In no particular order

This isn’t a real post.

Lately, I’ve been trying to make my Friday posts more informative or generally useful, so that this blog of mine isn’t solely a collection of barely-coherent, stream-of-consciousness rants. And I’ve got one of those posts ready to go, but this week? Enough random things have irked me that writing a barely-coherent, stream-of-consciousness rant seems like exactly the sort of thing I need right now.

So without further ado, and in no particular order…

Social media sucks.

Twitter and Facebook have both become that weird uncle your parents warned you about. They’ve never been particularly good, per se, but over the last year they’ve really devolved.

I’d do away with them altogether (and actually have, in past), but the simple, hideous fact of the matter is this: if you have any pretensions at all of running a business in this, the year 2017, you need to be on social media. Sure, you might be able to get by without it, but those who use it are provably better off.

This sucks, of course, but it’s reality. We can (and perhaps should) work to change that reality, but we have to work with reality as it actually is in the meantime. And so, Monday through Friday, I’m on the socials.

The weekends, though, I’m taking off.

It’s my way of separating my needs as an alleged professional something or other, from my needs as a thinking and feeling human being.

Updates suck.

I’ve been using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom on my phone for a couple of months now, and have been reasonably happy with it. It crashed a bit more often than I’d like, but each incremental update (about one every couple of weeks) has improved its stability. As of a week ago, it hardly crashed at all, and was just about perfect.

So, of course, Adobe went and turned it inside out with the big, 2018 update to their Creative Cloud suite. Now it’s called “Lightroom CC,” and it’s gone back to being crash-happy.

Eff. Emm. Ell.

I suck.

Despite the ongoing process of boiling down all of my priorities to the bare minimum, and focusing on what’s really important to me, I still feel like I’m missing the mark somehow. More specifically, it’s still rare that I go to bed thinking I made the best possible use of my day.

I can accept that, a bit, because I’m still not done cleaning house. But…I’d hoped to start feeling the effects of my new, “efficient” life choices by now.

I mean, think about it this way: you’re carrying a hundred pounds of crap for a while, finally decide to drop fifty, and…the weight feels no different? It’s not a perfect analogy, to be sure, but it works well enough. I don’t feel significantly more productive, though I do feel a little less stress.

Basically, this whole paring-down process has kind of been anti-climactic.

That said, though, I’m mostly doing okay. So I don’t really think I suck, as this section’s heading claims. I just sort of wanted to keep the “_____ sucks” theme going.

Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday Wupdate

It’s Wednesday again, so let’s continue the tradition of me hurling a bunch of gibberish at you about how my week’s been going. Think of these Wednesday updates like the “merchandising” restaurants do, where instead of throwing out their old, gamy food and taking a loss, they turn it into the “Chef’s Surprise” special.

Only instead of suspicious seafood, it’s my life.

That Instagram thing is going well.

“Broken and Beautiful.” I took this photo last week while walking through a local park.

I’ve somehow made it to three thousand followers on Instagram. That’s…really awesome. People seem to like my stuff, I’m often one of the “Top Posts” for my town and many of the hashtags I toss my stuff in–it’s cool. And to be honest, I kinda needed something like this to happen.

I hear a lot of artists rattle off the line “create art for yourself, don’t worry about what other people think,” but I’ve yet to personally meet any artist who isn’t secretly a needy little victim of impostor syndrome who desperately craves the approval of others. Myself included. I don’t need much, but I do need a little love from people who aren’t related to me before I can mentally say: “Okay, I am actually kinda good at this.”

Alex is a teenager today.

I foreshadowed this on Monday, but my daughter turns thirteen today.

It’s kind of freaking me out.

Changing priorities.

Despite the sleep and family health issues last month, things have generally been going well. There is the looming threat of winter and how that’s going to affect my mental health (I have a post about this sitting in my Drafts folder that I’m hoping to get out soon), but overall? I think I’m in a better place today than I’ve been in quite some time.

Which means that I’m starting to re-evaluate some of my priorities. Projects I’ve had kicking around, things I’ve been “meaning to do,” habits I’ve wanted to change–now that I no longer need to just live day to day, I’m taking some time to organize and plan.

If this smells a little like vague-posting, it’s because it is. Even I’m not sure what “organize and plan” means here, or which “priorities” I’m really talking about. I just know that I’m staring down the barrel of some hard choices as to what I’m going to focus on, versus what I’m going to kick to the curb once and for all.

Once I figure out which is which, I’ll let you know.

Three things I’m shouting into the void

There’s a recent trend among bloggers and the Internet famous to write posts with titles like “Three things I want you to know,” and text which is just a little more involved than a list. And since they look like just about the easiest damn things to write, and it’s been two weeks since my last post, I’m jumping on that bandwagon like it’s the last burrito of the post-apocalypse.

Of course, since nobody actually reads this thing, it’s more like yelling into the void than sharing (allegedly) interesting tidbits about my life, but whatever.

I’m doing Instagram things.

I’ve been on Instagram for a while, but only started really using it about a month ago. A lot of my photography is going up there these days. My goal is one new photo a day, and so far I’ve been making that happen, which is kind of surprising given my track record when it comes to social media. Even more surprising, though, is that people are following me and my photos are starting to show up in the “Top Posts” for some of the tags I’ve tossed them into.

What I’m trying to say is that you should follow me over there. Follow me, like my stuff, comment on it. Pretty much anything you can think of to boost my numbers and inflate my sense of self-worth would be totally sweet.

I’m still trying to figure out what sort of photographer I am.

I realize I’m contradicting myself here, but I’m taking more photos of flowers, trees, and other “nature” type things and I’m kind of enjoying it. Like, a lot. In fact, the photo on this post is probably in my personal “Top Five.”

That’s…a little frustrating, actually. I mean, I’ve been taking photos (and taking photography seriously) for six or seven months now, and while it’d be insane to expect to know everything about the subject, it seems reasonable to assume that I’d at least know what I like at this point.

But no. No, one day I’m out shooting power lines, the next it’s architecture and candid street photos, and then later on I’m up close and personal with marigolds and begonias.

I’m trying to assume that this is all just part of the natural, creative process of anyone just getting into something like this, but I’m leaving open the possibility that I’m just a loon.

I’m still not sleeping, I still hate winter.

Despite one or two nights of exceptions, I’m still not sleeping much at all. So that, you know, sucks. Also, the first day of autumn has come and gone, putting me that much closer to another winter in New Hampshire. I’m going to do my absolute damnedest to get outside despite the cold and the snow, but…

Look, it’s really hard for me not to just start stringing together expletives and slamming my head against the keyboard when I think about winter. It’s seriously, absolutely impossible for me to even pretend to sound positive about it.

I hate winter. I hate everything about it. I think I even hate the people who enjoy it, just on general principle, though probably not, or at least not very much.

Whatever, though. I’m just going to tough it out. Get some decent boots, buy a solid base layer, then go out with my camera whenever I manage to summon the will. Which, if previous years are any indication, won’t be very often, but I’m going to give it my best shot.

Anyway, that’s what I want the two and a half of you reading this thing to know.

Hanging around (with the sickness)

Alex has been sick for the last few days–sore throat, fever, tired all the time. According to the doctor, it was “something viral.”

The specificity…it burns.

She’s feeling better today, though. Maybe she’s still a little lethargic, but her fever’s gone, her sore throat has mostly followed suit, and she’s off to school after missing two days. And since this is a kid who hasn’t missed a day of school in, like, two years, well…let’s just say the relief is palpable. This thing hit her like a ton of bricks.

Anyway, it should go without saying that I’ve done a whole lot of nothing this week. Between the sick kiddo and my back being screwed, I’ve pretty much been stuck at home. Hmm? What’s that? Oh, you didn’t know my back was bothering me? Well, you would know if you followed me on Twitter, or ready my last post.

Damn! Did you see that slick segue into self-promotion I just dropped? Totally nailed it. I’m getting awesome at this!

Oh, whatever. Like you could do better.

Right, that’s what I’ve got for you today. And since this is a short, almost non-post, up there to the right is a photograph I took of a bird on my feeder. My yard is pretty much the only thing I’ve been able to shoot in days, but it has its charms.

Occasional color

I’ve been shooting a lot of black and white lately, and I’m pretty sure that’s a thing I want to keep doing.

Maybe it’s the prominent interplay of light and shadow, maybe it’s that it looks more like “art” to me, or maybe I just plain don’t “get” color–whatever the reason, my photographs tend to end up monochrome.

I do shoot a little color, though. Like the photo over to the right.

I don’t know if it was the light when I took this, or maybe it was the funky color at the heart of these (to me) unremarkable flowers, but I shot it knowing I’d turn it into something more “painterly” than “real.”

Does that make sense?

In other news, I seriously messed up my back on Saturday morning, and thus didn’t have the sort of Labor Day Weekend I was hoping for. I spent most of it flat on the couch watching Netflix, counting the hours between doses of over-the-counter anti-inflammatories.

My back’s doing much better today, though, so I’m…still flat on the couch watching Netflix?

Whatever. Don’t judge me.