I never want to do a daily project again.
I've never been a super organized person. I go through phases, but I'm usually better at making a mess than cleaning one up. It's all well and good until the mess piles up, then I hit a breaking point, clean it, and start all over again.
I've been pseudo-organized with my 365 projects; the files for the corresponding year are poorly named and not ordered numerically, but they sit safely tucked away in that particular year's folder. The Vlog was my magnum opus of organization: each day was assigned to that day's folder with all the footage and photos from that day. If it weren't for that project's 2 TB of size, it would be almost nearly perfect to archive and store.
The podcast, due to its infrequency, has also been pretty easy to organize.
The 4 years of photo projects, however, with thousands of unorganized and poorly named files has been the bane of the last week. It may even take weeks to fully complete this project.
What have I learned through this?
1. Organize as you go. Don't be lazy about file management. Otherwise, the ground will crack open and you will fall into the pit of data transfer hell where you will be moving hundreds of GBs of files and the power will go out and make you have to start all over if your hardrive survives the surge. It has quickly become a Sisyphean task.
2. You can never have enough hardrives, but I'm grateful it's 2016 and not 1986. Instead of a tower of boxes full of prints taking up an entire room in my house, I have about 7 little boxes sitting on my desk. It's amazing how cheap storage is these days. Another 5 years from now, no telling how many of these I'll have.
3. Delete the multiples, don't delete the seemingly-useless snapshots. I have a lot of bad photography on my hardrives, including those crappy iPhone photos. What I've found, the more time that passes the more meaningful those useless snapshots are. Those impulsive video clips that you record will actually have value to you in about 5 years. It's not the well-produced and polished photos and videos that are as much worth keeping as the accidental little moments you've totally forgotten about. I've gotten more enjoyment looking through my smartphone pics than anything else during this process.
I've developed this need to make everything sharable. There's a ton of stuff I never post because it may be an inside joke or just a small, unimportant moment. This habit has really gotten me to only take a photo or video when the time is right for something "good". I take way less snapshots and clips than ever before, because my mind has shifted towards the self-serving virtual shrine that I have created. (don't worry, i'm not going to delve into the tired discussion about how social media has changed us or whatever college-level insight into the world that I can get by smoking "that good stuff")
The two months since my vlog ended, I'm trying to build my old habits back. I want to archive, document, and catch little moments that were meant to be forgotten. I've been trying to shoot random clips of Anna decorating the Christmas tree or my dog torturing a bug. Things that will be valuable to me or even my future children (this is not a revelation that we are having a baby) down the line.
It's funny too, because the one place I feel comfortable taking those snapshots is Snapchat. And guess what? They disappear after 24 hours! They won't be able to accrue any sort of value because I usually forget about them after adding them to my story. If we only shared the grody photos with Snapchat, how could historians find out anything about us? All the tiny real memories will be gone, but the fake, well-put together memories will be all we have left.
"What is it, Xardox, what did you find?"
"It seems this tribe worshipped a huge white wall."
"A what? A wall?"
"Yes. If I had to guess, this frothy, appetizing liquid was used as some sort of hallucinogen so their minds could project all sorts of images on this "wall"."
"Hmmm. I see. And maybe they all wear the same hats and tattered sackcloths as some sort of humbling ritual?"
"It would seem that way, Zarthenu. It would seem that way."
Wow, turns out this did become an uninspired observation about social media that much resembles how one would discuss it should they be on "the grass". Anyway, take more snapshots of family and friends. Keep them to yourself. Pull them up in a couple years. Enjoy. Repeat.
That's what my week has been. One part pain in dealing with my chaotic and unorganized past self, and one part nostalgia for the fun times that "Past Will" had.
Until next time, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, and Merry Christmas!
This the first AFAIK where I wrote an entire post, hated it, and started completely over. Probably won't be the last either.
It's here again, somehow.
I feel like I was just driving down to see my family and making the mistake of driving the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Anna, Kevin, and I were at each other's throats, as a 6 hour drive became a 9 hour drive in the pouring rain. That was officially a year ago, and probably the last time it rained around here.
Here we are, Thanksgiving 2016.
Despite the dark social climate, I have plenty to be thankful for. Personally, it's been a challenging, but happy year overall. If you've been watching my 300 day long vlog, you would know that I gained a niece, made some new friends, got closer to my family, and had a lot of fun along the way.
It's hard not to sit back and look at your life and realize just how fragile and short it all is. Forgive the cliché, but it's really hard to brush any of these feelings off on a day entirely based on "thankfulness".
I'm thankful for everything I have, because I simply don't deserve it. It's almost like God encased me in a protective barrier of great people who help me stay in place. I have a great job, a wonderful wife, a cute dog, a bunch of close family (some of which live near by). I've never been completely alone.
I don't really know where to go from here. All I know is I'm deeply thankful, that it's impossible to put into words. (man, what's with the clichéd writing today?)
Be thankful for what you got. We're conditioned to think we don't have much unless we're super rich and successful. As far as love and experiences go, I'm doing pretty well. Sometimes I try, but I really have a hard time being discontent these days. Yeah sure, Starbucks made me a vanilla latte (super disgusting) instead of what I actually ordered, maybe I'm having a little trouble with interesting word flow today, and quite certainly almost all the photos I've taken over the past year have been uninspired. It doesn't matter. My small complaints and gripes, like most things in life, are completely unimportant.
This all feels mushier than wet socks. That's Thanksgiving for ya.
On another note, The 365 with Will Malone featuring Kenneth Burke is out and about, early for the long weekend. Go subscribe, rate it, and hopefully enjoy. I feel like we're getting back into a podcasty stride. Just wait, the next episode will be our opinions on music that the kids are listening to these days. Should be fun. Can't wait to go on about how much better my music tastes are than everyone else's.
Anyway, on to Christmas now I suppose. I might be making a new video this weekend as well. Guess we'll see if I have the will to create anything after the Iron Bowl. (War Eagle)
Don't mind the Christmas hat, but I figured since the mall has Christmas stuff up, so can I. Anyway, enjoy this early release of The 365 where Kenneth and I discuss the ideas in the book Contagious, climbing the Himalayas, and why we're all just mindless lemmings on this chessboard of life.
It took a couple episodes to get back into a podcasting stride, but I feel like we're getting there. Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!
I went by myself on Monday to go see Arrival, hoping that I could basically pay $8 for inspiration for my weekly blog post. While my head is swirling with ideas, I got way more from this movie than I could have ever expected. I'm not going to spoil anything in this post, but you should go see this movie.
The past week on the internet has been a hellscape. I don't know why I'm surprised, but between the people who are depressed about our Trumpy president and the people who are claiming that Trump is a symbol for American renewal, I had to take a step back.
Often times, when someone ditches Facebook they wanted to be lauded as a hero. Usually, their post starts off much like this one and what follows is summed up as "At the end of the day, I realized I'm better than you internet-obsessed lemmings. I'm off to go fulfill my greater calling now."
I don't want to come off in that high-roady way because I'm not actually leaving Facebook or Twitter, I have just made it much easier to avoid by removing the apps from my phone. Like I've said before, you are what you eat, and when everyone is sharing trash in my newsfeed it takes every fiber in my being to not respond with trash right back. Reading and commenting on this garbage does affect you in real life, despite our feelings of it all being compartmentalized to the virtual world. Myself and many others' have become bitter and depressed over the past few months based purely on the what they take in online.
Let's be real, we are consumers, and the internet is a platter being served to us without our having to get up. We have to go out of our way to experience and consume something good.
What I'm talking about is watching or reading something when you're not in the mood. Say you've been deep diving into the depressing nature of the election. You've been reading trash all day, so you just want to unwind with something light. You go into Netflix and what do you do? You probably go watch Ghosts of Girlfriends Past or something. Most likely, trash. Because it's easy to take in.
On Monday, that was the situation I was in. After coming off of a 7 day work week, I really wanted to lay on the couch and watch whatever took the least amount of brain power. If you walked into my living room, I would appear like a host in diagnostic mode (with clothes on), totally shut off to the real world.
This went on for a while, but I eventually got up and forced myself to get up and go see something worthwhile.
I feel like many of us believe the fallacy that all movies, tv, books, and music need to be entertainment or fun. If it is not fun, then it is written off. I believe, however, we almost shouldn't enjoy (in the plainest sense of the word) many movies/books/tv. Not all books or movies are meant to be entertainment, but if we only see them that way than we end up missing out on a lot. It's like if you came home to unwind from a long day and ate an entire pizza. Imagine doing that every day. You become a worthless blob. Well, by watching formulaic, procedural network television every day, you're eating a mind-pizza every day. We need a salad every once in a while.
(this argument falls flat because i hate salad and often don't eat it. also pizza is way better than formulaic network television. ignore my flimsy argument and move on)
That's why I saw Arrival. I didn't necessarily want to see it. I kept having flashbacks of the Keanu Reeves remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still, and almost expected Arrival to be a commercial for some sort of social agenda since that is the purpose of much scifi these days. You know, the whole "humans are the real villain of this story" thing. There might have been a little of that in Arrival, but I did not leave with such a lesson in my head. What I watched was an incredibly well-told story about parenthood and the art of language. It was a Nolan-esque film, but like the good kind of Nolan-esque not the Dark Knight Rises/Interstellar Nolan-esque. (Maybe I'll make an AFAIK about my hatred for Dark Knight Rises one day)
Arrival wasn't necessarily entertainment, although it certainly could check that block, but rather, an art piece. The editing, the cinematography, and the writing was nothing short of beautiful. It was an experience, one that took brain power, one that could not be taken in passively.
I often sound crazy for making such assertions. I have no doubt that I will get messages from people saying I've oversold the movie, or they just didn't get it, or it was boring or whatever. Often times I go into a movie wanting something from it, and it gives me nothing back. This time, I went in expecting nothing, and I got something incredible, something unexpectedly intricate. It hit me in the right way at the right time. Maybe if it was midnight on a weekday I wouldn't have been able to stay awake and it would have simply been a well-conceived lullaby. But rather, it was Monday at 2pm, so I was present.
I often recommend Breaking Bad, and most of the time people say it was too slow or violent or something. To me, it was an incredible story about a man's ego destroying him and his family. It was an illustration that hit me at the right time and place in life. The ride was entertaining, dark, but all of it was necessary to the story. If a man's head being crushed by ATM is all you see, then you won't be able to get to the valuable message of this story.
We have to be willing to learn something or take something away. It's a choice. For instance, on the next episode of the podcast, Kenneth and I are discussing Contagious by Jonah Berger. It's not a book I would normally read. It's more in Kenneth's wheelhouse of being more of something I would get assigned in a business class. I wanted to get something out of it, even if it didn't interest me on the face. Turns out, after finishing the book, I learned a hell of a lot. Normally, I would glaze over at book like this (and probably would have it a professor assigned it to me), but I wanted something out of it.
Just to be clear, there's a place for "mind-pizza" (unless it's network television. i don't like network television). I watched London Has Fallen this week while writing this. Maybe I'm a hypocrite. All I'm saying is that if you find your self miserable in this consumer-y age, maybe take a look at the things you surround yourself with. Take some things away, bring some things in that you wouldn't have before. We are going to watch/read/listen to things constantly nowadays (we almost have no choice), might as well make them good and worthwhile.
Welcome to my weekly blogging series: AFAIK (As Far As I Know) If you want to read last week's entry and find out the origin of the name of this series, click here.
The election is over, as is my career of starky Twitter comments. I'm not interested in whining about or praising the results of the election anymore. What's done is done. Let's move on. Let 2017 worry about itself.
I've become somewhat of what could be considered a maniac on Twitter. It's the perfect outlet for me in the worst of ways.
The world seems feel the same sharing impulse that I do with this "up to the minute" social network.
Except, most of the world doesn't actually use Twitter.
In the same vein where we feel the impulse to preach to our Facebook friends about abortion or Bernie Sanders or our new orange overlord, it's mostly to no avail because we keep ourselves tucked away in these bubbles of our own design.
We are what we eat. The Facebook friends you allow into your virtual corners are vetted by YOU. If you don't like them, you ignore their friend request. If someone posts an opinion you don't like, you unfollow or block them. We are able to wear blinders all the time. It would stand to reason that your article most likely won't change anyone's mind because you surround yourself with those that ALREADY AGREE WITH YOU.
I follow mostly liberals on Twitter. I'm a conservative, but many entertainers and journalists are liberal so I follow many of them. Many people who are my age tend to be liberal as well. I'm surrounded by it. I watch a ton of movies, and keep up with stuff in general. To me, the wave in this election was going to come from the democratic side.
They are louder, they have more media control, they are better with technology, and they are seemingly united around stopping new-Hitler.
Turns out, the internet made the liberal movement seem much bigger than the voting public proved it to be.
Twitter doesn't not represent the world as a whole, or even a large swath of it. It's only made up of annoying loud mouths like me that feel the need to soap box with some insightful link or quipy 140 character phrase.
A good example for me would be how I watch Westworld. (finally I get to talk about it!)
I listen to a Westworld podcast, read about it on Reddit and Twitter, so I (and my wife) spend a good bit of time picking it apart. The other day, I talked to someone about the show and what they had thought about it. I asked what they thought of a certain theory and suddenly, their mind was blown. That theory hadn't occurred to them, despite it being totally obvious to me. My way of watching Westworld is different than most, but I've surrounded myself with all this data that fooled me into thinking that the whole audience of Westworld picked up on the same things that I did.
I remember when fans of the comic book series, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World wanted a live action movie. Reddit and online forums begged for this movie for years. They got it, because the movie production studio saw that it had a big fanbase.
The movie ended up bombing. It made only $47 million worldwide. The production budget was $60 million. To put that in perspective, Doctor Strange made $85 million on its first weekend only in the US.
What does that tell us? The numbers of clamoring fans we are seeing online don't necessarily reflect reality.
That should be encouraging: I don't want the world to be Twitter. It's full of people like me who are extremely opinionated or people who are extremely opinionated who would never state their views in the real world. (Twitter does seem to be personified in the "Not My President" protests, however)
That said, Twitter does have about 320 million active users. That's pretty impressive, but compared to Facebook's 1.5 billion active users, Twitter seems like small potatoes.
This also should show how false polling data has been (which is an understatement). Is there even a possible way to capture what is actually going to happen in an election? A survey will always be skewed by how and where and how old the target is. The Clinton campaign had an impressive system for gathering data and seemed to have an impressive presence on social. Unfortunately, that didn't seem to help them much. Turns out, it doesn't matter how many 20-somethings you have on iPads.
Trust me, there's nothing wrong with groups. We are all part of a hive mind in some way or another. We just can't forget that the rest of the world exists and may believe something different than we do. We are only going to get deeper into our groups as algorithms and technology is now more tailor made to the individual than ever. I was just complaining the other day about how Apple Music gives me recommendations based on what I like, but it never suggests anything outside of my normal listening habits. That's kind of of the story of the moment right? If you surround yourself with fringy, virus-filled conservative websites, you probably will only be reading about other perspectives through your fringy, virus-filled conservative websites.
Watching NBC cope with this realization on Election night that all their data was taken from inside their bubble was stunning, and pretty comedic. They were suddenly like malfunctioning AI humanoids failing to recognize that anyone had different views than them. Chuck Todd was stuck in a loop tapping his giant iPad looking for a path for Hillary. *tap tap tap* "Maybe if she wins these...no" *tap tap tap* "These? Nope" *tap tap tap* "Dear God" *tap tap tap tap tap* "EVERYTHING I KNOW IS A LIE" *tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap*
For an ultra-connected world, we may not actually be that connected after all. In fact, as current events are beginning to prove, we may be less connected than ever.
I'm going to be writing weekly now (see explainer post). Why is this called AFAIK? To come up with a catchy name for this series I looked up a pdf of internet acronyms (like a n00b), and one of the first on the list was AFAIK: As Far As I Know. It's 100% not an acronym anyone on this planet has used ever, so obvi it's perfect for my purposes. I'm a 20-something, so all of these loud mouth blog posts can all be prefaced with "as far as I know". Kinda dumb, but that's kind of my brand by now, right?
If you’ve ever met me in person, you know I have a lot of things to talk about at any given time. You can probably imagine, then, how difficult it is to come up with a weekly post about a single thing. Probably a good discipline for me to learn. Let us begin!
I could apply a similar strategy to this website that I apply to my Twitter: Rant and rave about things I know next to nothing about. Instead, maybe I can begin to rebuild this blog by posting some insightful (ha) and more substantive writings that 140 characters will allow.
Instead of maybe going into political opinions, I’ll stick to something I know something about for the time being (Until such a case will appear that needs a healthy dose of my non-expertise).
Let’s talk photography for a moment.
Why now? “It’s a week before the election, let’s talk about that instead.”
“No!” *slaps own face* “Quiet, you!”
Speaking of Twitter, I was scrolling through Twitter and landed on a tweet that started a whole domino effect of thoughts on photography, life, and how no one and nothing is safe.
For reference, Jeremy Cowart is a pretty big photographer these days. You’ve probably seen his work before; he’s shot photos of Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, etc. Anyway, he’s great. Has an incredible artistic eye, and is just a regular family man. For the past few months, Jeremy has been promoting his next project: a hotel. I still have to splash water on my face when I hear that because it sounds insane: a photographer building a hotel.
Go look it up, it’s a cool idea and it will probably work out well for him. His concept behind his hotel is golden and works perfectly in this cultural moment we are in.
Here’s the part I want to hone in on: He’s backing off from photography a bit.
He’s not the first big photographer to shift their focus (no pun intended): Chase Jarvis did this a little while with his company Creative Live, an online workshop company. It’s a genius idea: take all of those photography and new-creative wannabes and get them to pay you to teach them how to make stuff. So perfect for today since everyone wants to be an artist of some kind.
As someone who works in the photography/videography/art industry, I’ve seen other successful photographers also taking this step back.
The photography world is evolving, like most worlds right now. No one is safe.
Back in, I don’t know, 2011 maybe, someone asked me what I was going to do after college. I said, “I’m gonna be a photographer, people will always need pictures.” I, like a lot of people for some reason right now, saw photography as an emerging market. One that will always exist, and one that has a chance of making me any money whatsoever.
I would say the one sector of photography that will probably last a little while longer as a career is wedding photography, but I’m already seeing iPhone 7 Portrait mode becoming a threat to that. Why pay $2000 for a person with a DSLR when your dad has one in his pocket?
That’s of course a little crazy, obviously dads aren’t going to suddenly weed photographers out of the job by jumping in with their iPhones. It’s, rather, what iPhone 7 portrait mode stand for. Before, you needed to spend $400+ to buy a camera to play the game. Soon, you won’t need to drop extra money for a ticket to ride the photography train, you’ll already be paying AT&T monthly and you’re good to go.
It’s all changed super fast as it is. I remember the day in 2007 when Steve Jobs announced an iPod, an internet device, and a new phone. SPOILER: it was just one device. Apps didn’t exist yet, and the camera on the device was a foggy mess. Now, it’s 2016 and an iPhone can almost completely simulate a DSLR. How much longer until the iPhone (or a competitor) comes out with a phone that IS a DSLR?
Who would have thought the taxi industry would be under fire from technological innovation with Uber and Lyft?
Who would have thought America would be voting between an egotistical orange and a criminal for president?
Everything is subject to change.
What we’re seeing now is photographers evolving their photography skills into tools for bigger and greater things. With so many photographers out there, it’s become grunt work, something almost anyone can do. Technology has made it easy, so of course, a lot of people are getting into it. A career that doesn’t seem to take much work? Great, sign me up.
“People will always need pictures” They just may not be paying for you to take them.
While living in the present we must be looking ahead. We don’t have time to look back.
Posting every day has lead me towards the unfortunately all too common habit of oversharing. Every time I have a feeling or bowel movement, I could impulsively share it because that's the name of the game.
I want to take time and pull back from constantly yelling and filling the internet with my garbage.
That's why I'm going to do something new.
I'm going to fill the internet with my garbage once a week.
This will give me a chance tweak a post all week long instead of 15 minutes when I'm raging about something. Maybe I can make something worthwhile and readable for once.
I'm planning on posting something every Friday. I'll take the week to come up with a catchy name for this segment.
Also, Happy Halloween!
2016 is a bad year for politics, the future of America, and movies.
I believe I've concentrated on politics enough so let's talk movies (and tv, because let's be honest, tv is better than most movies these days)
And yes, there are still two months to go, but there's really nothing big left other than Doctor Strange, Star Wars, and that sexy space movie with Chris Pratt (which I'm sure will be great). I can amend these lists at the end of year, but there's already so much to put in here I'm starting now.
Let's get the negatives out of the way first:
Biggest Disappointments (aka stuff I was really looking forward to and they were bad):
Batman v. Superman - why? why did this have to be bad? Ben Affleck as Batman was so cool but then Superman comes in and takes a steaming bummer crap on every scene. ugh.
Jason Bourne - expected an intelligent film like the last 3 and got the dumbest and most condescending-to-the-audience film we could have gotten.
Ghostbusters - it was a bad movie. Just really bad.
Independence Day - Now, I knew this wouldn't be a good movie, I thought at the very least it would be fun. This movie needed Will Smith.
Luke Cage - The acting and the writing was awkward and the pacing was weird. Like all the other Marvel shows it should have been 8 episodes long. I just couldn't get into it, and I really wanted to.
Black Mirror Season 3 - Ok so I still have 2 episodes left, but I've watched all of the ones that people raved about and I just wasn't into it. Nothing grabbed me like the previous seasons. "Nosedive" was just a commentary on a boring, tired conversation about self-worth and the internet. "Playtest" is probably the only really good episode I've seen so far. That 80s episode was meh to me, but I think ultimately because I'm over this year's fascination with re-hashing the 80s (which I will get to later)
Based on the next few weeks, I may be adding Westworld to this list, we'll see.
Biggest Surprises (aka stuff I didn't know or care about and ended up being really great)
Swiss Army Man - One of my favorite movies I've seen. It's so weird and out there and totally un-ashamed of it. I can't recommend it to anyone because of how weird it is, but I assure you, it's great.
Hell or High Water - Didn't know anything about this movie until the week I saw it. It's a modern western (which I'm a sucker for), it's beautifully shot, and just a clean storyline. My favorite movie this year.
Weiner - Why would I have expected a documentary about Anthony Weiner to be good? Well it was great and I highly recommend it. Can't stop thinking about this one.
Westworld - A scifi western with Anthony Hopkins in it. There's even a Hemsworth in here! So far, each episode has been stunning and well-paced. Kind of getting a Lost-y vibe from it which scares me. This show could end up amazing or like Lost. We'll have to see.
Atlanta - I wasn't surprised that this show was good tbh because Donald Glover was at the helm. It's tonally unlike anything I've ever watched; the overall vibe of the show did surprise me. It's so funny, kind of dark, and just out-there. I love everything Donald Glover makes, so again, I was hooked before I even saw it.
Stuff I Just Wasn't Into:
Stranger Things - I get why people like it, it's a fine show. It didn't stick with me, I didn't think the acting was that great, and I was tired of being constantly slapped in the face by the 80s. I thought the ending was "meh" and I really wish there wasn't going to be another season. Should have been an anthology show.
Bloodline - Liked how it's basically dark Parenthood, but the second season just didn't grab me like the first. It was fine.
All shows about New York hipsters
The best stuff:
Game of Thrones: obvi
Better Call Saul - Bummed that no one talks about this show. It's delightful, fun, and part of the Breaking Bad universe. I feel like only my mom and I watch this show. It keeps getting renewed so whatever I guess. If you've seen Breaking Bad, watch this show.
Halt and Catch Fire - Ok ok, it's an 80s period piece. The first season is "meh" but everything that follows it is a masterpiece. The show is set in the 80s but doesn't feel the need to remind you that constantly. The final season comes out next year.
Captain America: Civil War - I'm a sucker for Avengers movies and this was the best one yet. No surprise there
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping - It's like Spinal Tap in 2016. It's hilarious. Literally no one saw this movie and that's kinda sad, because it was a glimmer of light in the dark summer movie season.
So I realized after making this list how it appears that I watch stuff every second of the day. What's funny is that I watched significantly less this year than ever. This list is probably 95% of what I've watched this year, and most of it just happened over the past few months. Oh well, I'm ok with being seen as a nerd with no life. I can handle your insults. Come at me.
Who really ever has a plan? We all have our dreams for the future, and ideas for what we want. Certainly, though, plans almost never really work out.
If my life went as planned up to this point I'd probably be....somewhere? No idea, but it probably wouldn't be that great. I made a lot of plans based on emotion and immaturity, and fortunately those were stopped at every turn.
Anyway, I spent the 5 years with a simple layer of a plan: Get good at something at all costs. So I took a photo every day. (Then I moved to video, but that's just moving pictures so for all intents and purposes let's just say it's the same thing)
Why couldn't I learn to code every day or do something useful? Photography is easy and entertaining. I could feel accomplished with doing very little work. That's the place where it all started.
Fast-forward to 5 years. I'm good at photography, slightly less crappy at video, and I've made a little money from the two. I've definitely grown in these departments.
Here I am now, much less well-rounded than before. Photography/Video is an integral part of "my thing", but I have to find something else. I stopped reading, I stopped writing, and my attention span has shrunk. Writing this post is an addictive release in and of itself. I feel like I have to post all the time.
Is that a thing? Post-addiction?
The past couple days have been a struggle. I don't know what to do with myself. The only thing I can think is to get used to "going dark" or at least significantly shrinking my voice online for a little while. I have a stack of books to read anyway.
Alright you caught me, this is a poorly organized plug for my podcast, The 365 with Will Malone featuring Kenneth Burke.
Episode 41 is out November 1, and we talk all this stuff, so get ready. It'll be my monthly outlet to address the internet like the vlog allowed me to do every day. Kenneth just recommended some books that we will talk about in Episode 42 as well so I'm looking forward to turning some non-virtual pages again.
I took portraits every day for a year.
Probably my hardest challenge at the time, and I'm actually really proud of this series. It took a lot of work and I feel like I really found a niche in photography I truly enjoyed. Probably my favorite project I've done yet.
In this project, I graduated college, got married, went to Miami for the first time, went to Hawaii again, and Anna and I moved into our first apartment.
Like my 5th 365, I did not complete this one. I made it to day 200 and something. Due to family issues and school ramping up, I lost track of pretty much everything.
But we're good, because I redeem myself in the next 365 project.
As promised, here is a slideshow looking back at my very first 365 project:
That was a busy year. I met Anna in the last week of that project. The day after I ended it, I fell asleep at the wheel and wrecked my car. Wild times.
This morning, I uploaded my final vlog:
Like I said in the video, my life just can't sustain the "daily publishing" requirement of the my series of projects. That's ok.
To be honest, I'm not upset. It was very taxing and took a crazy amount of work to keep this going for 5 years. The fact that I made 300+ videos this year is a miracle.
"The 365" as we know it today is over. That's a big deal for me.
In fact, I don't think it really hit me how big of a deal it is until writing this.
"The 365" was my first big project. It helped me grow in an uncountable amount of ways. When it started, I wasn't making any money from photo or video, I wasn't good at photography, I didn't have a college degree, I wasn't married, I didn't even really know who I was. I just started posting crappy photos in hopes it would get me somewhere.
While doing a daily project, you don't feel the growth. You only feel it when you look back at 300 days and think about what all has changed over that period. It still shocks me.
I owe "The 365", I owe it a proper send off. I did it a little in the above video, but I need to do it right. I need to give each year the spotlight it deserves.
I'll be posting a retrospective, on Youtube and Instagram of each of the 5 years of this project. Then finally, I can put it to bed and start something new.
Who knew I'd make another vlogging update a day after the first one. Well, things have changed over the past 24 hours.
(See today's vlog:)
It looks like I'm going to end it at 300.
Between work, being married, and staying healthy, I'm finding very little reason to justify finishing this project. It doesn't do much of anything for me other than wear me out when I have way more important things I need energy for.
It takes at least 4 hours out of each day to make these daily videos, and I desparately want and need that time back to spend time with Anna.
300 videos is insane. Making another 66 at this point seems like un-needed stress. I know I could do it, but at what cost?
I haven't had a full/great nights sleep in months. I go to bed at obscene hours just to get these videos out.
I just need time away. Time away from the internet, time away from my camera, time away from my computer, and time away from making anything. I was hoping to do all that next year but I can't think of a reason not to just do it all now. Life is too short.
Every time I've taken a break from a 365 project, I come back with fresh eyes and my work is elevated and different stylistically. All my stuff feels kind of stale to me right now (photography included) and I just want to walk away and think of new ideas.
Let the week to 300 begin.
Obviously, I haven't been updating the website that I have named after me, due to having too much on my plate. A huge side dish on said plate is this video project I've been working on, AKA, my biggest 365 project yet.
And let me tell you, it's getting tougher by the day.
Capturing your day to day with photos or videos is nothing new, in fact, "vlogging" can be a career now. The more I vlog, the less I understand how these full-time vloggers do what they do. I don't understand how they can look at themselves and convince themselves that what they're doing is worth watching. Granted, their lives are far more interesting than mine. Getting paid to make a video about yourself probably helps too.
I'm addicted to documenting things. As seen by my Polaroid Panels, I love keeping track of the changes from year to year. I love sharing them as well. I've reached a point however, where I would like to curate more of what I share and leave out the unnecessary stuff.
Vlogging at the beach was fun, and I had fun coming up with videos in that change of scenery. The stress comes with facing this week, knowing I'm nearing 300 and having to figure out how to make a video out of my boring, daily routine.
Last night, my mother and I had a great phone call in which we vented about the world's problems and discussed how tired we are of the internet in 2016. We're tired of all the unnecessary political posts, and just the depressing nature of our daily social feeds.
With all this vlogging business, I'm having to be exposed to the internet every. single. day. and can't escape it. Being an "internet person" takes a toll on your morale. I told her I'll probably take a 2-3 month hiatus from the internet come 2017. She said her solution was to watch West Wing where she is reminded of a simpler time with far less depressing writing and much more civility.
I want to get back into reading books. I want to get back into writing. I want to take a break from making things and come back with fresh eyes. I want to quit watching myself do boring shit. I want to quit sharing the videos of me doing boring shit.
But I only have two full months left, and after already completing almost 10 months of videos, I think I can do it. I just don't know what kind of person will come out at the other end of this thing.
(Can't believe after months of not blogging I'm writing about Trump. Life sure is strange)
Trump. The name no one can keep out of their mouth or off their computer screen.
A name that has brought sadness to many people and warped the minds of others.
A name that was a joke this time last year.
I'm not sad because a man like Trump is running for president (although that sucks in its own right).
I'm sad about something else, something I should have learned by now. There's been an ongoing theme in my life and the lives of many others close to me. The changing of worldviews and the obsolescence of beliefs (in this case, Christian beliefs) has been bothering me for the past few years.
Culture (mostly liberalism if I'm being honest) has declared that many Christian values aren't necessary anymore. What else is new? The Bible tells us that will happen, thus the "Be in the world and not of it" thing. However, many Christians and churches haven't fought back, but instead, in huge numbers, moved to listen to the culture's decrees about how Christians should be.
And guess what? It leads to people like me who has no place in telling anyone anything to write blog posts like this. Look what you made me do!
Listen, I'm no saint. I drink, watch R-rated movies (the most grievous of sins), and curse. I love many aspects of culture, just scroll through my Twitter or this website. To many Christians, I would probably be considered a bad dude. Well, actually after this week I've definitely been labeled a bad dude and a Pharisee.
I've watched people in my life change. I've felt left behind and confused as those I respect walk in a different direction. I'm sure I've changed a little, but overall I've pretty much held to the same stuff (hopefully).
Before continuing, you should read this piece by Jonah Goldberg, where he discusses Trump's "rectal ventriloquism" where he talks out of his ass and conservatives start preaching it. It almost perfectly captures how I've been feeling.
I've read some crazy articles this week, most notably this incredibly eloquent piece that essentially says those who don't support Trump are like those who killed Christ. (Can I get a big WTF?)
And this isn't the only article that says it's my Christian duty to vote for Trump that's popped up in my news feed this week. Or the only article that compares him with Biblical figures, saying he's just like them. True, God uses flawed people. With that same argument of God using Trump, he could be using Hillary as well.
The difference with Paul or some other great Christian leader is that one, they were Christians. I don't want to say for sure whether or not Trump is a Christian but he doesn't act like one. Two, the leaders of the Bible were repentant and aware of their sinful nature. Trump is not aware of himself in the slightest and brushes off his sexual assault recording as "locker room talk" (now I understand why I've always stayed out of locker rooms)
Trump is a sleezy old man, his "locker room talk" doesn't surprise me in the slightest. Neither does his infidelity. What surprises me is the "new" Christian response to this; the same Christians, by the way, that claim it's my duty to vote for this "flawed man" almost 100% called out and preached against Bill Clinton when he committed adultery. Now, many Christians I know (not all of course), are defending Trumps sexual mishaps, and not only that, but comparing him to David or Paul.
What this leads me to believe is that the true belief here is that America is God and the end all, and Christianity is the convenient lifestyle for an American to live, the tenets of which can be changed at any time.
I, first hand, have seen what sexual sin and infidelity does to everyone involved. It is by far one of the greatest abominations I have ever witnessed. The effects of which are still felt for years after. The idea that any Christian would defend that sort of behavior, no matter what the stakes are, is absolutely mind-blowing to me and deeply, deeply troubling.
That's it though. The new version of Christianity just came out, and in the list of bug fixes, sexual sin is no longer an issue. Can't wait to see what features come with the next update.
Yesterday, I mentioned how I was going to deal with my polaroids. Normally, when I make such a promise online, it usually isn't mentioned or fulfilled for weeks or months after. Today was an exception. I finished it 24 hours after saying I would do it.
Everyone needs a polaroid wall right? (There's no telling how expensive all of this film was all together)
I realized that I accidentally documented a whole phase of life that's pretty much over. I have a niece now, a totally different job, and a whole other set of relationships with people.
I suppose that means I need to stock up on polaroid film and start a new round of documentation.
Better start saving.
I'm a pretty weird guy, but my house doesn't reflect it.
Maybe it's because I'm a military kid, so I always have one foot out the door. I've moved every year for 5 years. This is actually the first year that I just stayed put. (Not that I have a deep love of my current apartment, I'm just tired of moving so it wasn't worth it)
I've kind of just lived out of a suitcase for a while. That's kind of why my house reflects that of the blandest human you've ever met.
My house could be described as a place where a guy named Larry would come home from his cubicle to a hot, fresh Lean Cuisine waiting for him every night. "Apartment Yellow" walls, old carpet, an $8 Target lamp, and nothing on the walls other than a Dilbert calendar that gives Larry a little chuckle once a month.
Out of the 1,825+ photos I've taken over the past five years, zero of them have hung on my walls. More of my photos have ended up on my mom's, grandparents', and in-laws' wall than mine.
I suppose it could laziness, a lack of commitment, indecision, or rebellion against the carefully curated "white wall" hipster lifestyle.
Whatever I've been suffering from, I've gotten over it and have entered an obsessive frenzy of making my apartment great again. Pics and video (obvi) coming soon when I finish climbing to the peak of this personal Everest.
(Let's just say I'm going to make a polaroid wall. It's going to be the best polaroid wall you've ever seen, and YOU'RE going to pay for it!)