Monday, January 30, 2012

Google Ron Paul

On Saturday, we were with some friends in Newtown at the Bank Hotel sitting in the front window when this guy walked by flying an Australian flag at half-mast and carrying a sign that said on one side GOOGLE RON PAUL and on the other LOVE NOT BIG GOVERNMENT. Our friend, Simon called the guy over and asked him what this was all about. He said Ron Paul was going to be the next President of the United States (really?) and that there was a revolution taking place in America (really?) and Paul, after elected, was going to shut down all of the US military bases around the world, return the country to the Gold Standard, and dramatically shrink the size of the federal government (really?). At this point, I glanced over at David and I could tell that he was thinking the same thing I was, which was please don’t let anyone from our group tell this guy we are American. Simon made a comment back like, “Yea, I haven’t heard of Ron Paul,” and the guy said, “It’s because the Australian news media won’t report on him because he’s anti big government.” I was thinking, no, the news media here isn’t reporting on Ron Paul for the same reason the news media in the US isn't reporting on Bob Katter (Google Bob Katter), it’s because no one gives a crap about second or third level politicians from other countries. This guy was very convinced that Ron Paul was going to make all of our problems go away. I didn't have the energy to let him know that I thought he was being incredibly naive. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

I Can Fly

So, after years of stating that I would love to go skydiving, I finally did it. It's one of those things I had to prove to myself that I could do it. I've had friends over the years who have done it and all of them have stated that it was one of the most amazing experiences they have ever had. When we were still in San Francisco, I tried a couple time to organize a jump, but the stars never aligned, so I gave up and shelved the idea. I figured I would eventually get around to doing it before I turned 50.

One evening about a year and a half ago, we were at a couple's house we know, Shayne and Craig and I noticed a photograph of Shayne in skydiving equipment and I asked him if he had enjoyed it. He immediately bubbled over with enthusiasm and stated he had done it twice and would do it again in a heartbeat. I told him I had always wanted to jump, so we should make it happen before David and I leave Australia. After that night, just about every time I saw Shayne he would ask, "Are we doing this or not?" I would reply, "Yes, yes, yes," but in the back of my mind I was thinking that this attempt would probably fall apart too.

I guess it was about 3 months ago, Shayne called me and said that he was organizing a jump for our friend Gary's birthday and he asked, "Are you in?" I was like, shit, I really need to put my money where my mouth is. I've been contemplating skydiving for years, so if I don't do it now I'll probably never do it. I said, "Let me speak to David and I'll get back to you ASAP." David and I discussed and we kept going back and forth. We were thinking it's kind of expensive, so was it really worth 5 minutes of fun? We both hate planning things, so were thinking what if we got up the morning we had scheduled and didn't feel like jumping? Finally, after a day or two, we decided we were in. We got our date and it was the first week in December. So when the day rolled around, it was absolutely the worst weather and the skydiving company cancelled and we got moved to the first week in January. I was like, fine, I had psyched myself up and now I'm going to have to wait!

Finally, the day arrived this past Saturday. I have to say the experience was everything everyone said it would be and more. The sensation of free falling at 200 km/h (approx 125 m/h) is absolutely incredible. I was the last one out, so it was great watching everyone else go before me. They would lean out of the plane and disappear. The adrenaline rush was unlike anything I've ever experienced in my life. The wind against my face was so strong that it made it somewhat difficult to breath during the free fall (in the video below, I look like a fish out of water opening and closing my mouth to get air). I'm not sure if I ever want to do it again, not because of fear of falling or safety, but because I'm afraid that if I do it again I will be completely addicted and will never want to stop doing it.

Friday, January 6, 2012

I Survived the Holidays

Well, I survived the holidays…barely, but I did survive. There’s something to be said for blowing it all out at the end of the year. Around mid-December, I saw someone post on Facebook (I paraphrase), “If you are not celebrating the birth of Christ, then you have no business celebrating at all.” I was like, WTF…and yes, this person was being serious. I’m not sure why I have people such as this in my FB friend’s list, perhaps it’s part of the strategy of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer…who knows? Whatever the reason, these folks certainly keep me entertained. Seems to me, all of the hoopla associated with the time of year has more to do with the conclusion of the Gregorian Calendar cycle coupled with it being winter in the Northern Hemisphere―seriously, it gets cold, so what else are you going to do but have a fucking party? In Australia, Christmas and summer are intertwined (yay, let’s have a fucking party!), so I think that’s why the winter season here feels twice as long to me. There are no public holidays, so it just drags on and on. Unsurprisingly, a number of people here take their annual leave during the winter, heading north up the continent or to Asia, Europe, or North America.

Speaking of North America, it will be 
fun returning to the US in the latter part of the year when the 2012 Presidential Election is in full throttle. Americans may say they love baseball, but politics is our real pastime. The funny thing (or not so) is that Obama has basically fulfilled every single item on the GOP’s wish list, yet they decry that this year’s election is a battle for the heart and soul of America. Despite what one thinks about Obama politically, he’s going to turn mincemeat into whoever gets the nomination on the Republican side. When it comes to campaigning, he’s a genius. Most likely, he will be going up against Romney, but personally, I would love it if it were either Santorum or Gingrich―not that I would get any satisfaction out of watching either of them being ripped to shreds by Barry.

In other news, I’m currently working on a set of images for nfdu PROJECTS, sort of a ‘year in a life’ type of thing with images ranging from informal portraits and self-portraits to fleeting moments to documentation of events or their aftermath. I’m hoping to have the completed set posted within a couple of weeks on the website. In the meantime, here’s a taste: