Category Archives: Rant

A response to the death of an elk

Recently, a fellow parenting friend posted on Facebook about how he and his one year old daughter had just witnessed the death of an elk. Although the killing effected him and has since also affected me as I’ve spent the last almost week pondering this exchange between he and some of his friends about the situation. I also wanted to position an oppositional viewpoint as I grew up in a household of non-hunters yet I now find myself planning and working towards become a bow hunter so I can bring honest free range organic meat for my family’s dinner table. I’ve wanted to respond for sometime now, but just wasn’t exactly sure how to best put my words, so here goes:

Granted anytime an animal dies there is sadness, this issue is extremely complicated and more thought may need to be given to this topic. Instead of avoiding it, this is a perfect opportunity to have open dialog about what this all means and how each of us processes death for food.

First off, no one on this Facebook thread actually knew the hunter and know exactly what they went through to get to that exact point that they witnessed There is circumstantial evidence based on one’s own observations. The hours of scouting, tracking, and woodsmanship that may have gone into this hunt had happened long before the trigger was pulled.  Or maybe not. We just don’t know. Additionally. it could also appear that to take a shot into a herd of 30 elk, and dropping what possibly sounds like the herd bull elk in its tracks could also potentially be that of an expert marksman. To not harm any other animals in the herd and to thread that bullet to drop the elk that fast, does not seem clumsy to me. We also don’t know how many times this hunter had been out in the woods hunting this elk, this could have possibly been after many trips to the woods in a relatively short hunting season.

Secondly, for a person to chime in about the use of knives is ridiculous. There are hunts in Hawaii where people track wild hogs with dogs and then once they corner the animal they jump in with a large bowie knife and slit the throat of the hog. So in fact, it’s done. To me that doesn’t seem like a very humane way to take the life of another animal. It should be a quick kill. I’d actually be willing to bet that what this person was really wanting to discuss was the idea of “fair chase.”

Fair Chase Defined:
Fair chase is defined by most as a situation where the hunted is not put in a disadvantaged position and has a real chance to escape.
In the wild, this means you don’t shoot a moose when he is swimming across a lake, you don’t walk up to a caribou mired in the mud and shoot him and if you find two helpless locked-up bucks you do every thing you can to get them apart and let them escape unharmed.
Some extend the definition “fair chase” to not hunting over bait, food plots, watering holes or any other artificial means of concentrating wild animals. Others believe hunting islands, blind canyons or using natural terrain blockades isn’t fair chase either. Short of obeying state and federal fair chase game laws, the concept can get pretty gray pretty fast. Basically it is up to the individual hunter or club or organization to draw the fair chase line in the sand.
Wild animals in nature are always aware of their surroundings and the possibility of predators. Their flight-or-fight is always on alert. That is the reality of their environment. The human notion that if a one runs into a lion in Africa or a bear in the Pacific NW, it’s going to be able to feel remorse for attacking you is ludicrous. Ultimately, we too are animals, but with the ability of reason & rationalization. Both sides of the hunter vs hunted have a chance to win. The hunted animal can flee or attack and the hunter chooses when is the perfect opportunity to take a clean ethical quick kill shot. It’s not a free-for-all in the woods.
My last point would be to all those who commented on the original post, as I’d like to see how many of them would admit that they are actually omnivores and eat meat too, even if on occasion? It would seem that they prefer to get their meat from either their grocery store butcher or from their local farmer and let them do the dirty work of killing their food versus taking their own responsibility for what they choose to eat. I do know that the original poster is a vegetarian and I totally respect that. Yes, there is less blood on a vegetarian’s hands than those of a meat eater. It should be known that animals die so other’s can eat, even if you choose to eat veggies. They just might be smaller animals like field mice, rabbits, moles, etc. They can get chewed up in a tractor or a combine as a farmer is clearing a field (http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=97836&page=1). In his book, The Mindful Carnivore, author Tovar Cerulli mentions:
“In my latter days as a vegan, I was shocked to learn how many whitetails are killed by farmers. Considering that deer were being shot to bring us tofu, how vegetarian were our stir-fries? Considering that they were even being shot to bring us greens and strawberries from the organic farm just down the road, how vegetarian were any of our meals?” (http://www.tovarcerulli.com/2011/03/deer-part-of-every-stew-every-salad-every-stir-fry/)

This too is a fact of nature, so as you see it’s not that there are a shortage of complete morons in this world there are those who consider and accept the ramifications of their actions for sourcing their own food and realize it is more complicated issue than just a quip on Facebook.

Slackerdom!

It’s a blustery 60ºF rainy day, the sun is napping behind the clouds and the caffeine just isn’t fueling my brain enough. Music is aiding my neurons though the motions of the day-to-day, yet I am so not here today. I often try to think of ways to provide means and yet somehow excuse myself from the rat race. There are so many ideas that float around in my skull and many of these ideas I believe are attainable, but it requires me to go against the norm and some set of societal rules. I must be quite frank and state that it’s not some get rich quick scheme, in fact it’s more of the opposite actually. I’ve realized that the jobs with a minimum amount of responsibility also pay near the minimum as well. Therefore, if I can reduce my expenditures to be able to live within the confines of a low paying job, I will have no major work responsibilities and can then look forward to allocating all of my time to things I am passionate about outside of a job. Part time work will equal more free time to pursue a more mindful way of living. Now, I can imagine that this slacker mentality will ruffle a few feathers, but I want to further educate on this particular concept. In order to be successful, this will only work if I work harder to provide myself and my family the important basic things we need. Instead of buying them, I want to grow, make, recycle or produce it for myself. Purchase the minimum and cultivate the rest through the use of my own hands. I also understand that this is work as well, but this is rewarding work that I will use, not just something to push someone else’s agenda or to further the domination of some corporation. It’s creating a micro community that begins with my own family and then grows to include others who want to share. The dim reality of this ideological way of life is so far into the pending realm. In order for this conceptual way of life, there are so loose ends to be tied up before this venture could even begin. There are so many financial monkeys on my back, that this couldn’t even start anytime soon, and I’m doubtful that the hole I’ve dug it could even happen in the next decade and half. I’m at least going to work on the side as time progresses. That is just the unfortunate reality for me right now.

A Growing Sense

As I mature and traverse through my life, the dawning of realizations and connections increase. The web of living becomes greater and the increase in awareness is even greater. Not just repercussions of actions, or the cause & effects of any decisions made by me, but the culmination of actions by societies. There are so many “case in point” examples I could site here, but if we each individually dwell on it, from an economical, environmental, political and educational the thread runs deep. Our food sources, our natural resources, the high cost of war, and a planet in turmoil. Yes, there are things we can and should be doing, but this isn’t about that right now. This involves a shift in not just awareness but in the integrity of everyone from all walks of life. It is for this, I believe, that as individuals we can and probably should shift a bit backwards in how we live. If we know that our food source is garbage, then maybe we should plant individual gardens, or join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), or maybe learn to hunt or fish if we choose to eat meat. I also believe that as individuals we have special and unique skill sets that are different from the next. Therefore, the barter system, must be brought back. It is through sharing, trade and exchange that we all can survive. I’m also the first to admit, that my inner geek, loves technology and the advancements it has had on our global culture, but it’ too is a double edge sword that comes with a price. The medical advancements help us to live longer and more productive lives, yet it also creates more of a strain on the economy. Not that I think, it’s good or bad, liberal or conservative ideology, it is what it is and we must all acknowledge that. Of course that’s just one example of a technological impact. I really keep coming back to the concept of a modern day homesteader. This is festering ideology from within myself that continues to grow strong the more and more that I think about it. I also believe that I’m not alone. Friends and family are already working to a similar goal and I draw from their inspiration and strength. It doesn’t have to be a live of the land, whilst off the grid, in a small home in the middle of rural Americana. The modern day, means modern amenities yet a mindfulness about their usage. It means growing some food, but understanding that you’ll have to supplement. How one supplements could be from a CSA or a local farmer’s market. Maybe it does mean becoming a vegetarian, or eating just fish. Learning to can jars, for pickles, jam or my wife’s killer tomato sauce and stocking a pantry for the winter. This could also mean composting and the recycling of all food waste instead of sending it out to a landfill. The list could go on and on and the more that I research the greater the excitement becomes. I really don’t know what it this all means, but the increase of awareness and the connections that I’m making from my own ideologies are those that I intend to teach my children while I continue to develop.

Just a need to Vent

It’s already a tough day around these here parts. The Man has once again stripped me of anything that remotely makes this joint enjoyable. They just rescinded my schedule from a 4x10hr work we, back to an 8-5p schedule. It has nothing to do with anything I did at all. I asked. It’s frustrating, especially when My immediate department within the internal agency is the only one not allowed to do this anymore. I am going to just continue to collect my paycheck, call out sick a bit more often (since I never do), but damn, how do they expect people to ever want to go above and beyond for them when they don’t give a fuck about you. I’m done. (sorry I just had to vent)

On the flip side I’ve been looking into the MFA Photo program at UW. It looks pretty sweet and it would allow me to change careers once again to a full-time high education instructor/professor. It’s a full time 2 year commitment, with what appears to be several TA spots to fill. Deadline is Feb. 1, so I believe we’ll be thinking about it seriously.

Beer vs Wine

Over this past weekend, Sus and I went to a beer pairing event at one of the grocery stores we shop at. This was a kick off event because this gourmet grocery, Wegman’s, has battled PA and won the right to sell 6 packs of beer to go. They invited in 6 local breweries and had chef’s pairing food with each individual style of beers that were offered. It was a great event and we had a good time. The beer selection there was fantastic, not huge by any means, but I can tell it was carefully thought out. The craft beer was on prominent display, while that yellow fizz that passes as so called beer was stuck in a corner for once.

After we traversed through the various six stations, we ended up in the craft beer section. As I took my time examining all of Wegman’s offerings. I was looking at a few of the Belgian selections when I overheard a woman say, “Wow! for $11, I’d buy a bottle of wine!”

I thought to myself a bit about this, kept my mouth shut, and now I need to retort. First off an $11 bottle of wine, won’t be bad, but it definitely won’t be the best. I must also admit that this bottle of belgian beer was also a 750ml bottle, so as far as pure volume is concerned we are comparing the same amount. Secondly, I’m a wine drinker, and enjoy wine, but over the course of the last three years or so, I’ve been exploring beers more and more. What I’ve found out, is that with beer, there are so many more styles and variations within each style, that may not necessarily exist in wines. Yellow fizz has cheapened the idea of beer so much, that by default wine is considered a better choice. So I guess basically what I’m saying is that although a greatly crafted wine is excellent. What makes wine more expensive? I guess this woman would just prefer to buy a mediocre bottle of wine vs. an excellent craft beer because she’s …. well……you fill in the blank to this ending.

Corporate Clicks

I’ve learned a few things about corporate America over the past almost three years, that maybe are insightful, maybe not. The biggest thing is that if corporate America was a TV show, it would be a merger between The Office and Real Housewives of the OC. Seriously. The drama and middle school clicks of professionals is mind blowing. I believe the only thing missing is that I don’t get my lunch money stolen and we don’t get a recess. While I draw from TV pop culture, I also realize that there are also perceived parallels with Hollywood, various roles and those who do those roles get typecasted. Those who know me, may think that’s because of my personality. Although this extends well beyond just myself. A company this large chooses to not really promote and move people around from within, instead they hire/fire contractors to fit the needs. So really, this company and all 250,000 of their employees are stuck. Before I get chastised for making such sweeping accusations, there are a few small handful of folks that work their way up, but they always stay in the same department. They just go up the management chain, yet they type of work they do doesn’t really change. They just get paid to deal with the previous stated drama.

This is not a caustic attitude I have, or some depression. Really! it’s how it works. Ask around to other people you know who’ve worked for really large corporations, or just watch the telly. I think The Office is more of a reality show than anything else, just written under the guise of fiction. What really blows my mind though, are the super dedicated people to ‘THE’ company. That said, ‘THE’ company doesn’t really give a warm steaming dog squeeze pile about you. You are replaceable, so let me cut your benefits, and so on. I don’t need to travel down that path, I’m starting to sound like I should belong on Survivor, the paranoia has set in.

Now, If only I could find my red Swingline…

The rights of Intellectual Property

In an information driven technological world, and with an economy that is in the tank everyone wants something for nothing. Or it’s just greed. Whatever the case maybe, I’m going to clear up the issues of copyright. First, we must define, and according to the U.S. copyright office,“Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.” and what copyright protects is “Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.”

Now, let me be very clear, it is wrong to believe that any other use of any intellectual property should be allowed without either payment or a renegotiating of a licensing agreement. It is wrong for any and all artists to just freely give up their creative work so that they may be published. That is the preverbal carrot and leads down the steep path to hell and also cheapens everyone else’s work. All artists have the right to give their stuff away, but they should do so, understanding that by doing so, you are effecting your fellow artists. That too is wrong.

Speaking of wrong, it is wrong and it trips my amigdala into a fit of rage when someone even hints that I’m cutting my nose off despite my face. Or that I’m being naive. An example of this would be any work commissioned as work-for-hire, which is defined as, ” … the situations in which a creator of a work does not retain the rights to that work. By default, and artist or designer owns the copyright to his or her work.” This is wrong as well. I’m not being naive, I’m just doing what I believe is fair and right, we don’t need to make our already starving artists that much poorer. 

I could go on and on about how this is wrong, but let’s now look at the opposing side of this issue. As an artist you create a piece of work, sell it, and include the ownership rights in the sale. Now, say an event happens in history, or for some other reason the value of your creative work just went up. Now, you no longer are allowed to sell that piece or art, you don’t own it. Too bad for you. The person who paid you the few dollars for the piece could now sell it for the current rate and make a profit. What a good investment, again, on all the work you did. Oh wait, there’s more. Maybe they decide to copy all of your work and turn around and sell it off to people, making a profit off of what you created. Thereby further devaluing the work. Since you don’t hold the copyright, the owners, do not need to associate your name with the work either. Again, too bad for you. You have no rights to your intellectual property or how it’s being used.

Here’s another rights grab. That horrible website everyone loves, Myspace or Facebook, yeah, I bet you didn’t read the fine print when you signed up. Any content you publish on those sites you are giving the companies who own that the ok to freely use and distribute your creative work without payment. That’s wrong too. You sign up for free, so you don’t even get a penny, yet you give up so much. 

I could go on and on, about this by the mere thought of anyone even thinking that copyright isn’t that big of a deal. Or that well it’s going to evolve in our new technology and that’s ok. Talk to me when there are no creators or inventors of anything new or beautiful because they will, in the end, not own it. I guess our technology won’t develop much further either due to the fact no one will want to work for those conditions, and the neo-luddites will have their way. Plus, the world wont have as much beauty in it, due to the fact that no one will be creating that beauty.

Is that the direction our world is heading? if so, count me out. I’ll make my images for myself then.


In closing, here’s a recent letter I sent to a potential client and I believe the content of what I’m discussing is fair and ethically right. 

I still very much would like to provide my services for the (THE CLIENT) and I would be willing to work out an agreement based on middle grounds on the terms outlined for usage rights. Please understand though, A photograph is worth a thousand words, and as such, a photograph holds value over time. A question often asked is, “if I’ve paid for the photographs to be taken, aren’t they mine?” Copyright, by federal law, is held as intellectual property by the photographer. Usage is extended for a predetermined time to the client. This time is agreed upon prior to the job, usually a year, although my estimate is for two years because (THE CLIENT) events happen in that cycle of time. If the photo(s) are still being used by the client after the alloted time, a usage fee will apply. For example, if I was hired to photograph images of a hotel, the hotel may use those images at their discretion as allowed within the usage agreement for the alloted time. This may (or may not based upon initial agreement) include web, print and marketing ventures. Your agreement covers web and print collateral marketing materials. Per the agreement as it stands now,(THE CLIENT) is not allowed to freely distribute or sell the images. When the alloted time is used up, the hotel must stop using those images until another agreement is reached. I cannot expect to stay at a hotel longer than my agreement with the management; as a hotel room holds value, so also do the photographs. Please understand how an image is an asset and holds value over time and if I just hand that over then I could lose out on future income. This is how I stay in business. 


With that said, the terms of usage are negotiable, if you believe 2 years is not enough time, then I’d be willing to extend the terms to 5 years. I also believe that in those 5 years with how quickly our world is changing those images will become outdated. In addition, I would also be willing to extend the usage rights for the multimedia piece without an end deadline, so that could stay on your website for as long as you want, yet you wouldn’t be able to sell it. Although we could also discuss arrangements for a DVD if you are so interested. Like I mentioned on the phone, if you feel that you must own the copyright and have me relinquish all rights to the images, then the fee associated with a copyright buyout is equal to 25% of the total invoice.

Again, I believe I have a lot to offer (THE CLIENT) and I very much would like to reach an amicable agreement for both parties. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

The E-Gen

One of the paramount responsibilities I believe as a Gen X’er is that we need to raise our children to be good shepherds of the environment. I’ve come to the realization that this political hot button is just that; a debatable issue for their soap boxes. Politicians want to affect change in legislation yet the polluting companies are just to powerful right now and the policies are too lax. I do hope that’ll change once our generation becomes the next batch of corporate leaders. At the same time, I’m not sure that we are all desiring those positions, but I could be wrong. That too could be another paradigm shift.

I’m not a parent yet, nor do I intend to tell anyone how to raise their children. Hell I can’t even teach my dog to play catch, which is the whole purpose I wanted to adopt her. I say this only to prove that I’ve got a long way to go. The point here is that I believe our generation is the fulcrum for the future. I’m not sure we will effect the environment by the vast amount we believe needs to be done. Though, by teaching our children not only how, but why to care for the environment is the most important thing we can do. If we instill a spirit of moxie in them, then the delicate balancing act of industry and technology with environment should hopefully equal itself out. The Earth is an amazing place that can regenerate … if we’re not already too late.

This isn’t just about getting our kids outside to play, or to experience the beauty that surrounds them, but how even a cityscape impacts itself. How the ecosystems of rivers and their tributaries affect cities, not just how it effects the fish that use them to spawn. Or that the methods of travel must shift to a better use of energy, even though there is a higher price associated. This list goes on and on. This is stuff that we all know, I’m not saying anything new. I too am working to be a better steward so I may leave this place better for all those that will come behind me. I too sill have a lot to learn.

The People’s Revolution

I’ve spent the last 8 years pissed off and very angry at an administration who held their own agenda above everything else, the same administration that contracted out our government so they could say, look we make government run smaller and my friends are getting filthy rich off this jihad. See we’re not big and scary! What really had me more upset though, even over the administration, was the motherfucker’s who elected the ignorant dumb ass. I could go on, but thankfully that’s in the past. One solution, I have is since our population has grown so much, it’s time to abandon the whole electoral college and reevaluate how we elect those who work for us.

On the bright side, the people’s revolution has begun, through a landmark election, but more importantly that the true voice of the people was heard. Not just by who was elected, but by the issues that are on the forefront of the minds of millions. Education, healthcare and the environment. By working to solve those issues we will also help to solve the current economic woes. The ideology of a liberal, even a fuzzy one, like myself, falls on a basic concept of take care of community and the community will take care of you. The whole selfish concept of I’ll take care of myself and those that I care about, hasn’t worked. In fact, it’s put us where we are, and the mere fact that through education, maybe we can raise a more intellectual generation, who is selfless. When looking at healthcare according to the World Health Organization the United States ranks 37th out of 190 countries for healthcare. Upon closer inspection though there are only two industrialized nations that don’t provide health insurance to their people, the United State and South Africa. It’s only those two countries that make it’s citizens work for insurance. Luckily, the evolution of a Zeitgeist is upon us and the people are taking back control of the country and those who work for them.

I feel a renewed sense of vitality and vigor and the revolution will continue. The other side of the isle is scrambling right now, they are like a bunch of headless chickens in a Tyson factory on their way to slaughter. The best part is, what do they have to say for themselves as they act so critical of President Obama’s administration. Let’s not forget that on Nov. 2, 2000 just 2 days before W. was sworn in our national deficit (source:treasurydirect.gov) was $5.7 trillion, and exactly 8 years later to the day, and just prior to the current administration our national debt was $10.57 trillion. The W. administration, who believes in fiscal responsibility, doubled our debt. Thanks. So when these republican assholes bitch about Obama burdening our children with debt, just remember that they DOUBLED our debt. So shut the fuck up!

I feel better, now that I’ve said this.

Viva la Revolucion!

The Sea of Today

These uncertain times are difficult to weather. Each morning as I rise and put on a happy face please know that hidden behind the mask is a scared little boy who worries about the future, just about every day. Not in a sense of doom and gloom from destruction, but more from the standpoint that this is an end of an era that I’ve ever known. It’s true that I’m adventurous in spirit and I do believe that I will make it out on the other side, its just that the rules are shifting and morphing under my feet without any understanding. I feel that my aspirations are slipping through my fingers and that the harsh reality of now changes everything. The dissemination of information is not accurate or different day-to-day and we are left throwing the preverbal darts in the dark, grasping to understand. Anyone with foresight knew this would be the outcome. Luckily, I’ve always tried to do my own thing and believe in what I have to offer matters, all the while there’s been the understanding of the ‘norm’ that I can always count on and it’s that ‘norm’ that is shifting.

I believe that America will come out of this much better off than even before it all started, but it won’t be the same America that I grew up in. This is the natural wildfire that helps clear and forge a new beginning. No one wants to be stuck in the middle and only a few are strong enough to fight it. I believe that our alternative energy, education, economy and healthcare will be a more inline with the European ideology of community. The corporate greed and financial scams will be a distant fragment of our history. I feel that I’ll be interviewed one day by my children’s children for some school assignment about my recollections of this period in history. If anyone knows me, I’ve always said “history is something you live, not read” and this couldn’t be a more true statement today than when I was in high school. Maybe it all comes full circle and that’s why I’m so passionate about documenting all that I witness. Some historians believe that change comes from studying history, yet I think history is cyclical and it’ can’t necessarily be altered. We just understand the triggers of these cycles. Granted, this is only one man’s opinion.

The excess and expectations are shifting, even in my own household as I learn and realize how I impact my surroundings and my pocketbook. This shift is rippling across our nation and as difficult as it is now, we will be better and stronger because of it. New resources are cropping up all over the place and the restoration of communities has begun. It all just takes time, so in the meantime I will do what I always do. Find humor in every day, laugh and move forward but realize that I too am scared.