I picked up this Konica T3 from a thrift shop. It had markings inside that said it was once owned by Brian Minter.
I like it a lot, but I feel like it will take a while to master it. The indoors shots I took with the camera seemed to work best, for now. It's also the only SLR I have that has a wide angle-ish lens, which might explain why the indoor shots worked so well. I need to learn to fight the greys for the outdoor ones..
I picked up the Canon AE-1 from a guy on a Facebook group. It's a solid little camera with a working light meter. I love the photos it takes, but can't seem to quite hold the camera level most of the time. I need to figure out what's going on there.
Although I'm not out there playing the dating game at all, I keep Tinder on my phone (largely just to maintain my URL) and swipe right or left now and then. Lately I've been a little stunned at just how many people simply love camping. I mean, I like camping, but I don't love it. I'm not likely to do it without good company. I will choose music and culture over camping pretty-much every time. If I could live the "aspirational lifestyle," it's unlikely that I'd spend too much of it camping.
After getting kinda' disillusioned by all these supercamper profiles, this article in McSweeney's made me laugh out loud numerous times.
The satire is dead-on.
My intricately braided hair looks perfect even though I haven’t washed it in three days, and although I’ll tell you I love getting dirty, you will never actually see dirt on my person, unless it is artfully and strategically placed in a cute spot like highlighting my perfect cheekbones. I live in yoga pants and my activewear fits as though it’s been tailored because I did, in fact, get it tailored. I don’t dress like this because it attracts every amateur rock climber, mountain biking van lifer, kayak-wielding weekend warrior, and sentient pair of Chacos in a 15-mile radius. That’s just an unintended side effect that I happen to enjoy. I also love wolf dogs and being in the woods because no one can hear you scream.
I understand that people love the outdoors and some people really, really live for it. But the sheer prevalence of outdoorsy profiles makes me feel like getting to spend time outdoors is a matter of status, much like the ability to travel is, or perhaps one's gorgeously sculpted body, or perhaps their app-driven meditation routine, or perhaps their tanned skin, or the way their children are in clubs or on teams for every moment of the waking day.
There's something that discomforts me about filling so much time with deliberate activity. It's as if we've taken the way we've lost our ability to be bored and replaced that boredom with the image of personal completeness. As long as I can fill my time with being outside, I will be happy. And I can post this to my Instagram feed or to my dating profile and I will be happy. I can't quite put it into words, but it's a tone that feels... just a little dishonest.
Or I'm just a dick because I don't live that lifestyle. I mean, I guess I kinda' could: I could find venues where I could play music every night, for example, and finally get my songs recorded and presentable. That would likely be what my own aspirations would look like.
And perhaps then... I would pummel my own feeds and dating profiles with my life goals.
Susanna Emerson, in her article about the Aspirational Lifestyle, which may have been the first place where I jived with the term, writes,
Political implications aside, featuring “the aspirational lifestyle” on an Instagram feed isn’t about sharing joy. Authenticity is missing. It’s not a case of, “I’m having so much fun, and want you to be able to join me in my glee” or even “I just got a Vespa and it’s the best thing to happen to me!” It’s more like: “Admire me for the things I have.” Or better yet, “jealous, aren’t you?” There’s a sinister undertone to the story the aspirational character is telling, and it’s is the same one underneath most advertising campaigns: “Just in case you hadn’t realized, you’re not good enough.” In ad campaigns, a product swoops in to solve your problems and make you good enough. On Instagram, there’s usually not always option for immediate relief, but aspirational posts sure do beget copycats (hence the ubiquity of yacht shots and acai bowls).
When I see all these dating profiles that just say "camping, camping, camping," I can't help but feel a little bit of that jealousy—for a lifestyle wherein one has enough time to go camping regularly—and I long, just a little bit, for that sort of freedom with my time.
And that time may come. I recently finally invested in a tent and sleeping bag for myself, so I'm on my way there. I'm on my way to being able to say "yes" to camping.
As for choosing to go out on my own... I'll still choose a good gig.
I think it might be time to get back on the antidepressants. I've been on them before and I haven't taken any for quite a few years, but I think it's time to get back for a bit.
I've been trying to do the things I've been told to do: I've been physically active, running and hiking; I've been pursuing my interests by playing music, trying to record music & trying to take interesting pictures; I've been visiting friends and family who love me and whom I love in return; I've been trying to get out there in the world and talk with people in public; I've been trying out new activities, like camping and spending time at the gym; I've varied my responsibilities at work, even joining up with the school's Pro-D committee.
However, I'm still having trouble climbing out of this hole. Usually Spring lifts my spirits a bunch, but right now it's just not happening. Despite the list above, I'm also doing a lot of laying around, I'm barely able to focus at work, and I'm not really enjoying anything I've been doing. I haven't been calling people to chat. I think the symptoms point pretty directly to depression.
And, as much as I've tried to deal with it myself, my doctor agrees.
In such progressive circles as my own, it's not supposed to be a stigma to take antidepressants. In fact, people seem to laud those who admit to taking antidepressants. In the popular media, Mental Health Awareness Days are legion and it's supposed to be something we can talk about and articulate. On social media, people vulnerable enough to admit to taking antidepressants seem to be lauded as "brave" in their respective networks.
But the stigma's there in spite of it. I, for example, have been checking job boards while simultaneously thinking about taking antidepressants, fearing that admitting it will reflect poorly on my to prospective employers. It's a little nerve-wracking. Am I brave for taking them, or am I unstable? I can't quite tell.
But I also dislike the idea of taking antidepressants in the first place. Running, doing activities you love, visiting with friends, etc.. it should be enough. But for now it isn't. I can go for a run, but my brain still spins as soon as I stop; I can play guitar, but my sessions get shorter and shorter. My current methods, myriad as they are, haven't been working, no matter what I think. I may not like taking antidepressants, but it's probably in my best interest that I do.
There's one catch here, of course. The dominant feature of my life is my kids, and they live ever so far away right now. We're still sorting that out. And although I might be able to move closer one day, the "limbo" I'm in right now is nothing short of dominant in my mind. This separation/divorce process is exhausting to say the least. No amount of endorphins from a 10km run can distract my brain from trying to compensate for that distance, for this separation.
So perhaps it's time to get a little bit of a pick-me-up from some antidepressants. Perhaps that's a little bit fair.
I have a certain obsession with my relationship with smartphones. I love it but hate it; I avoid it but it fills up my time way too much.
We gave our eldest child a smartphone back in 2014 or so. They use it a lot. It's the main way that I'm able to communicate with my kids right now.
But I also feel like it's taken over their life. And this article points out the deeper problem... that I've let the smartphone do parenting for me. That's where my sense of guilt comes from.
A couple weeks ago, while I was working out at the gym, I really messed up my shoulder. It was painful enough that I missed a day and a half at work. I've gone to a few chiropractor appointments and am taking physio to take care of it as much as I can. I finally talked with my doctor yesterday and he identified it as my deltoid muscle. I think. To be honest, I can barely remember, even though I've been to all these specialists. I still haven't memorized my muscle groups enough to talk about them.
A couple years ago, I expressed to my sister-in-law that I don't get sick very often. I think we were talking about sick days. She told me that my brother also was like that, but as he's gotten older he's gotten sick more often. And I thought, Hmm... 9 years' difference... I got time.
But apparently I don't. I've most certainly gotten sick more often this year. Enough that I empathized far too much with the following stand-up routine from CBC radio:
It's funny, though, just how much my stupid shoulder messed with my ability to do basic things:
If anything, it's a reminder that I'm getting old and need to take care of myself. This was another strange thing about it: I don't have a partner/sounding board to tell me to get to treatment when I should. Instead, I waited until things were bad enough that I couldn't sleep at all, bad enough that I couldn't work. It's strange to need to take care of myself completely this way. I am going to need to learn how to be more comfortable with my own body, in my own skin, if I'm going to get by successfully as a bachelor.
Fortunately, last night I did my first run since the injury. It felt good, even if I ran really, really slowly. But it's good to get my body working again.
One step at a time.
YouTube: ephemeral ideas
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