Born Again

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Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.

Status: good. need more sleep though. slept through the alarm again this morning, which is not very helpful because I have a pretty busy day ahead. I’m not exactly sure if the morning meditation is helping anymore. Maybe I should take the next step with it and see if that improves my focus.

Writing.

With everything that is going on, my reading has gone into the toilet. I just don’t have enough time for it, and I need to make some space to read because it does fuel the writing. Not sure exactly how I can do that; maybe dispense with the Joe Rogan podcast for now and get back to audiobooks. At least then I can “multi-task” and listen to it when cooking/eating and working out at the gym. That should be good for at least 2 hours a day.

Photography.

Went back through my older photos last night to see if I had anything worth editing and posting. Found a few, including the above shot. I actually quite like it, and while the composition is not the best, it lent itself to the editing processing quite well. The way the light from the sun plays off the eagle creates some drama, which is important for a black and white photo. Now that it’s getting warmer, I’ll spend a bit more time outside practicing street photography. I definitely want to get a bit of that done before I leave.

This weekend is Comicon and I’ll be there both days taking photos. Saturday I’ll have my Jewish wing woman for a few hours, but Sunday I’ll be on my own. This is a good opportunity to take a lot of portrait/people pictures in a space where they’ll be welcoming of the attention, so it’s a great place to get some practice without the fear of someone getting a little itchy that you took their photo. I’ve been challenged a couple of times taking photos of people on the street and it’s not a pleasant experience, for sure.

Date.

Connected with a part-time model on the dating app and we started a conversation about getting together. I was interested initially, mostly because she said I could photograph her for free, but then the convo veered off in a weird direction which then got my common sense tingling. Firstly, she will only correspond with me by email, she then told me about a hard luck story which centered around a rough relationship, her IG page links to some kind of Patreon page which has semi-nude photos of her, and she is stupidly covered in tattoos. I’m almost always up for going out with bad girls because they are fun AF, but this one looks a little bit too sketchy for me. The trust isn’t there and I think I’m going to listen to my common sense and give this one a miss. My instincts are typically pretty good, so I’m confident that this is the right move.

Besides, I have better options on the table. There’s no incentive for me to mess around with this kind of bad girl.

Nikon D3400
1/20 sec
f/11
40mm
ISO 100

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Captain Marvel and Neurokinesis

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Nothing lasts. You think it’s going to. You think, ‘Here’s something I can hold on to,’ but it always slips away. 

Status: good. overslept a little bit this morning. not fuzzy, sinuses are clear. My mood: good, not depressed and am generally upbeat.

Writing.

Sitting here struggling to write a review on Captain Marvel. I have that sinking unproductive feeling as I’m staring blankly at the page while intermittently watching the minutes tick past, and then distracting myself with a little YT dopamine loveliness to avoid experiencing that feeling.

I can charitably define it as a hit piece, which I’ve already decided I’m going to post to a number of different review sites. But, I’m hesitating. I’m thinking that this is overly venomous and negative, and at the end of the day I don’t know what I’m going to gain from doing this. Yes, I’m disappointed that they appropriated one of my favourite characters and turned it on its ear with a foreign narrative in order to sell more product. As companies do. However, my two cents won’t change that. Maybe it’s best to concentrate on more productive endeavours.

Fitness.

I’ve been struggling with shoulder injuries for years, tearing both rotator cuffs multiple times and then making numerous mistakes in both treatment and subsequent training regimens which have then perpetuated the injury cycle. Fortunately I’ve learned a little bit along the way, and I now know what to do and what not to do, so it’s not a completely wasted exercise.

Earlier this year I started to feel a pinching in my left shoulder when I raised the elbow above shoulder level. I’m not doing any exercises which require that movement anymore; a result of the frequent injuries and the implementation of preventative measures in order to enable me to workout normally and stay healthy. But I would feel it pinching when putting on a t-shirt or applying deodorant, and while mildly alarming, I did what I normally do: ignore it. As long as I can workout then I’m good, which is not the smartest thing to do.

I finally decided that it’s been long enough and I should probably have someone take a look at it before it get’s worse. (Side note: I need to start rewarding that kind of productive self-care type behaviour.) In any case, I booked an appointment with an RMT I’ve used in the past to see if the issue could be resolved.

Calling Tim an RMT is not the best descriptor. A kinesiologist by training, he’s also certified in a number of different techniques to promote healing and alleviate pain from sports injuries. And he clearly has a passion for what he does. I booked an ART (deep tissue massage) session online, but when I arrived he suggested neurokinetic therapy instead, explaining that this will permanently solve the problem.

It is honestly a very odd treatment; a combination of light touching, functional movement and viewing cue cards with either an ‘X’ or an ‘=’ sign on it. The end result however far exceeded expectations. At the end of the session, and even now as I write this, the pain is gone and the shoulder is moving freely. Tim explained that the muscles surrounding the rotator cuff had contracted and become “locked” in place which was preventing the shoulder from rotating properly when I moved it in specific ways. The end result of which was the rotator cuff muscle would get pinched between the bones in the shoulder, thus the pinching feeling. By releasing the “locked” muscles, the shoulder was able to rotate properly and therefore was no longer pinching the rotator cuff muscle.

It’s a fkn miracle. I’m so impressed with the treatment. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I move back to the island, because I’m pretty sure they don’t have this level of (cutting edge) sports/physical therapy there.

Photography.

Finished processing the food photos from my visit to The Chase last Saturday night. Other than the desert, the food wasn’t very photogenic. Despite my poor photography skills the end results were passable, but not great. I’m beginning to suspect that I don’t have the right lens for this kind of photography, but a poor workman blames his tools, so I’ll take it as a learning experience. I’m likely not going to post these to IG as I don’t think they’re good enough, but I will put them on YT for completeness’ sake.

Nikon D3400
1/80 sec
f/3.5
18mm
ISO 1600

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) – Movie Review

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The worlds of superhero movies and superhero comics are not as similar as they seem on the surface. Currently, film studios are all about the “extended universe”, seeing how many different titles and characters they can shove into one franchise (Avengers, X-Men, Justice League), making for an easy way to squeeze a few extra bucks out of their lesser known properties. Comics have this as well, of course. However, they also have something modern movies haven’t really tapped into yet: story one-offs, a chance for a storyteller to create a unique tale and not be constrained by the implications on or from the larger universe. Spider-Verse gets to do just that, while playfully taking on the fun (if convoluted) absurdity of extended superhero universes. Listen, I hear you. “How could we possibly need another Spider-Man movie?” Spider-Verse understands that question and has a take on it. Yes, Peter Parker is here. In fact, there are two Peter Parkers. There’s also a Spider-Woman, a Noir Spider-Man, an anime Spider-Girl/Robot, and a Spider-Pig. At the center though is Miles Morales, an Afro-Hispanic Brooklyn teen who must help these other Spider-People get back to their own planes of existence. He fights with his cop dad, he adores his shady uncle, hates being simply the smartest kid in the room, and just wants to do something that matters. Being Spider-Man wasn’t his idea, but hey, when a radioactive spider gives you powers, what choice do you have? Look, I don’t have any sort of hot take on this movie. It looks great, the humor pops with surprises, the voice casting is beyond perfect. It’s simply a stylishly exciting and refreshingly unique take on the superhero genre, and sometimes that’s more than enough.

 

4 out of 5 stars

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Dates and Stuff

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The thing I’m most afraid of is me. Of not knowing what I’m going to do. Of not knowing what I’m doing right now.

Status: good. I’m actually okay this morning. Slept well. No brain fog or lethargy. Ticked off a few administrative tasks this morning. It’s better to save them for the afternoon, but it felt right to tackle them now versus later. I keep forgetting how much time they consume, but it’s done.

Dating.

The weekend is starting to take shape. I’m going to see the dysfunctionally compatible Jewish woman again this weekend. She’s expressed an interest in attending Comicon with me, which is surprising because it is a bit of an acquired taste, and I’m very used to women not really liking or even being remotely interested in these types of events. My plan was to really use the opportunity to take as many photos as I can, and having a wing woman might disrupt that a little bit. Or maybe it won’t. Maybe I can use this to my advantage. In any case, it should be fun.

I’ve also set up a coffee date with another prospective partner from the dating app on Friday afternoon. What did I do before this dating app made me so lazy? In any case, she’s a transplant, her written English is poor and she keeps subjecting me to nonsensical poetry. Based upon what she has written, she clearly she has her head in the clouds where unicorns and princesses live. I’ve seen this before and gather it’s a cultural thing. It’s also a sign that she’s impractical and likely spends more time daydreaming than actually working. I’m calling it now: I bet that she has some kind of non-job which in her words will, “allow me the freedom to make my own schedule and be my own boss, you know, so I can be all entrepreneurial and shit”. Which translates into “working” two hours a day and then spending the rest of the day painting her nails and posting selfies to IG with inspirational quotes and the hashtag YOLO.

So, why are you meeting her, bro? Because she’s hot. And I’m curious to see where she sits on the Vicki Mendoza diagonal. But mostly because she’s hot.

Career.

Working on securing living accommodations at the next destination. The tenant’s lease at one of my places is due to expire and they won’t be renewing it, so I think I’ll just move into the unit. It’s not really necessary to rent it out anymore. There is a bit of a gap between when I arrive and when the unit becomes available, so I’ll need to secure a temporary living space. My cousin has offered up a spot for me at his place,  but I think I’d rather do my own thing. That was until I started looking at the prices for short term rentals on the island. For something comparable to what I have right now, the cost is double to what I’m currently paying. Maybe I will take my cousin up on his offer. I think I’d rather use the money for photography equipment instead.

Nikon D3400
1/40 sec
f/4
26mm
ISO 400

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Justice League (2017) – Movie Review

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I went into Justice League, DC’S most recent grab at Marvel’s success, with trepidation. Other than Wonder Woman, each DCEU film has left me somewhere between “meh” and “ugh”. Even when Joss Whedon (Avengers) came in to help a grieving Snyder finish the movie, their exponentially different styles worried me, and that worry was mostly justified. Yes, Whedon’s wit does bring a welcome shine to the gloomy proceedings and, unlike Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad, keeps this movie from being an all-out slog. Still, it’s an awkward epic that can’t overcome the franchise’s dark doldrums. Just like every other superhero movie ever made, a charisma-less and bland villain with limitless power appears, bent on destroying Earth because of “reasons”. Superman still dead, the world must depend on lesser heroes to save them. Affleck is still a pretty good Batman, Flash is light-hearted fun, Aquaman is kinda cool, Cyborg is dull and dour, and Wonder Woman is still the standout. There are still certainly some interesting moments between the characters, but they’re mostly overshadowed by superhero-ethic clichés, stupid drama, bad CGI, and nonsensical logic (why are these guys such quick allies?) There really is just so much that doesn’t work: specific jokes, bad visuals, interpersonal relationships, muddy action, plot predictability. The main problem, though, is that DC and Warner Bros. think, through their previous films, they’ve given us enough reasons to care about this universe, and they haven’t. The positives here, mainly just seeing these heroes together on-screen, have left me mildly curious about the future of the franchise, but only barely. Otherwise, Justice League is easily the worst superhero movie of the year.

 

2 out of 5 stars

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Slowly Making Progress

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My alone feels so good, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude.

Status: good. better than yesterday, but procrastinating heavily this morning. I was awake at 2:30 am and couldn’t get back to sleep, so gave up and decided to start my day at about 4pm. Trying to work through a few items on the task list before I run out of steam, which typically happens when I get up so early.

Writing.

Not making great progress on this front, and I think I need to rededicate myself to the task. The process which I had in place before was working effectively, so I just need to pick that up again and drive this forward (which makes it sound less enjoyable than it actually is).

I received the edits on Weaver short story from the Editor over the weekend. Fully admit that I haven’t looked at it, and I’d like to start working on that today. The other item I have on the task list is completing the summary page for The Patriot story and then I can start circulating it around to publishing companies for feedback.

Photography.

Did some cost analysis this morning on buying a new PC in my current location versus waiting until I arrive at the next place before purchasing it. Along with the new camera equipment I’d like to start using Photoshop proper, or at least in tandem with Lightroom, and I need a more powerful PC for that. Surprisingly, it’s not that much more expensive here than there, but I think this is due to the sales which are going on right now.

The other issue I’m running into is on the warranty and support side. If I buy something here (or online from an unauthorised dealer like eBay or Amazon) and then transport it across international lines, I’ll lose the warranty. To get access to it, I’d need to ship the unit to someone here who would then have to get it serviced on my behalf. I think that’s more trouble than it’s worth and it may be best if I source a PC from a company which will provide support in my new location.

I also had another look at the system requirements for using Photoshop and I think my current rig is passable, at least in the short term. I’ll need to source a new PC eventually, but at least with this knowledge in hand there’s no pressure to pull the trigger on a more powerful rig now and I can look at pushing this out until later in the year. At the very least, it may be best start using it on my current PC and see if it meets my needs. If the answer is yes, then I’m good. If not then I’ll have a good idea what I need to take that next step and can then source it accordingly.

That’s another item completed from the task list.

Nikon D3400
1/80 sec
f/3.5
18mm
ISO 3200

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – Movie Review

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Director Zack Snyder has proved to be the Kryptonite of this new DC universe. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is classic Snyder: visually adept yet narratively and thematically senseless. With two of the most compelling and popular characters in the world, numerous questions about purpose and responsibility are aimlessly wasted. Throw in resplendent amounts of religious and political imagery, and way too many dream sequences, and what we’re left with is a sad mishandling of what should be a powerful and (ahem) entertaining film. The opening is fantastic, as we watch Bruce Wayne and others reel from the disasters perpetrated by Superman in Man of Steel. Unfortunately from there, things go downhill fairly quickly, as story clichés (Kryptonite) and lame coincidences (Bruce and Clark’s mom have the same name! Wow!) fill a convoluted plot. Worst yet, this “action” film is overstuffed with unending amounts of ethical speeches and monologues in place of actual character connections. DC’s desperation to right their own wrongs in the destruction in Man of Steel becomes embarrassing (“Luckily that island was deserted”). Even when we aren’t being lazily spoken at or having our emotions ineffectively manipulated, the set-pieces are largely insipid and boring. As for the pluses, Affleck is great as Batman, giving a unique turn as a sloppier, older, and angrier Dark Knight. Also, for the very little we see of Gadot’s Wonder Woman, it creates an excited eagerness for her stand-alone film. However, BvS as a whole has less in common with its positives than with Eisenberg’s poorly-casted Lex Luthor: frantic, ill-thought, desperate, and truly awful.

 

2 out of 5 stars

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