Ruthless and Willful Disregard

We are bad people.  Both Suzie and myself constantly ignore rules and laws when it comes to photography.  I have a saying about rules and laws:  Laws you don't mess with.  Those are things like gravity, momentum, inertia, and others.  You mess with those and you die.  Everything else falls into the rules category.  They are meant to be guidelines.

I don't know if it's a sign of the times or what, but there are security people everywhere these days--especially shopping malls.  Last night we were told by security that there is no picture-taking allowed in the mall unless you are shooting your child in one of the play areas.  What brought that on?  9-11?  Actual terrorist incidents in malls?  Do they not realize that everyone these days has a telephone with a camera on it and can take pictures anywhere undetected?

We're pretty sure they singled us out because we were walking the mall, shooting things with real cameras.

Will that make us stop?  No.  It will make us think twice about visiting that particular mall though, but then it never really offered much as far as shopping anyway, save for a couple of its anchor stores, and they have their own entrances.

As I said it's happened before.

I was shooting downtown Kent one day in a nice outdoor shopping center called Kent Station.  A security guard walked up to me and wondered what I was shooting and why.  After explaining I was just shooting people and scenes for my own use he let me proceed.  Apparently, they have "eyes in the sky" everywhere now.  I think we would be very shocked if we knew how many cameras were watching us on a daily basis.  I'm going to make it a point to always wave at security cameras when I see them from now on.  Maybe I'll even mimic taking their picture.

Both of us were shooting night scenes of Auburn's train station one night and a security guy came up and told us it was against the rules for us to be shooting from anywhere on the pedestrian bridge that spanned the tracks.  The thing is, the pedestrian bridge was the only place worth shooting from.  That was the reason for our visit.  No problem--We got our shots anyway if memory serves me.

Saturday we were shooting at an abandoned house and a kid (maybe 17 or so) came walking up and told me we had to leave.  They don't allow anyone on the property.  No problem.  We left.  Sure, it had NO TRESPASSING spray painted everywhere around the place, but who looks at that kind of stuff?  It just added character to the shot!  Besides, there were no doors, no fences, no outside signs, and convenient parking.

There have been several times when a merchant has told us no pictures were allowed.  Those are really the only ones I respect.  After all, they don't want someone copying some design of something they're selling, or maybe a particular way they're displaying their products.  It's a "protect your business" thing.

Things we have learned:
  • Make sure the business next door to the abandoned house is closed.
  • Don't leave the red car you drove to the abandoned house sitting there all my itself in plain sight.
  • Don't spend too much time in one spot.  You'll give the cop that sits at the monitor screens time to finish his donut and come after you.  Grab and move on.
  • Don't ask permission. If you ask for permission they will just say no.  You're opening yourself up for it.  If you shoot and move on, there is a 99% chance that you got your shot and left before anyone felt threatened.  The rule "you're better off asking for forgiveness than asking for permission" applies in the off chance that you'll actually be caught.

I doubt that we're ever going to change our ways.  Sooner or later someone might even get belligerent about getting them in a picture while walking on a public sidewalk.  Who knows.  We can't let stupid rules get in the way, right?

Out of my way man--This is PHOTOGRAPHY!

Ignorance and Mortality

What will I be remembered for when I'm gone?  How will I go?

Recent events been a kind of wake up call on my own mortality.  All around me are reminders that we are not as young as we used to be, and reminders that our health should not to be taken for granted.  Friends and relatives of mine are being cursed with failing bodies.

My dad is being treated for prostate cancer.  Will I get it?  Only time will tell.  My brother-in-law, Gary, just got out of the hospital after a heart attack.  Maybe he had a lifetime of making 'less than stellar' health choices, or maybe it was just that fact that he's always been a heavy smoker that reared its ugly head. I haven't done the best with my health either, but at least I quit smoking back in 1980.  Will I have a heart attack?  Who knows.  My mother's side of the family has had a few strokes in it's history.  Will that be my fate?  Recently, there have been more instances of friends from school dropping... The most recently last week.

I don't like where I'm at with my health, but yet I have trouble motivating myself.  You'd think that anything you could do to prolong your health (and ultimately your life) would be sufficient motivation wouldn't you?  Apparently not.  People hate to alter their routines.  We hate to change anything that might inconvenience us.  We all want to exercise because we know we're supposed to, but it's just so much work!

I had an issue with the vision in my left eye last weekend.  I started to see a little "halo" effect in that eye (kind of like when you look at a bright light and then see a spot afterward) and lost some of my peripheral vision.  Does it have anything to do with the headaches I always get behind my left eye?  Maybe, maybe not.  I certainly need to get it checked out.  I don't think I'd like to go through the rest of my life with an eye patch because of my ignorance. 

I have done things in excess a lot during my life.  It's a small streak of obsessive/compulsive behavior that I have.  I have always had times when I did things too much--be it too often, too long, or too intensely.  I've eaten myself sick, I've driven until I've fallen asleep, and I've worked myself way past when I should stop.  One time I went on an exercise regimen and physically hurt myself because I worked out 5 days in a row, each time to the point of muscle failure and collapsing with exhaustion.  There have been several times in my life when I have found it hard to stop doing something because I was "in the moment".

There have been lots of times in my life that I could have cared less whether I lived or died.  I think I just had a "what for?" attitude and didn't really care for where I was in my life.  Like I had taken the wrong road somewhere but the road I was was one way only.  Back at the end of my previous marriage I would go on rides on the Harley and would repeatedly find myself going way faster on it than I should have been.  Fast enough in highway curves that inertia would send it bottoming out in just the slightest dip.  I'm sure, based on the sound it made, that it sent a nice shower of sparks off whatever contacted the asphalt.  Not just once either.  For those not familiar with inertia, it takes a lot of speed to cause that.  All it would have taken was one little pebble or one misjudged curve.  I apparently had a lot of trust in my tires or was just ignorant.  I think I was just in a place in my life where I just flat didn't care.  That's not the case now.

It's kind of a cruel joke of life isn't it?  That when we are young and do everything wrong we survive.  We're practically invincible in our own minds.  When we made a bad decision it didn't matter too much because when we were young we healed quickly.  The cruel part is that now when we're older and start making conscious decisions to better ourselves everything starts to go wrong.  When we were young any pain, suffering, or death was 90% due to bad decisions we made and 10% due to outside circumstance beyond our control.  Now it's exactly the opposite.

I don't know if it's just me or not, but I find as I age, my physical activity/brain activity ratio as changed considerably.  It used to be I was very active and didn't ponder things or worry about things very much if at all.  Now I find myself not physically doing much, but my mind is sometimes going 1000 miles per hour.  I worry about things, ponder things, analyze things, and all sorts of other thought processes.  Maybe it's because of all that thought that I seek a sort of release by putting my words in this blog.

Worry?  Who me?  You betcha.

Too Many Thoughts

I'm sitting at a computer most of the day at work, and when thoughts occur to me I usually jot them down in a little text file using Windows Notepad.  You know how we have certain things that we load in our pockets each day when we leave for work?  When I was young I carried a pocketknife.  Things have changed: Now I carry a flash drive to work with me every day.  When I have these little epiphanies at work they end up on my flash drive so I can refer back to them.  I wrote this blog entry several months ago, but for whatever reason it fell through the cracks and I never got it posted.  I just "found" it again this morning.

Here's how it went:

I was lying in bed one morning not able to get back to sleep when the realization came to me.   (That is a time when many such troubling thoughts tend to wash over me.)  I guess you might say that my mind kind of runs away with every thought that surfaces when I'm trying to get back to sleep but cannot.

I seem to now possess a certain level of anxiety about things.  I used to pride myself on being able to resist worrying about anything.  "Relax," I'd tell myself, "it's nothing to worry about."  Over the years that became less and less accurate.  I'm sure I blogged it before, but I'm most definitely a worrier now.

But that isn't really what this is about.

I'm talking about a confusion of thoughts--Almost like multiple people talking at once. Many paths and possible outcomes of something. These are usually something that I shouldn't be concerned with in the first place.  At least not any more concerned other than just giving it passing mental glance.  I get frustrated at the swirling maelstrom of thoughts that are bombarding me and I just don't know where to start.  That's only part of the problem.  The other part of the problem is that sometimes there really isn't even a problem to address in the first place!

A good example of it was was back before Suzie and I were leaving on our vacation to Kauai back in September. (I jotted it down so I wouldn't forget it.)  As I recall it was still a few days before our departure, and there I was again--lying in bed a couple of hours before my alarm is due to go off--and my mind took off again:
What items should I take? Do I even own what I need? What luggage should I take?  Will I have enough room for all my stuff to fit in it?  What if my plane goes down in the ocean on my way home.  If I survive, I won't be able to save all my pictures or my camera or my laptop.  When I do come back by myself, what will I need to catch up on? Will Keith be there?  Will I have to feed both of us? What if he doesn't like what I make?  Does he even like me?  What if something happens to Suzie on her way home? Would I still want to stay here in this house? What would I do?  Where would I go?

See?  It just keeps escalating.

Looking at in in print makes it look ridiculous, but I assure you, it sometimes turns into a non-ending train of thought, with every worry leading to another.  The thing is, each of the questions I put down above more than likely had other questions in between them. 

I don't know what makes this come and go.  I just worry (See?  There I go again!) that it may get worse.  I'm pretty sure I won't be as bad as my dad because I'm already past the age when he got noticeably bad.  For some time now he hasn't been able to follow any real train of thought at all.  If you start talking to him he only hears a word or two in each sentence. I don't know if his mind is barely moving or going 100,000 miles an hour.  I don't want to get to that point, but like I said: I can see similarities.

I can recall one time in recent years when I really did feel helpless, and that actually was two incidents in one.  Both took place in Las Vegas when Sarah and I were on vacation a few years back. I literally cried out of frustration at one point.  I was overwhelmed with what I was facing because I couldn't come up with the answer when I needed to.  The only difference between what took place there and what could take place here in a similar situation during my day-to-day activities here was just one factor: I was in unfamiliar surroundings at the time.  I think it was that one factor that tipped my mental state over the edge.

I believe what happens in those situations is when a certain amount of things happen, my wall of anxiety goes up and blocks logical thought.  I guess you could almost call it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When that kind of stuff happens I want my mind to shut up and behave.