Zero Waste & Refocusing

The easiest way to live “longer” is to shatter your routine every once in a while, it certainly makes time pass more slowly. I picked up Zero Waste Life last week. It’s one of those trendy Target books that advertise ideal lifestyles every good Christian white woman wants to live. I’m all about it right now, though. I dive in to new waters so fast my head hits the bottom of the pool and I black out, but I still manage to take one or two new habits away from each one.

I’ve tried cutting back on waste in the past but like anyone who has “tried” anything, I wasn’t fully committed. I’m taking a more measured approach this time, preparing what I need to do, and tracking my progress. In my experience, those are the things I have to do to make something stick around a while longer.

It’s Depressing Though…

My circumstances curb stomp most inspirational ideas I get, unfortunately. I live with two of the worst human beings I’ve ever known (whom I also happen to be related to) so my motivation gets sapped quickly. At 39, I’ve more or less learned to ignore the constant negative feedback of “you’re just going to quit anyway, why bother”, “that’s stupid, you’re not going to change anything” and s on. But living in a home that is in constant disarray and an inch of filth doesn’t make me want to live more minimally or cleanly. For example, when I got out of rehab (almost four years ago!) I was on a lengthy kick where I wanted to “give back” to my family who had to put up with me for so long, so I cleaned the house regularly, took up a lot of maintenance projects, bought gifts, and so on. But they wore me down over about a year. There are only so many times a man can do the dishes only to have his projectile-vomiting alcoholic brother dump the 30 plates he’s had stored under his bed (no joke, I wish I could describe what his room smells like on the rare occasions he opens the door) into the sink right afterward. Added to that was the increasing realization that my family was a big part of the reason I grew up to be the drunk, antisocial, angry loser I was… so fuck those people. 😂

Food Waste

Food waste is the biggest category we’re guilty of. I know we all like to believe we’re not as bad as “most people” but I can say with certainty that I don’t waste much food. My family, on the other hand… My mother cooks huge meals as if she’s still feeding a husband and 3 children, but then she doesn’t eat leftovers and cooks a huge meal again the next day. After only a couple days she complains that nobody is eating the leftovers (which is an interesting pattern to keep up for 40 years) and throws it all away. Shit like this is what is really going to get me down this time, I know that already, so I’ve been doing my best to eat only what’s in the fridge. After only a couple days of doing this I’ve saved quite a bit of money, actually, because everything I’ve eaten has been free.

How to Shop?

Shopping will be difficult in some areas. Meat is often wrapped in plastic and then butcher paper. I’m sure if I asked them to they’d forego the plastic, but I’m not the best at speaking up on the fly. Another challenge for myself, perhaps! Even then, you can’t recycle butcher paper because it’s had food on it as far as I know. That’s one of the items that makes “Zero Waste” more of an ideal to reach toward than something we ever achieve. There’s always going to be some trash in your life, the goal is to make it as little as possible.

Benefits Already

I’ve already had a few positives come from this. I haven’t had soda or junk food in a few days because, of course, it all comes in plastic. I’ve been taking a Rubbermaid container of trail mix and sliced apples to work every day for my morning snack (like a preschooler, lol) and I switched back to coffee from my daily Heart-Attack-Size(TM) Monster. I’ve been feeling pretty gross lately from a breakfast of caffeinated poison and candy bars so if this is the only thing that sticks long term, it’ll be worth it.

Online Dating Part… Who Knows at This Point?

Boy, what a mess online dating has been this year. I decided from the outset that I was going to give it a “real go” for once and not just bail the first time I met some resistance. I’ve been ghosted and insulted more times in the past three months than I have been in the last decade but… well… at least I can say I have had some experiences! It also hasn’t really affected me the way it used to. I am confident in both my physical appearance and personality now, so when someone tries to ridicule or mock me I know that they’re probably in a pretty bad place mentally.

First there was “Giselle” the nurse from New Jersey. Things were going pretty well with her, we video chatted a few times and had pretty good conversations. Lots of laughter and very little awkward silence. From the outset she only texted me once a day at the most and I followed suit. It wasn’t difficult, actually. The old me, the boozer, would have become obsessed quickly and demanded to know why she wasn’t responding sooner. But now my life is full of things to focus on and it really doesn’t occur to me to text someone unless they text me first.

Unfortunately she stopped replying entirely about three weeks after we began talking and I gave up pretty quickly. I was bummed… she was by far the most attractive woman I’ve talked to in a long time. Hell, I’d go so far as to say she’s the only attractive woman I’ve talked to since my last relationship in 2014.

Next, and finally (sorry if you were expecting a longer string of encounters; trying to get to know someone over the internet is time consuming, especially when they just aren’t that interesting) was “Lori”. She and I went to high school together and she was now a divorced mother of two. This is generally not something I’m interested in on either count. The people I went to high school with are generally drug addicts and alcoholics by now and single mothers are pretty banal. All they’ve done for the past decade is raise children so it’s all they have to talk about. Nevertheless, I was willing to put aside my self-centeredness and go out with a “nice” (read overweight and entirely unattractive) girl for a change.

We did get along well at first. She liked my sense of humor and didn’t care about my past. My past is where most things usually fall apart. Or the fact that I’m almost 40 and live with my mother (because of my past). I don’t sleep with women immediately like I used to but after a couple weeks of talking and dates, we got intimate. She went totally nuts basically right afterward, talking about our futures together and how I now have a family. Still, I didn’t want to be the kind of cunt who has been ghosting me for the past several years so I stuck it out and tried to see if she was just temporarily dick-drunk.

It only got worse. After telling her well in advance that I had a race the next weekend and would be indisposed, she called and texted me exactly 41 times over the course of 4 hours. As much as I want to be ethical and compassionate, I blocked her number at that point. Looking back, there were plenty of red flags. For example, in her mind she was very much a victim in her divorce and that’s never reality. I know this from my job in a divorce court. She always wanted to call me right before bed which I indulged her in for a few nights and then finally gently let her know that I really wasn’t into talking to someone for an hour every night while I should be sleeping. She got unnecessarily defensive and depressed at this and that “people pleasing” personality of mine which has led to so many problems in my life poked it’s ugly head out again and I just put up with it. That should have been enough of a warning that she is codependent as fuck right there but, hey, I was lonely.

I am still on the apps but since I’ve swiped “no” on pretty much everyone in the state of Michigan by now, I don’t expect to get much more activity from them. I’ll be done with school this year; I should just wait til I move to a region with less sea monsters in it.

Making a Plan is Useless When You Don’t Stick to It.

I’m an expert at scheduling. I plan out my entire week every Sunday and abandon it by Monday afternoon. Now I’m trying to use some techniques I learned in project management courses to break down my tasks better and create better plans. Scheduling is sloppy when you don’t have a methodology to follow; I’ve half-heartedly used a few systems from the Internet before, but I think WBS and Gantt charts could be incredibly useful for long term projects. The mere act of putting that much work into defining and scheduling them could inspire me to stick to the plan more. We’ll see, I suppose.

I forgot to take my Adderall this morning so that paragraph is all I have the energy for this week. Talk to you later!

Get Ill + Life Post

I am pretty sure I have shingles. 99.9% sure. But the doctor’s office is closed on Sundays so I have to wait until tomorrow to find out for certain. It started Friday… I started getting nerve pain in my arm (technically all pain is nerve pain but you know what I mean) and that evening a red spot started forming on my chest. Now, Sunday, there’s a rather painful rash down my back and my lung hurts on that side of my body. I also was very nauseous Friday night and dry heaved twice but managed to swallow it down like a fucking champ.

It’s not too miserable yet. It’s a constant dull pain with an occasional stabbing pain in my right side, and it itches a little bit but honestly I’d rather have pain than an itch (probably why I like women who kick me in the balls… I jest).

Other than that it’s been a good week. I got back on track with my planner and knocked out a lot of my classwork early. It’s due tomorrow and I have a bit more to finish up but not nearly as much as I have had on my last couple projects. I outlined the whole thing so really all I have to do is ramble for a few pages and fake some sources. I’d be a great CNN reporter.

As I mentioned in my last personal post, I ordered a VR headset and it arrived Friday. I’ve messed with it a little bit but I haven’t been in the mood to dive in thanks to the shingles. Did you know shingles is named so because it’s a Latin (I think) word for girdle and they usually present in a circumference around your waist? Now you do. Still, I tried out a few VR games and some free content. Unfortunately Oculus doesn’t come with much out of the box so you have to spend some money to get a full experience. I picked up The Walking Dead game which is said to be one of the better ones on the platform and it was indeed mind blowing. Even though you know it’s not real, your brain can’t tell and once I let my guard down and was immersed, I found myself ducking and trying to hide behind objects (which fortunately actually works). You need a pretty big empty room to really take advantage of it but even with the 3×3 area I was playing in, it worked.

The second thing I tried was a VR fitness program which was also awesome and I can actually see myself making a habit out of it. It feels like your instructor is really in the room with you and the activities are fun and you don’t feel like you’re working out even though I was just as sore the next day as when I go to the gym. Basically it sends black and white orbs at you in time with a beat and you have to hit them with two bats of corresponding colors (or lack of color I suppose). You can only hit white orbs with the white bat and so on. Then big triangle shapes come at you and you have to squat or lunge under them and they really do make you squat quite a bit. That’s where most of my soreness came from, I’m sure. I started off with the beginner stuff which was really easy and then just for kicks I tried one of the “hard” courses and I didn’t even have time to notice what color an orb was before it passed me. That’ll take some practice.

The Netflix Burn Pit: Stowaway

Netflix’s new space-drama about astronauts on a two-year mission to Mars naturally peaked my interest because I love space. Outer space, cyberspace, personal space… I love it all! However, as the title of this blog series should indicate by now, I hate everything about Netflix.

Warning: Spoilers Abound

Prior to writing this, I looked around for other reviews on the movie and the general theme was “is it worth watching”. Forgive me for saying, but if you’re so pressed for time that you have to ask a question like that, you’ve done something wrong in your past and maybe should be addressing that instead of watching movies. But I digress. Critical consensus, for what it’s worth (nothing), is that Stowaway is a “good movie”. I could write a whole other post on how little that phrase tells anyone about something’s quality, but let’s press on.

There’s very little backstory to Stowaway, which in retrospect might set viewers up for the discovery that there’s very little closure. The end of the film is by far its worst part even though it’s (allegedly) supposed to be emotional and thought-provoking. In reality, anyone who has seen more than a handful of these films (think Sunshine if it were written by someone who can’t write) will see the final sequences coming virtually from the beginning of the film.

After a run-of-the-mill launch sequence which is admittedly quite good, the crew discovers that a pre-launch technician had an accident and passed out in a sealed compartment of the ship. There’s some speculation that perhaps it wasn’t an accident but this is never addressed. Given how this character reacts throughout the film, I believe it was an accident. While wrestling the passed out technician (sorry I’ve already forgotten everyone’s names and I’m not going to look them up because that’s how I roll) from his compartment, the CO2 scrubbing system becomes damaged. This is the crux of the whole film.

Eventually via some blah dialogue back and forth and half-hearted attempts to do things I wasn’t completely paying attention to, the crew comes to grips with the fact that the system is not repairable and there’s only enough life support for 3 of the 4 astronauts (including the stowaway). Well, almost everyone comes to grips. Anna Kendrick’s character refuses to believe the situation is hopeless and persuades the captain to let them have 10 of the 20 point-of-no-return days to figure out a solution. This is where I figured out how the movie was going to end. Any time you have a character who goes out of their way to save one person at the expense of everyone else, that bitch dead.

The 3 original crew members have a secret meeting about all of this (which apparently never strikes as odd to the stowaway) and decide not to tell the stowaway because knowing he has 10 days to live might make him less than able to contribute. I agree with that part of the plot. But Jin from Lost, being Asian and thus incapable of emotions (Netflix only cares about racist casting decisions if they involve African Americans) tells him anyway and gives him a needle with which to kill himself. Anna Kendrick, in a brilliant move, stops him right before he commits suicide and essentially dooms the crew.

So, some stuff happens, none of it works because if it did it wouldn’t be a movie, and Anna Kendrick pops out the airlock in the middle of a solar storm to fill an O2 canister from some backup supply that’s inexplicably located at the far end of a half-mile long assembly of beams. She succeeds, drops the canister into the ship, and the camera fades to black as she looks at Mars in the distance and her breathing becomes belabored.

Moral of the story, don’t try to save anyone because in the end you’ll have to die just to keep a few people alive. Except they might still die. That part isn’t addressed at all, so the ending just feels pointless.

My thoughts are mixed. I didn’t hate the movie, I watched it with mild interest (I was also studying at the same time) until the end and even rewound a couple parts I didn’t catch. I don’t do that often so I know I cared a little bit. That ending though. It just made me feel like I wasted my time watching the first three quarters of the movie because I knew it was coming but I stuck it out anyway, hoping someone would surprise me. You can’t make a surprising movie on Netflix though, they’re very formulaic on what they approve.

I didn’t find this one to be as “polit-icky” as many of Netflix’s other movies. They still tick all the racial and gender boxes, of course. Two strong female characters, one being the captain. A black man plays the stowaway. And the closest this film gets to an antagonist is Jin from Lost even though at the end of the day he’s still a good guy he’s just trying to do the logical thing because Asians are Vulcans. Still, there weren’t any coded messages about how men are trash, white people are evil, etc. Perhaps now that Derek Chauvin has been convicted we can all go back to not having to pretend we care about race.

Insomnia is So Not Lit.

I had a rough few weeks from mid-March until last week. Lots of procrastination, depression masked by amphetamines (prescribed, don’t worry), and general malaise. It can always be worse, of course. I still received A’s on all my class assignments, I finished a complete redesign of a file system at work, and now I’m in charge of training a new employee because I’m the only person qualified to try. Unfortunately I’m not being paid for any of that extra work, but kudos are nice too.

I’ve been sleeping very poorly for a year, at least. No matter what time I go to bed, I get about 5 hours on a good night. If I go to bed early, planning on having a good day tomorrow, I end up waking up 2 hours before I’m supposed to. Why not just stay up late and get more done, then? Waking up early is usually worse. The morning is when I have enough energy to act on all of my crazy impulses. This morning at 5 AM I bought two new synthesizers, a portable phone charger, and a VR headset. Now, I could quite easily justify this. I’ve wanted to check out VR for years and now it’s affordable enough and stable enough to be worth it. Music is my only real hobby (gaming isn’t a hobby it’s just putting off the things you really should be doing) so getting more gear is genuinely enjoyable long-term. The phone charger… well… I guess I didn’t really need that 😂. Side note I finally looked up how to use emojis on a desktop. My life has forever changed.

Even after all of that I’m still writing this thirty minutes before I even need to leave for work! I’ve already washed my sheets, filled out my planner, started my final class project… hmm I actually got a lot done so far today.

Maybe insomnia is lit after all.


P.S.: Oh, I met someone online and she’s amazing so far. She’s gorgeous, intelligent, and has a real job. She lives in New Jersey so we’ve only had “video dates” but that’s at least better than texting. I guess Hillary Tan was right.

The Pagan at Work

Again we’re faced with a situation in which I had a very serious topic I wanted to write about but simply can’t muster the energy to put that much effort into it and I don’t want to ruin it! So, we’re going with an off the cuff day in the life of blog which, let’s be honest, is just more fun to read and write.

There’s a Pagan at work, or Wiccan, whatever those cringey 50-something cat fetishists like to be called. Here in the whitebread midwestern US of A, if you’re a Wiccan, you’re a Satanist. Everyone at work is low-key terrified of her because she sacrifices babies to the fire-breathing god of the stars but she’s really just the endgame build of someone who has been desperately crying for attention their whole life. Cries for attention are rarely cries for the kind of attention the person actually wants. They’re motivated partially by resentment, so they’re often pretty embarrassing.

She wears all black, has that disgusting pin-up girl hairdo that was all the rage in, like, 2005, and her hoodie has a pentagram on the back. Hilarious when it’s a 20-year old “punk”, sad when it’s somebody’s grandma.

I, Faux-Paradox

Now all of this is quite negative but it’s light hearted (she’ll never read this and may or may not really exist) and it’s meant to set the stage for why I empathize with her. Had I never gotten sober, and I’m not insinuating she’s an addict; I have no evidence of that, I could easily see myself winding up like this. Begging for negative attention was my M.O. (or “ammo” as a less literate coworker frequently says) for most of my life. As with anybody else, it was primarily motivated by resentment. God and all of humanity had singled out and scorned me personally and it was only right that I make them uncomfortable whenever they were around me.

It began innocently enough and I think a lot of writers had the same experience when younger: when you’re the kind of person who writes, you’re likely more analytical and thoughtful. So, at a young age I started to notice the paradoxes everybody was living. To me, the world was quite superficial and inane. Knowing this, naturally, made me smarter and better than everybody else. So I began to embody other people’s paradoxes. Having a collection of gothic and industrial albums but sneaking Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears in to confuse my friends who would thumb through them. Wearing polos and cardigans while punching people in the face in a mosh pit (the main inspiration for my fashion at a young age was “Mike” in SLC punk). Telling a girl I was on a date with that I was a vegan right before taking a bite out of the hot dog I just ordered (she didn’t think it was as hilarious as I did). That phase of it is still funny to me (and actually fairly intelligent, it’s the 4 dimensional chess Donald Trump is accused of playing) but it only got worse.

Sometimes When People Accuse You of Being a Nazi, They’re On to Something

My stylistic influences and online diatribes went from light-hearted jabs at the asinine hypocrisy we’re all guilty of to bitter and angry litanies against “whores”, “blacks” (I used a word with more bite back then), and any other group who wasn’t me. Since anyone can be filtered into a group, I had no shortage of subject matter. This was actually after my stint in the American National Socialist Party came and went (some day I will write about that but I’m not going to promise when anymore, lol). I’d been forged by my own lunacy and the people I’d surrounded myself with into a machine that burns good intentions and outputs hate.

Alcoholism and/or drug addiction is almost certain in someone like 23-year-old me. Despite being an objective piece of shit, people loved me when I was drunk. I don’t mean that arbitrary love we reference when we talk about hot wings, I mean I genuinely felt love for the first time in my life. Of course, it was all chemical. Those people didn’t love me or even really acknowledge that I existed when I wasn’t dancing like a trained monkey for them. Still, that’s a difficult feeling to not fall for when you grew up with a distant father and narcissistic mother.

Ope, it’s time to start work so I guess that’s the end of this one. I’ll probably write chapter two in a few years. Wink wink.

Is Anybody Actually Sober?

I know a girl who’s been to rehab a dozen times and will go again a dozen more. Her addiction benefits me in some ways; I’ve gotten a firm understanding of what sobriety takes because of her. The sayings “there are many roads to recovery” and “addiction isn’t a character problem” are nice things to tell suffering addicts but each of us who have come through the other side know they’re bullshit. There isn’t some magical genetic lever that flips in a teenage boys head and causes him to suddenly seek heroin as if his life depended on it. He does heroin a few times because he’s stupid and weak, and his parents and community failed him, and he gets addicted. In this way we can say it’s not completely the addicts fault but everyone bears some responsibility for everything that happens to them.

She’s the typical addict; we’ve all met her. Atheist to a fault; not only does she not believe in God (which is fine by the way) she also despises all of the traditions and rituals that society has been founded on. They seem silly on their own but without any of them, life becomes bleak. I frequently tell addicts that “hope” is the key but this too is uselessly narrow. One doesn’t simply acquire hope by wanting it. We have to work at it, start living our lives in ways that allow us to believe the future could be better. Throwing away all the ideas of Western history just because you hold a grudge against Christianity doesn’t hurt Christianity.

Whether or not you believe in God, if you live in a western country, you’re a Christian. Our laws and traditions are based on Christian dogma. “Freedom of religion” wasn’t about allowing people to be Buddhist or Muslim or Hindu, it was about allowing people to be a different kind of Christian (and to be fair, many flavors of Christianity are as different from one another as Islam is to Catholicism). I’m not making an excuse for religious intolerance or xenophobia, I’m simply stating that nobody is really an Atheist in the way that “Atheists” use the term (and as I’ve said in the past, nobody is really a Christian in the purest sense because almost nobody behaves as if they believe in God, and behavior is far more important than somebody’s claims).

I took her to an A.A. meeting a few months ago. I’m not into A.A. myself. I was able to find hope without turning to a structured belief system but most addicts aren’t capable of that. Either they aren’t wise enough or they’ve ruined their lives to the point that it is practically impossible to believe their future could ever be better. Still, I am inspired during my infrequent visits to these meetings. One can’t claim that the Speakers, with decades of sobriety behind them, aren’t empowering. But when we left, she had nothing but bad things to say about it. She laughed off everything we read and talked about. I knew then that she was already headed for another stretch of rehab.

Perhaps that’s what makes me different. Although I do consider myself to be capable of being wiser1 than the average man (and who doesn’t!), I’m also prone to falling for great speakers. So when I went to rehab, I listened to everything I was told and when I got out I did everything they told me to do. I even went to A.A. for two months in the beginning. I don’t think I would be sober right now, almost four years later, if I’d gotten out of rehab and laughed off everything I’d just gone through.

All of that being said, the idea of sobriety to me has little to do with substance abuse and is more of a state of being. One in which we’re proactively working to realize our dreams and accomplish sequences of goals. In that way, I don’t think most people are sober. I don’t think I am, truthfully. I have good days but less of them than bad days. Substance abuse would compound the bad days as it does for everyone. Still, if you strive to reach some pinnacle of achievement, it does set you apart from most people I’ve met. Having children, for example, is a great excuse to stop trying and settle for poorly raising the next generation of drug addicts.

  1. I’m making a conscious effort to use “wisdom” instead of “intelligence” these days because intelligence doesn’t mean anything useful. Everyone is intelligent. We can make fun of someone online for not knowing every fact we know, but they likely know dozens of things we don’t know. Wisdom is better on the rare occasions it’s useful to describe a mental acuity that someone lacks. It doesn’t mean the unwise are stupid or unintelligent, it simply means they don’t yet possess the self-reflective skills to apply their intelligence toward their problems.

Habit Breakers! Breaking Habits. I

Breaking habits isn’t enough on its own. Positive habits that reinforce your vision of the future while replacing the bad habits in a meaningful and relatable way are equally important. For the week of March 15, I’m focusing on Shitty Western Mindfulness (SWM… also an acronym for single white male… hmm… coincidence? Yes. Obviously

Eating at my desk

Eating at my desk slowly and throughout the day is the worst habit I have regarding food but one that can be easily overcome with a little focus. I don’t eat much in one sitting, so during lockdown I developed the bad habit of eating my lunch at my desk over the course of several hours while I worked. Consistent eating threw my clock out of whack so I wasn’t hungry for dinner either. A secondary negative is getting my equipment and desk messy, generally appearing as one of those disgusting 4Chan video game addicts you may have seen in some of the popular “4Chan Users’ Bedrooms” photo galleries. Tip: Don’t Google that.

Soda / Pop / Soda-Pop / Coke

Moving forward, I’m getting back to drinking coffee in the morning rather than buying a gigantic can of “Lo-Carb Monster”. It’s not just healthy, it’s cheap. Even a bag of my favorite cherry-kissed coffee at The Good Market is only a few bucks whereas Monster is $3 every day. Whatever cocktail of chemicals are interacting in those cans also make me very angry at easily agitated by 4PM. Generally, I’m a hot tempered guy (because I’m surrounded by incompetent morons) but I can keep it under control when I’m not turbo charged.


I don’t know if this should be called a habit per se, but all of my worst behaviors kick in when I feel overwhelmed and like I’m falling behind. As many have said before me, this is just a feeling. I need to get better at stopping what I’m doing and taking care of the little details bludgeoning me over the head while I’m working. Take my planner for example. On days where I don’t fill it out on time, I am reminded of it every few minutes and I think “I’ll do it as soon as I finish this…” and I immediately forget. Then I remember again in ten minutes, feeling worse about it, but still not stopping. By 5pm I still haven’t done it and there’s really no point then. My day has already devolved into a disorganized mess in which I’ve stretched myself in too many directions. Plus the workday is over.

It’s not all bad though. I wouldn’t be able to recognize the need to slow down and stop if I hadn’t already internalized the notion that nothing is ever too late. My habit of waiting “until Monday” or “next month” is long gone. I won’t deny that for some reason I do feel amped up on Monday mornings, but I don’t use it as an excuse to wait until I feel refreshed to get something started. I have AM and PM routines scripted in my planner as well as workday and shutdown routines. If I’m an hour late on my AM routine, it’s okay. I just do it when I can. Of course once I’m at work there are certain things I can’t do anymore but I don’t beat myself up over it.

Life is hard enough when you’re not your own worst critic.

“Pfft, my phone can do that…” An Idiots Guide to Cameras.

If you’re an average North American male in his 30’s, then by now most of your friends are addicts and attempting to proudly display your hobbies to them results in triggered defenses of whatever product they feel like you’re attacking. As an amateur photographer, many of my (hanging on by a thread) friends can’t emotionally deal with me practicing something they’ve always wanted to do. After showing off my last batch of nature photos on my post apocalyptic wasteland of a Facebook page, four separate college dropouts pointed out that the new phone they couldn’t afford but bought anyway can do the exact same thing… and better.

It can’t, though. I have the latest iPhone (which I also probably shouldn’t be able to afford but such is the burden of the sober, educated individual) and this morning when taking a Snapchat selfie to innocently remind a married coworker that she’s attracted to me, I stumbled upon the “portrait” and “focus” features that my friends boasted about. So I tried it out…

I’m no expert on photography but I’ve taken enough classes to know what aperture, ISO, and F-stops are. My phone does have some rudimentary controls that attempt to simulate this but I don’t quite understand what it’s doing when changing these settings. For example, the “f” logo is supposedly meant to represent f-stops but as there’s no mechanical action when changing these, it appears to be an algorithm rather than an actual aperture action. This is further evidenced by the fact that dropping down to the lowest f-stop (which I believe is 1 but I can’t be bothered to open my phone to check) results in a digital approximation of what background blur would look like but very, hmm… what’s the technical term… shitty.

Similarly there’s little control over ISO. There are some lighting presets which also change aperture settings which really removes the whole creative aspect from photography. Using code to try to make a perfect photo no matter how bad of a photographer the user is equally hinders the people who know what they’re doing. I’m sure there are probably some apps out there which offer more customization but as I said above, none of these things are mechanical in nature so will likely produce some very artificial looking results.

So shut up about your phone and stop sending me blurry, distorted “macro photos” of caterpillars, David.