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.

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.

A Month Ago – The Conclusion

Continue from here.

About a month passed and work was coming to the end. I spend the best trying settle in; sleep, work, eat, meditate (Thanks Pacifica), TV, eat, meditate, repeat. Though I had about a week to go, I wish I had one more just to take my camera out one more time. The snow isn’t like that in the city and I wanted this chance to take it all in.

Packing wasn’t as tough as I was beginning to get use to travelling. Works clothes first into a bag, then my own clothes in another and finally my cameras into it’s own bag. I sat waiting for my ride out. It was kind of sad knowing I might not come back working here. With a living space I had, I wouldn’t mind it if I could come back here every day. I turned a small apartment room into a home. Not my home, but a home I would be happy to come back to at the end.

Listening to my MP3 player on the ride back. I watched nature give away to concrete and steel. The 2 lane highway turned into 4, then 6. I saw the city limits, then I was under an hour from my house. Coming back into my room, I felt relieved but I knew I had it better while I was there. If I had my computer and my own internet, I would’ve been content.

It made me fortunate with the time I had there and what I have here waiting for me. Here, the moments I life behind and the moments still waiting to be discovered.

I still have photos to process, hopefully be done with them by March. While I do that, take more of my city. Or perhaps take one more trip as my vacation. Though while I was there, it felt like a vacation from my own life.

A Month Ago – The Town

Continues from here.

I travelled to the next town over after scouting this place for a dining spot. The week before, I ate at a quiet Chinese/Japanese All-You-Can-Eat spot. After walking the main street there, I knew I had to return. I spend the afternoon until sundown taking photos right across town. Starting from a park on the most easterly and following the river right to the middle of town and their marina. For city folk like me, I wish I could just sit there in awe in the beauty. People in makeshift and pre-fabricated fishing cabins, the silence breaking through over the frozen water’s edge. If my damn zipper would have zipped, I could’ve stayed in once place and run my camera through everything in my bag (filters, timers, lenses oh my). By the time I reach the southerly end complete with mall, I had enough time to walk in for a browse before calling a ride home.

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 Break

Continues from here.

On the off time, I downloaded some apps to help my pills through the infinite sadness. I first downloaded Calm, but being poked and prodded for a premium subscription, I decided to download Pacifica. Both are depression and anxiety apps, the later more geared towards recording my mental well being daily and giving me a communal support group. At first I was hesitant about Pacifica, I can say it’s growing on me. I like the guided meditation and the interface. Though the private groups users created are hidden away but the public spaces there are very helpful. Reading about all the good things happening to people and then trying to help others, I feel so comfortable in that space.

When I was halfway through my time there, I finally decided to go home to pick up one more thing I should’ve brought with me while I was up there. My camera, how much I missed it. The next weekend I had I woke up early to catch the sunrise and went on a walking excursion.

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.

A Month Ago – Here we go…

Hey everyone, kind of missed posting here. About a month ago, I was called to work and pretty much stayed there until I was done. I’ve been far away from home and now I feel settled in to tell you all the stuff that has happened since.

After reading through all the things I’ve jotted down for this lone post, I think it’s best to break it up in parts.

Sorry for teasing you. Hope the keywords don’t spoil anything.