99% invisible, cold war artifacts, crazy clown time, medium format cameras, homemade bread, the dougi, hello



"Bunnies. Bunnies. It must be bunnies! Or maybe midgets..."

"What's a knockout like you doing in a computer-generated gin-joint like this?"


waking life

"...the idea is to always remain in a state of constant departure, while always arriving."

when i first saw this film back in 2001, i recall dismissing it entirely as an exercise in rotoscoping. in retrospect, my only defense is that i wasn't ready for it. i was too concerned with its superficial formal strategies, and so i could only scratch at its surface. thinking on it now, rotoscoping as strategy to get the viewer to distance themselves and allow the idea of the uncanny to begin to unfold, is really quite effective.

the notion that a small thing can be off- and that this alone can be a signifier for either waking or dreaming states, is really useful when considering the potential of lucid dreaming.

and at the risk of going off the new age deep end, i have begun to think about this film as an intersection of nearly all the ideas that preoccupy me as of late. and it's inherant to the nature of its subject matter that it has come back to me now, ten years after i first saw it, in a way that is wholy consumable. i think this gets to the idea of layers. and that perhaps life is in fact a series of holy moments that have to be received and understood as layers. eventually the layers may stack up to create a fully formed image. wake up already.



stills from waking life, 2001 directed by richard linklater


diagon alley

not THE diagon alley, and not the center of wizarding, but a diagon alley of sorts, and certainly the center of street food cravings in phuket, thailand. during the day, this alley would remain open but it had a sleepy quality- mostly functioning as a shady respite for anyone walking by and seeking a cold coconut. but at night, the alley came alive with lights, people, and scooters pushing through. the center area of each stall seemed to offer a secondary function as a tv lounge for the owners, which seemed quite useful. the flickering light from the tvs as one walked by, along with an olfactory tunnel of grilling foods, all add to the mysterious quality at night.


blair witch moment

in the spirit of continuing to look closely at my own backyard [the backyard being wellington as a whole], i took these photos on the miramar mountain bike path one afternoon.  perhaps because of the limited resolution, lytro seems to have issues with shooting into a source of light. but i felt here, this particular technical flaw evokes a sense of intrigue and mystery. maybe this really is just a flawed photo, but i think the notion of an actual low-fi aesthetic is an interesting and useful one for telling certain kinds of stories. district 9 comes to mind as a really well-crafted example. and of course we have blair witch to thank for popularizing the whole concept.


waking backyard

in continuing to experiment with the lytro, i've been playing around with it's built-in filters.  the line art filter converts everything to a sort of rotoscoped look. i admit there is hip disposable instagram potential here.  loads of it.  but there is also a way in which the thing being photographed becomes distanced, and through a quality of constructedness, observed freshly as if for the first time. in this case perhaps a tree is a tree is not a tree...




"...if reality differs from person to person, can we speak of reality singular, or shouldn't we really be talking about plural realities? and if there are plural realities, are some more true (more real) than others?"  -philip k. dick

i'm not that interested in talking specifically about different kinds of cameras and why one is better than the other. but i do think the lytro is an intriguing piece of technology because it tries, in a new way, to address the disparity between the way we see things with our eyes and the way we capture them as an image.  a photographic image can be a beautiful thing that represents part of something we saw for a fraction of a moment.  what i find compelling about lytro's "living stories" as they call them, is that a single "story" seeks to represent the multiple ways an object was seen in a single moment. the multi focus and perspective shift are no doubt clumsy approximations of what our eyes are capable of.  yet the technology does indicate that there was more going on than we can capture, and by doing so it opens up our representation of reality[or realities]  just a little bit more.


hot night roll

to be fair, these photos have nothing to do with sushi.  nevertheless, they reminded me of what a hot night it was, temperature wise when i took them in rawai.  and then, via word association, that got me thinking about one of my favorite sushi spots in studio city, california.  this place not only had [has?] a delicious sushi roll named "hot night" but they went further and created a "hot night 2" the sequel. even years after i stopped lunching at sushi dan, the sushi, the lunch crowd, the city, all remain memorable. hot night roll- i salute you.


behind curtain number one


just before descending down to kata beach from the nai harn side of phuket, at the top of the hill lie a cluster of restaurants with expansive views.  the kind of place people go to watch the sunset while feeling comfortably unchallenged by the menu.  mainly tourists, with a robust subset of rowdy bare chested russian men. [incidentally, this robust subset of rowdy bare chested russian men can be found zooming around on mopeds just about anywhere in phuket, one needn't travel to the top of a hill.]

it is quite a postcard view from the top of the hill. i may save it for a different more idyllic post. but when i went downstairs to find the restroom, i discovered around the corner a verandah doing double duty as the wine cellar and laundromat.  the scaffolding appearing as a series of boxes framing the view in an unexpected but nicely fragmented way. not sure if there is a moral to this story, except perhaps sometimes tis better to descend than ascend.


not a valentine


sunsets seem to be inherently romantic, even if overdone and schmaltzy. i'm not one for pushing a sunset photo agenda, but i did enjoy many a real-time sunset while in phuket. these two moments jumped out as particularly romantic- in the literary sense. idyllic and fanciful. that's about all the romance i can handle for today.



alien nation

i grew up watching x files. at a young impressionable age, i had already decided that clearly aliens were among us, the governments was covering it up because the general public couldn't handle the truth, and most importantly, there was a lot of classified shit going down in the california deserts. though i largely still believe most of that, age has tempered the mystery and wonder conspiracy theories used to hold for me. perhaps it's the glut of alien movies i have consumed in the intervening years. or the steady diet of trek. but it all feels pretty blase. aliens, cigarette man, fbi. next.

yet, when i do have occastion to drive through some of the real places that have inspired the fiction, i find they still hold a powerful sense of the unknown. windmills en route to palm springs are particularly iconic. they have a foreboding, sentient quality, as they remain perched en masse, just watching the towns and passers by below. they may be a blight on the landscape, but after all this time, to me, they have come to embody it and exemplify the isolation of the desert.

i want to believe.


jurupa, home on the range

taking a road trip- even a short one from los angeles to scottsdale, arizona, is just about one of the most quintessential american experiences. and though one can take road trips in many countries, there is something about doing it in the states that really brings the feeling of being home back to life for me.

en route, i enjoy the mundane and the extraordinary. driving along long stretches of freeways holds both. there is the banality of strip malls, gas stations and billboards advertising everything from gaming casinos to luxury outlet shopping. treasures, such as driving into the sunset and watching the landscape suddenly transform into a beautiful photographic tableau. and just about everything in-between, including giant statues of prehistoric animals stuck to hillsides like beacons of suburban civilization. even jurupa california can hold some wonder for the road weary traveller.