Saturday, April 20, 2013

Friday Adventures: Forest Lake Academy

Yikes...  This is a weird one.

When researching things to do for a Friday Adventure I happened to pass over my old high school on the Google maps satellite view.  I noticed that the P.E. field looked abandoned.  This peaked my interest and when Ryan said he was down for anything I suggested we go check out the old Alma Mater.  

It was a weird impulse, I know.    

Neither of us had been to the campus in probably more than 15 years.  My feelings about my time at Forest Lake Academy are extremely complicated.  I assumed that stepping foot on the property would bring back nothing but negative feelings.  I thought that a fight or flight response was a strong possibility.

While I did get a full body shiver as we approached the administration office to acquire visitor passes, I soon learned that the FLA I used to know doesn't really exist anymore.  We spoke to several of the staff that brought us up to speed on the current state of the school and discovered that it has suffered from enrollment losses and budget restrictions.
I won a softball championship on that diamond.
The once thriving and oppressive institution has been reduced to shade of its former self.  The boys dorm was torn down a few years ago.  The track and field are all but completely abandoned and over grown.   There is now a large fence that borders the entire property.  It appears to not to keep out threats or danger from the world but to hold tight to what remains of its past.

It seemed... pathetic.  Like seeing your childhood bully take your order at a fast food place.   It has been de-fanged.

This is where Amy and I first kissed.
(Ryan rejected the suggestion of a reenactment.)
We actually had a lovely time.  

The following video chronicles our visit to the campus, featuring the site of the boys dorm, the gym, the field, the bird bath, the flag pole, and the auditorium.  Our FLA trip would be incomplete with out a stop at Taco Bell where we would frequent when the cafeteria was unpalatable, and the graveyard where we would escape the Orwellian eyes of the faculty to engage in rebelliously smoking cigarettes.  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Make it smaller.

vroom vroom. 
I have been experimenting with tilt-shift photography.


That's not quite true.  I have been experimenting with photoshop and creating a tilt-shift effect on photographs I took ten years ago.

"Tilt-shift" is a method where you actually tilt the lens of your SLR camera in order to achieve a more shallow focus.  This effect can cause objects in your photos to appear to be miniature.  Many times they end up looking like toys, or meticulously constructed dioramas for use with model trains.

I have fallen in love with the effect.  It presents the world as a land of playthings.  Nothing here is dangerous or serious.  Everything is whimsical and trivial.  Smaller.

Its a trick of course.  Smoke and mirrors.  Tilt-shift photographs are nothing more than specifically placed blur effects and over saturated colors.  It's not even hard.

That's why its appealing.

The world is a harsh and severe place.  People get bombed at marathons in Boston and fertilizer plants explode in Texas.  I have high blood pressure and my daughter needs dental surgery.  I crave the simplistic trickery of an altered perspective that makes it all seem manageable.  Smaller.

Orange County History Center.
If you want to see more, this video is probably the best example of this method done right.  I love the helicopters landing and taking off. Check it out.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Where have I been?

This is where I have been.  In my hammock.
 Or more pointedly; why haven't I been writing any blog posts?

The short answer is that I haven't felt like it. 

Here is the long answer:

I started this blog when I quit facebook.  At the time, I thought I was addicted to facebook's system of input and output.  Make a post and wait for the serotonin rush of little red tags telling me how much my friends enjoyed it.  Press the button, get a cookie.  I was scared that leaving facebook would eliminate that reward from the act of "sharing."  

So I started this blog to fill what was sure to be a gaping void in my life.   I thought quitting facebook was like cutting off a gangrenous foot and this blog was going to be my set of crutches.  What I almost immediately realized was that it wasn’t like a necessary sacrifice of a harmful limb. It was like an appendectomy.  I felt better!  So much better that I forgot what all the fuss about red tags and like buttons was all about.  It seemed absurd to think I would miss it. 

So this blog has been sitting here empty because I haven’t needed any crutches.  I am skipping and jumping all by myself and it feels good. 

So what does that mean for the future?  Why this blog post?

I have reached a point where I think it will be healthy for me to venture back out into the world of sharing.  This time will be different though.  I want my digital experience to supplement and enhance my real life experience and not exist apart from it. 

For example: 

I started a youtube channel.  This channel is home to a series of videos I call "Friday Adventures."  Each Friday I grab a friend or two, and head out for some fun.  I shoot and edit some video of our adventure and upload it to youtube.  This video series acts as a catalyst to get me off the couch, call up a friend, and do something cool.  It is enriching my real life. 

Here is an example:

So there will be more sharing in my future.  More youtube videos.  More blog posts.  This time around I do it with purpose.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

To grad school or not to grad school

Colleges in Vermont are SO collegial.
 I am currently in a frustrating situation.  I need a career.  The economy sucks and even if it didn't my education is worthless.  Who knew that a humanities degree wouldn't yield lucrative opportunities?  Ok, put your hands down… assholes.  At least I know more about Brunelleschi’s discovery of perspective and its relation to the humanist writings of Pico Mirandola than you.

 The point is that have been sitting at this metaphorical crossroad since I graduated.  One direction leads to grad school.  The other direction leads to under employment where I simply continue to toil out a meager existence by utilizing the skills I had before I even went to college in the first place.  Both directions are wrought with peril.  Obviously the under employment route sounds dismal and potentially suicide inducing, but at least I don’t drag my family further into debt.  Grad school seems like a more positive choice but there is a distinct possibility that I would invest a shit ton of money and resources but not be able to find adequate work when I am done. 

Not so subtle metaphor.
Option number three is to continue to sit in the intersection looking at the arrows.  This is growing tiresome.  I feel like I am starting to lean towards grad school.  While it might plunge my family deep into soul crushing debt it also might erase the mistake of the humanities degree. 

Ah, stupid life decisions…and stupid cold indifferent universe.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hire this dude.

This past weekend I spent some time shooting a short video presentation for John.  Apparently there are some job applications that now require you to upload or link a video.  This particular job asked for a short sales presentation.   Check it out:

The parameters of the assignment didn't really allow for much creativity, but we were able to add a little personality.  My favorite part is the tracking shot at the beginning.  We did a handful of takes and this final one was simply inspired.  John's motioning with the remote, Kate's improvised gesture, and Ryan's "Woah" when he put on the 3D glasses really pulled it all together. 

I am still not totally happy with the lighting despite using six directional lamps, a chandelier, and an overhead light.  I think I might invest in some more portable spotlights.  John and I have discussed doing a video podcast for sometime, so it might be a good investment.

Speaking of podcasts.  Stay tuned for some info about a new project.  Here is the teaser line: 

F-Bomb gets called up to the majors.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Birthday Vacation

Don't worry, this isn't a "my vacation was SO awesome" post.  Part of my displeasure at facebook recently is that the micro blog format doesn't provide real estate for the whole truth.  People post about their vacations and you get the watered down "look at me and all the fun I am having, aren't you jealous" version.  The whole truth is that even the funnest (most fun?) vacations are peppered with complicated and sometimes comically shitty moments.

Don't get me wrong.  I had a great time.  We went to some spectacular museums, and immensly enjoyed the concerts that we went to see; however, the retelling of only the great things makes for dishonest storytelling.  I have no desire for this to become a whiney "Fail" blog but in the intrest of honesty I'll discuss the bumps in the road before I bore you with any of the awesomeness. 

Just to catch you up:  Me, Amy, and Ross went to Raleigh and Winston-Salem, NC. Our reason for this adventure was to celebrate my birthday with a pair of concerts by our favorite band, The 2 Skinnee J's.

Dreary weather plagued us the whole trip
First failure of the trip: weather.

"Dismal" is the only word to describe about 90 percent of the entire trip.  When it wasn't simply overcast and gray, it was raining.  It was a cold and dreary rain that we Floridians only recieve once or twice a year in the winter.  Ross was the only one of us to bring a jacket. Me and Amy just got wet and cold.  Amy also stepped in a puddle and had a wet foot for an evening.  The Sun did come out for a few minutes but we were inside buildings for most of it.  How do people in Seattle live?

Second failure of the trip: minor injury.

I bashed the shit out of my toe on some bricks.
Even after reading this sign.

This happend the first damn day we were in Raleigh so I spent the entire trip limping around North Carolina.

Third failure of the trip:  pancakes.

The challenge.
For my birthday Ross promised to win me a "Big Ed's Diner" t-shirt.  The challenge is to eat three pancakes and get a free t-shirt.  Three pancakes does NOT seem like a challenge but aparently "Ed" got "big" by eating them three at a time. 

Here is a short photo essay of how it went down:

Ross has got this.  No problem.


There were other minor things that went wrong on the trip.  Nothing serious.  Irritating things like iphones in my face at the concert, shitty people fighting, gps systems leading us into dagerous neighborhoods, hotel not having HBO, etc. 

I suppose in the interest of balanced scales I should show you a few pictures of us having a good time or you might get the impression I am miserable person. 
Alex and Amy participate in a North Carolina tradition: getting fat.

Oh like YOU've never made out with Ross in a hot tub.
Ross and Amy are weird.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Battling Addiction

There are a lot of reasons I quit Facebook.  I'll get more in depth about it in a later post but one significant reason I quit was how much time I was wasting scrolling through the endless amounts of inanity that makes facebook what it is.  I didn't quite realize just how habitual this act had become until I deactivated my account this past Friday evening.

When I woke up Saturday morning, my first impulse was to check facebook to see if anyone had posted about my departure.  I stared dumbfounded at my tablet screen for a good 30 seconds before the reality of that impulse fully hit me.  Wow.  This Thing REALLY has its teeth sunk deep. There may be some rough roads ahead.

Facebook isn't doing addicts any favors either.  After a 20 minute search for the "deactivate account" button, facebook parades all the smiling faces of my friends and family across my screen with messages like, "Connie will miss you!"  As if I won't ever see or hear from them again.  "Ok, you can leave.  But we're keeping your family!"

And then they send me the note pictured here.  I have cropped out at least 2 other "reactivate your account" buttons.  Apparently all I have to do to reactivate my account is to log in.