nawkcire

Games, Tech and Blogging…I can't guarantee in that order.

More travelling?

So mid-June now, probably put aside to a lot of game time and been buckling down. Mostly for photography in nature, but at the moment I’m still planning. “Still planning” is a term I really dislike because I’m starting to feel more indecisive. I recently took a trip to a local tourism office to really find somewhere to take my camera. Somewhere local and old school, with a bit of historic and artistic value and vistas. Also everything has to close to the hotel room as well.

In-province, I’m thinking of a small town. I went to Niagara Falls this spring and it was a great. So it’s just a matter of finding the place that’s worth taking a shot and perhaps something less seen by other. Niagara Falls has been a tourist trap for ages but I really knew the beauty of the place when you leave the casino area. Really see what Niagara Fall really is when you take away the neon lights. If I can’t replicate the success of that trip, I’m going to exceed it. I want have extraordinary photos and memorable moments.

For the time being, I’ll just be window shopping for a nice place to visit. Hopefully before the end of summer.

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I love/hate summer.

Finally summer is rearing it’s head out. I know for sure since my room in the late evening feels like a humid furnace. Happens every year and as annoying and dangerous as it is to live in my room, I’m glad for cool shade and a beautiful sunsets.

This summer, I do plan on taking less time for work and more focus on photography. Actually I’ve been closely following what 500px is doing and I’m glad they’re letting Getty distributing images from the website. Though it doesn’t seem like there are any details about it yet. But hopefully I can sell the few I have there. Meanwhile I finally have my account there set up to receive funds. So hopefully I will eventually see someone why some of my photos. I still haven’t been able to physically work on getting my work physically out there. I think framed prints can still sell. I guess I’ll find out in the next month.

All the while, it’s starting to feel like summer. I’ve been pulling all the stops to really enjoy this year’s warm weather. Definitely taking my camera out and doing some travelling. I’ve planned on seeing a concert in June. Recently I tried to even catch most of the photography festival that was going on here; I didn’t see much but at least I can say I attended.

This summer I’m going to do my best to really bring out my full potential in photography. Main goal and hopefully learn something new along the way as well.

Google Map Reviews

It’s been awhile that I signed up as a Google Guide, a service that allows you to participate in editing and reviewing locations on Google Maps. Recently (though I don’t want to brag) I reached by 100th review and I’ve seen some good and bad reviews.

Full disclosure of how I rate and review, Google uses a 5 star system. With it, I base all ratings on the following:

  1. Does the place physically exist? Kind of mandatory for most of the places I’ve been.
  2. How’s the customer service? How was my personal experience?
  3. How was the services and products offered? Were they everything I expected?
  4. How does the physical location look? Optionally, how’s the washrooms?

I don’t usually offer a 5 star rating which means from me, 4 stars is the most. However 5 stars just indicates I’ve had an exemplary time and experience. Meaning 2 through 4 were exceptionally greater than the places I’ve been. This is fairly hard since a lot of restaurants and shops provide the same amount of service and usually meets a pseudo-standard which seems professional but accommodating.

In terms of a written review, it follows a personal standard. First beginning with a preamble about the general location, nothing bias here. Then I move on to atmosphere of the place, products and services, then customer service. Along with it, I put down anything I’ve observed to be interesting to me and the last paragraph is for if I want to recommend this place or if I would visit again.

It’s likely not the best way to be labelled as a useful review however I’ve seen some really ridiculous reviews on there with a bunch of users saying they found it useful. On Steam it’s the same thing but that’s another story. Usually these reviews have no content besides from a star rating and the phrase “not bad”, “great”, or “would visit again”. If I was a stranger, I would like to know why people enjoy this place and something to really be convinced on going. The idea of a review is not to just let people know what’s going on here but to provide people a reason to go there or should not even bother. I know some people can be extremely critical (some of my reviews sound like that as well) but the idea is to be honest to provide feedback to a place while giving something a potential customer needs to go there.

Regardless I found a lot of places over Google Maps because reviewers have provided some good feedback. Then there are places with those 2 word reviews that turn me away because I don’t feel like going there. With a lot of users, I think Google should extend this Guide program to products. Perhaps a joint product review with Amazon but the Guide program does offer a somewhat credible system for folks.

Four out of five, will review again.

A selfie is not a self portrait…

Sure this topic isn’t hip any more but when the term “selfie” came around to pop culture, there were a lot of opinion writers.

At the gallery there is a fantastic painting of an artist painting themselves as they’re painting themselves. It’s kind of interesting to step closer and seeing the detail into the scene within the painting. Even with their back turned, it’s a very interesting self-portrait. Fast forward to the digital age of the late 2000’s and 2010’s, the “selfie” is a self portraiture; usually associated with a cell phone and a mirror. I have to admit looking at the comparison between this piece in the gallery and everyone’s Instagram (I don’t have one but I like to peak at others), we’ve come so far that I feel the concept of a self-portrait has degenerated. It’s one thing to make the “I was here” statement when you want to selfie  in the moment but when people stage selfies, I do feel it’s a bit self-absorbed.

In a recent walk to witness the Sakura blooms, I saw a lot of selfie sticks. A lot. Enough to really conclude people are really selfish to really equate to those people who take chunks of the tree for themselves or those who disobey signs to get the right selfie. I really don’t think a jpeg from a cellphone could really out compete with a RAW file from a DSLR or even a png/tiff image from a point and shoot. I regardless, a $100 point and shoot will have a timer function. Meanwhile I’ve seen people reaching out to a stranger for a photo. I, for a few times, was the stranger. I usually do my best to take the photo. I quite understand to entrust someone of your phone when you’re so shy to ask. That’s obvious but there are some very outgoing people that apparent don’t have time to get a photographer as a friend.

I do find in modernity, the self-portrait has become more abuse of an artistic craft to a social media eye sore. And for those who rarely take them; rare being once in many month, then I think you are more observant of the world than looking for a narcissistic reward.

Pretty Beat

Recently I’ve been struggling keeping up with the hobbies. I’ve been partially working or been on my feet. It’s summer or what it feel like it here, but it’s a good time for photography. This year I’m hoping the summer will be more productive for photos. At the same time I’m excited to finish Fallout 4, however another game is slowly taking over my life.

Yes, after a couple years…I finally downloaded Pokemon Go. Just this past Friday and since then, I realize how dangerous this ago because I almost got hit by two cars and bumping right into a wall. Luckily I’m not so mindless that I would run full steam. However walking distracted is dangerous, especially in a large city involving many sharp objects. It’s like being a child again and your parents forgot to make the entire house child safe. Anyways, I’ll be trying to stay away from playing while moving. Though I kind of understand most of the good stuff in the game is found on avenues. So if anyone is still curious, please look and bee aware of your surroundings; this is not a drill.

With photography, I would like to push out and use my tripod more often. However at the same time, I want to travel and shoot something different. Seeing my city kind of loses it’s appeal. I like landscapes here and I think this year I’m blooming into street photography. I usually stayed from taking pictures of people in this shots. So shyness from snapping people, it’s diminishing and I’m getting comfortable with finding the shot with people in the scene.

Anyways, that’s where I am now. After the crazy stuff happening in the world and restraining to spout all the problems around me, I’ll try and write down the topic and hopefully I will remember it later.

Mental Health

This is one thing I have to be mindful of when I live my life. I take pills, apply therapy techniques and do my best to live my life. With the recent going-on’s in Toronto, I feel like underlying issue is left ignored.

During times like this when an incident on this scale happens, people get immediately angry and resentful. Myself included when I first heard the news, I was shocked and wanted nothing more for the suspect to serve his life behind bars. It is unfortunate knowing I walk the same streets and at any time, someone like this person would get behind the wheel and commit murder on this scale. Knowing one of those pedestrians can be anyone regardless of age, race and gender, it disturbs me to think I could be one of those unnamed and soon forgotten by the public.

Life – a fragile thing. Not only in preservation, but in keeping all the smaller things in perspective. Things like emotion, stability and clarity. To feel without overstepping while taking a stride with meaning without being led by emotions. Which is kind of why I’m brought to write this week’s post (though it feels I do this more bi-weekly).

The real question when crimes like this occur, I ask myself “What’s really going on here?” A lot of people focus solely on a person then blame a niche outside the norm. It’s equivocal if a hipster committed genocide because carnivores are destroying the Earth and veganism is the way to go. The way I see it, crime is a social issue. The question from “What this person has done?” to “Where did we go wrong?” Channelling the proverb “it takes a village” does reflect what happened and what has changed. From the restraint for the officer ending the situation non-violently to the tolerance to not accuse the suspect for terrorism right off the bat. We’re changing but there is niche groups that are still victimized because of radicalized individuals. It is sad people died because we live in a society still dictated by a toxic masculine point of view which objectifies men as much as it does for women. In a sense the recent pro-female movement has weaponized feminism into hating men than raising an equal society. This mirrors much of the recent movements started with good intentions and lead by those radicalized by them. Dissidence is important for a democratic society but the values we pass on must be of those of tolerance and critical thinking. To be objective and to ask questions beyond what we know to get a bigger picture.

If we can at least achieve this, perhaps things like this wouldn’t necessarily happen.

NIMBY

First time I ever heard of this acronym was in Cities: Skylines. In the game, this is a policy you can enact to prevent loud noise at night. In reality this is much more as a phrase for anyone who opposes a service within their neighbourhood.

Living in the big city, whether people say it or not, has become a bit of an oxymoron. Here homelessness and public transit are the top two people like to address but don’t necessarily want to physically change.

The transit system here is fairly archaic, most of the system was developed in the 60’s. With a sprawling city without an upgraded transit system, it has been crowded. So now with old stations being updated, a lot of people are really against the stations from expanding to accommodate more routes or making it more accessible. With a lot of people throwing opinions and hate for every plan, I doubt any meaningful progress so far.

The homeless issue is a bunch of sociological problems; drugs, shelter, food, safety. A lot of local NGO’s  try to keep these people alive while the city tries to find ways to bring these people back into society. The biggest problem especially in winter is shelter. Recently, my local city wants to open a new shelter near my neighbourhood. However Once that hit the news, everyone went ape about not wanting it near them. That goes the same with safe injection sites. I understand both sides of the stories and I honestly don’t know who’s in the right because both arguments are valid.

“No In My BackYard” has become something I want to avoid personally. It’s a phrase that doesn’t progress an issue and usually throws an issue to someone else.

Here we go again 2018

So after being medicated for several years, I’m still very uncomfortable about taking medication non-stop. I’ve been on/off with my medication which isn’t so good, however I’ve been busy with either work or photography.

Actually yesterday, I sat down and focused on looking through about a thousand photos. Looking through them, I managed to pick just over 60. I’ve been starting to put post-processing off to when I have a lot more photos. Just makes it easy so I don’t have to spend a lot more time cumulatively. However I’m starting to realize this can get a bit confusing. I think it’s coming up to where I need to start saving my TIFF files to a DVD. I did it for last year’s photos and I’ve reorganized my PC folders to make it easier to burn to a CD or a DVD. I wish I could limit a folder to contain a certain size.

Next week is going to be a busy time and hopefully even with this funk, I’ll get it all done and I can move on to take more photos and even start to travel again.

Local Resturants

After a week of eating at small dining establishments, I’ve learned a bit about my area.

In terms of variety and styles there is not much of I like or enjoy and when there is “variety” it’s only by presentation. It kind of bums me out that no matter where I go I find an Asian eatery or a cafe. The only thing that really changes is the scene that occupies inside the restaurant but not much else in terms of the taste.

Sadly wandering around the city I found the same monotonous cafe. As much as I like the hipster vibes, it lacks in a community feel.  I only say that because I want to drop my business card on bulletin boards. I still like a humbling place with the smell of roasted beans wafting, but it feels a bit empty without interesting or interactive wall decor.

I think for now, I can say my week long experiment to see this city in it’s culinary glory is successful but I wish I could’ve seen more. I might keep trying to visit more but for now, I’ll get close to what I know.

Followers

I was really compelled with one of the recent episodes of The X-Files; I’m still surprised this show is back on TV and feels like it was never gone.

After looking on Wikipedia to decode the episode title, “Followers”. The episode is a shocking hour of how technology and the drive for automation changes the social dynamic. The first and last scene does mirror they two view points people are growing in this day in age.

I grew up in the 90’s as a child and it was an interesting time compared to now. I too fight between balancing using my phone and enjoying what most people would consider as analog. I’ve noticed the splitting phenomenon in a lot of people. People who want to engage in a slab of silicon and glass rather than see the beauty of the surrounding reality. In the first world, we have so much to give but we give in all the wrong ways. We get bored and seek the shortest of thrills and the quickest of problems. We have in many ways devalued hindsight and creativity to forge a better future.

Surely we live in an age where we entrust strangers, but isn’t technology more capable to be as strange? We live in likely the last era before computer learning evolves into sentience. As the show asks, what are we really teaching if we all teach our computer about our society. Giving it borderless freedom equal to ours, what will this computer teach us? I know the answer but I’m afraid of how it would shape our future.

For me, I will do my best to minimize what I can do for a smart phone and rely on a vetted human being. I don’t preach on destroying technology but I do embrace the human interaction and community. However I do think people should be growing to interacting face-to-face than face-to-Facetime.

The world shrinks as computers grow in our world, but what else shrinks is our ability to see others as people as well.