(sometimes withershins, widershins or widderschynnes) means to take a course opposite that of the sun, going counterclock-wise, lefthandwise, or to circle an object, by always keeping it on the left. It also means "in a direction opposite to the usual," which is how I choose to take it in using it as the title of this blog. We're all in the same world finding our own way.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Letter to My Blog

Ah, Widdershin Writings.

It's been good. It really has, but I'm reconsidering this whole arrangement we have. I don't have the attention span right now to maintain you the way you deserve to be maintained. Posts should happen at least once a week, preferably closer to three times a week, not intermittently once every two or three weeks as I forget you exist again and again.

It's my fault really, you shouldn't blame yourself. I mean, I got busy. I got distracted. If I were trying to make excuses, I'd even say it was because I didn't have constant, 24/7 access to the internet all summer, but I'm not trying to make excuses. And we both know that's not true. I checked my emails and Plurk and Facebook each at least once a week. You deserve better than neglect, and what we have/had, I think that's something worth trying to rekindle.

So here's the deal, I will write a blog post on something relevant to my life or to my classes or to something that's been nagging my mind at least once a week. These posts will be no less than 300 words and at least once a month they shall be accompanied by a video or photo or some other kind of multimedia image so you aren't just text.

Do you think you can agree to that, Widdershin? I feel so bad for how I've treated you these past few months and I want to make it up to you any way possible.

Alright, well, get back to me.
Much love,
Danny (acelessthan3)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Devil's Playground

You know that movie, Idle Hands, where the guy's right hand gets possessed by the devil and he can't control it? My hands get possessed by music.

When I have my headphones in and I'm listening to a rockin' song, I'll find my left hand starts moving. It's small at first: Really nothing more than a slight twitch. But then, as I get more and more into a song, it morphs into a kind of dancing. My hand slides up and down an invisible scale more or less in time with the singer's voice. I think I'm more a lyricist in that sense. I follow the words and the language just as much as the beats. Sometimes I can't tell if it goes up or down (I'm not that musically inclined I'm sorry to say) so my hands switch back and forth until I know for sure.

If there's piano, my hands will play an invisible keyboard, albeit not very accurately, but that's why it's invisible, no one has to hear it.

Eventually my right hand gets dragged in as well. I don't think I ever end up conducting the music I'm listening to, but I think that if I were to learn it, I would sign the songs. Depending on who I'm with and where I am, the dancing will spread. Up my arms, into my shoulders, down to my hips then it skips to my feet, and I'm full on dancing. It's freestyle with hip-hop and salsa influences.

It's inevitable.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A haiku:
Waiting is stupid
My train is yet to arrive
Bags take up my space

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A photo is worth 1000 words, apparently photography is worth 620

If you've met me in person, you've no doubt seen me with my camera, and while I'm in no way a photographer, I do take a lot of pictures. For the last year, it seems like my life has been a never-ending series of snapshots, still frames from the movie of my life concentrated around the scenes where I'm surrounded by people.

It was during a conversation a few nights ago that Sarah mentioned that going through the many photo albums of pictures I've uploaded to Facebook wasn't like going through so many other people's pictures where everyone is lined up and smiling, that more often than not, my albums tell a story. It was a small comment, but it's made me think about the nature of my photography or rather my digital perspective.

I hesitate to call what I do photography. To me, photography is formal. It's planned and executed with the express purpose of ending up with a photograph of something or someone. There's thought behind it: the angle, the lighting, the subject. If photography were a large, glossy, oil painting, what I do with Earl Jr. (that's my trusty little Fuji Finepix J10) is more like stick figures in the sand. It's capturing part of the moment, part of the experience in instant gratification.

I learned early in life that to ignore the camera. My childhood was punctuated with the flashing bulbs of my grandmother every time we visited. There's the stereotype of the Asian tourist with the camera around their neck, well I'm here to tell you it's not just the tourists.

As I was going into the eighth grade, my mother pushed me to join journalism, pushed me for college applications and transcripts even though it wouldn't actually matter for another two years, where I was taught how to use a camera and how to take pictures for the yearbook. And one of the first things we were taught was to try to aim for natural. When you point a camera at someone, more often than not, their IQ will drop a hundred points as their eyes light up and they strike a pose. It looks as goofy as it sounds. So take candid pictures, don't let them know you're taking a picture until after the flash has faded.

I mean think about it, in most professional photography, they bend and position you to put you in the most natural looking poses possible and then spiff it up with perfect lighting, backgrounds and props. But the goal is to make it look natural, like you were always in that position. So to capture those same moments, to capture those same kinds of vulnerabilities candidly is a lot harder. You don't have the same kind of control of timing and position and lighting.

Perhaps a better analogy for what I do with a camera would be to compare it to amateur butterfly collecting. You run around with this image net and swing and swing at these fleeting fluttering images, missing most of the time, but with enough time and persistence , you'll get exactly what you're looking for and you can save it and frame it however you please. The key is to keep swinging.

And if you take enough of these candid miscarriages the way I do, collect them in one place and put them in chronological order, they do tell a story. It might be a little fuzzy on the details from time to time and sometimes people will be missing or incomplete, but it's natural, and the story part rises organically from that fact.

Any and all action tells much more of a story than the feigned smiles of a group shot.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bumbershoot fun

This past weekend I got my face painted for the first time in who knows how many years. It was a kind of torture resisting the urge to itch for the few hours I had the paint on, reminding me why I'd forgone facepainting, but somehow I managed to last without the paint getting rubbed off, or worse washed off by the fickle attempts at rain by the Seattle skies.

The shirt I wore was another acelessthan3 original print, a simple design of black stripes on an orange shirt, mostly in an attempt to stand out in the crowds. I knew some friends would be at the music festival and wanted to make myself easily visible so wore one of the most painfully bright shirts available. It worked. Charlie and I hadn't even entered the event yet when I received a text informing me I'd been spotted.

Later in the day, I was surprised to find myself able to spot my friend Alex from across the Seattle Center International Peace fountain before he saw me. Just proves a good eye beats colors any day.