Rounding up the summer

Been about two weeks and it’s been fairly busy. Firsty I’ve achieved something I’ve been wanting to do since I was a teen.

After over a decade, I finally dye my hair to a shade of purple. I’ve admire the hairstyles of a few people in passing, but this little modification was something I want to do to my mane. After talking to a few people I know and looking into it, I have to admit my wallet took a heavy hit and I wish I did this in July rather than waiting on August. A haircut and a 2 hour bleach and dye job in a salon chair later, it was like looking into a parallel universe where I ended up in a different path in life. From people who are close to me and myself, all positive reviews on the purple’y hair. Purple was the choice because that colour the represented the changes recently and over the past decade. Though my second choice was red and violet, something dark works well for my natural dark brown hair.

On the PC side of things, I’ve been kind of been trying to get back into recording gameplay and playthroughs. It’s kind of rough since most of the games I have on the back catalogue have been played over the summer. There are still some I’ll play while recording but at least some of these games will still be new to me. At the same time I’ve noticed my CPU cooler is overkill for my CPU so I might attempt an overclock at some point. I’ve been also considering a few minor upgrades once I get back to work. Yep, that would be the top news in my life – getting back to work. My part time jobs have all emailed me and I’ll be working shortly.

Upcoming things I want to do is upgrade my PC and get a photo box lighting set up in my room to sell some of my stuff on ebay. It’ll give me a platform to try product and stills photography. Priority I’m hoping is the stills work since it will free up space in my room.

So another trip to the salon before heading back to the buzzcut life I had because of the cleaner and efficient haircut. Might be a long time before I see purple again in my hair. Better enjoy it!

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Another Yesterday

I have to admit, the past six months have been different for a lot of us. I know I’ve been through a lot, both positive and negative. Not too long ago my province finally reached stage 3.

With the lockdown slowly peeling away, the city is coming back alive despite a few things being postponed for the following year. The 5 feet/2 metre distance is still applicable as well as face masks for indoors and crowds. In “Stage 3”; dining in restaurants will make a comeback, theatres are allowed to reopen, pools and amusement parks are coming back for the end of the summer and that’s as long as they can follow medical guidelines.

Retrospectively I should’ve taken more photos when the city was empty. Despite being away for a few months especially at the peak of the pandemic, coming home and seeing the empty streets was strange. Strange, yet peaceful. A lot of events are cancelled but the makeshift patios authorized by the city are livening up curbs. Though some places are heavily crowded to hardly able to walk pass, it’s different from what it would’ve been. The face masks does make everyday interactions a bit different. Living in a culturally diverse city, the biggest obstacle is a linguistic barrier. Though most people do speak English here primarily, most ESL speakers are a bit harder to interpret without reading lips or the mask muffling the enunciating tones of their voice. There has been a few times I had to lean in closer but the plexiglass or acrylic barrier dampens more of the sound. The only thing I can take away from this is line ups for places I like are really short. Exposure is limited even in a publicly accessible indoor space so good for me for having these small niche places I go to for food and goodies. It’s either that or I just go at the least busiest time.

Though I’ve been slacking off a lot in July, August is the month I have to do something drastic. Not every year a pandemic can allow me to change my physical look. Been planning to dye my hair so I have about a month or so to enjoy long and coloured hair. Took me about a decade to do it, I might be able to because of the pandemic.

I’ve also hit a wall in my photography so my next step is to do a bit of product and still photography. Recently cleaning out my desk, I’ve found some old stuff I can easily sell off online. While I’m at it, I might as well get my arts and crafts on and build a light box out of cardboard and printer paper.

But first, I have to find the time to get out of bed at a better time and have the powerful motivation to do stuff.

So. Many. Photos!

The last couple weeks I’ve been doing my best to locally document the COVID-19 pandemic. Honestly day by day it’s getting harder since there isn’t many places to rest as well as being way to cold to rest outside. I’m only avoiding rainy days and make those day my edit days when they come. Besides that I’ve been editing every 2 or 3 days of shooting to keep workload light.

Definitely the boredom is slowly settling at home. At the same time I’m avoiding my vices. I don’t have the space to drink, so my alcohol tolerance will be low after this. Keeping away from the video games since I wouldn’t be sleeping properly and I still want to maintain some rhythm. Hoping six hours of sleep will help me, at the same time I wish I could sleep more since I’m eating more to maintain my alertness.

To keep myself safe for at least 6 hours, I began playing Life is Strange 2. No doubt I’ll be done in a week and put on a review here if it keeps up. I could start creating more gameplay videos on YouTube, but I’m still turned away from poking my voice out there. I didn’t even finish my Fallout 4 playthrough series and I’m burnt out and rusty on editing video.

While we’re on YouTube, I’ve been looking at short films and news reels from a century ago. I was really considering getting an digital streaming device like a Roku, Chromecast or Fire TV. I have a feeling I wouldn’t get any new content that I would get from downloading here. How I miss the 90’s when you can turn on the TV and channel surf than browsing through menus.

At least now I have more to time doing a lot of things for free. Sadly I’m hemorrhaging money without working. At least I don’t pay much and all payments go towards food. While I’m taking photos, I still have to pay for transit for the time being. Hopefully by the time this gets published, there might be a reduction in cost to ride.

For now the best I can do is photograph and wait indoors.

Business as usual

Writing this on Monday, the first one in awhile when I have time to myself to sit down and have free time. The past several months, I’ve been gainfully employed and blogging had to the first to go since I was preoccupied in ranting. Now coming back from being busy, I feel kind of odd to do this amidst a viral scare.

Back in February, people were on edge about a virus breakout from China, now halfway through the month, it has touched across the world. Watching media outlets putting the fear back into the world. The last time I’ve witnessed this much fear was after September 11, almost 20 years ago. Present day, people are closing businesses and people are staying home. As much as you should be worried, there isn’t much you can do. I’ve seen people hoarding cleaning products and toilet paper as well as every kind of mask available at the hardware store. The oddity of feeling the “end of the world” is absurd considering what it is, it could be me since I approach it with a bit of logic. Am I a bit too calm in this situation?

This past couple weeks been brutally difficulty, never a fan of managing my own time down to the minute. But I did manage to get a lot done before both my workplaces shut down for the next couple weeks. It might be a bit more which is why I’m looking at job boards at the moment to see if I can find another job while I wait. The worry is people might overreact and extend these austere measures. I don’t think a lot of people notice how restrictive and overbearing things can be until it’s over their heads. Today it’s called “self -quarantine”, but the way I see it is forced unemployment and destitution since not many can live without paying for rent and utilities. I don’t think the economy would be able to compensate for it which worries me socially. I watched all arts and culture closed down. Restaurants are about to be reduced to delivery and take-out places. I went out for a walk and definitely a lot less people out than normal. Could be the Sunday and Monday, but walking into a high end mall and not seeing a lot of shoppers worry me. With all this technology, are we really turning into a self-isolating civilization where all interactions will be reduced to a face or a username on a computer? After this virus, what would change? I know when the world comes to term with a problem, something inherently changes.

Above it all, I let logic help me face reality and not let myself become to hyperactive about the situation. This is the small reminder I have that this is taken too seriously:

  • About 8 billion people live here.
  • About 180, 000 cases world wide, each being a person. That’s about 0.00225% of the population.
  • About 7 000 of those result in death. Which is 3.8% of the 180, 000 or which is 0.00008% worldwide.
  • 80, 000 total recovered, which is about 44%.

Here in Canada, where I live:

  • We have about 450 cases in a country of 37.6 million.
  • 4 cases were deaths, about 1%.
  • About 10% of cases have recovered.

Those numbers are extremely low. It doesn’t mean this thing is done. This could mark the beginning. However looking at fatalities is a nihilist approach to this. I don’t see this as “how long will I survive?” But more as “how much more can I live?” Sure 10% doesn’t sound assuring and the number of cases are growing by the day. However being isolated and blocked off to the world was never my solution. I’ve been there and those who haven’t suffered through a depressive episode will soon learn how terrible things can be without interacting with people. The number are still going up whether you stay at home or not, once it goes through everyone, it will eventually go through you as well. Perhaps I should save a bit on cleanliness for another post, suffice to say I’m not letting people scare me.

I’m done with that part of my life. I’ve fought too hard to start living and I’m not letting a small bit of genetic code stop me from enjoying what I have left. If I do expire, I choose to do it on my own terms.

“Loneliness Kills”

Before I begin, happy belated new years. It’s been a month but I’ve been in a terrible mood. A few things happened after new years that really got me down for a couple weeks in January. The latter weeks have been trying to push myself away from those thoughts. Nothing more than work and video games trying to keep those thoughts away. At the same time, I’ve neglected on taking photos but I’ve managed to get myself outside. I managed to shoot a hockey game, which makes it the first sports event I’ve capture. Besides that, I haven’t been must productive.

Which is kind of why I haven’t been writing regularly. I have been lonely, sometimes feeling seperate from myself. As much as routine keeps my mind off things, I come home and left to my own devices. The worst has past but being isolated for so long has put me back into hold habits. I have been eating irregularly, sleep schedule is off, more time to fade into the fantasy of video games.

As a guy, it’s a bit tough to really talk about this stuff. When I mentioned it to my manager by accident, I spent an hour discussing it at work. I opened up with my entire life story, to a stranger no less. Honestly feel very uncomfortable talking this to anyone let alone strangers. There was nothing new to really relay and it just reinforcing where I am right now.

“Loneliness kills.”

“That’s sad.”

“I am fortunate.”

“Why not act?” Prefixing, succinctly “I’ve done everything I can to preserve my emotional and mental well being.”

Phrases that no longer pains me as much. I really can’t convey how numbing it is when nothing can’t be done and everything goes in circle. I don’t know how the conversation lead to my personal situation. In any case, I felt too vulnerable and knowing I said it makes me feel even more vulnerable.

Which makes me want to withdraw even more, like I have done many times including recently.

That’s one more summer…

I feel this year’s summer I’ve been pretty successful despite setbacks.

June was particularly sloppy considering not much was done and had some problems along the way. July was a bit fun but I had to buckle down a bit and keep my head down. With the Canadian National Exhibition, August wasn’t so bad though I missed most of it because I’ve taken a second job. Now it’s Labour Day in September and I have about a few weeks of summer.

Looking back metrically, I’ve taken a bunch of photos and was commission to do a short portrait session. For a friend, I got paid in pretty much in a meal at Five Guys. I should’ve asked for at least some monetary compensation. Oh well, it’s slightly better than photo credit. I’m hoping to get more freelance gigs like that consider I liked doing portraits. Now that I have a second job, I should really buckle down and earn some money to move out of this place. It’s pretty pricey living in the city but I’m thinking if I can hold a few good jobs, I can carve out a living. Doing stuff I like for money and doing stuff stuff I like for pleasure. Also this would give me the opportunity to try get into investing on selling prints online. I’ve tried licensing with 500px but since they changed their model, I’m kind of stuck using it as more of a portfolio on there. So plan B: start an online store and just sell limited runs of framed and unframed photos. Either on ebay or Amazon unless I can find a platform which is more suited to creative pursuits. I’ll say this is a maybe for fall and winter.

At the same time, my workplace has been pressuring me to pursue some sort of post secondary. Which doesn’t make sense because the only recommendation is this one program I can get recognition for experience and the certificate is so specific that there is nothing like it beyond this one employer. However it’s got me thinking, I should try and see if I can get university or college credit for my photography. I might ask some local colleges about their photography programs and just commit to an online or distance learning program. At least I can tell my workplace to lay off me on this thing. I’ve been a bit disillusioned by them recently after being mistreated a few times. Everyone thinks I’ll make it a career, but I don’t think I can be professionally held down.

That’s about it for this post. I’ve been kind of undulating between euphoria and depression for the entire summer. It comes and goes but on the latter half, I’ve been strict on my medication intake. No skipping on meds. I probably jinxed myself.

Hey There, Sobriety

So about a month and a bit ago, I decided to stop drinking alcohol. Straight cutting it out of my life indefinitely.

It has been a rough spring and I have made and haven’t made the right choices while I have heavily drinking. And yes, I was getting to the point where I would be drinking quite heavily every week.

It’s been god knows how long now with out a beverage and I’m definitely feeling and seeing some changes. I’ve been brooding a lot lately, I think it’s part jealousy and surprise. A lot of dating drama around the people close to me. As much as I want to escape from it, I can’t and it’s just hurting me a little bit at a time. In lieu of spirits for my spirit, I’ve grown a bit fond of soda. To be honest, been drinking mostly ginger ale to aid digestion. However I’m fortunate to know a soda cafe so I can drop in for some really great drinks made in-house.

At the moment, I’m really unsure if I want to do this considering I feel a bit alienated from my peers when we go to a bar. Yet I feel a bit content with myself with what I’m doing. I’m not doing anything that might make me feel unsafe and I think I don’t necessarily have people I feel comfortable drinking around now with so much going on.

I’ll just see how it goes.

Alcoholism kept me away

I don’t know what else to say beyond the subject line. The past month and a half has been a bit of a heavy low for me.

From the last month until now I’ve been busy with CONTACT, a local photography festival. Visiting all (or most of them I wanted to see) the interesting exhibits. Some work was very abstract with video elements but it was a nice month to unwind. By the end of May, there was a large open house event and I managed to see a few things.

Beyond that I’ve been kind of lonely and been trying to fill my time either diverting from my thoughts and it’s rough. Every day it has been either going out with a camera or trying to be around other people and hoping I can overcome my shyness to talk to someone. Spoiler alert: I’ve been awkward, shy and weird as per everyone has told me in my life (aside from everything else). So what I do when living in a city full of bars? I starting to drink heavily…for the second time in several months.

The first time, it was light. A few drinks here and there, then I starting drinking a couple. Then after that a couple more after that. At the moment I’m at 5 drinks per sitting. It’s not good when I’m doing this twice a week. I want to stop drinking to at least maintain some sort of self-temperance. However this drinking has opened my mind to some disturbing things. At the moment I don’t feel like diving too personal about it but I’m trying to find help without spending money. First I have to get off the booze.

I use to to upload to YouTube to share my gameplay stuff and use to be active on Twitter as well. Not I’m starting to think I need time away from it. Just watch other people because I feel little to no incentive since I feel like it’s more work than to hold me down from excessively gaming. At the moment, Stardew Valley is getting a bit of play time but I’m slowly sinking back into play hours on end. My eyes use to burn because I would stare at the monitor for over 4 hours.

Photography thing is going good. A local newspaper might want to hire me for events so I’m excited. It’s a bit of work to get on board but I think it could open up for me in terms of taking photos. Portraiture is one thing I have yet to explore so there might be something new in the works if I get on with the newspaper.

I haven’t left this place yet, but I do want to come back and be grounded to something at the moment.

A Month Ago – The Beach

Continues from here.

The snow up there is much more than I’m used to, the snowbanks were as tall as single story buildings. The snow laid calm though just underneath was a skin of ice thick as window glass. I went out to the local town and found myself walking into a path leading along a small river. I came across a park covered in snow with one path plowed along rolling cliffs with houses flanking this flat space. It was beautiful and magical; the morning sun glistening on the snow, the wind calmed in the trees. I tried to follow a foot track to the clearing but I sunk into the snow right up to the hip. Rather than wading into a potential risk of hypothermia, I retreated. I photo cam be a gorgeous thing, but I wasn’t equipped to wade into deep snow for one shot. That morning was relatively cold. My breath froze on my camera body, cellphone sluggish to every action I demand from it. By the time I made it to the beach and walked back, the wind kicked up that I had to take shelter behind a snowbank before my eyes froze shut. It didn’t help that my jacket zipper finally broke that week and I didn’t find a good replacement for my poor jacket. From there, the frigid morning gave way to a cool afternoon.

A Month Ago – The Grind

Start from here.

It was absolutely slow knowing I’d be away for so long without my desktop. Luckily I didn’t bring a laptop, otherwise I was be stuck without internet. All I had was my phone and MP3 player to keep me company when I’m not working. Well…I did have a TV provided to me, a small plus since I could watch Star Trek Discovery and all the TV shows I usually download. I’m still one of those holdouts who pirate instead of streaming things on Netflix and the like.

I did however had the opportunity to go to Tim Horton’s or the mall to use the wi-fi there but I could never stay long enough to download something. When I did go, I would catch up with YouTube. When I wasn’t mooching, I just used my data to look things up or check Facebook and Instagram. Speaking of which, I did spend a lot of data and if you’re not from Canada, you could not feel how crippling going 8GB over your plan can be. Honestly it’s a small price to pay to stay sane.

I always had trouble sleeping when living in a new place. Even if it’s just for a couple nights in a motel. The first couple weeks I was struggling to sleep normally that after work I would just crash for a couple hours before dinner. After I had my belly filled, I would crash another couple hours in from of my TV. Waiting – waiting for the night to be morning.