[The Laughing So Hard It’s Crying Emoji]

I used to read a lot of articles from Inc magazine about the morning rituals of the most successful entrepreneurs.  Sounds kinda… stupid, right?  Well, Inc would churn out some kind of short article on the subject every day and I’d be drawn to it like some kind of Millenial Moth (obligatory “Great band name”) to a “Which F*R*I*E*N*D are you?” quiz (my answer might surprise you). Basically it was the same shit in every article: wake up early, work out, meditate, write in a “gratitude journal”, get your ass to work.  And I really do try to do all of those things besides meditate because I feel shitty if I don’t. I journal, but I’ve never really done it with any specific theme, be it gratitude or anything for that matter.  But one thing I like to do is write notes. A fuck ton of notes.  My chosen notes app is like one milk gallon jug of old urine away from being an episode of Hoarders.  I mean, this POST is essentially another note to myself since nobody’s going to read it. This is the kind of shit I write about on a daily basis, but I should really start doing it here since I paid for the domain.

I get distracted really easily, I forgot what I was saying.  Okay, so one ongoing note I have is “Things that bring me to tears of joy”.  I like to keep track of these things because maybe one day I’ll write about them on an imaginary blog, or talk about them in an imaginary podcast.  The latest entry into that list is this:

This is beautiful on a lot of levels.  I get depressed about all the bad things in the world.  Like, too depressed.  Like some next level depression.  Like actively, physically hopeless.  I think the other side of that coin is that I’m comically easily-amused, and something as funny and cool as this can go a long fucking way sometimes.

Here’s a photo I took at the fair today. I’m trying to get back into taking photos, so I’m forcing myself to take a camera with me everywhere I go.  It’s not like riding a bike, it’s some real Flowers for Algernon shit, actually.  Taking good photos is hard, and I don’t know how long it’ll take me to get that back.

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Old Vince would have never cut the lion off at the foot.

Possibly while hiiiiigh

The other night I broke off a good piece of one of my teeth while scarfing some fun sized Hershey’s bars I bought on clearance at Toys R Us.  Nothing FUN about that shit, by the way.  Normally I chew very cautiously because I know I’ve got some weak-ass teeth.  But I was high.  The greatest part was I left a note for myself to read the following morning.

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Earlier that evening, I ran into a friend from middle school.  He’s really successful, has a big house, drives a nice car, he married his high school sweetheart, and he was giving my other friend advice on where to travel in Europe.  He was telling me about his work and we somehow got into the subject of saving for retirement.

Him: At your age you should really take everything in that rollover 401k and put it into a Roth IRA.
Me: Yeah, I meant to do that like a year ago but I’m just super lazy.  I’ve been saving a lot though, just not contributing to anything meaningful.
Him: You’re probably getting, what, 0.75% interest? Yeah, the worst thing you can do with your money is put it in a savings account. Wait, unless you’re saving for real estate.  Are you?
*me thinking* The toilet in my apartment leaks whenever you have the water running so I’ve been peeing into the sink for like a week now.
Me: Oh I’ve totally thought about real estate.

I mean, this was mere hours before I broke one of my teeth off on some Toys R Us clearance candy bars. So I guess you could say there’s, like, a big gap in maturity there.

Weak and alone and annoying

Today I broke caffeine edge. I managed to go five months without caffeine. Which was great. But now it’s 2:20 and I can’t sleep. Which is kind of bullshit because caffeine is only supposed to have a half-life of seven hours. But I had iced tea at like 3pm.

I also broke actual edge the other day (which I wouldn’t say is as important). I was trying to give up alcohol for life, but I majorly fucked up at work and I was just really disappointed in myself, so I went and had some beers and pizza. I wrote a TIFU about it on reddit which was getting some steady feedback until they pulled it for being too boring. Puts things into perspective knowing my biggest professional fuck up probably ever is actually super boring by that forum’s standards. Also, when I was walking into Brewbakers there was a grown man sobbing big fat silent tears into his friend’s chest as his friend consoled him saying “I know, I know.” That put my problems into perspective as well. ALSO… America is a fucking nightmare right now so. Yeah.

But back to meeeee and why I’m blogging at 2am Sunday. Holy shit. 2am Sunday! I need to write an entry specifically about the song “2am Sunday”

So I’m all sad and lonely and mopey and I somehow went down this rabbit hole of trying to fall asleep to different albums. I wound up listening to Fabulous Muscles by Xiu Xiu for the first time in years. I used to identify “Clowne Towne” as my favorite song of all time. It still resonates with me, and still touches on my feelings of lonely lonely Loneliness. My phone’s gonna just go ahead and auto capitalize Loneliness and I’ma let it.

I try to find happiness in different things. I’ve been taking piano lessons for the past several months. I’ve been reading more. I’ve been wearing less and going out more fuuuuuuucking kidding about that one. If anything it’s the opposite. I’ve been wearing Russell sweat pants and staying in always always always. That musical rabbit hole reminded me of how I used music to escape when I was a teenager. And how I made music to escape when I was in my late teens and early 20s. And now I… Don’t even know. I find tons of joy in everyday things. And then a really deep sadness creeps in when I’m all outta things. I think that’s partially why I paid $36 bucks tonight to get flimvisalia back. I want to blog again. This time it’s just going to be an embarrassing series of me dumping my purse on the couch instead of me trying to write about fucking… Shooting film once in a blue moon and struggling to think of interesting content.

It’s good. It’s going to be good. Probably my socks are wet I don’t know what I’m saying. c0wkrzhvqaagp9r

 

Planet Earth is Blue

So the death of David Bowie has been swirling around in my thoughts for a couple days now. I know a lot of us cried about it, and God knows I’m a crier, but the tears just aren’t comin’. I got kind of close singing/screaming at the top of my lungs along with “Life on Mars” in my car today. I don’t know. It honestly feels like a friend or family member dying. I literally want to call up people I haven’t spoken with in years like “how are you holding up? You okay? I know, I miss him too.”

My dad was always blasting best-of Bowie compilations in the house when I was growing up. Then in high school I dated a girl who was obsessed with Bowie. I would use her love for Bowie as a way to measure how much people I met in college actually liked Bowie. “On a scale of 1-to-Geneva… You’re all negative sixes! Complete Bowie poseurs!  Beat it!”

I don’t know what else to say.

Rest in power, Bowie.

D’oh Jesus

It’s almost two in the morning. I can’t sleep. I’m not the least bit sleepy. So I went onto Craigslist to see if anybody was selling some oddball film cameras (somebody is! I’d link to it but Craigslist links expire, y’know) and I saw some people trying to sell used digital cameras at a profit. It really annoyed me. (I’m typing this on my phone wit my tums).

I haven’t done any quality trolling in a while, so I decided to try and troll some of these no-good swindlers by creating my own post about how terrible the asking prices on these cameras are. I used to do this A LOT a few years ago. It would make people (read: dishonest sellers) really mad. But people would email me and thank me. Not joking.

When I sold my cherished 40gb 4th generation on Craigslist, it was to a Mexican man who wanted a nice gift for his preteen daughter. This was well after iPods exploded in popularity and advanced by leaps and bounds into smaller sizes, with touch screens and flash storage. I sold it for fifty bucks. Which is less than what it was typically fetching on eBay at the time. I gave him cords and headphones and every case I ever bought for it. It was some circle of life stuff. It made me genuinely happy. In fact, for years I kept the original docking station that came with the iPod (side note! Remember when iPods came with stuff!) and whenever I’d see it in my closet I’d think “ah man! I forgot to give this to that guy! Can I track him down?” It was like that scene from Schindler’s List where he was like “oh snap I coulda saved Hella more Jews if I’d sold my ring and whatnot. My bad, fam.”

Okay I’m not only deliberately misquoting Oskar Schindler, but I’m definitely a bad person for comparing myself to him. And I’m a suuuuuper bad person for deliberately linking you to an unrelated scene from Schindler’s List.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, when I think of somebody being taken advantage of on Craigslist, I think of that sweet Mexican man. I’m happy he saw my ad and not some other jerk’s. Any other doofus would have been like “This cost 450 bucks after tax when I got it (around the time John Kerry got swiftboated)  I’m asking for $300 or I’ll trade for an iPhone 3G. Totally fair.”

I’d link you to the Craigslist posts, but. First of all, nobody is reading this. And secondofly, like I said, Craigslist ads expire. Enjoy a screen shot, I used an actual clickity clackity computer to grab it for yas.

troll

 

And just like my OKCupid profile, if you find the hidden Arrested Development quote in this post I’ll buy you lunch.

Also, I just remembered this.

Landscape Photos in Instagram! Oh What a Day!

Yesterday, Instagram introduced the ability to post full-sized landscape photos. It’s a feature everybody who is too lazy to download even the most rudimentary photo editing app onto their phone has been clamoring for… I guess! With this utility baked directly into the app, people who post a lot of unsightly, non-cropped landscape photos (like this jerk!) can save valuable seconds posting to The Gram!

When I bought my first Android phone in 2012, the first thing I downloaded was Instagram. Coming from the terrible Windows Phone eco-system, I never had access to the best or trendiest apps. The closest thing in Windows Marketplace was a broken, off-brand app called Instacam. I’m getting away from the point, but the Windows Marketplace felt like the flea mart in Tulare where you’d find bootleg Power Rangers shirts featuring purple and orange rangers back in the day. While Angry Birds was becoming the best-selling video game of all-time on iOS and Android, Windows Phone users were stuck with Angry at the Birds. Flea market status! Every Windows Phone should come with a churro and a Chelada Bud Light.

But I digress.

As an avid photographer, I was excited to finally be on Instagram. Having made my way onto this most rabidly popular social network, I wanted to immerse myself in it’s culture, namely by embracing the square photo format. I was a purist, and for a long time I posted only square photos as Instagram intended. I even went so far as to change the dimension settings on my smartphone’s camera to be pre-cropped to square format so I could compose masterpieces tailor-made for Instagram.

Somewhere along the line, things changed for me. Slowly but surely, orientation-preserved photos started creeping onto my immaculate feed. As of writing this, I almost exclusively post landscape and (Lord forgive me) portrait photos on both flimvisalia and my personal Instagram page. Now that Instagram has added landscape mode, I should be thrilled, right?

The square-format-only gimmick defined Instagram. It defined it every bit as much as its filters and double-tap-to-like features did. Square-only was very distinguishing. What does a person’s feed look like when they get lazy and post portrait or landscape photos with the dreaded black bars around the sides? It looks like a complete eyesore. It’s only marginally better if that person has the sense to use an app to add white bars instead. Instagram’s developers are completely aware of this, since the thumbnail in a person’s feed remains square to preserve uniformity even if the photo was added in landscape mode.

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The two most recent photos in Lou Noble’s feed are actually landscape, but the thumbnails are square. Users can post landscape photos to their heart’s content, and their feeds can stay neat and tidy now!

I’ll go ahead and be a total contrarian: Now that Instagram has added the landscape-friendly feature, I’m going to start posting more legitimate square photos. One of my favorite cameras on the planet is my TLR, which shoots 6×6 cm photos. I’ve taken some of my favorite photos of all-time with it, and to honor Instagram’s roots, I’m going to start posting some of my better exposures from that camera soon.

Let's start with another one of my all-time favorite selfies.

Let’s start with another one of my all-time favorite selfies.

While I’m sitting shiva for a design limitation enough people complained about to warrant a change… I’d also like to pat myself on the back for avoiding the temptation to use The Most Obvious Song Lyric in the World in defense of the square format.

In Ur Drems

Dreaming of your teeth falling out is fairly common.  According to my in-depth research, it means you’re self-conscious about your appearance.  Or you’re worried about your health.  Or some other stuff depending on which article on the first page of Google you skim upon waking up from one of these nightmares.  Personally, I have some jacked up, broken teeth, so these dreams hit a little closer to home than ones where I’m falling, showing up to school naked, or being stung to death by bees (…you guys have that dream too sometimes, don’t you? No? Just me?).

Earlier this week I had one of the most vivid “teeth falling out” dreams I’ve ever had.  Being self-conscious about my teeth often leads to feelings of being suicidal. The thought process there is “I don’t have insurance, and if I can’t chew pizza, that’s it for me.  I’m out.”  So, obviously I’m being facetious.  In the dream though, I had severe depression and felt truly helpless, as oppose to low-level, pizza-centric-Millenial helpless.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t wake up screaming, but the very end of the dream did have somebody screaming in agony.  The troubling part is I don’t know if it was Toothless Vince or some other nameless, faceless presence in my dream.

To me, something that’s as hilarious as it is pathetic (two closely related qualities in my life) is that the last bad dream I’d had was about a camera.  A few weeks ago, I wrote an entry about being happy with what you have and not wasting money on things you don’t really need.  Well, about two days later I bought a new camera.  (Note to readers, never take anything I say seriously, I guess.)  In my defense, I found a beautiful Nikon 35ti and was able to buy it for about half the typical asking price.  Soon after I ordered it, I had a dream that it showed up malfunctioning. Some people have dreams about loved ones being hurt, a child being born with horrible birth defects (I couldn’t find that scene from The Fly to link to, sorry), or other genuinely traumatic events.  I dream about beautiful cameras not working.

The day I woke up from this ridiculous dream, the camera showed up at my House.  It was beautiful.  Cosmetically, it was flawless.  Ergonomically, it was pretty spiffy.  Walking around town shooting photos with it was a dream.  I would say it was easily the coolest camera I’ve ever used, even if it wasn’t necessarily the most capable.  In my excitement to load it and take it out shooting, I didn’t really pay attention to the annoying grinding sound it had a tendency to make.  I just assumed she was a raging alcoholic!  So what she’s a little loud, we all have our faults!  At the end of the first roll, I finally started to take notice though.  With the camera unloaded, I noticed that the aperture wasn’t opening properly, and that the shutter wasn’t opening and closing as it should have been.  Suddenly that quirky grinding noise hit my ears not unlike the death rattle of a small child…

Okay, I’m being dramatic.  But still, listen to this!

How did I not notice this camera should not have sounded like this?  Was I so blinded by how beautiful and downright fun it was that I honestly didn’t notice it wasn’t actually performing correctly?  What a tit.  I returned it for a full refund.  I’m still out $9 for return shipping and a roll of really nice film (okay, it was Fuji Superia, but it’s the principle, Smokey!).  The lesson here is.. I don’t know.  Don’t trust people even if they have perfect eBay feedback.  No, that can’t be the lesson, because I have perfect eBay feedback.  Anyway, I guess I can go back to dreaming about being stung to death by bees now.

Quick question: The seller described this camera as working without issue… does this guy owe me money for return shipping since he was blatantly lying? What do you think?

I love bands!

I procrastinated all week! All week. Like it’s Friday at 10:30pm as I start this. This week was busy. I started at my new job. I biked around. I ate lots of kale and spinach. I got two jiu jitsu classes in. I accidentally fell asleep watching The Newsroom (not a strong endorsement for that show. It’s like Aaron Sorkin made a sitcom without a laugh track) and slept for 12 hours. I read books. I climbed the mountains and sang the signs that I like to sing. I stole lines from Chappelle’s Show. And now I’m at a concert. Writing this on my phone.
I haven’t been to a concert in forever. And I haven’t brought my DSLR to a show since I saw Zammuto.

I don’t like being that guy at the camera with the camera in everybody’s face. I mean, I do. I totally do. But why record your life to watch later? Now I bring a compact digital if anything. I’ve only ever shot film at a show once. And it was with a gimmicky camera. I’d be too embarrassed to share them here. So instead I’m just going to phone this one in and reflect on how phoning something into my passion project feels. Hopefully I’ll have something better next week.

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Back in Black (and White)

Two years ago, at the same fateful BBQ where I won a gift certificate for a month of free jiu-jitsu lessons, my friend Juan gave me a roll of Tri-X 400.  I was so excited to use it, I rewound my Nikon F100 midway through a roll of Portra so I could give the Tri-X a whirl.  It goes without saying, but all the photographers I looked up to most when I was getting into photography shot black-and-white.  I couldn’t contain my excitement; now was my opportunity to try to capture decisive moments and try to see the world with a renewed sense of wonder! No more post-processing color photos as black-and-white in Lightroom 3, I was about to keep it real on the highest level!

And then when I was done shooting that roll I left it on my bookcase for like a year collecting dust. Aww.

But then a surge of inspiration came over with me!  I practically sprinted to the photography lab over at Mt. Whitney High School for the first time in over a decade to develop my film!  Juan walked me through all the steps… The smell of darkroom chemicals, the feeling of a cold stainless steel developing tank in my hands, the excitement of watching a second hand spin around a darkroom timer between agitations!  I was in heaven.  In that moment I knew I was going to be shooting and developing a lot of black-and-white from then on!

But I never went to Mt. Whitney to get my film back from Juan.  Awwwww.

Flash forward two years and I finally got together with Juan to take that roll of film off his hands.  He was actually cool enough to print a contact sheet for me, so I didn’t even have to wait to scan the film before I was able to see how some of the shots came out.  Maybe it’s some kind of photography mid-life crisis, or maybe I’m just inspired by some local savages, but I have a sudden inexplicable urge to shoot black-and-white again.  Now that I have more experience and way more cameras than I know what to do with, getting used to black-and-white seems like the next logical challenge for myself.  Be ready, homies!  Because once I get those black-and-white chemicals mixed it’s going to be on like Donkey Kong!

So in other words, I should be posting my next batch of black-and-white photos around the time the next President is elected. Awwwwwwwww.

Larry The Cable Guy Chips

Git’r done!

P.S. Sorry for the stupid title, it was either that or “Black and White (Like the Michael Jackson song!)” but then I remembered the song is actually called “Black OR White” so… that would have been extra stupid.  I mean, there’s no law that says I have to have pun blog titles in the first place, but whatever.  I’m a Virgo, I could have obsessed over it way longer than I did.

On an unrelated note, I’d like to get something that’s been bothering me for about 24 years off my chest.  In the famous part of that “Black or White” video where all the people from different races morph into each other, each person is on screen for four or five seconds. But the Mexican dude only gets two seconds!  COUNT IT! How am I the only person who’s ever noticed that!!!

Let’s all talk about that in the comments section!  I do have a comments section, you know.

Nothing Like a Bad Case of GAS!

G.A.S. stands for Gear Acquisition Syndrome.  It’s when photographers (usually middle-aged, usually pony-tailed) spend ten times as much time buying gear than actually going out and making photos.  It’s essentially boys’ love for collecting toys manifesting itself in adulthood.  When my nephew goes to take a bath each night, he needs to take 50 toy cars of all shapes and sizes with him, even though he’s only going to play with a few.  Photographers who have dozens of camera bodies, lenses, flashes, filters, etc. are no different.

For reasons I’ll never understand, every milestone in my time spent as a photographer has triggered a severe case of G.A.S.  When I got my first point-and-shoot, I wanted to upgrade to a DSLR since they produced better technical image quality.  When I got my first DSLR, I wanted nicer lenses because I thought that alone would create better photos.  When I got bored snapping photos of my feet to test how good my various lenses were, I started looking in to shooting film.  Film has proven to be the deepest rabbit hole of them all. Because once you start messing with film gear, you start comparing formats, grain quality, different camera styles, and so on.

Rather than going into detail about the worst cases of G.A.S. I’ve ever had, and the wack cameras I purchased as a result, I’d like to talk about the methods I’ve learned to rid oneself of G.A.S.

  • Remember that new gear won’t make you a better photographer.  It might make you a tiny bit more knowledgeable about the technical aspects of taking photos, and it might teach you something about your preferences for certain types of gear.  Ultimately, you’re the one who needs to hit the streets and make photos to grow as a photographer.
  • For every great shot you see on Flickr attributed to a particular piece of gear, there are lots of mediocre ones, and more still that weren’t good enough to upload.  You might think that a great photo taken with an obscure 40-year-old camera means that camera is legit, but usually it’s posted by somebody who knows what they’re doing and can make a good photo with whatever gear you put in front of them.
  • Appreciate the gear you already have.  From time to time I get these unstoppable urges to browse eBay until all hours of the night looking for a camera just because it looked pretty in somebody’s #whatsinmybag photo on Instagram.  Recently, I got it into my brain that I wanted, no, needed a Nikon FE-2.  One thing I’ve taught myself to do in moments like this is pick up a piece of gear I acquired during a previous bout of G.A.S., some piece of equipment that I told myself at the time “This is the last camera/lens I’m ever going to need!”  Luckily, my all-time favorite camera is a pristine Nikon FE I affectionately refer to as Felina, and shooting with her for one afternoon reminds me of why I really don’t need any other cameras at my hip.

Still, every now and then the temptation to get a new camera hits.  If anybody has any methods for relieving G.A.S. I’d love to hear them.  Also, if anybody recognized the Tommy Lee Jones quote in the title before reading this, kudos.  Kudos.