Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Cyclic Redundancy

 “Leisure without study is death—a tomb for the living person.”

Seneca just answered my question.

Bring on Tacitus, who rolled in about 55-117, and was an “intimate” friend of Pliny the Younger (there’s a beer joke there, but I haven’t the energy).  More histories, which are painful to read because there is little to ancient histories other than war and death.  Herodotus was at least somewhat entertaining because the histories were word of mouth by various civilizations, so the absurdity of human perception was still in tact.  
 Thucydides was exactly the opposite: the fighting and death and destruction of the Peloponnesian War; a count so dry that it literally ended with a “. . .” before the war was even close to ending, like he suddenly died of boredom in the writing of it.  Though his exclusion of the “gods’” intervention was refreshing, I kind of enjoy reading about the absurd, romantic accounts of the gods helping, or of mortals achieving higher spiritual status, as completely insane and ignorant as that is.  Ancient histories, in general, are difficult for me to read because they celebrate an aspect of this species that absolutely turns my stomach and makes me not want to be a part of any of this shit, especially when you look around the current choking planet and see that the war mongering is still alive and well, and just as heartless and brutal.

 “Rome at the beginning was ruled by kings.  Freedom and the consulship were established by Lucius Brutus.  Dictatorships were held for a temporary crisis.” — line one;  he then goes on for pages that read like a brief overview of who died and survived to get us here, though I am not quite sure where “here” is yet.

“On the day of the funeral soldiers stood round as a guard [to protect the body from being burned], amid much ridicule from those who had either themselves witnessed or who had heard from their parents of the famous day when slavery was still something fresh, and freedom had been resought in vain, when the slaying of C├Žsar, the Dictator, seemed to some the vilest, to others, the most glorious of deeds.”  That’s referencing Augustus; and he was one of the better ones. “…only in a few instances had he resorted to force, simply to secure general tranquility.”  That is, of course, severely relative to the perception and life experience of the individual writing the account, which is another reason why histories are so painful to read.
 “History is written by the victors,” a quote attributed to Churchill, and, slightly reworded, many others, including Orwell and Napoleon, but as a concept has been enforced since the dawn of writing and free thinking, primarily by the church and tyrannical governments (which is redundant).  Throughout an embarrassing chunk of human civilization, the only way to get important texts to survive was to hide them from these mentioned evils.  The mention of slavery also brings up another very important point relevant today, two thousand years later:  We’re all slaves; since people wandered out of their villages and amassed in cities, and the ruling class seized control out of what can only be defined as a retardation of human nature (Good people don’t want to rule. Period.), we have all been slaves.  This clusterfuck of a country is a brimming example of that: A “free” country… of slaves.  While we have recently created “laws” that abolish blatant slavery, we are all slaves to the system, and the ruling class will stop at nothing to keep us running on their hamster wheel.  Once again they are dividing us by race, but the only way to survive is to stand together against the system.  Racists are also slaves, to ignorance and the ill-education of a system that breeds them.
Far more ignorant individuals, however, have been turned and saved by compassion and kindness, than by bitching and protesting.  Your protests only make you look like a fool: you are slaves to a system, bitching and moaning about the system you are a slave to, but the system has you completely distracted by what it wants you to complain about so you don’t even remotely understand the actual problem here.  By all means, though, keep crying.  I just wish all of these “safe-space” whiners would stop “marching” on Washington, and finally just burn it the fuck down.  Alright, so…apparently I needed to rant about that a bit.  Fucking Ancients.  I’m only four pages in and I already want to take out the ruling class, and reset men’s minds by fire, knowing full well that it’s all going to circle around again to this misery and bullshit, because we are the most ridiculous and absurd “intelligent” species that has ever existed in the known universe.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Dot Dot Dot

 Strangely enough, I haven't really been hit with anything to write about.  It was wonderful to spread my wings a bit and work with a model again, but I'm not really sure yet how I feel about it.  I say that like I haven't worked with any models in two years, but I have, some amazing models, but something about traveling models is completely different.  Obviously, I wish I could do this every day of my life, but I also don't really want to do it without my family.  She's traveling with her boyfriend, so he was there.  It seemed kind of strange to be there alone, even though working with kids around can be a bit of a nuisance.  That's my life, though.  Why wouldn't I want my family, who I'm doing this with, to be there to do it with me?  

 The first time I ever worked with a traveling model, I took her to this spot, and vividly remember the 3 hour drive home thinking, "what the fuck do I do now?"  I knew then that I couldn't afford to do this, but I kept doing it.  Seven years later, I still can't afford to do it, but I'm still doing it.  My portfolio reflects the simple fact that I can't afford to really do this.  So, what the fuck do I do now?

In regard to not really having anything to write about, even though I clearly had something to write about… part of the problem is that after Kerouac I haven't really picked up another book, so I am somewhat lacking literary inspiration.  I'm not really sure what to do next.  I do have a book on sacred geometry that I started to pick away at, but it's like reading a math textbook.  Maybe I should go back to reading the ancients?  I still have half a library of books that read like choking, but they have to be read...at some point.  Maybe I just need to step back from everything and take a deep breath, but I am too overwhelmed with feeling like I am wasting precious moment of my life.  I just want to keep working.  I'd like to say that I want to keep learning, but I'm not really learning anything.  Everything is the same basic story or concept, but with different words and voices.  

"Stop reading about Zen."

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Basquiatism

I'm still recovering from the Kerouac debacle.

I've been sitting on these photos.  "I can't even see what's good anymore," to quote Bowie's Warhol a la Basquiat.

I am a library of useless information.

"Let's take a nice long vacation."


"That's what I'm gon'do.  I'm gonna go to Maui, open a tequila factory, write poetry, play music again.  Give up this painting shit."

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Kero(q)uac

 I am but one man, being pulled in one thousand and one directions.

I don’t even know how to make decisions anymore.  I’ve spent so long doing what people ask me to do, by way of passive demand, that I have completely forgotten what it is like to weigh pros and cons, and decide what I want.  I kept thinking that if I just kept doing what they asked me to do that I would get some sort of reward at some point, but that doesn’t ever happen, so what do you do?  You just keep going, right?  You just keep waiting… keep thinking… keep trying… keep screaming silently at the stars… keep… keep… there are more important things to keep… less important things to let go of entirely… like dreams and things… keep…

 “My whole wretched life swam before my weary eyes, and I realized no matter what you do it’s bound to be a waste of time in the end so you might as well go mad.” 278

Had I read On the Road first, I would have never read another Kerouac, but I read Dharma Bums first, in which he had a much better grasp on what was important.  On the Road is a chaotic clusterfuck on idiocy and assholery.  Neal Cassidy is not a hero; he’s fucking doucebag trash that this world would be a better place without.  
 He wasn’t living life to the fullest; he was a waste of life who wasted everyone else’s.  I have far less faith in humanity (if that’s even possible) knowing that this book is basically the bum bible.  I’ll refrain from going on, because what’s the fucking point?  No one is going to magically grow half a brain because I pointed out the obvious.

“He no longer cared about anything (as before) but now he also cared about everything in principle, and that is to say, it was all the same to him and he belonged to the world and there was nothing he could do about it.”  287

Oh, by the way, the end of the original scroll was eaten by a dog, so of this 300 page paragraph, divided into 5 books, the entire 5th book was only the last four pages of summing up what was maybe written.  Awesome.

Yeah, so I’m tired.  Sunday we scouted Sandstone Peak for today, where something extraordinary happened…I worked with my first professional traveling model in two years.  It sounds so strange to say that because I have been in so many potential shoot situations in the last two years, but they all fizzled out, generally last minute, and models bitch about flaky photographers.  Today felt a little awkward to me, just because it was new, strange people, but we got some good stuff… I think… they’re uploading, and I’m a little afraid to look at them.  We brew in the morning.  I need to go to bed.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Portrait Conundrum

 Any good portrait photographer will tell you the same thing, or something along the lines of… a good portrait requires a considerable amount of intimacy.  Obviously, not intimacy how society demands to define it, but emotional intimacy, or the ability to fake it.  Faking it involves a model who has experience being vulnerable and open, which is like trying to eat soup with a fork, or being a photographer that can capture the little moments between the “show” that people put on, which is a conditioned “faking it” based on societal expectations that most rarely drop until they get to know you.  The conundrum lies in the getting to know, and becoming comfortable enough to let go of the show, after spending a lifetime defining and refining it based on what you pick up along the way, completely repressing and hiding who you really are.  The primary reason I prefer to shoot nudes, as I have been saying for decades, is that the shedding of social armor demands honesty, and that vulnerable honesty is the only way to really see who people are… on their face; in their eyes; it has nothing to do with their body or nudity or bOObs.
 Another argument that I have made about shooting portraits is that being physically naked is not a requirement; not being afraid of it is the only requirement… good luck getting people to understand that.  If you are afraid to be naked, then you are still holding on to all your fears, and all I can capture is a portrait of someone who is afraid.  If I wanted to shoot societal based fear and delusion I could simply walk down the street with my camera up and hold the shutter button down without even glancing through the viewfinder.  I do not want to capture who you are pretending to be.  I love this species’ potential too much, and seeing so much of it wasted breaks my fucking heart.  So, to truly get deep enough to get a decent portrait, not a cookie cutter portrait, you have to initiate a kind of intimacy that is difficult, unless you are a trained psychologist.
 The best portraits are always of friends and lovers because of the comfort in those relationships.  Most my life I only shot lovers, because, being a shy backward dork, that was the only way I knew how:  fall in love with someone; get them to fall in love with you; initiate a relationship; pull out the camera; repeat and fade.  If I ever got a good portrait of someone, that’s why.  In my evolution, I tried for a brief period to shoot “strangers,” which was necessary to understand why things happen as they do and what was necessary to do this properly.  What I got were horrific photos of people who looked lost and terrified, not because I couldn’t, or didn’t capture them properly, but because they didn’t know me well enough to know what “character” I wanted them to play.  
 Simply telling them to be themselves, which made perfect sense to me, just created more confusion, because they didn't know me well enough to trust me with themselves, if they even remembered who their self really was.  I, ultimately, am not the social butterfly who can mind fuck them out of their game (in a short game scenario. In the long con I was golden), because I also didn't want to pull something out of them that matched up with who I wanted them to be in the moment; I just wanted to capture who they were, on a much deeper level than the aesthetic surface that they existed on (which demands a long con or complete trust and vulnerability that can only be found in a select few, primarily professionals).  As few imagine, I stopped doing this the wrong way a long time ago, and shy away completely from shooting portraits, because I don’t have the time or energy to get the beautiful ones.
 I will basically only shoot friends, ones that I’ve know for more than a couple months, unless it is a body based project that doesn't require genuine emotion. With friends there is a level of comfort that is workable, primarily conversationally.  There is still a necessity to dig a bit deeper into the psyche of the victim (jk), to truly understand who they are and what they’ve been through.  I have always wanted to start a shoot by putting my camera down and asking them to take off their clothes, then talking a little and asking them to put their clothes back on, just to cut through all the bullshit, but I’m still far too shy to accomplish what I’d like to accomplish.  Friends know I’m harmless, and I’m not playing any kind of game to get anything out of them other than the best work I can get.  If anything, I passively approach my work like a shrink.
 Everyone has those friends that they can talk to.  I’m one of those friends, that happens to have a camera in your face.  In my case, a good portrait requires me to be more emotionally available than the average person, especially one with a camera: don’t look at the camera; don’t smile.  Again, as with most things, this makes perfect sense to me, but that doesn't factor in being in a relationship with someone; that’s a whole deeper conundrum: most women, and a lot of men who won’t dare admit to it (because MAN), would much rather you cheated physically than had an “emotional” affair.  While nothing I am doing at this point would constitute an affair, there is a requirement to emotionally connect with people, preferably on a more intimate level of trust and openness. 
Try explaining that to someone who has been emotionally cheated on most their lives.  Try it.  It doesn’t work.  I can’t work without the ability to do that passively and innocently, so I just don’t shoot a lot.  I’ve tried to explain what I’m actually doing, but it doesn't work.  There have been fights about it; many many fights; the aftermaths of which could’ve easily landed me in jail, though I am yet to do anything wrong (well, except maybe that whole second marriage bit [sorry]).  I still have friends ask me to shoot them, but I usually don’t respond, or think of some reason why it won’t work.  I’ve got my wife; her complete beauty, inside and out, and her willingness to shoot is more than I could have ever dreamed of, but at times it feels like I’m writing about how beautiful the world is when I was born, raised, and continue to live, in a cave deep in the arctic; like I’m writing about life on the road, whilst having never left my hometown.  People who don’t understand doing it, will never understand why you have to do it.  People who aren’t creatives have a difficult time understanding creatives, which has been thoroughly documented… by creatives.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, Mutha Fuckaaaa

 Life goes on……. bra.

The accidental brewery anthem of the last year or so, a la my boss/mentor/teacher/friend, which also happened quite accidentally, on a whim, passively asking what the requirements were to be an assistant brewer.  The only real requirement, as it turns out, is heavy lifting… well… and not being retarded…which is borderline for me… on both counts.  We haven’t been brewing a full year yet, but the first beer we made together on his pilot system in his driveway, an oatmeal sour, days after my daughter was born, just went on tap, so I feel like we’ve reached a revolution on this wagon wheel.  
 Regarding the heavy lifting, while I am working with a broken elbow, the weight of kegs has reduced significantly since I began, though in reality they remain about 160 lbs., and I toss them around now like they are 155, easy.  Also, in less than a year, I’ve evolved from knowing nothing about brewing to having books on hops and yeast and grain under my belt, and brewing my very own beer that is a hit amongst most the beer snobs that drift through the bar.  I am now reading up on water chemistry.  The guy who made it through high school without taking chemistry is reading about water chemistry.  It’s like reading Greek, only I can make sense of Greek.  Baby steps.
 I can do most of the tasks in the brewery with only passive hand holding, and this is swiftly becoming an accidental career…that involves drinking a lot of beer, so I definitely can’t complain…though I do…quite a bit… whilst smiling and having a pint.  This last week we brewed our 40th 5+BBL batch together.  All the taps (18) but cider and cold brew coffee (that we make) are beer that we made, and there would be one more if we could legally make cider.  Our humble four fermentation tanks are perpetually full, with one more FV and BT on the way that will be dedicated to straight to kegging operation.
 We are rolling like the high krausen pouring out of the bucket under the exhaust hose of our filled to the brim and over pitched tanks.  For those of you who have no idea what a BBL is, and fail to google properly, just for perspective: a BBL is 31 gallons (two kegs); We have brewed 338 BBL; the calculator on my phone tells me that this is 10,478 gallons of beer; 8 pints in a gallon… I’m going to let you do that math and wait a moment for you to wrap your head around it.
 I realize that production breweries put our numbers to shame, but for two guys in the back room of a bar who don’t distribute, that’s pretty impressive.  We often step back from work and try to take it all in.  I’m not really sure if this is where I’m going to be for the rest of my life, but there are certainly worse places to be.  My dreams are still butting heads with my reality, and I am still trying to find a happy medium.  For now, I’m fine… picking away at my dreams on days off.  We are fine.
 Summer is over, so a bunch of the employees that helped open this place are off to live their own lives, leaving the rest of us behind to question ours.  We all just keep going.  Idyll wildlife how I envisioned it, but it doesn’t happen like that, does it?  When you really get to know these kids, standing back and looking at all this makes you appreciate how special all of this really is.  I wonder if they appreciate that they could very well be something significant, or if they’re just wasting their lives away like most.  At a glance, I haven’t accomplished anything significant with my life, but I have accomplished a lot, and that’s because I’ve spent every day of my life accomplishing something. 
I can’t even go to a goodbye party for a friend without shooting it.  I can’t simply sit down and have a beer with my friends.  I have to be potentially accomplishing something.  I suppose that’s not a good thing, but I always saw it as an asset.  Time will tell.  All the photos I take will either eventually be deleted off a hard drive by grand kids, or become a part of something greater, whether these kids realize it now or not.  I do know that the kids I shot when I was a kid, whom were generally annoyed by the fact that I always had a camera in their face, wish now that they had all those photos.  This is my crazy story, and everyone is invited to participate.