HeadshotIt is true! Art imitates life.

As I was winding down an After Effects video project at work today, something dawned on me: The implementation of special effects on any media, for the most part, is but an attempt to recapture life’s imperfections and limitations which modern technology seems to have now alleviated. SFX, in fact, puts the “mistakes” back where they belonged.

How ironic that we actually, albeit unknowingly, appreciate the inadequacies of human nature. Could it be because perfection is so far off that we’re just not able to relate? Or that our shortcomings are all that we’re familiar with? We accept the fact that we miss the mark. We miss the goal. Yes! And in that painfully honest truth is where we genuinely find real beauty.

Consider a photographer who dramatizes his perfectly looking photograph by adding a touch of sepia to it, making it look “aged.” That’s right. Because “perfect” is boring! A little rough on the edges is who we really are. All of us. And to flaunt that… is cool!

Consider a film maker trying to capture the mood of the past in his story by shooting in black and white. A musician who creates music with the aid of modern gadgets that replicate the sound of the 50′s. I could go on and on. But you get my drift.

We are poetry in motion, ya’ll. Warts and all. And with that said, the next time you marvel at a modern piece of art – be it visual, sound or otherwise – remember that life itself is the original work of art.

Oh yes… How great thou Artist!

Since I was a kid, I really haven’t been so much of a TV person besides watching the news. With an exception. In the past few years, I have relentlessly glued myself to the tube everytime a new season of 24 kicked off. As fans of the show would attest, it is indeed very addicting.

But now that the series has ended for good, it has been a dismal few months for me. It’s torturous! Excruciating! I miss it! Ok, so yes, I have been flipping through the channels all this time trying to find a worthy successor. And I do love Fringe , mind you, which is on its third season this year. And a very promising new series called The Event seems to be holding up strong, as well, I think. But still, nothing seems to grab my full attention the way 24 did.

That is, until Halloween night.

Enter The Walking Dead. A new cable TV series based on a popular comics of the same title. Hmm… definitely something I could sink my rotten teeth in (heehee… sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

And, wow! Just wow! The season premiere pilot, in no time, had me nailed to my seat the way Jack Bauer had every muscle in my body aching the following morning, after each episode. And talk about getting your zombie fix… on a weekly basis! Woohoo! No more waiting for 28 Years Later or whatever. Yet, the drama is so good you forget that the gore is, in fact, premium-grade. Ha! Actually, even better than any George Romero offering, in my opinion. Fans of Lost would easily fall for this show being that the premise is somewhat similar, I’m guessing.

Anyhow, I just wanted to say that after almost an entire year of not posting anything on here, I have finally found something worth ranting about. Even for just a quick sec.

Thanks for reading… and who knows? You might just see me back here again someday.

Is it too late for a resolution? Not that it matters, really, as I have no intention of making one now. However, I have experienced and learned simple things in the past few years that has made me think about how easily we can take things for granted. Simple things which can enable the quality of our lives to improve greatly, if only we’re constantly aware of them. Little things like smiling at strangers, driving slowly, overlooking what seems to appear like an insult, dancing in the shower and smelling the morning air (indeed, one of the perks of living in the sticks is having breathable air).

We don’t necessarily have to go to extremes to change our lives for the better. All there is to it is simply being mindful of the condition of our hearts, at all times. Things don’t always go our way, but we can learn to adopt in an imperfect world by realizing we’re no better either and that we don’t deserve what we already have now. An attitude of gratitude really goes a long way. It cures us of depression and loneliness, it allows us to forgive and grants us freedom from within. Sometimes, life gets difficult and when there seems to be nothing to be grateful for, the challenge is to keep looking, anyway. For the truth is, that the blessings are always there, whether or not we see it.

Speaking of which… how could it be so hard to feel blessed right now, in light of the current devastation and enormous loss of life in Haiti? That could’ve involved you and me.

Anyhow, I thought it would be good, for me anyway, to spell those little things out and write about them, every now and then. It will be a good reminder for me that there are things I ought to put in practice, on a daily basis. These are things that I want to implement in my everyday living, starting this year. That’s right, there’s always room for improvement. And the road may be a long one, but the journey has already  begun.

Happy new year! I hope everyone had a great holiday season. I sure did, as these photos will testify. There were so many friends and family but not enough time. Oh well, there’s always next time. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy some of what my eyes have witnessed along the way. If anything, I really enjoyed being a shutterbug for two weeks straight! Click the pictures to see more.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Arizona/New Mexico Stateline

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

In a few hours, I will be embarking on a road trip that’ll take me all around the rocky mountains. It should last me a good couple of weeks to do this, especially being the Sunday driver that I am. But it’ll be fun and I’m looking forward to seeing family and friends in Phoenix, as well as the Grand Canyon. Yes, it’s been 9 years since my last visit to this incredible “must see before you die” place. There’s a lot to see out there and I really don’t have any hard plans. I’ll just drive and drive and see where I end up. I think that’s part of the excitement, not knowing what’s ahead but looking forward to the adventure and fun of it all. And what a way to spend Christmas! I haven’t done a major road trip in a long time and it’s about time I got out of the house and did it.

Worry not as I will be bringing a camera to document my trip. Expect to see them sometime next month, most probably on my Flickr page. Speaking of which… Yes!!! I sucked it up and went Pro! So, I should have plenty of space for the photographs.

If I don’t get to blog during my trip (I’ll try), I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Be safe as I plan to be. Love, peace and green cheese! I will see you on the other side…

Now, where was I? Oh yeah… packing!

Some people have begun noticing the change in my eating habits. Including me! For about a year now, my diet has been for the most part, organic and health centric. I say, it’s not really my eating habits that’s changed as much as it is my outlook in life. And that outlook just happened to involve an awareness in personal responsibility. Responsibility towards health and nature, that is. Hence, my reason for taking the organic route.

First of all, I believe organic food is healthy, not necessarily in a physical sense but more in a perspective of wellness. For me, it means a little peace of mind. The peace from knowing I cared, even if it’s just a little bit. It’s a good feeling to know that I care, respect and am thankful not only for my health, but also for nature and the folks responsible for my being able to eat clean food. That, to me is giving importance to the wellness of my own being. Now, if that’s not being healthy, I don’t know what is. Hey, let’s just say, if I could choose food that has less chances of chemical contamination, why shouldn’t I? I’m sure the regular variety won’t kill me anytime soon (it hasn’t, in the past 45 years) but if it doesn’t give me peace of mind anymore, what good is it for me?

Another thing I should note is that organic food may or may not taste better than non-organic varieties. In my experience, a lot of them do, but some don’t. However, that is the least important factor, in my opinion. I didn’t choose organic products because they taste better. If they do, it’s simply icing on the cake. Choice is a matter of principle. What we believe in and what we care about. I believe that whatever we decide to eat is a very personal choice. The way we shape our diet is from the knowledge we gain from a desire to understand, as well as our own fundamental beliefs, if we have any.

Unless we grow our own food, we’re stuck with what society feeds us. We’re force-fed with very limited choices, in stores or even in restaurants. There’s not as much control we can get when eating out as we do from when we’re cooking our own food. By the way, it is important to know how to cook, if only for this reason alone. But… that’s for another story.

Okay, let’s be honest and take the marketing labels out of the picture. Wouldn’t most of us choose organically produced food if the price was the same as the ones that aren’t? I hate that it costs so much to buy organic – it makes no sense, I know – but if that’s what it takes for me to gain peace of mind, then it is my responsibility to adjust my finances to fit my priorities in life. After all, the length of my life isn’t as significant as its quality. And quality is subjective to each person’s decisions. However, at the end of the day, practicality is still just as important as sensibility. I hate snobbery of any kind! It’s what makes sincere attempts to do good look suspect in many people’s eyes. And that’s what stereotypes a worthy lifestyle. That’s what reduces a good habit into a mere fad.

We make decisions in life according to the level of responsibility we are willing to take. Just like anyone, I have mindlessly eaten countless amounts of junk food in my life. And believe it or not, it doesn’t bother me much to this day. It’s just that now, I’m a little more aware of how much responsibility I am willing to take, whenever I do it again. I may eat healthy all week and decide to pig out at KFC one day. No guilt there. Or, if I decide to buy a more costly bag of healthy groceries at the expense of a road trip or a fun weekend somewhere, so be it. Or if I’m invited to a backyard bbq over at a friends house, I’d enjoy that big fat burger just like anyone would, with no hesitations. I call that… life. That’s right! I stand for life, not religion. When lifestyle becomes religion, life is robbed of its freedom.

Now, our decisions will always cost us something, no matter what it is. All I can say is that after a year of gaining health awareness, its effects have drastically transformed, not only my body, but my mind and spirit as well. Now, if that wasn’t worth the cost and trouble, I don’t know what is.

So I say… simply live life to the full because that’s all that matters, really. And organic or not, we still need to eat our vegetables.

Hey hey, my my… I need help!

I just realized my cooking adventure of late had left me with a ton of photos to upload on Flickr. I’ve been on the photo-sharing site for over 3 years now and never thought I’d manage to fill up the 200 pic limit, ever. But here it is… I’m just about to hit the mark and the site’s been bugging me for over a month… Go Pro, bro!!! Well, looking at the big picture, I love photography and I’d probably won’t stop taking pictures anytime soon. And so, after a bit of research, reading on people’s opinions and experience, I’m finally on the verge of deciding to suck it up and, well… go Pro!!!

That’ll set me back 25 bucks! Ouch! So much for my holiday shopping.

Well okay, maybe not. But I’m actually hitting Arizona for the Christmas weekend and I plan to shoot like a maniac while I’m down there. I wonder how much cactus photography I can take. So anyway, I would really need the unlimited web space that Flickr’s Pro account offers. Besides, it would be nice to finally be able to organize my pics into multiple sets. And the groups! I love the groups and the discussions. Interactions with other folks have been incredibly helpful, educational and inspiring.

I’ve also wrestled with switching to other sites like Photobucket and Zooomr. I considered Smugmug as well, but they’re even more expensive. I don’t know. Is there really more to the picture than meets my wallet? Just want to make a sound decision, that’s all.

So, should I or should I not go with Flickr Pro? Someone help me decide, please.

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