the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero


Photos (and videos) are part of the Journey

I smiled and chuckled reading today’s xkcd.

Alternate text: “I hate when people take photos of their meal instead of eating it, because there’s nothing I love more than the sound of other people chewing.”

Randall Munroe was a robotics scientist at NASA before his webcomic really took off, and sometimes it shows: some entries are pretty nerdy and obscure, and sometimes I feel I’m stretching a bit to get the joke.  Other times, like today, I think he touches on the pulse of Internet culture, dead on.  A capture of zeitgeist, if you will.

This was a posed shot we took a while back to show Flickr members who our photographers were. Many kept asking where our son was although he was too young to take any photos at that time.

Some of you dear readers may have noticed that my family and I are on Flickr, and that it’s a part of my blogging here.  My father-in-law, Bill (Cimmorene’s father) has been an amateur photographer for 40 years, and so it’s more than just a place to host blog photos, although I found out about the site through the VOX platform.  It’s not just me, either; Cimmorene and Princess are both principal photographers for the account.

While Bill and some of our Flickr friends deeply explore the artistic side of photography, Cimmorene, Princess and I employ a more documentary-style approach.  This is why I found today’s xkcd relevant.  Photography is capturing the journey, yes, even that Inner side to the Hero’s Journey I’ve been writing about here.

Princess and I are especially pushing towards video, because of our desire to document what’s happening in our lives, and the observation of what we see.

If it’s not immediately obvious, Princess is a big fan of Toby Turner, and she’s imitating some of his voice characterizations.

Admittedly, I think we three raise an eyebrow or two when Internet media trends seem shallow.  Princess doesn’t do a lot of selfies unless she wants to show a new cosplay idea, and as none of us have smartphones, but only a sophisicated point-and-shoot camera, she doesn’t take them in the manner most “selfies” are taken.  She’s also more inclined to do a short video now and then, and for a while… I found DOZENS of videos in the memory cards.  Since production software in Linux is pretty abysmal (as I said before), I told her she needed to keep her videos closer to 2-5 minutes, since I couldn’t easily edit things down.

I never knew homemade corndogs could be so delicious until Cimmy made some

We don’t take a lot of pictures of our food– well, not at restaurants, anyways.  We do take some photos of our meals, to brag a little bit about our home cooking and baking, and now and then, we show some of the process of making it.  Again, we lean towards a more documentary style of media making than a more artistic angle.  We appreciate the craft, but we are usually more interested in showing people snippets of our lives, than strong artistic statements.

What do you think, dear readers?  Is there meaning to be found amongst all the selfies and restaurant entreé captures?  Are cameraphone snapshots art?  Is the Instagram Polaroid filter cheesy nostalgia?  Is photography, casual or well-crafted, part of your online journey?

Do I look awkward asking so many invitation questions?  I think I do; it’s not a regular part of my style.  But please, walk with me, talk with me… leave me a comment.  Thanks!

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I Get By With A Pithy Help From My Friends

Webcomics can be better than a silly old psychedelic drug reference.

xkcd #1170: Bridge

It’s Hump Day Wednesday, but last weekend is still very fresh on my mind.

On Sunday, Boy had a full-on meltdown in the main worship service.  He managed to wedge himself in such a way that the scene was inevitable– if I had pulled him out, there would have been a scene anyways.  The rest of the family followed and I had to reassure the bishopric counselor (assistant pastor, if you will) that we did not feel chased off… everyone was having a difficult time.

I also was pulled out of quorum meeting to help Boy’s teacher in the classroom– partly to supervise Boy, of course.  I’m okay with that; I asked to be summoned when help was needed.  She’s also an old friend from my days in a young single adult congregation.

Monday I finally got the process started for Boy to receive services from the state– basically, his schoolteacher recommended respite care services.  It’s all moving rather glacially, as all bureaucratic agencies do.

The past few days I finally got word from the principal at Princess’s school.  As I commented on Cimmy’s post “She’s My Sister”, there’s been a problem with bullying during recess there.  We already have an issue with her studies and her teacher this year; Princess is flunking all her subjects.  The teacher has an authoritarian style and is very slow to provide extra help, if at all.  We’re trying to get a 504 plan set up as it is NOT a level-playing field.  One issue (which she is getting accommodation for, but not a lot) is a discolored cornea which is giving her 20/50 vision in one eye.

ANYWAYS… I’ll leave it at that, more just drags on and is depressing.  The reason why I included xkcd today is that people sometimes spout a lot of advice and so-called “folk wisdom” when they don’t know the full context.  It seems to be especially pernicious for parents of children with special needs… i.e. THEY REALLY DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT.  Thankfully, not too many people have spouted much unsolicited advice lately– but the stares at best and dirty looks at worst still continue.

I know some of you, dear readers, can relate… even if you don’t have kids.  Have you been getting “input” that you really didn’t ask for?  Are your friends like Randall’s friends?  If they all suddenly jumped off a bridge, would you jump, because maybe they had a good reason?  Would you ask, “Hey friends, what’s wrong?”  Do the same trite, tired old cliché phrases not fit very well?

Are you strange, odd, and delightfully bizarre, like me?

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xkcd: Click and Drag

It’s an adventure, all in a webcomic.

Don’t believe me?  Read the Slashdot article on it.

Or just see it for yourself: xkcd: Click and Drag.

I broke out the X-Arcade trackball after a while, then started using it in tandem with my optical mouse, mouse in right hand, trackball in left.  I gave up after a while.  Probably will take days to look at all of this.

Randall Munroe is an ex-NASA scientist, astrophysics, I think.  That’d be “rocket science”, yep. no, “roboticist” according to Wikipedia.