Tag: Photography

Radio Silence

  • As we traveled through the Trump years, there was always one constant. A never ending social media stream of negative comments, snarky one-liners, memes, linked articles, and virtue signaling over how horrible the former president and anyone associated with him was. I rarely checked Facebook because it was always an avalanche of negativity and Trump derangement syndrome (TDS) postings. It was truly toxic at times. Here’s the part I find curious. Now that Trumps out and Biden is in, I’d have thought we’d start seeing a flood of positive posts bragging about how much better, more competent, and smarter this new administration is. I was expecting a deluge of self-righteous gloating over how superior the Biden team is at handling the reigns of power. For God’s sake, we finally have a woman of color as vice president – her deft political skills should be trumpeted at every opportunity! But… nothing. Complete radio silence. I don’t think I’ve seen a single post praising anything the Biden administration has done from my friends on the left. I find it puzzling. Where is the vigorous defense and support of Biden from the left-leaning members of the public? Y’all were screeching like scalded cats for four plus years at the mere mention of the bad orange man. Why the sudden lack of interest in politics? It’s an interesting phenomenon. I will admit, I find it refreshing to not be bombarded with TDS every time I open up Facebook. It’s mostly returned to what I think it’s original purpose is – keeping up with day to day remote family and friend events and happenings. Oh, and never ending password phishing schemes masquerading as fun quizzes and questionnaires.
  • The last few days I’ve had the all-time worst (or at least in the top three) patient you could experience. A truly vile and horrible human being. Never ending berating, screaming at, and cursing every staff member who went in the room. Crying, manipulating, tantrums. Non stop accusations that she was being tortured, abused, and being denied her rights. At least one staff member was reduced to tears after one of her tirades. It’s overwhelmingly mentally exhausting to deal with that for twelve hours. I drove home last night wondering how someone could have turned into such a miserable person. What a waste of a life.
  • It was dumping snow a few days ago. It’s now nearly a hundred degrees. Must be due to climate change.
  • I spent way too much time this morning going through this list of lists. I was looking for a list of the Game of Thrones characters. We started re-watching the series and I’d forgotten how complex and convoluted (at times) the story lines could be. I didn’t find my list because I got side tracked by all the other lists.
  • I took a pretty good picture of a tree the other day. I’m proud of it, not because it’s anything special, but because it helped remind me that good pictures come from putting yourself in a position to take good pictures. I trudged up this hill in full motorcycle gear and crested the top only to be greeted by at least 30 school age kids on some sort of field trip. I was going to head back down since there was no way to get a picture without at least two of the kids being in the frame at any given time. For some reason, I decided to wait. I milled about and helped take pictures for several tourist couples. Suddenly, the crowd all started back down the hill. I ran over to the spot I’d been looking at and took a few pictures of the tree just as some rain started falling in the background. I had the spot to myself for about two minutes before a new crowd swarmed the hill. The storm blew out about 15 minutes later and the skies went clear. A few moments of patience (rare for me) paid off. Lesson learned.

Song of the day: B52’s – Private Idaho

It’s In The Books

It’s done. I’ve been babbling about, prepping for, and anticipating this moment for quite a while now. The first official “summer of George” event. If you haven’t been following along, I made the decision a while ago that I wanted to explore, travel, and see small town America. I’ve been preparing for this for far too long. I purchased a ginormous new motorcycle and began outfitting it with the things needed for on and off road travel. I put in a thousand miles of short, local rides to get used to the bike and improve my riding skills. I sorted through navigation equipment issues, backordered equipment, and some challenging mechanical installation problems. Finally, everything was ready.

In my part of the world, we’ve had a vexing spring. Extremely windy, wet, and lingering snowmelt. This has delayed any sort of real trip. But the weather finally broke and summer arrived. As is customary in my state, we went from cold, wet, and windy to a hundred degrees overnight. Sigh. I’d managed to pick the week for my first trip with record high temps forecast. I was going to postpone until the following week and then saw a post on Instagram from David Goggins. If you don’t know who he is, it’s worth reading his book. Former SEAL, lost over a hundred pounds just to make the teams. Had to go through BUD’s/hell week three times due to injuries. He’s kinda crazy, but still manages to be very motivating. Anyway, out of the blue he posted this on the day I was contemplating postponing:

“Don’t be the person that looks at the weather report the night before to decide what you are going to do the next day. What that means is don’t be the person who sees if it is going to rain or snow or be too hot or cold and make your decision off of that forecast. Whatever Mother Nature puts in front of you, go out and attack it.”

Well damn. I guess I’m not much of an adventurer if I have to wait for the perfect forecast. So… the next day I kissed Mrs Troutdog goodbye and left. Now, it’s not like I was heading off into the wilderness for a week (that’s still to come). The purpose of the trip was twofold. First was to see if equipment worked, can I navigate without too much hassle (on a motorcycle it’s not like you can work a map/GPS while driving like you can with a car), and how will I do with hours in the saddle. The second, and perhaps more important, will I even like this sort of travel? Will I make the effort to stop and take pictures? Will multiple days on the road, alone, get to be too much? Did I just waste a crapload of money on something that I don’t even like?

In short, I didn’t know what to expect. I worried that I’d built all this up a bit too much in my head. I’ve watched many YouTube videos of cross country travelers who make it look easy. Riding from town to town, interacting with interesting locals, taking fabulous pictures, dining at quirky out of the way spots… what if this isn’t what I find? Enough with the suspense.. while my short trip wasn’t a soul-changing experience, I had a blast.

The equipment mostly all worked as expected. A few minor tweaks are still needed. I didn’t get lost. I saw almost all the sights I’d planned on seeing. Survived riding 700+ miles over three days in near 100 degree temps. Made it through 180 miles of high speed, brutal crosswinds and double (and triple!) trailer semi-trucks nearly blowing me out of my lane. Got a few pictures. Talked to a few people. Stopped and helped a guy stranded with a couple dogs and no water. Confirmed that I am able to travel alone and pushed through my introvert tendency to not make an effort to stop and see something or talk to someone because I’m by myself.

Not everything was a magical experience. It was hot. Traveling on a motorcycle can be a pain in the ass. See something you want to take a picture of? Find a place to stop and park the bike where it won’t fall over. Pull off sweaty gloves and helmet. Unplug the phone and or pull the camera out of the tank bag. Clomp around in heavy motorcycle boots, getting hotter and hotter because there’s now no airflow going through your riding suit. Take your picture. Put everything back on, reconnect things, get ridding again while unzipping to get air flowing again. Tiny little towns in the middle of nowhere aren’t always charming. Sometimes they’re just rundown spots on the road. When those little towns only have one motel for $40 a night… well, you can imagine that it’s not the Hyatt.

So all in all, was this the life changing experience I’d pictured? Maybe not life changing, but I loved it. I proved to myself that I can take off alone on an adventure, explore, and make the most of whatever I encounter. I feel like I accomplished something. I wished I’d make a video because there were moments on the road where I was seeing some jaw dropping beauty that is hard to describe. Early morning and come around a corner as the only vehicle on the road, to see a majestic mountain range lit up by the early morning sun is worth the price of admission. Images and experiences you won’t get sitting on the couch.

It’s amazing how inhibiting fear of the unknown is. Worries about weather, getting lost, what if I don’t like it, being by myself – all things that if you spend too much time thinking about, will stop you from doing the actual thing. But if you push past the worry about the unknown, you’ll find that most everything you worried about was no big deal. I’m left with excitement for whatever my next trip will be. It seems silly, but getting the first one out of the way was a big weight off my mind. Why oh why didn’t I do this sooner? As I’ve said many times – we’re only here once, so you may as well make the most of it.

Learn To Code

  • Way back in 2019, then candidate Biden showed his concern for out of work coal miners by encouraging them to simply learn to code: “Gimme a break! Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program for God’s sake.” When more than a thousand journalists were laid off later that year, many of them were inundated with “learn to code” memes on twitter. In a move foreshadowing it’s current purge, Twitter promptly began shutting down accounts of anyone tweeting the offensive and obviously racist meme. Climate czar John Kerry seemed determined to keep the theme going yesterday by telling potentially out of work oil and gas workers they can just simply learn to make solar panels. Probably good advice since we’re going to need a lot of ’em. Biden wants the US to run completely on “clean energy” by 2035. Currently clean energy supplies 6.8% of energy production. 5.5% for wind and 1.3% for solar. Hydroelectric adds another 6.5%, but I don’t think we’re talking about damming up more rivers. So… in 14 years we’re somehow going to replace ~85% of our energy infrastructure? It’s hard not to laugh at statements like that. Except that those cute little feel good statements will come at a cost. Biden’s already thrown out a $2 trillion figure for his climate plan. And yesterday the nominee for the commerce department, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, said “the administration would have to remain open to new taxation on middle class families in order to fund policies on climate change and infrastructure improvement”. So I guess the plan is to tax us for the privilege of covering every square inch of open space with wind and solar farms? I wonder if its too late to invest in Solyndra?
  • I live in a small town. The last few years it’s grown rapidly due to the mass exodus of people fleeing states like California. Unfortunately they also bring their California values and attitudes. Where I see this the most is driving habits. Way back when, we had little traffic and people were generally courteous. Most people would wave you in to merge and would generally keep a reasonable distance on the freeway. Now it not uncommon for other drivers to cut you off, people are reluctant to let you merge, and cars on the freeway ride your bumper. It’s only going to get worse as more people discover the joys of not living in a huge city. I have no point to this other than I saw an article listing the top 20 megacities in the world. Tokyo has 37.3 million people. I can’t even fathom what it would be like to live on top of that many people. I get claustrophobic just going to Costco, so I don’t see myself moving to a megacity any time soon.
  • Hunter Biden apparently still has a 10% stake in a Chinese equity firm, despite saying he would divest. President Biden said no one in his family would engage in foreign business if he was elected president. Then again, he also lied about not having any involvement in his son’s business so I don’t know why we’d believe him now. Interesting that the press is no longer obsessed with investigating a president’s business dealings.
  • Apparently everything we thought we knew about herd immunity was wrong. You catch the disease or get a vaccine and you develop an immunity to it. Enough people do that and you break the contagion cycle. Seems simple enough. Now “medical experts” and the news are continually advising that even though you had the vaccine (or the ‘rona), you can still get it and/or transmit it to others. Therefore you still need to wear the mouth diaper at all times, socially distance, and eat only outside at restaurants except now it’s cold so we eat outside in tents that make the outside the inside. Sigh, I’m so confused. So we performed this herculean effort to create a new vaccine that everyone is now angrily pointing fingers at each other because we don’t have enough of it, yet it doesn’t work? Or it does work, but not until everyone gets it? Or, I’m going out on a limb here, we can’t enforce the silly mask mandate unless we start tattooing a giant I (for immune) on peoples foreheads. Ok, that would be extreme. I guess we could start issuing some sort of bracelet or badge you wear indicating your covid-free status. I don’t think anyone would try to sell counterfeit versions. Besides, it’s not like there’s any historical evidence that forcing a certain group of people to wear a label would be bad. Until we sort this out, I guess we’ll all just have to keep wearing the mask. Sorry, not just one but two now. It’s almost like they’re worried that nasty piece of cloth on your face isn’t really working.
  • I entered the lottery for a river permit this summer. Of course I’ve just jinxed my chances by saying it out loud. This summer is shaping up to be quite busy. This is a good thing. I better update my bullet journal. Oh, wait I haven’t looked at it for multiple weeks now. I’ll try again to motivate myself to use it, but I don’t hold high hopes. It just doesn’t seem to work for me.
  • Photos of a 1965 Soviet submarine. It had a crew of 78. I cannot fathom (see what I did there? I’m so clever. No? Sigh, a fathom is a unit of measurement for depth of water. 1 fathom is six feet) how horrible it would have been to serve on one of these.

Song of the day: Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor (Official Video)

Dude, Do You Even Contrarian?

  • C.S. Lewis said, “When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who is running in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind”. I love that quote. As a country we’ve gone from Timothy Leary’s “Question Authority” in the 60’s, to blindly worshiping the high priest of Covid, Dr. Fauci. As a contrarian, the goal isn’t to blindly reject everything you see, or to embrace every crackpot claim you read on the internet. The point is merely to question. Read other news sources. Actively read opinions you don’t (think) you agree with. The media, big tech, government, all have an agenda. That’s ok as long as you recognize the agenda and take what’s presented with a grain of salt. One of the most discouraging developments in the last few weeks was the plummeting of Fox News ratings. Their viewership were unhappy with election and post election coverage by Chris Wallace, et al., and loudly proclaimed on Twitter they were done. Never watching Fox again. Sadly, that makes them no better than the average CNN viewer. These folks are saying that if they don’t hear what they want to hear, they’ll go find someone else to tell them what they want to hear. Come on man! That’s wrong. Be a contrarian. There are tiny elements of truth in everything. You just have to think critically and find them. It’s ok to think for yourself. Really. Try it.
  • The single biggest story of the entire election should be the Hunter Biden laptop/emails. The allegations may or may not be true… I don’t really care. What’s important, and what should make you angry (if you’re being intellectually honest) is that the media, big tech, and possibly the FBI, actively suppressed a potential bombshell story at a critical time. A story that could very well have swung the election. The same media and tech giants that ran 24/7 for two years with vague Russian influence claims. We’re supposed to live in a society that values truth. We’re not supposed to be an authoritarian country that has state run media. I don’t care what side of the aisle you’re on, this should piss you off.
  • I’m not sure what to make of it, but Pat Sajak is getting angry. “Don’t!”, on a recent show Sajak yelled, “You won! Don’t argue, Darin!…You got the puzzle. Ungrateful players! I’ve had it!”
  • I give up. Obama won a Nobel prize for, I have no idea. May as well give Biden and Harris Time Person of the Year. For what? The man is a confused 80 year old who can’t get a coherent sentence out. He literally did not campaign, rarely leaving his basement. When he did appear in public it was in front of six people in weird crop circle things. His running mate, Harris, did not take a single question from the press during the campaign. I couldn’t find a single sentence in the very long Time piece describing why they picked these two for the cover. We get it, you didn’t like Trump.
  • Melinda Gates is “incredibly disappointed” that President Trump has put Americans first in line to receive the Wuhan coronavirus vaccine. A globalist who married her money, money earned from an American company (that I used to work for), lecturing the very country who drove development of the vaccine. The ego and lack of self-awareness of the these people amazes me sometimes.
  • If you like black and white portrait photography like I do, this is very cool. For eight years, photographer Lee Nye tended bar at Eddie’s Club and took 125 portraits of regulars. They’ve been put into a book with biographies of each patron.

Song of the day: Jeff Healey – “See The Light – Night Music 1988”

Notions Of Cool V.022

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old Gen X dude finds cool or worth pondering.

  • The American middle class is shrinking… but it’s because more people are moving to upper income levels, not dropping down. This is not what we’re being told (and not what I thought). The point of this is that you always need to be thinking like a contrarian. The narrative pushed in the media is not always true. Being a skeptic is good.
  • Speaking of media narratives… clearly these “journalists” failed to do even the most basic research when they declared the recent flooding as due to, wait for it, climate change! Unfortunately that region floods and has been doing so forever. But it’s different this time I suppose.
  • Here’s a cool animation of the worlds most populous cities by year from 1500 to 2018.
  • I went to the golf driving range yesterday. It went about as expected. Which means poorly. I came home and was in the process of scheduling a lesson when I stopped. I realized that of the 47 different hobbies I have, golf is not important enough to me to invest more time in. I’ll continue to play from time to time, but I no longer care. I’ll go flail about and enjoy the company and walk. A good decision I think.
  • A hobby I do care about is photography. I did an hour walk downtown to grab some photos. I got absolute crap because I wasn’t focused and didn’t pay attention to what I was doing. I will be renewing my efforts to learn and get better. What I can’t decide is sharing my work – do I post the good the bad and the ugly or just the occasional few I really like?
  • For the most part the media is unable to admit they were wrong about the Mueller investigation. They continue to double down. One of the best examples is chief Trump obsessed former republican morning host Joe Scarborough. The title of this mornings column is “The Mueller war is over – and President Trump won”. That is also the first sentence of his column. Literally the second sentence and every remaining paragraph is dedicated to declaring how horrible Trump is. Good grief. I don’t like Trump, but at this point I’ll vote for him just because I like seeing these pompous media asses get kicked in the teeth.
  • I made a bold move yesterday and decided to go minimal with my wallet. I rarely carry cash and wanted something that would fit in my front pocket. Ordered one of these. Stay tuned for a review.
  • Having hit my weight goal, I now need to decide if I’m going to continue down the keto road, or transition to a paleo-ish low glycemic way of eating? I don’t know yet. Part of me wants to continue keto for a while longer and then check my blood markers. Curious if this has impacted my triglycerides? The other part of me wants nachos.

Song of the day: Rage Against the Machine, “Guerrilla Radio”