Photofolio ->

Adobe’s Creative Cloud plan has an optional portfolio site included, which I didn’t know about until tonight. I set up some initial folders based on work I’ve already edited, but I plan to use it much more efficiently in the future. You can find mine here. I could say that its design is temporary and I’ll update it eventually, but I’ve been saying that about my blog for four years. 🙂

I did some e-housekeeping tonight by going through various social media platforms and unfollowing inactive accounts. It makes no difference, but for some reason it feels like I’m organizing something. WordPress was particularly alarming. I only unfollowed blogs which hadn’t been updated in a year or more but that was most of them! The majority were sobriety blogs so, well, you know how that goes. It just emphasizes how rough 2020 was for everyone. I know we’re all tired of hearing people say “THANK GOD 2020 IS OVER IT WAS SO HORRIBLE” but for some people it probably was quite horrible.

Things I Bought This Month

Wow, yesterday was a bad day! I re-read my post from yesterday and I don’t think I was fully lucid because now that I’m back to normal, I recognize how sick I was! It was almost like a dream, and coincidentally when I slept both Thursday night and last night I had very vivid and horrifying nightmares which I don’t have very often. Many psychologists say that dreams are a method your brain uses to process unconscious information you picked up on throughout the day and I don’t explicitly disagree with that; I think dreams do a lot more than just one thing. But in the case of nightmares, I think the voiceless parts of your mind need to scream once in a while.

Want to know something that sucks? Whenever I’m writing these posts I have four or five more posts burst forth from the ether into my mind and I think “oh wow I’ll be set for two weeks with all these ideas!”. But the next time I sit down to write, I draw a blank. “You know, you can write more than one page a day” I hear you all saying. Get out of here with your logic.

I bought a TASCAM Model 12 a couple weeks ago and it finally arrived a few days ago. I paid for next day shipping because it only added a dollar or two onto my monthly fee (financed, baby!) but thanks to the unexpected collapse of our shipping infrastructure last week, that was a waste of money. Anyway, I got the mixer to have a brain to my audio setup. I don’t have all of the cables required yet, and I’m in no rush, but ideally everything will be plugged into the TASCAM and I’ll be able to control the volume and whatnot in one central location. It ends up working for more than just my songwriting because it has Bluetooth connectivity (which I didn’t know when I bought it, so bonus!). I can stream my phone to it and have it come out of my speakers. Time to throw away the Amazon Echo!

Photography is something I’ve always wanted to be good at. Not great, I just want to understand it and be able to capture things as I see them. I’ve been lacking on expanding my photography toolkit… I bought some cheap, almost useless filters and magnifiers last year that I used once. I finally did some research and picked up a 50mm prime lens from Yongnuo. Cheap Chinese knock off crap, right? Nope, I read a lot of reviews (deep reviews, not the first page of Google which we all know are advertisements) and in most cases the Yongnuo 50mm is as good as the official Canon prime lens and in a couple categories it performs better (bokeh and edge distortion). I’ve snapped a phew photos with it so far but nothing to show off. I was feeling under the weather for a few days even before I got the second vaccine dose so I haven’t found the energy to get out and really use it yet but I think next week will be a good week. It’s really starting to warm up here.

Even though I was sick, I managed to fill out my planner yesterday. I’m trying to hit a 30 day streak of filling it out every day. I have been normally using it 4 or 5 days a week but the weekends are really a challenge to stay on top of everything. 2020 was the year I really understood how important a work schedule is to keep me productive! I know it’s not the same for everyone, but if I don’t have to jump out of bed and get dressed right away, I won’t. I’ll sleep ’til noon. Especially if I’m taking an SSRI. Lol. The Full Focus Planner’s goal section has me write in a “reward” for hitting the goal which is difficult for me to come up with because there aren’t a lot of things that … make me happy. Haha. Wow I felt kind of sad writing that but it is true. So for the 30 day streak, I’m not allowing myself to purchase any more music gear until I accomplish it. That’s actually really motivating because I already have my eyes on a few things.

A Rest Day

I received my second dose of COVID vaccine yesterday and this morning I awoke feeling sicker than I have in a long time. Definitely better than actually catching COVID, but I’m taking the day off from trying. I called in to work and threw on some sweatpants, and I’ve got nothing on the agenda except trashy TV shows. I didn’t want to fail my month-long blogging adventure before the month even started, so consider this my post for the day. 😀

The Netflix Burn Pile ep. 1: I Care a Lot

Netflix is a dumpster fire of daft, substance-free wokevision which is at once tragic and illuminating given its beginnings as a ideology-free DVD rental service. I haven’t been able to finish anything produced by Netflix without my eyes rolling out of my head in about three years. Prior to that, I was a collossal alcoholic and would watch anything. Incidentally, judging by the reviews of their original productions, I’d wager that is an apt description of their average audience member.

I Care a Lot is a story about how mean bitches are the best, even when they’re irredeemable shells of human beings. That’s not my interpretation of the film based on subtle yet brilliant writing; the main character explicitly states this repeatedly (three times by my count but I stopped counting). Rosamund Pike plays Marla, a con-artist who owns and operates an elder care service in which a doctor she’s in cahoots with gets a court to place the elderly in Marla’s care and then Marla milks them dry until they die and she has to give whatever is left to their inheritors. It’s an alright plot and when she inevitably goes after the wrong old lady, shit gets real real.

Dianne Wiest’s Jennifer is, by all appearances, a lonely and but very successful elder without a family who falls prey to Marla’s scam. Unfortunately for Marla, she does secretly have a son and her son is, naturally, the leader of a Russian mafia outfit (Peter Dinklage, the only saving grace in this entire grease pit). The two go at each other for custody of Jennifer back and forth and back and forth. I could describe what happens but it’s banal and predictable, and I don’t want to be writing much more on this.

The core issue with this film is that Jennifer never truly suffers. I know that sounds cold and malicious but she’s just a character in a movie, not a real person, so it’s okay. You watch her destroy the lives of society’s most vulnerable class of people, all the while being celebrated by the cinematography, and then she just… well, is a spoiler of a shitty movie still a spoiler? She doesn’t win in the end, anyway.

The identity-politics undertones are all there, as with everything Netflix releases. I’m not a psychopath who is obsessed with the evils of feminism or the queers turning our kids gay, but it’s difficult to ignore in these movies. There’s no subtlety or broader message. Movie after movie is just about white men being evil. It’s boring. Further, if you do truly believe white men are evil, does portraying them as moronic and impotent serve your message? Wouldn’t that lead impressionable young minds to underestimate how dangerous and manipulative men are capable of being?

Blogarch

I know some folks do “Blogtober” and such things but you know me, I’m completely original and nobody in the world who has ever or will ever exist is anything like me so I’m doing a month-long blogging spree in March. I’m not going to wait until the 1st to start because I’ve found that puts you into a habit of using specific days as an excuse to not do something yet (which becomes ever inevitably). So this is day 1 of however many days are in March plus however many days are left in February. This would be easy to figure out but I’m not gonna do it because, as I said, I’m very unique.

There are a lot of topics I want to cover but have been putting off because they’d take a lot of preparation and energy to write about while simultaneously not hating what I wrote. Maybe this will give me an opportunity to just touch on them without going full doctoral thesis. I’d really love to write more about film and music but I am plagued by the feeling that art critics are completely worthless. Perhaps one could say this wasn’t always the case but it is certainly the case in 2021 when we can be fairly certain all critics are compensated for their positive reviews in some way.

I’m a big fan of horror movies. From the critically acclaimed (bleh) to the horrible no-budget indie variety (double bleh), I’ll watch them all (and probably have). So last night I couldn’t find anything to watch which I haven’t already seen twice or wasn’t interested in seeing more than once. I took to Google, as one does, and queried the top horror films of 2020. I knew in my heart of hearts that this was a bad idea and clicking the link to Rotten Tomatoes was a worse one. But I did it, like a kid who can’t resist putting his hand in the campfire.

Imagine my surprise (shock would actually be more appropriate) when I saw that 100% of critics said that “His House” was the best horror movie of 2020. This quickly turned to triggered outrage from my more conservative subpersonalities but I quashed them with a dose of “well, maybe this isn’t a case of a bunch of rich white yuppies saying something is amazing because the crew is from Africa”. I can’t really fathom any other reason, though. I’d watched this movie months prior and immediately upon finishing filed it away in that part of my memory where experiences queue to be deleted. It’s not a bad movie by any means, it’s just completely forgettable.

His House is a pretty stereotypical haunted house story with the exceptions of it being about an African ghost (which I can’t remember the term for) and that the ghost doesn’t do a damn thing throughout the entire film. The reviews were full of words like “terrified” and “shocking” but I must be completely dead inside because I was entirely without emotion throughout the entire experience. I’m going to watch it again tonight through a much more biased and critical lens and maybe I’ll be able to pick up on what these almost certainly shytty reviewers saw. Here’s hoping.

I’ll see you tomorrow, loyal follower. Winks and kisses.

Galentine’s Day

This morning I decided to write an essay on the portrayal of Satan in contemporary art but after realizing it would actually take a fair bit of research to back up what I wanted to say, I put it on the ever growing stack of drafts that WordPress so kindly keeps for me.

If you’d known me from Facebook circa 2017 or prior, you’d be forgiven for thinking I’m about to launch into a triggered tirade about Hallmark holidays and faux-Liberal marketing campaigns disguised as progressive virtue signaling. That’s not me anymore, though. I still open my Facebook feed every couple weeks or so. I logged in today expecting to see the remaining friends I’ve kept from my alcoholic days launching into “sarcastic” (read: defensive) tirades about Valentines day; I wasn’t disappointed.

Galentine’s Day is a hot topic this week because it has to do with women and God knows we can’t possibly let women have something that men can’t be a part of. If you’ve read my blog at all over the last few years, you’ll know I’m not at all in favor of modern feminism or progressive politics, but if those people weren’t occasionally correct, nobody would listen to them. You have to call a spade a spade. Single internet incels can’t abide women having a club that they aren’t allowed into because that’s one less place they can sexually harass them.

Instead of bitching about how fake Valentine’s Day is or about how the word Galentine shatters your perception of reality, try buying someone some flowers. It feels great.

“Focus”

Spirituality

“Focus” they say. “Be mindful.”

We have a useless definition of mindfulness in the west; we know what Blondie McYogapants means when she says mindfulness (as much as anybody can, at least) but what it means is “look as if your life is together on Instagram even though you are in a state of constant existential terror”.

Western culture has a great talent in taking spiritual systems, identifying the parts which are superficial, and throwing away everything else. Many of those who meditate do so only so that they can tell people they meditate. Yoga is a means by which young single mothers futilely try to regain their taut high school tummy, not a method for establishing connections between ones mind and body.

Christians will ceaselessly tell you how great Jesus is for making the sun rise and blessing their wretched, impoverished lives with a few milligrams of joy every now and then, but they never say anything meaningful. They don’t even know what the words in their apocrypha are trying to tell them. One of the reasons it’s so easy to make fun of Christianity is that its practitioners take its most vain teachings, as they are the easiest to follow, while often living far worse lives than their critics. “My child got the flu so I prayed and they recovered”. Because people who don’t pray die of the flu.

Atheism

I haven’t been an atheist for some time. Atheism is even more embarrassing than pop-Christianity. For one to think that the words oldest value systems and philosophical models have nothing to offer them is to be, well, very stupid. However one can hardly blame them as the Christianity we were shown growing up was stripped of meaning and instead realigned with “the times” so that it could be explained rationally as if any religion could stand up to rational analysis. It’s okay that we don’t understand how mystical experiences work. There’s no need to feverously clack out Google queries in order to prove that God does or does not exist. Many people, even atheists, know there’s something in our lives that controls us much more than our ego does. If you don’t yet know that, it’s a good place to start. (Psychologists have known this at least since the 60’s so this is hardly a revolutionary idea; Piaget, Jung, et al).

Gnosis

I snapped back into reality this week after being in an SSRI induced dream state for the past several months. I’d lost all ambition to do anything and it was getting worse as time went on. I know that SSRIs and I are a bad combo but the addict in me leaps for the easy fix every time a new psychiatrist brings it up. “Well, all SSRIs interact with you in different ways so try this one, I think it’ll fix you”. I’ve heard that story so many times it’s baffling that I still fall for it, but as I said it’s the addict in me. I stopped taking that medication on Tuesday and already feel a thousand percent more intelligent and ambitious. It’ll probably lead me to write more often. It’s difficult to write when one doesn’t care about waking up in the morning.