Sunday, October 24, 2010

old school

So a couple weeks ago I bought a scanner. I've been pretty busy so I'm just now getting around to using it.

I bought it partly because I have a slew of pictures to scan (mission, high school and otherwise) that I took before the advent of digital photography. But one of the main reasons I bought this scanner is because it scans film negatives.

About a year ago I started messing around with a couple old film cameras and it didn't take long for me to realize how expensive it is to shoot film. Film processing, a set of prints, and a CD of negative scans can easily run $12 or roll per roll of film. This way, I can shoot a roll of film, have it developed (sometimes the cheapest part of the process, depending where you go), scan the negatives myself, and have prints made if I so desire.

I haven't had a chance to scan any negatives I've shot recently but yesterday I scanned some photos that I've wanted to digitize for quite a while now.

There are several things I love about this photo:

1. My grandparents, these are my dad's folks. They're the elderly couple in the rickshaw. My grandpa passed away in 1997 and my grandma in 2009. I love and miss them, and I hope I live as long as they did.

2. The matching Hawaiian outfits. I inherited that Hawaii shirt when my grandpa died. I wish it still fit.

3. They're in a rickshaw.

4. The dude in the foreground looks exactly like Lando Calrissian.

My Grandpa Olsen was an educator and principal by trade. I'm assuming this is a school photo. I love everything about his ensemble -- the coat, the shirt, the tie, and the frames. I think I get my crooked grin from him. The date on the back of this photo is 1976.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

fall: eight & ten

A couple weeks ago I was vainly perusing photos of myself from yesteryear on the popular social networking site I was surprised at how skinny I was. Or at least how much thinner I was back then compared to now.

Remember when you guys made fun of my fingerless gloves? I felt so vindicated when those were the only type of gloves Urban Outfitters was selling a year later. I'm such a trendsetter. (Photo that I stole from courtesy of Harper.)

I'm so used to Arizona either being a furnace (summer) or a paradise ("winter"). The last fall I spent here was four years ago; I'm not used to the in-between -- when it's warm during the day and cool at night. I handle these unfamiliar seasonal changes by grasping onto memories of the last fall I spent here. And the one before that. And the time between then and now.

Sometimes I'm too content to explore the past.

Friday, October 8, 2010

fall: two thousand five

I've been spending some extra time in my car lately. Not driving. I come home at night and park. I leave the car running even though it's finally cool enough at night to not need air conditioning. Sometimes I'll check Facebook on my phone. Or play Wordfeud for a couple minutes. But mostly I just think. Not about anything in particular or of great consequence. As if I wasn't already an over-thinker -- now I have a special time alloted for it.

* * * * *

I've had the year 2005 on my mind. About five years ago this very month my brother Matt got home from his mission. Some cousins from Utah came to visit for the occasion. I don't remember how we got on the subject but I remember my cousin Greg talking about how he had recently run a marathon. How long was a marathon, I asked. 26.2 miles. I decided that night that I was going to run a marathon.

A month later I ran my first race, a 10K, on Thanksgiving. My time wasn't that great, but I finished, and I felt great doing it.

Though I didn't realize it at the time, I started running to set myself apart from my friends and family. Sports never interested me in high school though I come from a family of athletes -- actually, a family of runners. But most of the running they did/do involves running short distances while jumping over hurdles. At the time, a 10K -- 6.2 miles -- was farther than anyone in my family had run.

Around the same time and not long after, some of my good friends got engaged and married. And they were farther ahead of me in school. I had to do something to catch up. I started running.

Speaking of marathons, here we are after watching all six Star Warses in one sitting, December 26, 2005. Man, I loved those pants. (This photo has nothing to with this post, other than it was taken in 2005. I didn't feel like digging out my external hard drive for a more relevant photo.)

One morning, a week after running my first 10K, I ran eight miles (well, it was probably closer to nine). Later that day I remember talking to this girl I had an enormous crush on and she was impressed that I had ran so far (which was also another great motivator for running).

The next day I could barely walk. Bad, worn out running shoes and overtraining had caused a stress fracture in my left foot. This was unfortunate because xyzebra had a show that night. And it spelled doom for my newly acquired running habit, for the time being.

This all happened during 2005.

Monday, October 4, 2010

unlimited wants

I kinda want this camera:

Olympus PEN E-P1 12.3 MP Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with 17mm f/2.8 Lens and Viewfinder (Silver)

I don't know much about it other than it's a high quality point-and-shoot and is supposedly capable of taking DSLR quality photos (probably depends on who's using the camera in both cases).

I came across this type of camera one day on Flickr; I was impressed by a certain shot so I looked up that photo's EXIF data to discover what kind of camera the photographer had used. I was surprised to find out that he hadn't used a DSLR camera but a camera similar to this one made by Panasonic. The Panasonic camera employed the same "Micro Four Thirds" technology that this Olympus uses. I don't know exactly what "Micro Four Thirds" means other than it allows interchangeable lenses like a DSLR.

I also saw this type of camera all over the place in Hong Kong. In fact, a girl on the metro retro-fitted her camera with an old Nikon lens (from the film era, it appeared) by using a special adapter -- I'd love to try my dad's old Olympus lenses on this thing.

Anyway, I've really been wanting a new point-and-shoot camera for the times I don't feel like dragging my DSLR around or at shows where I'm not allowed to bring it in and just because it'd be nice to have a fun backup. Unfortunately, a camera like this is pretty low on my list of big-ticket items, which includes a new computer, a new electric guitar, an 85mm lens or a high quality wide-angle lens (undecided), an iPad (or Android tablet if such a thing exists by the time I have the money), and maybe a down payment on a house (?!?). In other words, it might be quite a while before I can afford one. So we'll see.

Any photographer types out there know anything about this kind of camera?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

fixin' to carve this out of wood

It kinda bugs me when artists and bands release a single months before a new album is released. Because I end up overplaying the single and I'm bored with it by the time the album is out. I swore this would be the case with Brandon Flowers' "Crossfire". Watch the video:

All a good music video needs is Charlize Theron and a few ninjas. It's that simple.

But I didn't get sick of "Crossfire". I still get pumped every time I hear the distant piano and delayed guitars in the song's intro.

Incidentally, the first time I heard "Crossfire" I didn't feel one way or another about it. I should've known that I would end up loving it because my feelings (or lack thereof) were the same on my first couple spins through The Killers' Sam's Town, the band's best album (I have to say though, Day & Age has grown on my quite a bit, more than I had expected it to).

The interesting thing about Mr. Flowers -- interesting to me, anyway -- is that we belong to the same faith. So when he releases a solo album, Flamingo, rife with religious allusions and spiritual insecurities, I'm bound to sit up and listen a little more than if, say, Rivers Cuomo were to start writing songs about the earthly limbo between "heaven and hell".

Maybe that's what has drawn me to The Killers, the fact that I feel like Brandon understands when I struggle to live up to my faith as completely as I should (see songs like "All These Things That I've Done" and "When You Were Young"). And while Flamingo offers its fair share of commiseration and empathy, at least one track offers something that I haven't found as much of in the Killers' releases: hope. It's one thing to say, "Yeah, I've been there," but it's so much better to say, "Here's how I got out." You can hear the latter on this song, "Magdalena":

I need that vest (although I'd probably have to lose about 40 pounds to rock it as well as he does). I love the key change after the bridge.

As an album, Flamingo isn't perfect. The songwriting sags a bit in the middle and album's closer is a bit on the weak side (this is remedied by buying the deluxe version -- bonus tracks!). But in the end, if Brandon continued to put out albums of this caliber at The Killers' expense, I might not mind.