WPPD – Selfie! and a little venting.


I suppose I might as well continue with my pinholday pinhole photos. This is the 4th photo from that day that I liked. It has become a habit to make the last roll on my Terrapin* an arms length selfie and I like to grab whoever is with me to play along. In this case we have my buddies (clockwise from myself on the left) Remko, Brendan, and Inge . What a fun day that was! Looking forward to next year’s meetup in San Francisco!

Geeky Bits:

Camera: Terrapin Bijou, Incher configuration
Film: Ektar 100
Exposure time: 5 seconds


Mini rant:

So yesterday I made the mistakes of reading the comments on a Petapixel post that compared a film photo and a digital photo (I know, I know. Don’t read the comments). There was the inevitable “Who shoots film these days” comment, and there were several people defending the use of film with the “who uses film these days” guy brushing off the arguments and not listening. Typical online argument.

I found myself in a similar predicament in real life a few months ago. I was explaining my pinhole photography to someone and mentioned that I used film (“You can still buy film?!?”) and she couldn’t understand why I would use film. She then proceeded to list all of the ways film fails to digital and I found myself in a discussion where I had to defend my use of film. It kind of sucked. And I didn’t feel like having this kind of discussion so I changed the subject. But I think about it a lot, especially when the film vs. digital topic comes up. Here is what I have to say to people who are so vehemently against the use of film photography:

  1. Why do you care? What does it matter if I use film or if I don’t use film? What does my creative medium of choice matter so much to you? Why can’t you focus on your creative medium of choice and I will focus on mine and we can respect each other’s work, instead of nitpick the way we approach it.
  2. Artists in other mediums don’t have this heated debate, so why should photographers? People who draw digitally don’t disparage those who draw with a paper and a pencil and vice versa.  People who write using a computer don’t care if someone is writing a manuscript using a pen and paper. I mean, seriously, who fucking cares what medium is used to produce the art? What matters is the outcome. And why should one artist waste their time worrying about how another artist produces their creation.

The Digital Vs. Film argument is stupid. Just stop it already.

/end rant

*Incidentally, the first photo I took with this camera was an arms length selfie!



While I was away I stopped doing almost all of the things that are a part of my daily routine. I didn’t meditate. I didn’t read. I didn’t draw (despite my best intentions).  I didn’t run. I didn’t do yoga.

Not doing these things for two weeks has been interesting. The first jetlagged week back I moved about my surroundings in a haze of blissful detachment. In the haze I thought about the things that I practice everyday. I wondered what things are really important and necessary. I wondered any of it really is necessary. Yes, even the meditation. In that haze I felt like it is all just “stuff I do to get through.” If that makes any sense at all.

I feel like I hit the reset button on my free time. I have been thinking about the this idea of the 10,000 hours and how I want to spend that time. One of the aspects of the 10,000 hours is the fact that you have to love what you are doing for all of those hours (otherwise you wouldn’t be able to commit to all of that time).

I am thinking here about my drawing hobby. I barely picked up a pen the entire time I was on vacation. If I really loved drawing I would have carved out the time to draw. But I didn’t. This makes me wonder if this hobby is really something I’m serious about, and if not, do I want to spend my free time doing it? The fact is that I enjoy doing it, but I don’t see myself ever creating paintings. I enjoy doodling in the sketchbook, and that is where my interest ends.

Should I continue with it? Is my heart really in it? I don’t know.

on finding my inner warrior


I had kind of a surreal experience today. I attended a workshop that taught me what to do in the event of an “active shooter” situation. On the one hand, it is really horrible that this is the reality that I live in. This is something so common that it is a thing, getting trained for an active shooter situation. On the other hand, this is the reality. This happens all too often and being prepared could save my life. Pretending that this is something that doesn’t exist is not helpful.

We learned about the Run, Hide, Fight method. Watched the video (below) and talked about what we would do if this were to actually happen, what would be our plan.

Then we got to learn some of the “fight” tactics. We learned how to tackle an active shooter and to take him down (should it come down to that – this would be the last case scenario!) and we even got to practice by tackling the police officer giving the training.

I was super nervous about this, and didn’t believe I would have the strength or even fortitude to accomplish this. But I did it! And I even accidentally clocked the officer in the nose as we went toppling down to the mat. I apologized, and then was reprimanded for apologizing.🙂

I have to admit, I feel empowered.

On being hope less


I wrote this a month ago and have been sitting on it, hesitant to post it in the days leading up to Christmas because I didn’t think that a post on hopelessness would be appropriate. But now that Christmas is over…


I am taking another WordPress writing 101 class and today’s assignment is to write a post inspired by a single word. One of the words on the list was “hope.” It’s really weird that this is a suggestion because when I asked Twitter last month what I should write about one of my Twitter friends suggested “hope.” So I’ve had this empty draft sitting on my dashboard for a month entitled “On Hope.” I suppose I’ve been writing it in my head.

I feel very ambivalent about hope. Some of the thoughts I have are probably not going to be very popular.

After I wrote that paragraph I happened to be reading through a kid’s books for work. In the book one of the characters reads from a book and this is what it says:


‘Tis hope that makes the midnight seem less black,

‘Tis hope that in our hardest times inspires.

If the cold of winter stops you in your tracks,

Let hope be both your compass and your fire.


This is little poem sums up what society thinks about hope, doesn’t it? That it is our compass in our darkest hour. And I like that thought. I like the thought that tomorrow will be a better day, and that hoping for the future will help me make it out of a dark time. And I suppose there is some truth to that, in the sense that impermanence exists and that everything we experience is temporary.

However, what if what I am hoping for can never happen? When my stepfather was dying of cancer I hoped that he would get better and he didn’t get better. He died of cancer. And when he died of cancer it hurt like hell (still does). So where does hope help me in that case? How does hope help when what I am hoping for is impossible?

It kind of seems to me that hope is just another word for grasping for things that we want. And grasping leads to suffering. And suffering sucks.

This blog post here explains what I am thinking on this topic.

I would like to propose that giving up hope will make you feel much better. Hope focuses on the future, and the future doesn’t exist. So, in essence, hope is delusion.  Deal with what is right in front of you in each moment, because that is all you have.

I say all of this but the idea of hope is so deeply ingrained in the core of my being and it is hard to break the habit. If I was in a situation that was truly terrible I might feel differently. Maybe? But then I have been in a terrible situation and when I was in that situation I was forced to deal with what was happening right in front of me. It was scary and horrible but I faced it and felt all of the feelings associated with it and it seems like that was the right way to deal with it.

Though I imagine that there are really terrible situations where, perhaps, hope can help.

In the end, though, my hope is to someday be able to live a hope-free life.


I still don’t know what to think about hope, re-reading this a month later. I think I am still addicted to the lovely feelings that hope generates. Maybe addicted is not the right word. Maybe it’s human nature to hope. But on the other hand, I understand the importance of focusing on the present moment because that is all I have. Everything else is delusion. 

This is just another one of those Buddhist teachings that I am grappling with at the moment. Thank you for listening, dear readers.🙂

On being goal less

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Last night at my meditation group I  got in a discussion about goalless practice. This is a Zen thing – the idea that the state you are in at this moment is perfect and goals imply that you are imperfect in this moment and that you need to somehow change.

This idea of not having a goal is crazy hard to grasp, especially being informed by Western, and even, American culture. Goals are such a huge part of who we are. Who am I if I don’t have goals? What kind of a person doesn’t have goals? A person who veers off in every direction. A person who has no focus. That seems like a crazy idea to me. I was born into a strict set of things I should strive for in my life. I am supposed to get married. I am supposed to be a homeowner. I am supposed to have a good job my entire life and then retire at age 65. These are the basic goals that have been instilled in me from the time I was born.

However, as I get older, I have been warming up to the idea of being goal-less. Indeed when I ask myself that common interview question “where do you see yourself in 5 years” I kind of draw a blank. In fact, that question kind of scares me a little. I like the idea of life taking me where it wants to take me. I think life is more exciting that way. I think that, if you let it, life will unfold in ways you will never expect, and they can be completely amazing beyond your imagination.

Lately I’ve been saying things to myself like, “Why don’t I read ‘The Heart Sutra‘ everyday and see what happens.” Or “What would happen if shot one large format pinhole photo everyday.” Basically doing  these things to see what will come of it.  I am naturally a very curious person and this kind of experimental living works well for me.

As a result, I have found myself  more immersed in the moment, rather than focused on the outcome. And when I do notice an outcome from doing this “thing” everyday I am surprised and excited by what I’ve learned. The wisdom seems to bubble up from inside my heart somewhere, rather than it being all in my head. For example, the outcome of reading The Heart Sutra everyday has been that I have learned about self compassion – which has been what I’ve needed to learn about! The outcome of shooting a large format pinhole shot everyday was that I learned a ton about how my camera works.

So now I am thinking about how I can apply this to health goals. This might be harder. I have some specific things I want to do with regard to health. I want to lose some weight – at least 15 pounds. The sad thing is that I’ve  been trying to lose this 15 pounds for a long time. It has been an elusive goal. So maybe it is time to let go of this goal. Maybe instead I should say, “what would happen if I went to the gym twice a week?” Or “What would happen if I ate a salad everyday for lunch?”

Embracing goalless practice when it comes to health might be harder to do…