Greetings and/or salutations, whichever you prefer, but don’t be greedy.
How’s everyone? Have you been well? I hope so.
The new year is off to an interesting start…mostly thanks to you guys. The response to the first volume of this newsletter was amazing to me. Thank you.
I’ve found a new show to love. Backstrom.
Stars Rainn Wilson and Dennis Haysbert. It’s new and unusual, based of a book series I now intend to track down, and just plain good. I say it’s new, but it’s really not. It’s a classic story, oddball detective who is smarter than everyone else, massive jerk. Done in a coarse, unapologetic way that’s different from what’s being offered up now. I like it. Check it out. It will probably die soon because it’s on Fox and on Thursday nights against some stiff competition.
Gotham, Arrow, and the Flash came back with a vengeance this January, picking up right where they left off for winter break. Each has a different flavor of the comic book story, and each is pleasant.
Flash had the most perfect comic book style super hero fight in Revenge of the Rogues, while Arrow delivers chills and suspense as Starling City falls apart in the turmoil of Oliver’s absence.
Gotham continues to do two things perfectly – establish Jim Gordon as the hot scalpel working to cut corruption from the city and show the wounds of Gotham as they fester into the city that creates the Batman.
Premiering in January, we also finally got to see Agent Carter, which just received the high blessing of the Stan Lee cameo in this week’s episode. I want to like the show…I really, really do, but they’ve got to give me something to work with here. I loved the Marvel one-shot Agent Carter, the 12 minutes of sheer gumption and badassery that set Carter up to be the premier field agent and founder of SHIELD. However, the series seems to have undone all the strides made in those 12 minutes and taken a step back, which I’m not happy about. It feels like the show is about to work its way back up to the point we reached in the one-shot, so I’m hopeful moving forward. I’d probably like it more if I hadn’t seen the one-shot. I’m probably too biased and expect too much from it.
More episodes from these series: Constantine, Galavant, FaceOff on SyFy, Prince of Tennis, Date A Live, Black Lagoon, Captain Earth, The Assets, Leverage, True Detective, Luther, Log Horizon, Durarara!! x2, Aldenoah.Zero2, & Cross Ange.
January has mostly been filled with television and anime (more on that in a moment) but I have been able to watch a few films.
I got a freebie from Redbox and used it to rent The Maze Runner. Overall, I did like it and think the story is great – will also be tracking down these books – but I was mostly disappointed in that I felt it didn’t live up to its potential. It was good, but I believe it could have been so much better.
Mostly though, I was distracted by the comparisons and connections I kept making to dungeons in Legend of Zelda. To me, that’s a definite sign it could have done a stronger job keeping me engaged.
Another good find at the box, Begin Again starring Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley. Nicely done film that got little in the way of attention. Don’t let the presence of Adam Levine and Ceelo dissuade you from checking it out. Very musical in nature and an interesting concept for a story. Great acting and characters.
Don’t bother with A Walk Among the Tombstones.
Also watched: Automata & Chinatown
Five Ghosts. Picked up this graphic novel and was highly satisfied. Good story, fast paced, doesn’t waste time, and builds intrigue quickly. Loved the art. Reminds me of Indiana Jones.
Finished up all the available Alex Verus novels by Benedict Jacka. Remarkably good. I want more. Give me more. Now please.
Looking to start The Arrivals by Melissa Marr next. Update: So far, first chapter, I’m hooked. Very nice. I like books that begin with page 1.
Don’t really feel like literary analysis at this point though, so moving on.
I’ve been entirely fascinated by Man at Arms the last few days and have watched almost all the videos on their channel.
It’s really simple. Skilled blacksmiths create real versions of movie, TV, and anime weapons. My favorites so far are the scissor blade from Kill La Kill made from real scissors and Elucidator from Sword Art Online. Gorgeous weapons. I like sharp things.
That’s pretty much everything I’ve stuffed in my eye-holes the last month
Speaking of making things. I’ve taken all that visual story-stuffage and churned part of it into something that I call The Good, the Bad, and the Screwy.
First to be unveiled of my many forthcoming video projects, GBS focuses on anime. My friend Max and I watch series both great and terrible as we explore this unusual genre. Pardon the awkward host, I’m certainly not a natural on camera, but that’s why I do it…to overcome my fears and be able to express myself better in person. It’s painful, but I’m making progress. The unfortunate side effect of me being in front of the camera means I’m not behind the cameras…so the show’s just going to be your standard three cameras on sticks. Not very visually interesting…but I can’t do everything. It’ll get better when I’m in my studio and can focus more on content rather than just making it work.
Also, principle photography began Wednesday for the documentary I’m DP-ing for my friend Sean. I’m staying entirely behind the cameras for this one, so it’ll look beautiful. A Ninja on a chicken foot is a beautiful thing.
We’re taking a look at the Vape boom…how it’s risen in popularity so quickly over the last few years, the controversy surrounding it – both legal and health related – and the sub culture that’s sprung up around it. Did you know that they actually hold competitions to see who can create the largest vape clouds? They’re called Cloud Chasers.
We need some help though, to make this documentary a reality. Do you have a strong opinion for or against vaping and would you be willing to share it on camera? Do you know anyone who does? Do you know anyone in a position of knowledge or authority who would be willing to be interviewed for this? Doctors, lawyers, civic leaders, business owners? Do you know anyone who has used it to quit smoking? Do you know of anyone who never smoked before who picked up vaping?
We’re trying to finish shooting this before the first of March for submission into a film festival.
Aside from those two projects, I have a few more things in development…just waiting
Months tick by and we’re still waiting.
Great progress has been made…but…
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Quick update. 5 are in the wild, 1 awaiting delivery, 1 waiting for me to pick it up and mail it off.
I’ve been informed that one has already found its way to a new home…so it’s working…at least sort of. The new people still need to check it in. But it’s working. People are getting the idea and getting on board with it.
It would seem I set off a small firestorm with my post about “the Skeptic” (as Tim likes to refer to this individual) earlier this month.
It really wasn’t my intent to throw them under the bus, but I do thank you all for honking…your support means the world to me. As does the fact that you value my skill.
All this fuss and fallout from a joke about a selfie stick.
This individual did speak in ignorance in an off handed remark that really didn’t mean much, except it just irked me. As I believe every other creative was irked. Anyone in a non-traditional field knows this story.
The most important thing I want to come from the situation is to understand that anyone in a creative pursuit has a time ratio of anywhere from 3:1 to 5:1 or more. Three+ hours of behind the scenes work for any one hour with the client. The client is only present for the one hour and believes that’s what they’re being charged for, but that’s not the case. There’s travel, editing, presentation, office work, writing newsletters, and many other things that go into making a creative presence felt, into telling the story.
It’s a hard thing to put in terms people outside these fields will understand, and that’s what I originally wanted the post to do. Educate people.
The Skeptic knows I do good work, like all of you know as well, they just were misinformed of how the world works. Now they know…
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I’ve only taken one photo this month, and it was a selfie. What do you think?
Yes. I finally broke down and made a self portrait. I also decided I like the color better since it’s warmer and more lively, despite the purple catch lights in my eyes. I know the popular choice was the B&W, and I was leaning that way, but I’m going with my gut.
I had less than 20 exposures left on the card when I made this. I used all of them, though I used the third from final shot…which I actually didn’t like originally. Take a good look, it’ll be another decade before I do it again most likely. By then those grey streaks will probably be much more prominent.
It’ll do though. I needed something professional looking to convey myself as a professional in my profiles. When you’re asking for help, for connections, and for project funds, supporters want to see a face, not a hat.
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It’s my logo, it’s my mark, it’s the thing that has made people remember me.
Everyone recognizes the Hat. Wherever I go, people comment on it, compliment it, and tell me I look like ____________ (fill in the blank with anyone from Indiana Jones to the Undertaker). Even now, five years later, the first remark most go for is “I like your hat.”
The Hat is magical. I take it off, and vanish. I wear it, people smile.
I’ve always wanted a nice Hat. My grandfather wore them with style, and so of course I wanted one of my own. But it had to be right. I’m very particular when it comes to some things. Hats just weren’t in style as they used to be, drastically limiting the selection, and the ones that were made me want to vomit. They were just plain ugly. I needed to find something classic, with a proper brim, that wasn’t a cowboy hat, or something that looked like a goose’s beak.
I looked for quite a while. The fact that I have a large melon didn’t aid my quest, but one day I just got lucky.
Rather anti-climactic, but I found it at the mall in Dillard’s department store. A humble, unassuming black wool fedora, size 2x, on sale $51. It fit. It looked good. And it was practical.
It rained that day. Poured like the Dickens. I put my Hat on and walked out of the mall and haven’t looked back.
I’ve worn it almost every day since. It flew with me to Australia soon after I found it, and I wore it everywhere. It’s been to the UK where it met its nemesis…the bloody Scottish wind. I stepped off the train in Edinburgh and nearly immediately the wind grabbed my Hat lustily and ripped it off my head. I learned then why Deerstalkers were invented and used despite the silliness of their look. The wind in Scotland means business. It’s going to rip away any hat not tied to your head. Yes, I do have a Deerstalker from Tweed. It and my Hat are friends. I also have cashmere wool gloves from my time in the Hebrides. They are the gloves I wear when I need to shoot outside in winter. There’s even a hole in the right index finger for shooting. Warmest, softest, fuzziest, nicest gloves I’ve ever had. Worth every pence of the 15 pounds I spent on them.
The only other place my Hat was not worn, but rather safely tucked away in my vest, was during my trek into the fog of the Golden Gate Bridge to capture Vanish. A wicked wind it was to rival even that of the Scottish Banshee…and a damn forlorn place that bridge is. On a bright clear day, I’m sure it’s a lovely trip, but when the bridge is hidden in gloom, with the wind trying to rip your soul away over the un-fenced edge of the bridge…it is oppressive to say the least, eerily inviting for the wayward…and I did not want it to claim my Hat.
I do own another Hat. Acquired from the North Beach (original) location of Goorin Bros. in San Francisco, this is my Fancy Hat. I’ve only worn it on a few special occasions, and it is not so well traveled. I just can’t seem to wear a hat other than my Hat.
I do highly recommend Goorin Bros. if you are in need of a Hat though, they make damn fine Hats.
I have my Hat. Found it about a year after I got my first camera. Things were coming together. It’s protected me everywhere I’ve gone.
The rest is just another story to tell.
Here on the Roundabout.
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