Japan – Niigata: when my camera was terrible

Today’s smartphone cameras have become so capable it’s hard to remember that carrying a camera was once a conscious choice. Once upon a time I had a camera in my pocket that was five times the size of a smartphone and it was complete garbage. Times have changed, have you noticed?

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On this blog, we are very, very slowly making our way through my past travels. Lots of Japan to go. Wanted to do a complete, worthwhile post on Niigata, but can’t. Nearly every one of my shots from that trip are absolute, grainy, garbage.

Most of that was me. I’m not the expert photographer I am now (cue laugh track including laughing by drunken hyenas). But also, at the time my camera was pathetic. I don’t even have it anymore, or remember what it was.

Here are the only shots worth posting. Enjoy. Who gardens better than the Japanese? Not me. Not you.

Uh, Niigata’s great. Go.

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the leaves have begun their mystical journey

I’m taking care of me Ma’s dog and I forgot how frantic and disorganized a multi-dog walk can be.  She wants to go one way, he another, and before I know it my plastic poo bags are out of my pocket and halfway across the courtyard.

I got them back later but in the meantime (of course) one of them was ready to go.  Seeing as how I was right near a trash can I tried to use a large fallen leaf as a plastic bag substitute.  Don’t ever try this.

Anyways, the leaves have begun their mystical journey.  All the colors, all the fun of Fall, which is by far my favorite season for a variety of reasons.  Soon, nothing but bare branches.

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Need to get out of this cubicle and on a hike.

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the spin cycle continues

I’ve probably been in that El Paso Walmart half a dozen times, but still: Kindly observe (again) another act of senseless evil by human scum(s).

Kindly observe (again) how said human scum(s) will now be given a platform by the shameless media to become famous and get their message out.

Kindly observe (again) how the political, business, entertainment, and/or educational elite express the same pointless platitudes without ever proposing any concrete solutions whatsoever thus ensuring its continuation for the next few decades at least.

Kindly observe (again) as the usual rhetorical bomb throwers use this event to justify whatever preconceived notions they have on religion, terrorism, guns, culture, and/or whatever and compete to see who can shout the loudest.

Kindly observe (again) as this spin cycle continues.

Kindly observe (again) that it will happen (again).

We recommend you do as I do, which is to not pay attention. For the average person on the street, it’s not even worth it anymore. You can’t change it, and you’ve got problems of your own to deal with each and every day as you live your life. This sort of thing is now as common as the changing of the seasons, and it’s not going to stop, so why bother expending your very valuable mental energy on it?

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Version #37 of 83 – Circa 2019

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Version #38 of 83 – Circa 2019

The National Gallery of Art – you’re not welcome

Sometimes the safest way to get through the day is to never get excited about anything. That way if things tank, you can just shrug and go get a beer. Instead, I got somewhat excited, things tanked, and it sort of robbed me of part of my brain for the rest of the day.

Those unfortunate to be long time readers of this blog will remember I occasionally go to galleries, dig Japan, and like weird art. I thought this was encapsulated in a visit to the National Gallery of Art which I walked to after being in DC for work.

They had a visiting exhibition on Japanese art and animals. What could go wrong?

The exhibit appeared to be underwhelming, and lacking structure, so I was having a hard time getting sucked in. But, this was because I spent the entire time looking over my shoulder to see whether a security guard was going to yell at me again.

I’ve probably been to a dozen galleries across the globe and never had to talk to a security guard, let alone interact negatively with one. It happened to me at The National Gallery of Art, four times, in less than an hour. Whether they were unhappy with the way I was carrying my backpack, or how close I was standing to an exhibit, or so on, they were in your face. They even got directly into the face of some poor old guy who was clearly hard of hearing.

Here is how a normal human interaction should work:

“Excuse me Sir, we would ask you stand back from the exhibit. You’re a bit too close. Thanks so much.”

This is how The National Gallery of Art thinks human interactions should work:

“HELLO!!!???”

I literally walked out. I said something unfortunate to the fourth guard, waved him off, and stormed out. I’ve never done this before. I was in the place for less than an hour. What a shame.

Turns out my experience is not rare. So now I’ll turn it over to some additional online reviews for folks who didn’t appreciate a Stasi like experience while looking at art, some of these are just heinous:

Lived in Paris where I had the very best art available. This is the best American art displayed I have seen by far. One complaint: I have a service dog and the staff who watch over the art in each of the rooms containing art were always anticipating my service dog was going to do something wrong (which never happens….ever) and they were anxious to catch it in the act. It was hard to relax and enjoy the art when someone is doing that to you in every room you enter over and over and over for hours.

Wow my son is 12 and I’ve raised him correctly, I dont need you following you telling me to not let him touch.

there are scumbag security officers working there. i was not warned in advance about closing time i didnt gave time to gather stuff. they got physically aggressive with me when it was closing at five pm. i am deaf and schizophrenic. i was trying to draw in peace in their galleries. i recommend to avoid the area. dangerous staff and guards. even the info desk lady scowled at me for being evidently deaf. avoid this hellhole.

The place is jammed with sweaty rude security guards that looked at me as if I had no business there and followed me around as if I was in a department store about to steal something. If I had blue eyes and blonde hair I’m certain I would have had a different experience. If you are of color go with someone or be prepared to be uncomfortable . I’m so disappointed because I love art and had planned to visit often but the security staff is extremely unprofessional and ruined the atmosphere for me to fully enjoy the art. Also no curator at any of the popular exhibits I visited. I expected more from the nations capital😶😢😒

How can you get kids interested in art if they are not welcome at all! I went to visit with my 3 kids (10, 7 and 5). We live in the area but I was waiting for the right time to go as I was hoping to get them interested in art at a young age. Unfortunately my experience was really bad. The museum is great as it hosts great works of art, however almost every person I interacted was either a snob (very common on people interested in art for some reason) or plain rude. As soon as we entered the very first room, my 7 year old got to about 2 feet from a painting pointing at something he liked. My wife quickly stopped him and started explaining that he needed to stay away from the art. Even though she stopped him in time and we clearly had the kids under control, a security guard came and started scolding my son. My son got really scared, sat on a sofa and started sobbing silently, since he wanted to cover his face he put his legs on the sofa to cover his face with his knees. The guard came to him again and told him he needed to take his shoes off the (very cheap and plastic) sofa. I told the guard he was overreacting since he was just a kid and then he started with his typical speech of “you cannot tell me how to do my work” and actually asked us to leave the room. We did not leave the museum but you can imagine the kids have no interest on ever going to that museum again, and neither do I. I have great respect for the Smithsonian as an institution and love all other museums, however I was deeply sadden with the experience. I really cannot imagine how art can be promoted to kids if they are not welcome at all.

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fuck this place

the tyranny of public music

Lots of things are everywhere: oxygen, people, squirrels, cable hate news, oppressive heat, ghosts, and so on. But public music has (for whatever reason inside my twisted brain) been my problem lately.

The easiest example of this is the lightweight, feel good, soft rock or pop rock they play in the grocery store. My contempt for this knows no bounds. I have to bring my own music; I can’t stand to listen to it otherwise.

They just opened this dynamite Yucatan place within walking distance of my apartment. They’re a small chain but are awesome. I walk by them this morning towards the train station and they now have a speaker that blasts music outside their front door, it’s playing soft rock.

If there’s anything I can’t stand more than music I can’t stand, it’s music broadcasted to the public in a manner that assumes the least amount of risk possible. I’m sure a team of corporate suits got together and developed, “Safe Corporate Playlist for Modern Demographic Populace – Version #498b”. This is available to your local chain store for $14.99 a month per store. The suits made billions last year and then blew it all on their third boat and coke.

We here at TAP are here to help. Our wisdom knows no bounds. Our ideas will be adopted everywhere. Please spread the word. Your cooperation, as always, is truly appreciated. We truly, do truly, desire to keep liquidation to an absolute minimum. Here is what we want played in public from now on:

1) generic, faceless, pointless soft rock

2) unhinged death metal to include constant screaming and nonsensical electric guitar riffs lasting seven minutes

3) genuine classical music

4) medieval monk chants with accompanying children’s choir

5) full blown profanity laced gangster rap that makes elderly women exclaim “Oh Dear!” inside the store

6) Michael Jackson, sandwiched before and after with voiceovers regarding the exploitation of children

7) spoken word album read by Christopher Walken on the Book of Ruth

8) genuine classic metal back before all those bands sold out

9) violin or flute playing by a talented high school student

10) we’ll throw in some female pop rock or whatever they call that stuff, the one with the famous women

11) country music, or at least the unimaginative kind not written by a team of Nashville boardroom suits

12) audio playback of YOUR coworkers talking in the next cubicle about the most mundane and eye wateringly foolish things

13) chants from a reborn ancient Aztec death cult which will make even the most hated of modern political views seem tame by comparison

14) classic Sinatra; as in the ones he recorded while completely wasted, with a dame waiting in the next room

15) no Christmas music, ever

16) Vladislav’s greatest hits of 1976, including his famed electrical metal album, “Tashkent or Bust”

17) please, help me

18) no really, please help me

19) I don’t know why I did this

20) 20! 20 line items; blogs are magical

break the cycle – revisited

Okay, first off here’s a picture of a happy emu to set the proper discussion mood.

[[original picture removed at the belligerent, touchy request of the original photographer; I have hundreds of my own photos posted to this blog; anybody can use them for any reason, take em, I don’t care; but I guess others do; for whatever reason]]

Of note, never approach an emu, they’re insane.  If you look between the lines, this happy emu smile is also the same form of smile an evil billionaire gets when they mash the “fire 2,384 employees” red button.  But for the purposes of this post, I’m going with the emu is happy and having a good day dammit [shakes fist at sky].

Per our prior post, I essentially checked out of the news for one solid week.  I only read the print edition of the Economist and got their morning Espresso updates.  So if somebody had nuked somebody else I’d have found out eventually.  I also managed to avoid seeing even one frame of television news which was especially awesome, though because the news is on everywhere this took some careful footwork.

Observations:

1) I did not miss reading the news or politics, pretty much at all.

2) I discovered that when online to check e-mail at home or at work, that muscle memory was compelling me to check the news several times a day without even thinking about it.  I had to stop myself in the moment of typing, it was weird and unsettling.  Eventually I got it to stop.

3) Originally, the idea was I needed to read then news every day to stay informed.  This is the idea of my Dad reading the print newspaper cover to cover every single morning.  It was a man’s responsibility to stay informed about the world.

4) This has now crossed over into the Internets world where the quest for knowledge has now been overcome by the emotional side that folks ascribe to politics and the second-to-second melee that is the social media world.  Additionally, even the most professional of news sites also contain a not unsubstantial amount of straight clickbait in order to increase revenues.  I don’t want this, and I don’t need this.

Conclusion:

a) I’m going to transition to the newspaper format in getting my news.  I will read my online news once in the morning and be done with it.  I won’t logon for the rest of the day.  If I giant mutant blue whale starts assaulting a major city, somebody will just have to text me and let me know and then I’ll login.

b) I think this will be a good balance, a return to the traditional balance of news my family had growing up with paper newspapers.  Get your news in the morning, process it, and then get on with your normal day, your life, without the distractions or the noise of the planet.

c) After all, the news and politics is just information.  For the most part I can’t do a damn thing about any of it.  I’ve got my own life with my own problems and my own responsibilities.  That’s where more of my focus belongs.

selective morality, reality, and values are the best morality, reality, and values

all corporations that lose our data to hackers are evil and greedy vs. giving the audio data in your own home free of charge of a corporation via a live bug is hip

your dog demands the most pristine of kibble vs. will eat garbage wood off the grass and pout when you don’t allow this

cigarettes are so awful they need to be banned from Netflix vs. marijuana is perfectly cool to smoke and is beneficial to your health

magic mushrooms are also beneficial and will soon be legal in multiple jurisdictions vs. soda with sugar is horrible for you and requires severe regulation

plastic straws are wasteful and worthy of a ban vs. drinking an extra tall latte out of a one use disposal and non-recyclable coffee cup is trendy

squirrels hoard all the nuts and acorns because they need them to live vs. squirrels hoard guns and explosives because they need them for the forthcoming purge

Weinstein is a depraved sexual deviant who should be erased from the planet vs. Jackson’s music is still awesome and regularly played at festivals

your boss is angry that you’re late with your assigned task vs. your boss is never own time with any assistance you’ve ever required from them

the detention centers used by Trump’s goons are abhorrent vs. the exact same detention centers used by Obama’s goons were not abhorrent

labeling the opposite side as racist instead of thinking things through vs. labeling the opposite side as racist instead of thinking things through

alcohol is the cause and solution to all of life’s problem vs. alcohol is so tasty

gasoline powered cars crush the planet’s health and are on their way out vs. charging electric cars from coal fired power plants

gasoline pumps want your money vs. gasoline pumps require the selection of 11 different options before allowing you to pay them money for gas

animal kept in captivity is immoral and the zoo will soon be banned vs. dressing up your dog/cat in a furry X-Mas costume is a sign of sophistication

everybody in the workforce requires $15 an hour vs. advocating for such issues at rallies arrived courtesy of Uber driver making half that amount

manufacturing jobs needs to come back to America vs. establishing tariffs and trade policies so abstract as to require the bailout of soybean farmers

our future alien masters promise us bliss and saving ourselves from each other vs. will blanket 1/3 of the planet in fusion fire to introduce their benevolent, wise rule

chronic obesity problem that will bankrupt the health system by 2049 vs. electric bikes and scooters are so much fun and avoid the need to walk or pedal anywhere

wave of the punk future where virtual coin will set the human free vs. coin mill farm corporations with enough size and electricity to power a medium sized nation

religion is the source of all evil mind control and should be banned from any public sphere vs. 1.3 billion likes on Instagram for the latest celebrity selfie

machines will be our masters, artificial intelligence is so error free cars will drive themselves vs. have you ever tried using [insert any software program here] without errors

innocent until proven guilty vs. they publish a mug shot online before anybody’s been found guilty and the federal justice system convicts at a stasi-like 99% rate

the magical meth elf promised you happy times if you burned down a shopping mall vs. all you got instead was a felony arrest warrant and the elf never showed up again

natural gluten is evil is requires expungement from the diet vs. generating artificial fake meat in a lab is wholesome

blogging is a healthy experience that allows the author to get things of their chest in a safe environment that informs others vs. blogging is a narcissistic act that only informs the reader that the author is somebody who needs help, and maybe a puppy/kitty or two