Drunk Blogging!

I swear to god this was the greatest idea I ever had, about an hour ago.

Drink to the point where I have few to none fucks to give, and then write something profound, while my eyes are open and my mind is free.

Here’s the problem… my eyes are kind of itchy and far more interested in closing, than remaining open.  My mind is free, but ready for a nap.

I think more research is necessary.  I need to find the sweet spot; the place where I don’t actually give a fuck, but give enough of a fuck to actually try and write something.  As opposed to right now, where I’ve reached my limit on typing and such.

 

G’night all.

I know how you feel, but you’re wrong

Young kids are hard to work with.  They can’t always tell you what’s going on (neither can older kids, but at least you know that most of them have the ability) or what’s bothering them or simply why they are doing things.  They aren’t there yet.  This can be particularly frustrating when it comes to those young kids who seem like their far ahead of their peers, quicker, more knowing.  When those kids suddenly behave like the young, complicated, frustrating, ridiculous child, that they actually are, you sometimes want to lose your shit on them.  Why the hell were they awesome one minute and then a complete tool the next?  I’m going to go with “It doesn’t matter.”

This applies to so many kids I’ve met and dealt with over the years, but there’s one in particular who’s prompted this entry.  She’s adorable and smart and sometimes really really sweet.  She can be thoughtful and caring.  She can be an utter asshole.  Passively stonewalling her teacher and other professionals, grinding some activities to a halt because she’s decided that it’s not for her or that she’d simply rather be doing something else.  It’s sending some people around the bend.

The fact that she’s cute and obviously intelligent really plays against her in these situations.  Some people see it and, right away, they’re thinking that she’s spoiled.  I get it.  The thought passes through my head as well.  When her refusal to participate in something, takes an entire activity off the rails, however briefly, the first thought is “She’s getting what she wants.  She’s winning!”  Followed very quickly by, “We can’t let her win.”  The implication being, that if she’s winning, we are losing.  It’s a feeling I understand, a feeling I have often shared, It sticks in your craw, it’s a infuriating, to think that some little spoiled five year old has all the power.  You’re wrong.  She’s five.  If you look at it like she’s winning, you’re losing (and wrong).  Seriously, roll with it.  There are some really difficult little kids, and the passive aggressive ones can be the most frustrating; they aren’t putting anyone at risk, and they’re not damaging anything, they are just refusing to do stuff. How do you reason with that?

If you have to see things as win/lose, please remember, for the love of all that is holy, that you are the adult;  in the end you will always win.  Eventually.  She never ruins the class, unless you let her.  She never throws the entire day off, just small moments of it.  Sure, kids like her, can often display a stubbornness that is kind of amazing, but a little extra patience and maybe some ignoring, or the opposite, some extra one on one time, can often be the answer.

But what if it doesn’t work?  What if she just keeps refusing?  Honestly, who cares?  There’s no way to force her to do what you want.  There’s also very little chance that she’ll be able to look beyond her immediate desire to not do what you want, she’s five.  Five year olds are not really wired that way.  In the end, she will come around.  If she doesn’t, then fucking wait longer.  If the end of the day comes, well, then you give her back to her parents.  Let them know how the day went and then rejoice that you aren’t going to see her until the next day.

I really do understand how you feel.  I’ve felt and hated the feeling that some little kid is beating me.  But you’re wrong.  There’s no win or lose her.  It just is.  She (and all the others) are who they are.  We work with kids and they are all different and all infuriating from time to time.  We just need to roll with what we’re given.  If you are getting upset because the behaviour has changed your plan for the day or the moment, well, that’s making it about you and not about them.  The other kids will roll with the changes (sometimes), especially if they see that you’re rolling with it too.

 

Downtown Ottawa – March 2016

It really is one of my favourite places to visit and to take pictures. There is so much going on down there. People, places and things. 
I spent a couple hours there on Saturday morning. I needed up taking far fewer pictures than I had planned. Why? Well, because I met Gilles and Jean. 

   
I was wandering past the Shepherds of Good Hope, and stopped to take a picture of a house. As I was taking the shot (which didn’t turn out) Jean came over to me. He pointed at my camera and asked me what I was taking pictures for. We started chatting, and I told him that it was a hobby and that I liked to take pictures when I found I had the time, or needed to clear my head. 

Jean, was definitely under the influence of something. His eyes were glassy and red and he kind of weaved side to side while standing. He sort of slurred his speech a bit and thought that pretty much everything was kind of funny.

Gilles came over a few minutes later and asked me the same basic questions that Jean had. He then started telling me about all the camera gear he had back at his place. Extolling the virtues of film over digital. Jean kept laughing and told us repeatedly that he had no idea what we were talking about. 

Taking part in a conversation with Gilles and Jean was an exercise in patience and listening. They had a tendency to talk at the same time, and at different volumes. I try to always respond to direct questions and use eye contact to show people that I’m listening. That was not easy. 

Jean suddenly stated “you draw too!” I told him that if love to be able to draw but that I wasn’t very good at it. His reply? “No. You draw.” He then demanded to know what the last thing I drew was. I told him that, the day before, I had done a little cartoon sketch of one of the students I work with. To say that he looked confused would be an understatement. After about a minute of silence, during which Gilles continues to talk, Jean asked, with great seriousness “Why?” I tried to explain to him that I’d been trying to use it as a little bribe to get a student to quickly get ready to go outside. He interrupted me with “Why?! Why? Cuz you’re an artist man. Aww shit. You’re and artist!” Gilles, Jean and I had a pretty good laugh at that. 

Three very, very nice folks who were doing outreach, looking for veterans who had fallen on hard times. Gilles said something about how he’d been in Kosovo, but with the French Foreign Legion, so he was well taken care of and didn’t need their help, unless they had some warm gloves. Turns out they did. Gilles stripped off his thin little gloves and took the new ones. He showed me that his right had was almost completely bandaged because of frostbite. He mentioned that he had it on both feet as well. 

Jean was talking to the outreach workers, intently. Gilles told me about having been in prison for nine years. He explained that it wasn’t all that bad but pretty boring. He then told me that he taught himself to speak Spanish, while in prison. 

With a rather heaving francophone accent, he explained that someone had given him a Spanish bible. He couldn’t ready it, and was mad at the person for giving him something he couldn’t read. He got his hands on an English bible. He said that at the beginning of the bible it said that you could not change the word of God. So he figured that the Spanish bible must be a word for word translation of the English one. So, he tells me, he began to spend time writing down the words that seemed to match each other. Thus, he tells me, “I can speak Spanish.” Throughout, Gilles would occasionally pull out a flask and take a nip of something. He also mentioned, several times, that he smoked “a huge fatty” for breakfast. 

The outreach folks seemed to be wrapping up their conversation with Jean. When I looked over, I saw that he had tears running down his cheeks. The lady outreach worker wiped them away and told him that things could get better. Gilles nudged me and said “Life’s a hard fuckin’ thing man.”  Gilles offered to introduce the outreach folks to some of the other guys. 

I bummed Jean a smoke. He wiped at his eyes a few times. He then asked me “Wow man, did you see the snow cone down? I musta got something in my eye.” I looked up at the crystal clear, cloudless sky and told him that that had been to freakiest, shortest snow storm I’d ever seen. We had a very good laugh about that. 

Another fella approached Jean and I. I didn’t catch his name. Jean, spread his arms and asked “what can I get for you man? How can I help?” The new guy, in a very heavy French accent, told him that he wanted a new pickup truck. I’m pretty sure he was just making a joke. Jean did not think it was funny. He went off on a bit of a rant, angry that the guy would take a sincere offer of help and try to turn it into something stupid, asking for something that he, Jean, clearly didn’t have. Jean then seemed to get angry that he had a hard time understanding the new guy, and told him to stop being French. I should add, at no point did Jean seem to be able to catch his balance, always weaving and swaying a bit. New guy was swearing at Jean, in French. After a couple of minutes, it seemed that Jean’s anger switched off, and he suddenly offered to hug the new guy. New guy accepted the hug. New guy smiled and told Jean “I know what I want!” And then told Jean that he needed an ounce. Jean beamed and told him “that’s what I meant man.”  I left them to their burgeoning bromance. 

I said goodbye to Gilles and thanked him for talking with me and letting me snap a few shots of him. He told me “John, you are a really good guy!”

The Bog (Take Two)

I was in a hurry.  It’d been too long since I’d gone out and taken pictures, and too long since I’d captured many that I really liked.  So yesterday I posted a quick gallery of some of the pictures that I’d done, and only today did I realize that I’d only actually edited about half of them and that I’d forgotten a bunch.  So, here’s that rectified.  The editing is done and I’m reposting.  Thanks for reading and looking at my pictures.

G.

Those shoots…

Good lord I love these shoots.  Something intimate, and carful, and crafted, and beautiful.  I’ve found that they can be so very satisfying for me as the photographer, and very much satisfying and empowering for the subject.

I’ve recently been contacted to set up two boudoir style photo shoots, so I went back into some of my past work, to provide examples of what I’ve done.  These two stood out because for some reason I’de never done anything with them.  I guess that makes them leftovers, so here they are.

I can’t describe the feeling of helping someone see themselves the way that they want to be seen or the way that I see them.  It’s actually hard for me to charge money for this;  I feel like I should be paying for the privilege.  These are a joy.

100 random and unrelated book chapters.

I have no idea if I can pull this off, but, with no deadline and no actual pressure, I’m thinking I can at least make a start.

I don’t remember where or when I thought of doing this, but I love the idea of reading (and actually writing) an utterly random moment from a fictional book, out of order and unrelated to anything.

I’m looking forward to the challenge and the giggles that I’m sure will come a long with it.

Here’s hoping you’ll read them and enjoy them too.

G.

 

What I don’t like about the whole New Year’s Eve thing…

The holiday season is stressful enough. Family members and friends come out of the wood work and you have to run your ass off trying to find enough time for everyone who needs some of your time.  Then you spend the time with them, and if you’re anything like me, probably spend a chunk of that time wishing they’d fuck off for a few minutes so that you can breathe. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy giving presents to people. Well, the people I care about at any rate. I want them to know how much they mean to me, and finding that perfect gift, the one that tells them that I know them and that I see them, is an actual joy to me. 

I hate getting presents. What if I’m disappointed? What if I think its stupid? I have this strange tendency to feel kind of aloof and separate from it all, when I’m receiving presents; almost like I’m somehow just faking it or that I don’t really deserve whatever love and caring that they’re showing me.

That makes Christmas tough, but it’s still kicking New Year’s ass. You see, at Christmas, I can and sometimes do, really enjoy reflecting on the love that have for those around me. I can enjoy the time with friends and family (and still want them to fuck off). That’s sort of the expectation, and I’m ok with that. It’s a positive thing most of the time. 

New Year’s Eve is supposed to be this big party, this wonderful event. Fuck that. I don’t really need an excuse to go out with people I like and drink and have fun, though the dressing up part doesn’t happen often. And then come the resolutions. I hate that. Why? Because it seems that I’m expected to look back on the past year and pick out all the shit that I could have, and should have done differently. Are you kidding?! I do that on a daily basis! I’m always resolving to be a better person, I don’t need to shout it out to the world so that they and I can be disappointed when I don’t manage it. 

That being said, maybe having this artificial moment, this finish/starting line, can be a good thing. A way to mark the time going by and the time to come. Maybe I should see it as an opportunity. Maybe I can open some new doors and say that this is the time when that began. Maybe I need to mark the moment when I decided to close a door or two, things that have had their time and just aren’t adding to the whole or are taking away from it. 

Whether I like it or not, the holiday season makes me look at the people around me, the people and things who enrich my experiences and those that subtract from them. I love the people who are close to me, to a fault. I question them and their importance and I question my decisions and what I’m bringing to the table. I do it all the time and it’s not easy, so I can’t always deal with having this giant moment where I’m suddenly looking at the giant things; I have enough trouble with the day to day small things. 

That’s the whole New Year thing to me. 

Thanks for reading. You’re all generally well thought of, except when you’re not. 

Welcome to 2016.