time, you may be smiling at the above statement. Especially if you know of my love for all things shiny and gadgety.

But lately I've been doing some re-assessing. I wouldn't call it a mid-life crisis. In the first place, I plan on living well past 84, so this is not my mid-life. Secondly--it's not a crisis as much as it is an awakening.

Some of my friends see it as a crisis.

They can't understand how I can walk away from Facebook. Or how I can be completely content to take one pic with my phone and 20 pix with my instant camera...and NOT post them online.  The funny thing is, I've been on Facebook (off and on) since 2008. Six years. I would consider myself an early embracer of it. Some of the same people who look at me sideways when I say I've walked away from it are the ones who gave me the very same looks six years ago when I tried to explain to them what  Facebook was and why it mattered in their lives. In retrospect, I wish I had not dove so deep in the rabbit hole. Sure. It let me connect with some long lost friends. But I also lost friends. I lost hours...days...weeks of my life in that online world. And it wasn't much of a boon to my marriage, truth be told.

But it cracks me up. Friends, trust me...when I say I've deactivated my Facebook account and am reducing my online footprint you should congratulate me.

I'm getting my life back.

And I know that might not make sense.  But maybe this next sentence will help you understand where I'm coming from.

I have an addictive personality--Facebook was my latest addiction.

Get it? Addiction.

Would you tell an alcoholic that one beer every now and then isn't so bad? No. Because you know that to the alcoholic it's not just one beer. And that addiction permeates all areas of his life.  Would you tell him that he needs to go to the bar every now and then to keep in touch with his family and friends? No. You would support him. And you would recognize that there are alternatives for staying in touch. And you certainly wouldn't respond in such a way that called in to question his decision not to drink.

So, why is it then when someone says they are deactivating their Facebook account, the first thing anyone says is "Why on earth would you want to do THAT?!?"  I'm gonna break it down (just to get it off my chest--not that I think the people who need to read this actually will).

  • I am a Facebook addict.
  • I spent WAY too much time on there.
  • It was taking me away from my life, my friends, my family, and affecting performance at work (past jobs and starting to creep in to this one--which I did NOT want).
  • I was not happy with the quality of my real-life relationships.
  • Facebook collects WAY too much data about us. And it's not good (more on that in another rant...er..post)

And there...I think the Facebook horse is dead (it just re-surfaced in my mind because after de-activating my account, I had to temporarily re-activate it tonight in order to change my Spotify subscription).


On to another retro-trend in my life...the Instant Camera.

I was with a friend at the Columbus Zoo yesterday and they could simply not understand why I preferred to take pictures with the instant camera.

"They look like the old Polaroids? They're not Hi-Def or digital or anything?!?"

Nope. Not hi-def. Not digital. Film. Tiny prints that I put in a book when I get home.

"But you can't post them online."  And this came up Friday night when I was at Fourth Friday. Another friend told me..."But Todd...people LIKE  seeing your photos....you NEED to share them with people."  I looked at him and handed him a photo album of my trip to Put In Bay.

"What's this?"

I said, "It's me...sharing my photos with you."

And he looked through them. Spending as much time as he would have on Facebook. And he told me which shots he liked.   And then we went on with our conversation...actually socializing.

That's really what this shift in my life is about, friends. It's about me getting my life back. And it's long over due. I've gotten almost 200 pix in 3 albums with the instant camera. Email me. Text me. Call me. Let's get together and hang out.

I'll share my pix with you :-)

Peace Out
-A.T.

5.21.2014

Doubtful

Doubtful.

To be full of doubt.

This thread was sparked by a conversation with a friend.  The particulars of the conversation are not necessarily important, but the idea of self-doubt is.

I'm in the middle of 2 books right now...reading them (not writing them--don't get too excited).  I just started one and am in the home stretch of the other. The focus of both is really just kind of getting the brain re-wired in to living a happy fulfilled life.

What's funny is...when I'm telling stories, I'm happy. Taking pictures (I'm really loving the instant camera these days).  Playing music (all guitars in my apartment are tuned but probably need strings changed--baby steps). But mostly writing.

Writing really gets me jazzed. I play/make music. I take photographs. Those are things I do. But if someone were to ask me how I saw myself, the answer would unequivocally be "writer."

Which...is funny. Really. Because I'm not published. I'm not famous. People aren't standing in line for my signature on the title page, cheesy grin on the dust jacket.

Yet.

Thing is...those things still won't make me a writer. That's just the bullshit that comes along with it. If it's only the 17 of you loyal readers stopping by here every day to see what's fallen out of my brain bucket and getting a little smile or knowing nod before you go about your day, then, as a writer I have made it.

The point of being a writer (in my humble opinion) is to find an outlet for all the craziness swirling around in my brain and somewhere along the way take the rest of you along for the ride.

You may love it...you may hate it...but you will somehow be moved by the experience.

At least that's what I tell myself when I'm not too busy battling the doubt-bug.

One of the happiest days of my life is when I figured out my particular arrangement of words could actually move someone. It was only a split second after that I was wracked with a horrible nagging doubt.  Could I make a living off of writing? Was I any good? Did I have what it takes to actually see a full length novel through from page one to the end?


As I sit here, looking at those questions that always seem to be the stumbling block for me--along with the defacto There's never really enough time to sit down and get in to my writing 'groove.' I realize the questions are just red-herrings. Meant to distract me.

Let me just address these one-off. Because I've thought a lot about them and come to the conclusion that they are bullshit excuses to slow me down from doing what I love to do.

Could I make a living off of writing?
Why not? Many people have. If the goal of my writing is to make money, I'm sure I could. But is that really the goal? No. It's to tell stories that are in my head. And there are many of them. So...yeah. Can I? Probably. Do I care if I do or not? No. Not yet.

So, that's not a deal breaker. Moving on.

Am I a good writer?
Unfortunately, from everything I've come across...this question (plug in any profession/passion besides wrtiting) requires some sort of external validation. And that sucks balls. Can I tell a good story? You bet your ass I can. Will millions of people want to read it? No friggin' clue.  People have told me they love my writing. That this little old blog is a high point in their day. Whether I'm a good writer or not, THAT is the feedback that fuels the fingers to continue to connect to the keys.

Again, no deal breaker there.

I'm gonna combine the last two.

Do I have what it takes to write a full page novel? Where do I find the time?
The answer to both of these questions actually reside in the blog you are currently reading.
I seem to find the time almost every day, certainly several times a week to hack out a tidbit of 500-1500 words for my own (and hopefully your) amusement.   Let's say that each of these blog posts is 1,000 words. That means in 2012, over the course of the year I wrote 75,000 words. In 2013, that rose to 96,000 words. It's only May and I'm already at 44,000 words (on average, of course).

But Todd, why the crap does THAT matter?

Simple. The average first novel is 60,000-80,000 words.

So...not only have a I made the time for that the last several years, I have also hit that word count each year. Just think. If I write one page of that novel a day, I'll have the first draft written in 60 days.

SO doable. This blog is proof.  I'm writing and reading the proof that I am a writer. And so are  you.

Why the doubt, then?

I wish I had an answer. I really do. But I don't. There are days when I wake up and the only thing I can think about as I ghost through the motions of the day is that I NEED  to be writing. And days where I look at the laptop and think, "No fucking way I can pound out my name, let alone a blog post." And then something happens. I sit down and start to write about how I have absolutely nothing to write about and blammo--there it is. Another 1000 words.

It's nuts. Hell, I'm nuts.  But I'm OK with that.

After all, it makes for a heck of a story.

-A.T.


5.19.2014

I Almost Forgot!

I can't believe that I almost forgot to mention something awesome that happened today. I got my new Couch Camera Strap!!

Yeah. I'm ridiculously pumped about it. So...when I got the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic, replete with retro stylings, I knew I wanted a retro camera strap for it. The vendor supplied camera straps almost always suck eggs (too thin...too narrow...always branded with the vendor...just...meh).

I found a cool vintage strap at one of the local camera shops. And yeah...it definitely had a 70's vibe to it. But I wanted something that was pretty uniquely "iTod"...ya know what I mean?

So I googled for vintage camera straps and stumbled upon THIS wickedly cool site. It's a company called Couch. Well, you can click on the link (the blue capped word that says 'THIS' in the previous sentence) and find out all about them. But in a nutshell they started out making awesome guitar straps and branched out to camera straps. They recycle old Auto interiors, seatbelts, and other materials. All of their straps are handmade in the USA.

So, instantly I was hooked.

I had 2 or 3 in my cart...and then I found it. The definitive 'iTod' camera strap.

Yeah.

Those are boomboxes.  On my camera strap.

Yes...as a matter of fact, I DO know how frickin' cool that is. AND, after reading the instructions, I found out that it's actually reversible, should I so choose (I wouldn't, but I could).

The strap is designed in such away that I could wear it sling style, but I've got it dialed in for neck wearing at the moment.

And yeah...it is very cool.

Not only is the company top notch, but they also put a personal note on the packing slip AND sent a sticker.

I would expect to pay double for the kind of awesomeness I got from Couch, but the fact is, their straps are about half of what other straps I looked at cost.

So...yeah--you bet I'm happy.

With that, I'm gonna head to bed.  For reals this time.

g'night.

-A.T.

On My Way Back To Me

I am finding as I go through this particular lifetime that it is not the major events that make the biggest difference, but often a lot of little events.

Take for example, a couch. A couch that was purchased when a married couple was moving in to their first house. Their first big purchase together (the house, not the couch).

Fast forward 7 years later...or maybe 8. Heck it might have even been nine years by that point. Who can be expected to keep track of that.

The couple is divorced. The husband takes the couch because he's the one moving out. And he doesn't really have the money for furniture.

But every time he walks in to his place. This place that was supposed to be his next chapter, his new day, he sees that couch.

That piece of shit couch.

And to be honest I just couldn't take it anymore. Er...HE  couldn't take it any more.

So...yeah. I am he. He is me. And I got a desk. Because, well, my 6 ft. Steelcase desk was also hers. In the sense that it came from an office sale at her old office. That old desk is going to go too. And finally the last thing to go will be the TV stand. And possibly a bookshelf. Those will be the last pieces of anything of hers that are here. The last ties to that life. That past life.

It's funny when people ask if I believe in past lives. And in their minds they always go back to some famous character in history. But I think the truth is much simpler.

I've had many past lives in this time around on this planet. Each new "Chapter" of our lives, each major transition...THAT'S a death of the old and birth of the new. Isn't it?  The Todd that was married to his baby momma is not the same Todd that sits here and writes this blog. I mean, pieces of him are the same. And I recall many aspects of that life. But I'm not the same man. Nor am I the same man now who was married to N-.  I'm not. No one has asked, but just to stave off the question--no. I would never go back to her. I have no desire to reconcile or try to rekindle anything with either of my ex-wives. The man they each married is dead. And the man I am now knows better.

Enter the fugly couch.
I'm not sure if you have any idea how ridiculously cathartic it was to wrestle that couch out of my apartment...heaving it end over end on the way out to the dumpster. It was....well...ridiculously cathartic. I can't describe it any other way, honestly.  

The desk will go another evening this week. I already have the new one assembled and put in to place. It feels good to be typing at an actual desk that is mine. I mean, I suppose the other one was mine, too. But I didn't count it as such.  Here's the new home to my writing  (since obviously I'm not sitting on the couch writing this just yet (at least not until I get a new 'apartment sofa'...a.k.a. Loveseat).

It's about 1/2 the size of what I've come to call 'that big ass desk' and it still fits. I'm going to need to work out another solution for my recording gear when I get back in to music, but I'm ok with that. 

And with that, I leave you with something from my dad, given the ole A.T. Twist.

Dad is fond of saying that 'every fighter has a plan, until he gets hit.'  I would posit, however, that the best fighters, the true champions have a plan for precisely the moment when they do get hit.  You see...I think it's a little too self-serving to think that we are never going to get knocked down in this (or any) lifetime. It just doesn't work that way Of course you are going to get hit. Of course you are going to get knocked down. That's part of it. That's the point---to GET BACK UP. Isn't it?

Success is getting up exactly one more time than you are knocked down.

Period. 

And with that, I leave you with a bit of the surreal....you're welcome.

Peace Out
-A.T.


5.17.2014

Insert Clever Title Here

I was driving home tonight and had come up with a really kick ass title for today's blog. I think it was one or two words and rather apropos to all the stuff going on in my life right now.

Given the hour and day of the week you would have valid reason to assume that a multitude of libations were the reason for my sudden loss in kick-ass-term-memory. But I'm not sure that a Graeter's chocolate malt (made with the Less Indulgent Vanilla Bean) and a mystery pint could be cause enough for me to forget the title that (I thought) had burned itself in my brain.

Disconnect.

That was it. Disconnect. Or maybe it wasn't. But it is now.

I know I've posted about this, but it's weighing on my mind, so feel free to skip ahead to the Instant Camera Segment of the post if you must. But I'm gonna dwell on this for a few minutes before I let it go. And by let it go, I mean, bury the feelings deep again and hope no one actually asks me about them at some point in the future.

Speaking of drinks.
It's now the next day. And I'm not sure what the hell happened, but apparently the mix of Terryaki Chicken Wings, Graeter's Chocolate Malt, Mystery Pint, and mini-Bomb produces a wicked hangover-like feeling the following day. I didn't feel drunk (hardly even buzzed) and woke up feeling like I went on a 3-Day Bender. Not sure how that all worked. My guess is the excess sugars in my system coupled with not enough water. But I digress.

Disconnect.

Last night at Brew-Stirs (As has been the case nearly every time I've been there since I left the ex), it was just weird. It didn't feel like 'my spot' anymore. And the people were people I didn't know. The staff (my friends) were there and that's honestly the only reason I go.  Otherwise it's just too weird.  I think it's too much of a pull back in to that time and frame of mind that no longer applies to me.

I realize now the reason I bonded so much with that place. And for lack of a better term, it's the "Norm Syndrome."  Every time I walked in on a Friday or Saturday night I was greeted by the bartenders and bouncers with a 'TOOOOODDDDDDDD!!!!!'  And everyone in the place turned to see who walked in the door. The regulars knew me. I knew them. The people who weren't regulars looked at me like 'who is this shlub?' but they figured I must be somebody.

It really was my Cheers.  And with the lack of any attention/affection at home, it was something I fed off of. It helped me feel good. It filled a void. In short, it was the intimacy in my life I lacked.

Odd to think of a bar full of people that way I suppose, but it's what it was. It was a place in time that helped me balance out the feelings of inadequacy at home. At home I was a sofa cushion (at least it felt that way most days). At BrewStirs, I was somebody. I got a discount when I ordered from Classics. They knew me.  It was like I was big time.

But that's not my life anymore. Shit at home doesn't suck. I have a place I really love Uptown. I have a job where I feel valued. I have people in my life that give me deep friendship and there may even be a hookup or two from time to time. It's definitely the opposite of what it was when I was married and going to BrewStirs every weekend.

So the disconnect is, now every time I go, regardless of the people there, part of me is taken back to that time when shit sucked. And I wind up feeling in some way melancholy.

I'm pretty sure that's why they tell addicts not to go to the same haunts they went to while they were using. The memory of that feeling is so strong that it's too easy to lapse back in to patterns from before.

And I'm not that guy. Not anymore.

So...I think I'll have to find another venue to hang out with my peeps from BrewStirs that I still want to hang out with. Because I can't really go back. A part of me is sad about that, but the part of me focused on becoming the best me possible knows that this is the right way to go.

I have a new chapter of my life to focus on. New pages to turn. New stories to write.

I'm hoping some of the characters from previous chapters will come along with me as I meet new ones.

Oh...and that section on the Instant Camera Love? Turns out that's going be its own post in the very near future.

Have a kick ass day my friends!

-A.T.


5.14.2014

Detox

It wouldn't surprise me, if I looked through previous posts from about this time last year, that I would find a post very similar to this one (hell--it might even be named the same thing) about going through social media withdrawal.

But...thing is...I'm way too fucking lazy to actually go back through and read them to try to find it. I'm sure it's there.

There seems to be a difference this time around though (that lets me know it's probably the right time to do this)....I don't miss it.

I fought....literally fought myself last time. And by literally I mean mentally. Figuratively. Not literally at all, because who can really actually physically fight themselves. Except Tyler Durden. But that dude was nuts.  Great soap. Batshit crazy.

Last time I deleted Facebook because I know that by deactivating it only, you can turn the lights back on at any time just by logging in. If you delete the account, it's much harder to go back. Last time I deleted it as a deterrent. This time around I deactivated it. And haven't really felt the urge to log back in, but one time. I realized that someone's address was in the Instant Messaging and I needed it. But you know what? I texted someone I knew might have the address, and she did. Weird. Actual interaction.  Well..mostly.

It was nucking futs man!  And it was awesome.

Here's the other thing. I don't miss ANY of the drama. It's one thing to say you're keeping in touch with someone, but just scrolling on their Facebook wall ISN'T keeping in touch with them...it's stalking. Seriously. And I have a confession to make. 96% of what you posted didn't affect me one way or the other. It would be harsh to say I really didn't give a shit about most of what people posted about.

I didn't say it wasn't true. I just said it would be harsh to say it.

Don't worry...I'm not quite ready to go on an Anti-Social Media Campaign just yet. But I can definitely see the benefits in my own life.

Just last night, where I would have normally spent an hour going through the 'Wall,' I instead got up, put on my shoes and actually went for a walk.   Went Uptown. Talked to a couple of the business owners....got a malt from Graeter's....chatted with one of my neighbors down the street on my way back to mi casa.  It was really nice.

I took about 10 pictures that won't ever go online (gave a couple away--because that's what 'sharing a pic' used to be about).

Don't worry...I'm guessing there will be only a few more posts on this until I actually get it out of my system. It's an addiction. I'm not going to lie. I was/am addicted to social media. I think a lot of people are. But I know that if I stay involved, I'll wind up going down a rabbit hole of misery. I found myself seeing everyone's perfect life and wishing I had that in my life. And conversely seeing people's dirty laundry and getting annoyed that they felt the need to air that on Facebook. Either way, it was bugging the crap out of me. And I had to walk away. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MySpace, Google+ and one of my photosharing sites. All deactivated or deleted.

Alright. I have to get back to work. After work, I'm going to go hang out with some friends. And then back to my place to clean....maybe finally move the exercise bike out in front of the TV like I keep talking about.

Peace Out!!
-A.T.

5.12.2014

Unfriending the zeroes and the ones...back to the carbon based, in real life stuff...


  • I'm not mad at you (or anyone).
  • I didn't delete or unfriend you (I deactivated my account, effectively 'unfriending' everyone).
  • I don't know for how long.
  • It became too much of a time suck and I spent way too much time on it being more annoyed than amused or entertained.
  • More time for writing/music/real photos.
  • Because it was time.
The above list are the answers to the questions I expect to get about why I de-activated my Facebook account. If you're reading this, congratulations. You knew one of the places to look for me when you noticed I wasn't on your friends list anymore. Acceptable alternatives would have been talking to me in person when you saw me out, emailing me, or texting and calling me.

Because that's what friends...true friends do. They talk to each other. They don't post shit to walls. They don't start conversations (mostly gossip) with 'Did you see on so and so's wall....'

Facebook really has the psychological edge with the whole 'friending' thing. There's a nice twinge of guilt at 'unfriending' someone. 

But, it's time. 

This weekend...with little to no access to Facebook was the tipping point. As I was walking around this island....this decidedly Party Island...and seeing so many people with their heads down over their phones. People at bars taking selfies to post online instead of living in the moment.

It was actually kind of refreshing to have to ask complete strangers to take a group photo and then that delicious anticipation as we all waited around to see how it was going to come out. It was quite awesome, I must say.

I'm just done. I'm fed up. And maybe it will pass, but honestly...there's too much I want to do to actually be caught up in the whole 'social media' bullshit at this point in my life.

And with that, I'm out. 

5.11.2014

Life Support

You know when you're watching those dramas and the person is on life support and you get to the point where you're like "Oh for crapsakes, just pull the plug already!!"?  Yeah. I'm getting to that point with Facebook. I've already deleted my Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and MySpace profiles.  Facebook and LinkedIn are really the last 2 of the 'major' social media outlets that I have any kind of presence on.

And I really couldn't give two craps about them.

I was at Put In Bay this weekend. I had crap internet/network access on my phone. Prior to going up, I had already deleted the FB app on both my phone and tablet. So...the only way I could access FB this weekend was on my laptop. Which..for the entire weekend was in my room at the villa. In short, I made sure that when I was experiencing the island, I was actually experiencing it. First hand. Not through a series of posts. Did I take pix? Yup. Almost 100 total. Only 10 or so of those were with my phone. And only 3 of those actually wound up online....today after I got home.

The rest of the pix were taken one-off. With my Fuji Mini 90.  You want a copy of that? Hold still while we take another shot. Or take a picture of it with your phone. I'm not scanning them in. I'm not posting them.

If you want to see the pix from my weekend, ask me. We'll get together for drinks or dinner or just come over and hang out and you can see them. Flip through the photo album. Take the pix out. Actually hold them.  Read the Sharpie notes I wrote on some of them in varying degrees of sobriety.

I mean, isn't that the point?  The whole world doesn't need to see my vacation pix. The whole world doesn't need to know my business. You can read about the crazy thoughts rattling in my head here.  Or email me. Or text me.

Or, I don't know, come hang out with me sometime.

You know...be social.


Have a great rest of your weekend.  Oh...yeah...and I'm gonna probably go ahead and de-activate my Facebook account soon. There won't be any announcements or cries for help or pleas for 'please don't go'...it's just going to away. Some will think I unfriended them. Some will blame Facebook for screwing up their news feed. Some might ACTUALLY contact me to see what's up. And the 14 or 15 of you will know the truth.

See you in the funny pages!

-A.T.

5.09.2014

Seeking Comfort

I'm sure there's a name for someone who has serious cognitive dissonance regarding social situations.

I guess I should clarify.  I like to have fun. I know that when I hang out with people and let go I tend to have fun. Therefore it stands to reason that I should want to hang out with people and have fun.

And yet...here's the dissonance--I really have to give my self a pep-talk to get over the hump of actually getting myself in to the social situation in which I can have fun.

So...if you haven't figured it out yet, this may one of those 'this is more than we really wanted to know about you Todd, can't you go back to writing about shitty drivers and farts?'

I suppose so, but I really need to clear this one off the shelf and make a tasty dish with it*.

It's not shyness, exactly. It's more than that really. I'm not sure what it is exactly-if I'm being honest. I have a hard time shutting my brain off and just living in the moment. When I do, believe me, I have a flippin' blast. But it's harder for me than you might think. If you see me cutting loose in a social situation or out with friends laughing and acting a fool, you would have no idea that it generally takes no less than an hour of mental ping ponging back and forth between the reasons I should good....things I would rather do...things that need to be done at home....mistaken beliefs of what people really think about me.

It's fucked up.

Sorry Jack. It just seemed to fit.

So...on the 'things I would rather do' front. I think that falls in to the 'well, if I don't go, it won't suck. And I can live vicariously through someone's facebook pictures and wish from afar that I could be one of the cool kids.

I was never one of the cool kids.

I was/am a geek. A freak. An outsider. You can tell me I'm wrong, but I'm the only one with a direct window in to my headspace, so you're just going to have to trust me on that one.

And I think what it is, is that a lot of my friends have known each other for a long time, and I feel like the outsider. The poser. Like they're just too nice to tell me that they don't really want to hang out with me.  

I know I'm probably way off base on that, but I can't really shut off that line of thinking as easily as you think I should be able to. And if you saw me out, unless you looked really closely, you would never pick up on that side of me.

So..it's comfortable for me to just find something else I need to do instead. Stay late at work (even though no one at work asked or expected me to)...clean *cough* the house...binge watch some series on Netflix.

Comfort.

That's what it's about.  I stayed in a wrecked marriage for years longer than I should have because even though that was very uncomfortable and spirit-sucking, it was still more comfortable than venturing out on my own. That frickin' comfort zone strikes again.

This weekend is pretty huge for me. I'm not going to lie. I'm going up to Put In Bay with a group of people that I consider friends. And it's one of those situations again where they've been friends with each other a lot longer than I've known them. So I'm going to feel a bit like the outsider. But it will be a good weekend. For several reasons.

It's a huuuuuuuuuuuge leap out of my comfort zone. It's someplace I've never been. It's a chance to cut loose and unwind and hopefully strengthen those bonds of friendship.

One thing you need to know about me. I make friends fairly quickly. I take a weeee bit longer to actually build deep friendships, if that makes any sense.

Anyway. That's whats up.  I took the social media bullshit off of my phone. The last thing I want is to be constantly posting about how much fun I'm having instead of actually living in the moment. I'll take the laptop in case I want to journal or blog in an intoxicated state (and because I never really know when the mood to write will strike me).  Alright...I need to go finish packing.

Have a great weekend, and happy Mother's Day to my mom and all the other moms out there.

Peace
-A.T.











*Clearing the shelves. So...I recently explained to a friend why I blog and how I see this blog. These posts are not my literary masterpieces. I am blessed and thankful that people enjoy them. I do not see, however, that they will be the works I am remembered for after I'm gone. More like a footnote to my life. I likened it to a chef. I said that sometimes you have to clear some of the ingredients that have been lingering on your shelf and whip something together before you can really get down to the art of cooking a masterpiece.  The shelf in this case, is my brain. The ingredients are the random thoughts that always tend to swim around in my brain. The posts are that dish, where although it might be very delicious, and better than anything you've eaten from my kitchen--is still not the best I am capable of. So...there you have it. 

5.08.2014

Unplugged

I just don't know what it is lately, but I feel the need with each passing day to really unplug myself more from this electronic teat that we all seem to be suckling.

I deleted my accounts last night on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, MySpace, and Google+. For two reasons. 1. I never really use them. 2. They are points of data that can be used against me. Not that I plan on doing anything criminal anytime soon, but the information on those sites can really paint a picture of who I am. My habits, my locations, etc. And you're fooling yourself if you think that the purpose of any social media site is anything other than collecting data on you to sell to advertisers. Or worse, being collected in government files.

But Todd, if you're not a criminal, that doesn't matter--right?!

Fair point. But consider this. Things that are criminal now--having children working in factories, for example, once used to be the norm.  Not only that, but who's to say that when we finally develop a fully realized AI (which, for the record, is a baaaaaaaad idea), that it won't use all those points of data to decide who it can trust or not?

I'm pretty sure that at some point this summer, my Facebook account will be deactivated. And then, depending on how that experiment goes, I'll delete it by the end of the year. It will be nice to get that time back. And--to be quite honest, it will actually force me to get out of my apartment and do things like go Uptown and gasp interact with people IN REAL LIFE!!!

Our society and social norms make it difficult to completely unplug, unfortunately. But I am pretty happy with the fact that I have a plan to greatly reduce my digital footprint by the end of the year.

I'll keep this blog, and the others I sometimes write. I'll probably keep LinkedIn. And my Gmail and TwistedZen emails. Beyond that, I doubt I'll keep much else online.

Actually feels pretty good to get to that point.

And with that, I'll hit 'post' and go grab a shower to get ready for work.

If you stumbled here by habit, thank you. I'd go ahead and bookmark the blog site now. I probably won't give too much warning when my  FB page goes dark, lest it seem like a cry for 'no please don't go' comments (which it really isn't).

Have an awesomesauce day my friends--step away from your tech and go outside. Enjoy life.

-A.T.


5.07.2014

Skip Ahead

If you're tired of me gushing about the joys of my instant camera, you might want to skip ahead. I'm not sure where this post is going (to be fair, I never know where they're going).

It's funny...I mean being happy is funny. Seriously. It's like being in this head space where I'm smiling for no reason--I mean no discernible reason. I know why I'm smiling, but people around me might not now. And shit is bothering me a lot less.

The camera. I'm loving the camera. I have a crap ton of film for it and expect that I'll shoot quite a bit of it this weekend at Put-In-Bay. And I have 7 (6?) photo albums that each hold 80 pictures. It's going to take years to fill that. I say that for one reason and one reason only. I've got one almost half full now, but I have given away probably as many pix as I've snapped. THAT'S the part that makes me giddy. Taking the pic and giving it to someone. It's like 'here-you take this little card of joy and go smile for a while.'  And what I'm finding (not true--I've always known) is that when you give someone else a reason to smile (especially when they aren't expecting it)--it instantly increases your (my) personal joy and happiness levels. That's happening.

A lot.

I want to do an SNL-esque sketch. It centers around traffic (so it will be hard to shoot on my own--not impossible, but tough). It centers around four cars pulling up to a light. And they're all listening to the same song...but none of them know it. And they all start playing their respective air jam instruments. And maybe you don't hear the song until the very end..or only hear snippets of it.

Or maybe it could be an iPod commercial. Come up with some app called GroupJam or some shit like that....where you could have 4 or 5 people getting ready to cross the street and the same song comes on all of their iPods and bam, the air band frivolity commences.  Not sure how feasible that is. And I'm not sure how they'd pull that off in a commercial (if they haven't already) without it seeming like some kind of weird Apple mind control thing.

Yeah. This is the kind of stuff that floats around in my brain. Welcome to it, my friends. If you don't know by now (or based on the url of this blog), it used to be call Random Meanderings (which pretty much describes my brain nearly every waking moment). It was later called High Plains Thrifter (I would go to thrift stores and take pix of things that amused me. Management got pissy--I stopped, but if you go back far enough the posts are still here).

Read an interview with Stephen King last night before I went to bed. That probably accounts for the dream conversation I had with him about writing. I don't remember the specifics, but the gist was, "Dude--get off your ass and get to writing." And then we both laughed, because have you ever tried to write for any length of time standing up? It's not as much fun as you think. So, when people tell me to get off my ass and start working on my dreams I remind them that to do so, I actually have to be on my ass. It makes me giggle.

Giggle. Such a funny word. Hard to misuse that word. But I've been doing a lot of it lately.

I posted something to Facebook today (yeah, I know...still doing that...apparently I'm weaning myself off slowly)...but I said "Best-selling author, Todd Skaggs"  And it made me smile. In reality it will be "Best Selling Author, A.T. Skaggs" but not many people (like maybe 5) in Facebookistan actually know me as A.T.  But that will be the name I publish under. You've been warned.

I was over in the old neighborhood last night helping former neighbors with their computer. And I have to say that after a year, I fully feel like a stranger in that area. I don't really have any feel for the area anymore. I mean I still enjoy hanging with the friends who still live over there, but I don't like going in that neighborhood anymore. It's not who I am anymore. It would be like me driving around the apartment that the first wife and I lived in--there's just nothing there. I guess the good thing is, that there's no impending sense of dread that I'll run in to the ex-wife anymore. I just don't care either way at this point. My last tie to her was actually paid off this week and now we are just two separate people living our separate lives. Moving on feels f**king fantastic, if I'm being honest.

I'm sitting here at lunch and I apparently was snapped by a co-working. A budding shutterbug with a good eye. The pic just made me smile.

I like smiling. I swear happiness, true happiness is the drug. And people who don't have it look for anything to be able to replace that feeling.

"Writer hard at work!" by Curtis Nagy (c)2014 .

And the Team Zissou makes me even more smiley.

Life is good my friends. More specifically, I'm good with my life.

And that's certainly a reason to skip. You know you can't skip angry. Try it. Try to be pissed off or angry and then skip. There is something about skipping that makes the endorphins contort your face in to a weird smile. Sometimes it's good to skip ahead :-)

Peace Out
-A.T.

5.06.2014

So...Wait...Where's The SD Card?

This is what a box of joy looks like. I know that it may look like a box from Amazon with a camera...and a case...and an extra battery...and film, but I can assure you with absolutely no room for doubt that it is a box of pure joy.

But Todd, what is it--I mean, what is it really?

It's the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90. It's (in my humble opinion) the flag ship of the instant camera revival. There are plenty of technical reviews out there so I'm not really going to dive in to that. Why not, Todd? Well, to be completely honest-I got this thing for one reason and one reason only: I wanted to reconnect to the physical magic of taking a picture.  The uncertainty of not knowing if you actually got the shot you saw in the viewfinder until you actually see the picture develop.

That's right develop. As in print. As in a physical photograph. That you can touch. And pass around. And you can't crop it. Or change the lighting in post-production.

Here's what the box looked like about 7 minutes after the above shot was taken:
Yuppers. By this point the camera was unboxed, battery and film cartridge (yes--film! haven't you been paying attention ?!?) installed, and the camera placed in the case I bought for it (which, I have to admit, is growing on me more every day).

This shot shows you about how big the camera is. It's not huge. The prints that come out are slightly smaller than an iPod touch 4th Gen. And that's ok.


I'm not going to lie..in addition to all of the other bad-assery that this particular model has, the first reason I even entertained this model was its look. It's got that retro/vintage camera vibe. In fact the full name of the camera is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic.  And it really is. It's the old school charm of the instant camera brought in to this generation.

And between you and me, this thing has me absolutely mind-blowingly giddy. If I hadn't made a promise to Jack, I'd say with no reservations that I was "giddy as ****," but you know...I think you get the point.

The above shot is my artsy attempt at capturing everything that came in the box of joy (now I know why Amazon puts a smiley face on their boxes). The irony is, I really wanted to take the above shot with my mini90, but I only ordered one...so...you know.

I'm going to Put In Bay this weekend and I cannot wait to take pix.

The big question I get is 'Why on earth did you want to go back to an instant camera?' (or as my dad says, "well, of course it's cool. It was cool 30 years ago!"  Yes. Yes it was).

So...Why?  I was looking at all of my photo gear...cameras...lenses...periphery equipment...and I've got a shitton of it. Probably several thousands of dollars worth (nothing like a pro-photographer, but definitely more than your average consumer shutterbug).

And in looking at that, I realized that there were two and only two things that brought me pure joy with all of that gear.

  • Taking the shot
  • Holding the finished picture
When I'm taking the shot...whether it's that perfect engagement shot...or the shot where the senior finally opens up and I get a real smile...or the trees are blowing just right...whatever it is, there is a moment where there is such pure joy at the endless possibility of what the final shot will wind up looking like. 

And extrapolating that, when I'm actually holding the final print. A photograph. In my hands. That's it. That's the final destination. And on those rare moments when that joy of taking the shot perfectly aligns with the print in my hand--it is bliss. I know no other word for it.

So...why an instant camera? Because it takes the two things I love the most about photography and gives them to me. Without all of the bullshit in between. I don't have to second guess myself for hours starting at Photoshop or Lightroom. I don't have to hope that the FTP to the photolabs is going to work. And I don't have to wait until they've printed the pix.

Not one single bit of the stuff that drives me mad about photography. All gone. 
Take the shot. (Watch it develop) Hold the finished picture.


And there's a forgotten piece that I remembered after showing this to friends. And it's one that's echoed in another review I read for this camera, but the joy of actually sharing the picture with someone is something I had completely forgotten. Being huddled around the blank print and watching it magically darken and color in all the right places.  That excitement. That elation when the final print reveals itself. And of course every single person has to pick it up and shake it. It's a must.

I've given away as many of the little prints as I've kept. And that's really part of it, isn't it?

I know I've posted the above shot before. But if you see on the camera, you will see the first and (hopefully) last selfie I intend to take with this camera. That's not really the point. The point is to take pictures of others...of events...of times and places to be remembered. And to share.

But more importantly, the instant camera does something else. It doesn't let you overthink the situation.

There are no fancy settings...no focus...no real reason to ape around on the camera.  It's designed to be a part of whatever you're experiencing, not to be a distraction.  It's been 6 days since that box of joy arrived on my door, and I have to say that it still makes me smile.

Or say cheese, if you will.

-A.T.


5.05.2014

Crave Case

I'm going to try something a little weird here. An experiment, if you will. Now...to be fair, and in the interest of full disclosure--I do enjoy feedback and acknowledgement. It's this weird thing that when I create something, I tend to want feedback, good or bad (but mostly good, if that's cool).

I have said off and on that I am falling out of favor with Facebook. It's no longer fitting my life the way it once did and is becoming more of a distraction.

I'm going to wind up leaving it, I think. Or at the very least if I find myself unable to completely abandon it (for reasons listed in one of my other soap-box derbies), then I will be cutting my time on it way down. I have already taken it off of the iPad (do I really need to be able to get to it on every device I own??).

And now here's the fun part--the mental challenge, to me, if you will. I'm going to actually do my best to not log in to FB all week. I'm not going to post about it (because it was recently pointed out to me how absurd that actually is).  And this may be the last time I blog about it...unless I post a follow up at the end of the week to say what my next phase in the great social experiment actually is.  

So..I won't be posting my 'I just wrote something I think is groovy--go read it and tell me you agree with me' kind of post anymore. I leave it up to you to actually check back here every so often to see how life is going in my end of the world.

If you want to email me, the following is my email address. I've added spaces and you'll need to actually convert the number back:
filmdude seventy-one at me dot com

I'm just increasingly finding myself more disenchanted with the whole thing so I really need to just take a break from it this week...this month...this summer and see where my head is at.  

And with that, I wish you a happy Monday. A day filled with dread for most. But for me a fresh start to the week. A crazy (I'm sure) week that will end with me stepping way the heck out of my comfort zone and partying/hanging out with friends at Put-In-Bay.

Have an awesomesauce day my friends!

-Todd

(I know I normally sign it -A.T., but I felt like going with Todd this morning. A.T. will return soon--probably at lunch, to be honest).

5.03.2014

In An Instant

I'm coming to the conclusion that I'm a relatively simple person. It doesn't take much to make me happy. Honestly. I don't need a house full of tech (although I enjoy it, I certainly don't need it).

And things that take me back to my childhood are, as of late, tugging at me. A month or so ago I picked up a Nintendo 2DS little handheld game. Not because I want to spend hours in front of the TV, but because I may want to pick it up and play a little Super Mario (which I'm finding I still suck at) or Tetris for a 20 minutes.

Next weekend I'm going up to Put In Bay with friends. I've never been. I hear it's a blast. I hear their stories from years past and the fun they've had. And I'm ready to step out of my comfort zone and have that kind of fun.

To that end, I decided that I didn't want to look at the whole trip through the view finder. I decided to pick up an instant camera.

You heard me. An Instant Camera.

Believe it or not, Polaroid still makes an instant camera. I looked at it and decided it was shit. I didn't like the looks of it. I didn't like the fact that it looked like a toy.  It would have been perfect, though. I'm sure I still have my Polaroid Sun camera over at my parents house somewhere. Talk about a trip back in time. I think I first got that back in 7th or 8th grade. And it was a big deal because you didn't always have film. And you had to save the 10 shots that were in the cartridge for the really important things.

It it was great because you didn't have to send the film in to get developed. This was long before the days of Cord Camera's 55min Developing and of course digital cameras. Cell Phones were a few years away and they were wired to the car or in big carry-on size bags.

So...I did some more digging and found that Fuji had exactly what I wanted. I had been looking at their X10 as a point and shoot to end all point and shoots for me. I'm honestly considering paring my photog gear way back and just shooting things for me. But that's a post for another time.

Erm..yeah. Back to to the Fuji. I did some more digging and found what I was looking for both aesthetically and functionally. The camera had that retro vibe that I'd been wanting. And it did some really cool shit for an instant camera (timer, double exposure, macro mode, kid/action mode, Bulb mode (for up to 10 seconds))....in short, it was perfect.

I got on to Amazon and ordered it (MicroCenter didn't carry this model) and got the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic. Yeah, it's a mouthful to say, but it's oh-so-choice!


I'll dive in to more of a 'this is what I love don't love about the camera' kind of post later. For now I want to shift back to that whole Instant Camera kind of thing.

It fascinates me that in this digital age of instant gratification that people still call these the instant cameras. They're not. Your cell phone...your digital point and shoot...your digital SLR--THOSE are instant cameras.

And that got me thinking. It's not the camera that's instant. It's the print. It's an Instant Camera because it develops the photograph right after you shoot it. Which is funny, actually. Because even that itself is not 'instant.' You still have to wait for the chemicals to do their little dance on the photo paper. 

I found myself giddy with anticipation at the first shot. In an instant (pun completely intended), it all came back to me. The loading of the film cartridge. The moment when the camera ejects the blank cartridge cover letting you know 2 things: The camera is ready to go..and DON'T open the back of the camera up until you go through all 10 shots in the cartridge. 

You know what was even cooler as I went around with this yesterday (both at work and at play Uptown last night)? Every single person who saw a picture taken had that same awesome smile when the picture came out of the camera. Crowding around as the print developed. Invariably someone would pick it up and start shaking it like we all did. It was great!! I could tell that it not only took me back, but everyone who was exposed to it (again pun intended) had that same look of joy.  And THAT made it worth it to me. Even more than I already thought it was.

Here's the shot of the first shot:

If you look, on the camera is a print. Yes....this is the first (and likely ONLY selfie) that I will take with this camera. I like the anachronistic undertones of this shot. I call it 'Digital Irony.' At least I do now. I just made that shit up.

Here's what I don't plan on doing.  I don't plan on taking a digital shot of every instant photo I shoot. That's just too much work and SO not the point. I have taken some pix of the shots I took yesterday, but more for my review of the camera and to show my peeps on Facebook how fun this thing is. The point is to not take pix of pix. The point is to live in the moment...take the shot....see what develops and move on.

And really--isn't that like life? Live in the moment...take the shot...see what develops....and move on until the next time you feel like taking the shot. 


Peace Out
-A.T.

The 10th Annual Typewriter Meetup

I'm tired. I'm not going to lie. My body is doing that thing where, after a short period (48-72hours) of intense emotions and pe...