Friday, March 31, 2017

Ski Wisdom

Today I went skiing and overheard a lift operator say, "I do not judge men and women by the content of their souls, but by the validity of their ski pass."

Hard to argue with that.

A nice day of spring skiing.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

More Comments About Photography

 All my life I have enjoyed photography. In the early years I was the guy who knew about the various controls of a camera and the different types of films.

Once digital entered my life, all that knowledge went the way of my high school French -- a few words here and there, but generally useless.

My phone takes great pictures, and I can do all kinds of things to the image long after I take the snap, mooting any need of knowledge about shutter speed or aperture.

Sure, the realm of the photographer is now invaded by, well, everybody, but so what. The inexpensiveness of the process, the ability to tweak the image, and, perhaps most game-changing, the ability to use images for just about anything, both lofty and pedestrian.

I now take pictures of bike parts, so when I replace them I buy the right ones. I would never have done this with film. 

I can't claim secret knowledge, but I have more fun in the end.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Memory And Philosophy

View from the breakfast/dinner table in 1970s Minnesota

Same view, different window, better camera and film.
I remember very vividly as a child feeling my surroundings were so ordinary, so unchanging, that I longed for the chance to glance out the window and not see exactly what I saw the last thousand times I looked.

Now that I am an adult, my life changes quickly, or so it feels. I'm glad to have escaped that feeling of being trapped in a never-changing landscape. Many times when I looked through a viewfinder in the hopes of taking a picture, I wanted to defamiliarize myself with the image, so as to bring out some element not previously noted. This was a skill I worked at.

I suppose the joke's on me, because nothing seems to remain the same, and that feeling of eternity I experienced as a child is long gone. Not so terrible. Life is full of blessings and I am grateful.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Update With The Sixth-Grader

The sacred documents of science are stored here.
Productivity is now a priority! 


My kids are awesome and I'm so happy to be their father. The above are random items of every day and reflect the sixth-grader's thoughtful nature.


Friday, March 24, 2017

What I Lost When I Went Digital

The above photo collage was from our honeymoon in 2001 in Nepal. I carried a compact film camera and shot about 20 roles of film on the trip. There were lots of photos I thought were not so special. With those I used to cut them up (literal cut and paste) and make photo collages, like the one above.

I certainly don't do anything like that now with my extra photos taken on my phone.

And when I do make photo collages on the computer, I don't just have my own photos to choose from, but, frankly, every other image ever created.

So, yeah, I make fewer photo collages as I don't have stacks of photos lying around, but my visual art really hasn't suffered.

The famous dal baht is featured in this collage.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Picture Supposed To Represent An Imagined Reality

In 2001 I snapped the above picture in Tel Aviv at a street fair. I liked it because finally reality was looking the way it was supposed to.

The scruffy dudes smoking were appearing and behaving like stereotypical Tel Aviv hipsters, I thought. Personally I didn't know anyone who dressed or looked like that, but I figured this was just my uninitiated foreignness getting in the way of an accurate perception.

I should have asked the guys where they were from, or what they were doing. Most likely they were in for the day from Afula.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Video Phone Tech Hard To Resist

Facetime on iphone delivered the above result.
I am often cheered ridiculed for being the crusty dad character in my own sitcom. Somehow my emotional considerations are overlooked by the wife and kids, and the consensus is that I'm the unsentimental guy who chooses the most practical over other other sentiments every time.

There may be a grain of truth in that, but generally I think of myself as a sensitive person who cries easily and laughs boisterously.

I took the screen shot when I was in New York visiting my mother. Hard to remain impartial about tech when that much good feeling is being broadcast by the phone. Everything has its time and place, and the video phone feature certainly delivers plenty of good feeling.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I Was Scrapbooking Before Anyone Knew It Wasn't Cool

Cover of scrapbook/journal circa 1990.

Because I went to college in the late 1980s, one message was drilled into me, in every class -- keep a journal, paste pictures, try to avoid being an idiot.

I don't know if I met all points, but when I graduated I enthusiastically embraced journal keeping. I liked the feeling of some sort of philosophical record of all that flowed past my eyes. Of course, paper was much more in vogue, and as the above shows, so were snail mail letters and stamps. This made it easier to paste pictures into books, as I didn't have to print out the images.

I like the look of the scrapbooks and am glad I made them. To be honest, I take more pictures now with the phone, and have more places to record my musings. I do miss the distilled feeling of insanity that these images bring back.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Happy Pi Day!

I was surprised this year how seriously Pi Day is being taken by the kid, who, of course, memorized pi to 20 digits or something 52 digits. He might have been messing with me, for I barely know the number beyond the first digit.

Here is your bonus sample of sixth grade homework.


Monday, March 13, 2017

This Is Oregon

There have been moments when I've been frustrated with my life, but few moments when I regretted living in Oregon. Always scenes like the one above restored my energy that everything was gong to turn out well.

Just have to laugh at the signage. I'm sure many have wandered into the bagel shop only to ask themselves why exactly they were there. When I bought my bagels the pot shop was closed, but the clerk noted me taking a picture and had to ask what my primary objective was.

This past weekend I took both kids to tour a camp of temporary houses. This was a revelatory experience for all of us as we saw people living life on the margins, realizing how small efforts can have big payoffs. The kids chose to come, too, which made me feel good.

No special story with this shot, other than I like it and it is in Oregon.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Daughter Gets Learners Permit And I'm Okay About It, Sort Of

The daughter.

Today I drove the daughter from her high school to the DMV, where she passed the test to get her learner's permit.

Immediately she snapped a picture of the permit with her phone and sent it to friends, who congratulated her with a variety of emojis.

We then went driving, of course. We threaded our way through some tricky residential streets, went to the zoo, and came home. One driver honked at us, once we sort of went off the road, but otherwise a good first day.

I had some DMV literature to help coach me through the experience.

I wasn't so composed as this lady.
Part of the requirements include logging 50 hours of driving, the book having a section to record the practice.

We're already talking about the next time we go out!


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Weird Things From The Past

In 1995 I lived on Zlotopolski Street in Tel Aviv. I took a vacation to Malaysia and upon returning gave my friends batik shirts.

I might have posed them in hopes of recreating this picture from a few years earlier from Taipei, Taiwan, where a buddy had recently come back from Cambodia.

What exactly I was going for is lost to the sands of time. I suspect I wanted to assemble an international team of ridiculous people, who would not flinch from the fiction of an elite unit dedicated to batik and poetry.

Today I believe such efforts at style and humor will be viewed as cultural appropriation. Still, both of these images bring back memories of good times shared, if not good sartorial choices.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Can This Still Be A Daddy Blog Now That Kids Older?

The kids are now 15 and 12, not exactly grown up, but certainly not in the first blush of childhood.

Gone are the days when I could film the kids without permission, and blog about whatever, knowing that they would just be happy to see the nice picture on the screen. To be fair, I didn't start the blog when they were that young. But I do miss the days when I would ask, "Want to make a video?" and always be answered in the affirmative.

Now we have two kids who are sophisticated consumers of media. So this blog might not be called a daddy blog, but a crusty old guy blog, if my daughter is to be believed.

High-level meeting of Portdaddia content committee.
If I take the current thinking on gender, that it is fluid and not absolute, and apply it to blog writing, I can continue to write whatever comes to mind, but with some high falutin' concepts to bolster my incoherence.

Works for me!


Monday, March 6, 2017

Today's Reality

Today the city bus my daughter takes to school was running late because of a bit of snow on the ground, so I had to give her a ride. By the time I got to school the sun was coming out and everything looked grand.

Other blog-worthy events included my being able to feed my kids leftover pho for breakfast.

I understand these details may seem immaterial for those not directly involved. Still, such constitutes the minutiae of a life observed and enjoyed.

For all the blessings -- Stoke!