Dust Spirals – Journal 5/15/2022

Another six month update, here we are.

My name is Jake Thomas Shaw. Not that one, or the other, I’m this one. Made from the variety of thoughts and experiences that have carried me here. Not like another you could reach back 4 years and find.

I’ve been 3d-printing, photographing (for my employer, at least it’s SOMEthing, still would rather just do more photoshoots), and making videos all over the place. I highly recommend you take a look at my Chill Films playlist on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEJAcC3Do0a8pqK_bC_pFVwrLdjP7YjUx. This is ostensibly a new niche I’ve been attempting to get into. I found that I’m pretty okay at gauging the cinematic quality of a shot in aerochrome and leveraging that for use as a ‘chill’ film. Various lo-fi artists’ music and vaporwave stuff will be used, and the latest one I’ve actually just shot yesterday that will use an Album by Digital Forest, very good for the thoughtful soundscapes. I intended it to be a cafe-type music playlist that has a simple accompanying visual, and so far it’s been satisfying enough to keep going.

My intro paragraph is a reassurance that I am still fundamentally me, and that nothing can change that. Been hard to hang onto during the pandemic, when I don’t have much will to do anything other than doomscroll. But now I feel as if I’m finally starting to rise out of this muck, this awful time that has been the opening shot of the 2020’s.

I’ve been thinking in languages of design that I haven’t in a while, and been able to watch movies and read books the same way I was before lockdown happened. Starting to remember the thought processes that drive me doing weird/dumb experimental things.

– THE ABOVE PORTION WAS WRITTEN ON 5/11/22 –

It’s funny to me because as you follow these blogs it’s like a bunch of snapshots of my life as it gets slightly less creative, but that’s not the case. Every new update there is all kinds of new stuff happening, I’m just not finding the time to share. It’s a tricky thing where for 6 months I’m dead silent out here on the airwaves but in my studio I’m working on melting bismuth and turning it into crystal clusters. Which I have, and it’s been very fun. What will happen with that next? Defocused filter artifacts or wire sculptures? Who knows!

I’ve been crawling out of the pandemic on hands and knees just trying my best, and I think most people have been. I usually start/stop these posts these days because of that. I used to bang out a blog post in minutes but now it takes days for me to collect my thoughts in a way that isn’t overwhelming. Enough waffling, let’s actually get into it.

I’m a very jack-of-all-trades artist, if I were to call myself a master of one it’d be poetry, which surprises people who have more recently met me. I can’t blame them, because poetry is such a core part of me that I don’t really express it as that art form anymore. It’s always on mind when I’m thinking about design but it takes a lot of willpower to put the camera down anymore.

When I had started writing poetry, I was straddling the point between my life in California and my life here in Washington, still completely unaware of art in general. So imagine my impressionable young mind when I discovered an artist that transcended being “music” to me for the first time. That artist was Xilent, an EDM producer. I say “EDM”, and lots of people have their own labels for it, but it was electronic music that hooked me first, and it was his that got me. His song “Gravity”, specifically, was a revelation for what could be done with art. It made a soundscape that sucked me in with a great beat and atmosphere.

When I first began exploring form in poetry, I used to think in terms of “can I mimic any patterns found in a Xilent song?” Which was the complete wrong attitude, I’ve found. In some poems I was literally writing syllable counts to the beat of his songs. Higher BPM meant better, and each bar was an attempt at finding the rhythm in stressed/unstressed syllables as they could be put to the beat (meter). Led me down some strange patterns of thought, none of which panned out artistically. But it was my first hint that I could latch onto the strangest things and try to draw them across multimedia.

In school at the time, I was embroiled in endless design classes. Even at the high school level, I’d start and end my days in the same room, for first period and last. Doing design work ranging from sound design to sculptures to poems to paint to stencil to pencil. For 4 years. Always taught along the way that strategy and intention are the mental tools required to make art. Strategy being the weakest link in my chain.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that transliterating a song from Xilent requires more than just mimicking beat patterns as meter in a poem, but it requires a grasp of intention on part of Xilent, and a strategy to evoke the atmosphere and narrative of the music rather than just trying to write lyrics, essentially. And as a result, some poems I’ve more recently written to his music, like “Assemble“, come out much more hopeless and nightmarish than they used to (poem is at the bottom of this post, as I’m not giving it its own post). His music has also gotten much darker in the last 6 years since We Are Virtual has come out.

That kind of scene used to quite repulse me, and my first impression of the EDM people was at a place called Studio 7 in Seattle, where I was actually going to see Xilent. I got so uncomfortable with the locals that I left almost immediately after showing up, and the venue wasn’t the best: like an apartment with no interior walls, people packed like sardines. Showbox Market would have been much better, at the very least, or the Neptune. I had liked the music for so long that I was really disappointed with myself when I couldn’t let go and enjoy the scene, chalked it up to a simple disagreement between my senses and what I was seeing. – A MASSIVE regret now that Xilent is pretty much on hiatus, who knows when he’ll be back around.

Since September I’ve been starting going to live music shows, and actually missed out on one that would have been kick-ass: Rezz at Red Rocks in Colorado. I had the chance to find out what the scene was like again with an open mind and with people I was comfortable going to a show with, so I did at Rezz’s show at WAMU on friday the 13th, just a few days ago. And it was amazing.

I was party to the most outlandish outfits, the best lights, coolest stage show, and best block-rocking electronic music my organs could stand to be shaken by. I was getting a contact high by being close to like a dozen people smoking weed, jumping up and down, and letting go a little bit while I was hypnotized by Rezz’s show. Still not entirely gone, but close enough that a part of me did actually let go for like a second during HEX and Killing In The Name.

It made me rethink the broad strokes of art and expression, more so how the people around me chose to express themselves and how I did. I didn’t stand still like a statue this time like I did at Deftones (where my party and I got annihilated by the pit opening up for Gojira right where we were standing), and certainly was more energetic than I was during Royal Blood. I wore my 2814 shirt, no one mentioned it, but I didn’t care because I was representing myself. Just like everyone else. And it didn’t cross my mind once that anything I was seeing was insensible or strange. It was meant to be. Hearing Rage Against The Machine at a show like that was also reaffirming that I was in the right place.

I also think that the people at that show were simply happy to be in that space again; one of a public gathering where no one would get really fucked up or have to defend themselves by an aggressive mosh pit or people stagediving.

I woke up at about 7:30 this morning and I have been listening to Rezz pretty much all day. Chemical Bond is getting a lot of airtime.

How can you translate that atmosphere into a poem? Into a photo? Into a song? Go check out the visualizer for Menace and tell me if the design was nailed, because I think that video is a great example of intention and strategy playing out well for an artist – a video meant to be projected behind Rezz as she’s doing her thing on stage, and without a 5-piece band to be a stage presence and singer jumping up and down, the crowd is informed of energy through the bass knocks, projections, lights, and displays. If you ask me, she achieves her goal; found in most EDM tracks by the titles of the songs and what voice samples may be used. This visualizer is menacing.

So visually easy to represent, but what are you going to do with that if you want to write a poem about it? Is the intent to write lyrics? Extenuate the treble or atmosphere? Or are you going to use voice samples to install a more overt narrative? It’s a lot harder than following the bars, without even going into the actual writing of the poem.

I choose to stay away from following the meter more, instead writing more free verse or otherwise loosely-based quatrain rhyming scheme based on the atmosphere and the feeling of being there. Like the poem I might end up calling No Signal, about the two moments at that Rezz show where I let go, and couldn’t feel my own thoughts. But the meaning of those instrumental songs is only informed often by their titles, leaving you to tell your own story or imagine your own fantasies to the sound to.

There are plenty of melodic motifs found in each of these songs and you can find a lot more success in multimedia transliteration if they are heeded.

Back to Xilent, on the other hand, who in his latest and second album We Are Dust has an actual narrative as a concept record throughout the whole thing. The song titles are longer and point to the story beats while the songs themselves are paced to tell this story. It’s a journey, a warped cybernetic hell that requires knowledge outside the album and interaction with an Alternate Reality Game to understand. The last track on the album, Particles, is a masterpiece in the genres it bends and crosses to reach an uplifting, hopeful climax of what is a very grim and dark album at its core. Especially after he’s released We Are Virtual, which is a summery album with only one or two dark spots, it’s intense to see the amount of strategy and intention that has gone behind telling this story that people might not even listen to all the way once.

It’s like how throwaway from pluderphonic-y vaporwave is produced versus 2814 (who I found looking through Xilent’s spotify playlist Future Lounge), where 2814 weaves a total narrative with no words and title language I can’t read that well into consistently-themed and articulated albums. Even the single Voyage is incredible.

The EDM scene is built upon bangers, those one-off singles that dominate the airwaves and are relatively easier to produce than full albums filled with consistent narrative and meant to go together. An EP here, a single there, and even the albums released much like Spiral by Rezz are a collection of songs, but not necessarily a story altogether. Spiral is still a kickass album, but for different reasons than We Are Dust. I have a very broad idea of what the collection that is Spiral means, but each song is self-contained and opaque in relation to its place.

You put a lot of yourself into the music you listen to. Rezz has cemented to be a special place in this moment, this Jake that is typing. I will never forget the feeling of the air moving around me, like for the first time I understood what it meant for what I breathe to be fluid. And I will never forget feeling so safe, weirdly enough. Oh, and the snakes and skulls and shit that was on screen synced up to the music. I would love to know the artistic meaning behind Spiral besides being a theme for the album (does make me think for sure that Rezz has read Junji Ito).

I also think about what I’m putting in my art a lot, generally. If you read Arcing Ark Archangel (it’s on the site but I’m not linking it because reading it is cringey), you might notice that it is overproduced like a Martin Hannet album. That’s because I combed through every single word and replaced them with much more precise versions like an absolute psychopath. EVERY SINGLE ONE. Even the use of articles was heavily scrutinized and modified if it wasn’t tonally correct. And like a moron I figured no one would be able to glean that from reading it. For 4 pages.

Fuck it, here it is.

My point is, yeah it’s really hard to not love one of your own art pieces to death in pursuit of your goal. To literal death. I killed this poem. But I kinda figured I was while I was doing it, seeing as I refuse to look at it again. It’s like robbing a grave and finding out that you’ve just cracked the casket of a used car salesman who was buried with the bag of sand he used to put in engines to quiet down the noise his horrible products made.

I’ve killed poems so viciously that I’ve become so aware of what effect my nitpicking can have. Over a catalogue of over 1,000 poems, I doubt more than 10% are actual winners. It’s why I’ve hardly posted any since like 2018, my ego has been tempered in this way.

Just for posterity, here is a poem I wrote in December 2021, and one I visited a couple of times. The atmosphere is my focus, and my proudest part of this one.

I’ve tried to put chapbooks together only to find that nearly all of my poems pre-2020 have little strategy or intent behind them. They just kind of happened and I stopped. My poetry professor’s words haunt and echo to me, “You’re never finished with a poem”. I’ve been editing a few poems here and there, forgetting some others, refining some new and shaving the old.

So it must be scary to be someone like Rezz or Xilent, committed enough to make it known that a vision for an entire album has been realized. And I’m just out here trying to make a banger of a single that I’m proud enough to put into an EP.

Anyways, that’s a real small vertical slice of where I’ve been. I hope to revisit these thoughts sooner than last time, and I know I need to. I’m so caught up on doing that I haven’t been making time to do much reflecting.

I’m the type of person that needs to get bored before I can finally start making sense of things, which is really hard to do when doomscrolling is so easy. I need to abide my own motto.

Consume Reality!
Radio Reality City!


Assemble

A ruinous effigy
Stood tall despite decay

A colossus ripped apart
Shattered throne
Yet quote chains
A transmutation to these plains

I cross campus with a camera on my hip
Up stairs, through epic halls,
With an eye to capture this place
And contain it to a vessel

A routine, to drive in snow and rain,
Through downtown Tacoma
With the nerves to feel this place
And walk among androids

There’s a plan
There’s a class
There’s a track to stick
To

Nearly no day unsurprising despite it

A coffee shop across the street
The university cloaked within the city
Like a jacket as it makes a second skin
Once you learn to love it

I am a flesh automaton
Powered by neurotransmitters

I know how to endure the loop
How to enjoy every day
Waking up too early
Taking the tram with the others

A new space

Music ringing in my ears
Questions to the new experiences
A podcast to pass the time
While I walk along the pier

Sitting in class, feeling myself think,
It’s the third time today I’ve
Thought a leaf was falling
Past the window to my left
I’m a professional now
Taking pictures of the buildings
So massive they must be
Titans

It’s sprinkling,
It’s snowing lightly
A small whisper of wind
But I feel it all around

Walking through the ruins
Of a shattered throne’s radius
This effigy only in my mind
Gripping tight a staircase railing

As I ascend

It’s the next stage of human evolution
More than surface sensations
More than reading into things
Build the thrones

Burn the effigy
And walk through the cinders

Rip it all to pieces
Make pleasant conversation

Order a 16oz coffee to drink
Feel the androids all around
We are dust
And that’s enough

I look at my hands to make sure I’m me
Keep it together in that phantasm
I watch the muscles move and twist
As I open every door

I find myself at a courtyard
Between all the buildings
In the center of the
Grand staircase

I stop moving for the first time that day
Look around, staring at the trees,
Sounds of the birds penetrate the
Shuffling of feet around me
Taste of pumpkin spice on my lips
The weight of forevers lifted

Echoes of a primeval civilization
Manifest all around me

Like the city in the mountains of madness
I am enamored by my own agency
And the story that follows my steps

“Robotics and cybernetics;
It’s the next stage of
Human evolution.

Fully autonomous
One-hundred percent androids watching over us
Will make us feel safe again in the city of
Oz.

So yes I trust them.

We are about to enter
A new age.”

Vulpecula

Vulpecula

When will the seekers learn
There’s no such thing
As one perfect thing

There are different
Kinds
Of perfect

Some you can taste
Some you can hear
Some you can see

And some that give you
A funny feeling
All on its own

Like being adrift
In the Bootes Void
On a derelict

Like buckshot stasis
Outside when rain
Needles your skin

Perfects
No perfect
Or imperfect

Like destiny in your hands
As you tug on the filament
Of galaxy walls

A great woods
For a great camping
Trip in nowhere

Now here
A little fox
Skitters in the galactic bush

Explosive cyclogenesis
Dumps an arm of stars
Upon your head

You are now here
Little fox
Things are grand

There is more to the world
Than voids and threads
There is so much more

There is nuance
Delirium
Ennui

Boredom so vast
You can summon
Dreaming cities in your mind

Moonlight winnows in
Igneous riptide
Choking the ego from your soul

Vulpecula the hunter
Seeking meaning in
Nothing

Go experience
Threads of this universe
And enjoy its wonder

Invisible and Fleeting – Journal 8/7/21

There’s a lot of media coming out lately that aligns with something I like to see: the extension of a chosen medium to make its artistic statement. When the very piece you’re engaging with has its presence be a part of its meaning, that really gets to me. I can’t usually get ahold of such a wealth of this type of art, but this last year has been a veritable cornucopia of content. Mostly depressing or dealing with sad themes, of course.

There is the vaporwave music kick I’ve been on, which uses the philosophy of hauntology and analog horror to imbue musak with a more overt sense of dread and unease. The audio itself sounds possessed by the dreams of mall rats from the 80’s. It’s fantastic.

Effervescent art streams hosted by musical artists once and once only.

The bringing back from the dead of old videos on YouTube.

And a weird right hook I’ve just stumbled across called Cruelty Squad. A game about a hyper an-cap future where you play as a hitman in a gig economy, and features an organ harvesting mechanic where you can sell people’s livers after you’ve eaten them. Pretty grim stuff. The thematics are underscored (or overscored) by PSX-era polygonal graphics and old-school Rainbow Six tactical gameplay, and wearing the skin of a “500 games for $10” disk. Ultra ugly textures and audio that make it almost hard to play at first.

Never taking a moment to explain themselves, these pieces of art are just waiting for someone to stumble across them, and imbue their own meaning.

As climate depression has been hitting me pretty hard this last week or so, seeing the clouds roll in and a light rain take hold has done wonders for my soul. I’ve been able to imbue my own meaning and thankfulness to the cooler air, and I’ve taken that to heart by taking my notebook out again and scribbling a bunch of lines before putting it away.

I have seen some movement here and there on my Redbubble shop which is really cool. First sale I made was from Australia, someone wanting a postcard of a Rainier shot of mine. So I’m a little over the moon.

I have also broken out the Helios 40-2 again. It’s like putting on an old jacket, how comfortable it is to have on the A7. And I’ve begun drawing out designs for an autofocus mount for it so I can throw it on the Pronto adapter and never have to turn its focus ring again. 3d printer is operable once more, so I’ll be able to manufacture a hook and bearing system with PLA and TPU. If this works out I’ll make a whole post for it and upload the files to Thingiverse or something. It’s not so much an undertaking as fighting Blender to make sure it doesn’t crash when I press a wrong button. And waiting for batteries for my calipers to arrive.

And speaking of that DIY ethic, I’ve now got my hands on an actual dual-Xeon server. I may be migrating this whole website at some point, but we’ll see how good with Linux I can get.

Let’s see… what else is there…

Halsey is releasing If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power as an art house music film, and I’ll be at an IMAX theater provided that the COVID numbers here don’t skyrocket much further. If it’s as good as the pedigrees of it’s producers, then it should be a sight to behold and it’ll be an interesting piece of media within its chosen medium.

I think that’s all for now. I’m working on sorting my old poems and releasing them as relevant collections, but it’s slow going. I’m plugging right along with slow but consistent progress.

Thank you guys for reading, and as always

Consume Reality!

Radio Reality City!

Analog Alexandria – Journal 6/9/21

So here we are. Is it everything you expected it to be?

I almost died in a car crash yesterday. Someone jumped a median from the oncoming lanes and caught air in my direction. Thankfully, some kind of instinct took over and before I thought I saw it coming I was already swerved up onto the sidewalk to avoid it. Looking back, I must have been missed by inches. Judging by the aftermath when I sprang out after hitting my hazards and pulling over, the car was probably stolen and the guys that were in it took off in a different car that had been following them. After talking to the firefighters and police that showed up I doubt anything will come of it.

And that led to a very interesting evening where reality waved in and out, understanding just how fast that could have happened. Not exactly introspective about it, and somehow I’m managing to take it lightly. Woke up this morning with the Circle Jerks’ “I’m Alive” in my head despite not having heard that song in years.

Part of putting this here is that this is the only way to put it out there. With that withdrawl from Instagram, I’ve created a community Discord server at this link: https://discord.gg/mVjUPZrEDv mostly for chat regarding things here. Hopefully this can grow into something kinda neat but as of now no concrete plans for what it can become.

I’m also putting more stuff up on my Redbubble shop here https://www.redbubble.com/people/JakeThomasShaw/shop for some prints. I’m realizing that if I’m going to be a working artist ever I need to establish presence where it matters. Which is here and there and everywhere that doesn’t drain my time.

Part of this latest redesign of the website is to redistribute old content in a healthier format. I want to organize all the old poems and older content into .epubs and .pdfs for free upload. I think that’s a valuable thing. If anyone has any ideas of software that’s useful for either automation or bookmaking in that way, please leave a comment.

You guys really are the best for sticking with this, if I have any readers here from 2015 feel free to let me know, as well. I think it’s super cool that anyone’s been around for that long here prodding me along. If you guys have any favorite posts or poems hit me up! I’d like to make a best of compilation of some kind.

I know the site itself looks threadbare, but that’s only because new infrastructure is being laid again.

Consume reality! Radio Reality City!


Chromatic Typewriter – Journal 6/5/21

“Last stop before Verisum, found this thing leaning up against a wall like it was waiting for me. Couldn’t figure out how to use it so I asked our guide to try it out ’cause I figure he’s seen one of two of these things. First trigger pull and those keys sang colors you wouldn’t believe you could ever see. Hasn’t left my side since.”

– A man wishing to remain anonymous.

If you’re a friend of mine you’ll have seen the Instagram page. I’m getting off that wagon after, what, 2 years of on and off use. Only ever used it for my art, so I figure why would I let Facebook have the pleasure of hosting my content? I have a whole ass website for that purpose, Discord for community, and texting for everything else.

That and the increasing radicalization over this last year has led to me solidifying some of my beliefs, and this move away back from Instagram to the website is one of those applications of theory.

So hi, hello, the world is a much different place. A lot worse in some ways, but a lot better in a couple of others, like me! Some things refined, some things distilled, and we’re coming out stronger. Remember Year V’s announcement? Yeah, I hope not. That began 2020.

We don’t measure that kind of time in RRC, though, so we can pick and choose as much as we want of what good has happened.

So as of right now, there is no plan for this website, and that’s the way it’s gotta be. And now that I’m out of options to be lazy when it comes to art, it’s time to properly foster the use of this outlet. The world is returning to newsletters and blogs, and I’m thanking my lucky stars that that era wasn’t one I missed out on. I caught it right on time.

Expect more, expect better. I’m glad I’ve seen a couple of regular visitors going through some of the old news segments and I think that’s pretty cool. I used to have a sizable following for a blog like this and if you’ve stuck around then you must be in for this surprise.

No more other platforms. No more leaving it up to YouTube compression or relying on the algorithm gods of Instagram. Fuck them.

We’re right here, right now, and it’s Year VI at Radio Reality City. I own this.

Consume Reality! Radio Reality City!

Python, 6 Rounds – Journal 12/9/19

The hiatus is over. Oh yeah, we’re back.

So, my payment method for registration here on wordpress ran out, and honestly money’s been tight. Been needing to spend it on things more important than, get this, domain registration. But damn it feels good to be back at the helm.

I need to make more time for art. I got rocked pretty hard a couple of months back when I got and lost my first contracted photography job that wasn’t something I supplied the paperwork for. I was briefly a newspaper photographer. Yessir I was! Took pictures, definitely was part of a professional team, definitely felt like I contributed to a team and was supported.

Except none of that was true except for the fact that I took pictures. Which, I did quite a lot. But only a couple of times. And two images were used.

Then after three weeks from hiring I was fired over email. Among other things, this was a very confusing period in my life. I wasn’t particularly upset over the firing as much as my experience at the paper. Without getting into details, I felt like I was quite without a paddle. It sucked.

But when I got that email, I was shook. Properly rattled. Imposter syndrome started to set in really hard, and I started to… not make things again. This was also a period of time where I lost out the opportunity for a promotion at my primary job. Morale was low. Income was fine but my ego was crushed, and my ego is like the one thing I can depend on for a lifeline.

It took me a month and a half to recover and start carrying my camera again. I normally have my camera on my hip everywhere I go.

In the period after my last journal, which was in July (god damn), I was still waiting on my IR chrome filter from Kolari Vision and I finally got it. More on that later. The point is, I have geared up pretty heavily. If you browse /p/, you’ll see all those gear threads, and one thing they love is a good bag. I got myself a massive drone hardcase backpack for all my needs. I’m pretty much set when it comes to packing out for a day of shooting. I went ahead and got my second Peak Design capture clip, and now along with my IR Chrome mounted to the A6300 I have been dual wielding my cameras when I’m out and about.

Oh yeah, let’s get back to that real quick, my IR CHROME arrived. After literally 6 months after paying for it this optical marvel finally got to my doorstep.

Oh yeah! Red leaves and dyed fabric!

Honestly this filter has to be one of the top three parts of my kit. Its effects are immediate and insanely cool. I gambled on a stylistic choice, and that gamble paid off hardcore, man.

September Los Angeles.

These photos have not been edited. The only thing I did was set custom while balances in camera. It’s pretty awesome. Nadine indulged me by getting me the KV-FL1, multispectral flash unit, so now I am armed with one of the most powerful flashes I’ve had my hands on. I’m prepared to get a custom filter holder 3d-printed and to get some UV and IR bandpass filters to mount to it. Boom! Invisible flash unit! That’s in the wings, but for now, I am fully decked with infrared flash equipment.

I haven’t done another wedding yet, but I have done a couple of couple shoots and I even have a boudoir shoot in my portfolio now. I’m not sure if/how I should handle posting those. Does my site need a NSFW section? It’s definitely not my main source of images, but I mean, I have no idea how to handle distribution if that’s the route I want to go.

I’ve been talking with my buddy again after a long time of being pretty no-contact with people through messaging. Part of that has been due to university and part of it has been my lack of will following my experience at the newspaper.

Also, sidebar, but I’ve been in Tacoma a lot more lately. Taking the rail in downtown. Exploring around the Foss Waterway. I just haven’t edited much of the photos I’ve taken since California, so there’s not a lot to post here. I pretty much immediately post straight to Instagram under @jake_thomas_shaw so if that’s your predilection then please check it out there. I’ve withdrawn from Facebook entirely, deleted Reddit, and the only social media I really interact with is Instagram.

This leads fantastically into talking about my paranoia regarding technology. If you feel compelled to take part in commodity fetishism, stay away from all of these ‘smart’ objects. Smartphones are a way of life, but nothing else has to be. Smart home objects, smart televisions, all that jazz, you need to stay away from. Or if you engage with it, please please please know how to anonymize yourself and reduce being tracked.

As I am more and more aware of the world I’ve been becoming increasingly knowledgeable in the habits of companies that produce all this stuff. All of the analytics they harvest, the details of peoples lives they steal and sell. If you’re taking part in this, play your part in private disobedience and tell those companies to fuck off.

Get adblockers, build pi-holes to connect to your routers, disconnect your smart TV from the internet, have your own cloud backups of your data, grab a VPN service you trust, use TOR, circumvent censorship, uphold the mission of LibGen, and buy as much open source technology as you possibly can.

You gotta want the knowledge to use the hardware properly.

Before the whole system comes down, my plan is to get into cybersecurity, and buy some land. I know that in a couple dozen years when nothing has been done about climate change I’m going to not want in an ecological social hell.

Bit of a downer note, apologies.

To that effect, I’m writing in Python now. It’s a good change and its opened up a whole part of my site specifically for technology. Go check out the source code for my hawkmoon program! I think it’s pretty sweet. Lot easier than drones’ proprietary coding methods.

All part of making a sanctuary. That’s why I’m building this place. Radio Reality City exists within and without. And we’re back from a break so there’s gonna be a lot of changes happening around here. There always are.

Welcome to the Season of Dawn.

Happy 20th Birthday!

Hey, it’s your birthday again! I’m sorry I can’t do more than this, in fact I wish I could be next to you today, of course. I love you so much and I’m thinking of how awesome you are.

Btw, I’m typing this on 3/14/18 to come out on 9/14/19. Man, that seems so far away, but we’ll get there.

Have fun, lovely.

Storm and Stress – Journal 7/28/19

A blog only seems to be a blog if you decide to use it every once in a while. Let’s roll the reel!

Another wedding down, this time again in Tacoma, and this time with an A7rii at my disposal. So I also had FE lenses, and made the most use of the G 28-70 and 90mm macro from Sony. I resisted the urge to take a Helios with me but I think I can next time. I’m way more comfortable with its quirks than other lenses at the moment.

I made use of flash more effectively than ever before, as it was a daylight-tuned indoor lighting affair. Which is hell on white balancing but hey, we can tough through it. I finally finally got the replacement hot mirror filter for the A6300, so I delegated it to having the 50mm f/1.8 mounted all night. Only to realize that no lights in the building put off infrared wavelengths, but hey! I got some good bursts with it.

Oh yeah, that was one thing about the A7rii that really told me it wasn’t for me, the buffer times are killer. Even on a high-speed SD with an extra row of pins, the cycle times were abysmal in a fast-paced environment. That’s what I get for using a portraiture camera as a main carry during an event, I suppose. That’s why the A9 exists.

That very week I was able to use the A7rii for a studio portraiture shoot, and that’s where it really shined. As I’m dipping my toes into portrait shooting, I’m realizing that those kinds of camera bodies are a little much for me and too much con for their megapixel pro.

I recently got hands-on with the Fujifilm GFX100, too, that 102 megapixel monster. It shows an unfortunate amount of detail, but in contrast to the A7rii, it can burst 5fps. BUUUUT the buffer on it is even longer after stressing out the sensor and processor that much. I have never shot with medium format, period. So this was a wicked opportunity to test the current hypercar-equivalent.

Fujifilm, when it comes to cameras, seems to really be vested in photography that simulates the film look, but having ALSO recently gotten hands on with some of the latest Leica stuff, I can say with confidence that Fujifilm is getting away from the physical design quirks in their higher level bodies that Leica is staying true to.

During the presentation for how to use the GFX, they went hard on describing the technical, Apple-like qualities they’ve infused their product with and why that makes it so much better than anything else before it. It’s almost like they don’t want people to know that the Phase One cameras exist, and outclass it if compared spec-to-spec.

Their whole point seems to be making the camera feel nice to use, but god damn did those Leicas feel so much better to shoot with.

Shooting with a Leica M feels way more satisfying than shooting with the GFX100, personally. The GFX100 just isn’t for me, and I knew that going in, but even having felt the resolving power of 102 megapixels, I’m honestly not vexed.

My perfect medium format mirrorless would also be a digital rangefinder, probably capped at 40 megapixels, and it would be made by Leica. But that would probably cost more than a GFX100 and that’s where Fuji gets ya.

Which is fine! Becauuuuseeee…

After 7 months of fighting for it, I finally earned my upgrade, the Sony A7iii has joined my arsenal.

I’ve only had it for a week, but comparing it to the A7rii and the Fujifilm, I think I made the right choice by getting the base A7iii and not going for another build/manufacturer at this time. Who knows what weird things I’ll add onto this one, anyways.

And the names have been swapped! The A6300 is now Drang, and the A7iii is now Sturm. A bit pedantic, but important to me!

So far the greatest parts of the A7iii are the IBIS, the dual card slots, and the eye-tracking. I haven’t even bothered with the touch screen, and I’ve actually turned it off because the joystick feels so much better to use.

With the stock 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 I’ve been able to do just fine in pretty much every environment because the ISO grain on the A7iii handles itself EXTREMELY well. Incredible, coming from the A6300 (which I know had its share of heating issues).

Right! That’s where I’m at right now. Next is to actually use what I have in a field someplace. Fire investigation photography is alluring for my infrared camera, but I’m looking at more practical options for my visible light photography first. Let’s get crazy, but in a moment.

More weddings, more studios, more portraits. Onwards we go.

The city is moving, but things are changing.

Consume reality!

Radio Reality City!

We Are Dust – Journal 5/18/19

It’s been a weird couple of months. In between two different eras, Year Five is progressing nicely, with gear acquisition going smoothly and knowledge only ever building on the creative empires I’m trying to build. So much foundation but no walls, no windows, no doors, nothing on top of it yet.

More important things seem to happen every day.

Kolari Vision did an amazing job on my A6300, now technically an A6300i, but I’ve started to call it Sturm after the post-Renaissance artistic movement and Destiny 2 weapon set of Sturm and Drang. When I get an A7iii and a smallrig to match, I’ll have Storm and Stress in my hands.

Currently, most of my photography has been spent figuring out the quirks of infrared light and how it interacts with everything else. It has been a joy to find out what reflects infrared light and why.

Infrared light is an intense little thing to wrap your head around. There are really simple, subtle things that I can point my camera at and find that all along there was another wavelength of light to be found there. It’s actually become quite a Lovecraftian exercise. There’s an idea now that whenever I see something I know there’s more to it. It’s as simple as the black cotton in one of Nadine’s hijabs being bright red or magenta infrared, I just can’t see it without Sturm.

Here’s two shots from her recent senior portrait shoot comparing the effects of infrared. She’s getting two Bachelor’s Degrees in a little over a week!

Canon SL1, EF-S 55-250 f/4-5.6
Sturm, Helios 40-2

So, aside from the Helios being intensely obvious with itself, the color variety in infrared light is insane. There are some lenses that transmit better or worse, which is an interesting idea to go over.

Essentially, different lenses treat wavelengths of light differently depending on the elements used in the lens! The Helios 40-2 was a lens tested by Kolari Vision to see that infrared light didn’t outpace the visible light spectrum in it’s dispersion within lens elements. tl;dr: the Helios 40-2 treats all light the same, and bends it the same. Probably mostly thanks to the KMZ having made military optics, so I’ll chalk it up to Russian engineering on this one.

The SL1 shot beautifully for me not having much time with it between it and the 80D I had before the A6300. I hadn’t messed with it much before but aside from auto white balance, the SL1 came loaded with automatic color profiling. I haven’t had a lot of time to read about it, but that would be why any shots on the SL1 are noticeably more colorful and contrasty. For a computer it does a really good job with color variety. I’ll have it on hand while I don’t have another Sony camera to compliment the modded A6300.

Kolari Vision appears to have been backordered on the IR Chrome filters, due to high demand it looks like. I’ll be getting part of the third batch of filters anytime between a week ago and a week from now. So I’m excited to get it and slap it onto all of my lenses one at a time and see what it looks like. I also have a hot mirror filter I should be getting in the same box so I can make my 55mm diameter and lower lenses look normal. This, sadly, means that the Helios will never see only visible light on the A6300 ever again. Kind of a weird thought. Gouging out one eye to put a new one in its place that can only see in full spectrum.

Most of my day to day work, thankfully, is spent talking about cameras and drones and learning more and more about them every hour. It’s not exactly thrilling, nor applying what I know yet, but I’m learning to much and being able to teach others. I would call myself a consultant on the matter of drones and camera stuff. Hell, I’ve been and am being paid for it I should just throw it on my resume. As such, I haven’t found much time to spare for poetry OR photography. Lot of real life stuff happening right now.

One of which is that I got into University of Washington in Tacoma! Second try’s the charm, but I am now a husky. Which I would have never thought even in high school would have happened, and not for bad reasons, but because I was so flippant about college in high school. I mean, I still am, but now I know what to be flippant at, and that makes all the difference.

I got in. Now we wait for September and jump into it.

PLU, with Sturm, Helios 44-2, and Fotodiox Pronto.

I might take a photography class here, go to club there, but mostly the campus is gonna be about Tacoma and my broader exposure to the city now that I’ll have a real reason for being out there every day. I’ve been to Ruston, done North End, a little of Downtown, some Stadium, but I haven’t BEEN there. Not yet. But I will be, and that’s the exciting part.

More to make art of. More ways to make art. That’s really all I can ever ask for.

Also Xilent is releasing the follow up album to We Are Virtual, titled We Are Dust, set to drop on the 20th. Hopefully I can get my hands on that damn aerochrome filter by then!

Consume reality!

Radio Reality City!

https://radioreality.city

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