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  • John Gallino 12:51 am on 10/28/2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Shootthefreak.com is sadly taken, but shootthefreakS.com is not…

    …maybe its time for a name change soon?

     
  • Meg N. Vitale 11:54 pm on 10/27/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    The Issue with Equality 

    The inspiration for this post came from “Harrison Bergeron”, Kurt Vonnegut’s short story about a dystopian future where everyone is equal. I also watched the short film “2081”, which is based off the story and follows it pretty closely. There are still differences with the handicaps and Harrison, though.

    Here’s a link to the story: http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/harrison.html

    And the trailer: 

    I am better than you at some things; I am worse at others.  This is how society works. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. It’s how it should be.  Would you really want everyone to be the same as you?  Would you really want someone better than you to have the same weaknesses as you? And if you were better than them, would you really want to be at their level?  It might be tempting to say yes, especially if you are jealous of other people being more skilled at certain things; however, if you were to think about it on a macro scale, society would be screwed.

    Do you really want your doctor to be just as smart as the guy who bags your groceries?  And what about entertainment value? I’d much rather listen to someone with an attractive voice rather than someone who stutters over each word.  Let’s assume no one is prettier, smarter, stronger, faster, more creative, etc.  Then everyone should have a handicap. This handicap would more or less cripple society. And I do mean cripple, since some people can’t walk. No one should be able to. This logic can be applied to any of the things that are being handicapped. What about the intelligence factor? If everyone is equal, then the handicap should be applied to anyone who is not mentally challenged.

    I can the intelligence thing a step further. There should not be any schools since education would be pointless to the society.  The ballerinas should never practice.  Etc. Etc. Etc.

    Let’s assume that some people don’t have handicaps because they are in charge.  It defeats the whole purpose of handicapping. To quote one of the seven commandments laid out by the pigs in Animal Farm, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”.  This leads to trouble. Society is screwed.  Fun.

     

    Going back to my original point, society works because people have strengths and weaknesses.  In economics, international trade works because of the same thing. There are two terms that can be applied to this topic: absolute advantage and comparative advantage.  Let’s say, for example, I can produce 10 books or 5 video games in a day and someone else can produce 6 books or 4 video games in a day. I have the absolute advantage, because I quite clearly am better at making both. However, the other person has the comparative advantage in video games because to make 1 video game, he only has to give up making 1.5 books where as I would have to give up making 2 books in the same time frame.  If we were to trade, we would both be better off because he would focus more on making the video games, which he is relatively better at, and I would focus more on making books. At the end of the day if we trade, we would both have more of both.   If I was to be handicapped and make the same things at the same rate the other person does, then I’d be wasting my skills and the people I might sell my video games or books to would also lose out.  It’s more ideal that I’m better.

    Everyone is good at something. Or at the very least, not the worst at something. And everyone has their weaknesses. Doctors are hopefully good at surgeries. Filmmakers are better at making films. Economists are better at doing it with models.  Society functions because everyone is not the same.  Equality is good to a point. Once it crosses that point, it’s not longer that great. There can’t be perfect equality, as hard as some may try on the educational front with making sure everyone is literate and educated. Some excel, but there will be people who fall behind.

     
    • John Gallino 12:11 am on 10/28/2010 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting points. Also helps me feel better about all the things I’m not good at.

  • John Gallino 9:22 pm on 10/27/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    Kanye West’s epic 35 minute music video is our generation’s Thriller 

    Beautifully directed (by Kanye himself!) and featuring 9 of Kanye’s songs and quite a bit of his crappy acting, this is not something to be missed. I wouldn’t watch it here though. Go to the site and watch it in HD. Sit back and enjoy something really weird and awesome. Personally I love the crossprocessed color palette (black tones are blueish-purple, highlights are yellow-green) and visual imagery. Though the story is kind of…dumb.

     
  • John Gallino 8:14 pm on 10/27/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: blackface, halloween, , , racism   

    [caption id=”” align=”alignleft” width=”… 

    Nicki Minaj

    Nicki Minaj

     
  • John Gallino 2:58 pm on 10/27/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    A great improvement on shopping carts 

     
  • John Gallino 2:02 pm on 10/27/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , chase bank,   

    I don’t think my bank likes me very much 

    Chase Bank LogoJust went in to make a few deposits, as I normally do every few weeks when I cash the checks from the weddings I’ve shot.

    This time for some reason the banker asked me to come to her desk and sit down, verify my SS# and then proceeded to ask me questions about my business and how I usually get paid. Pointing out that I’m not “taking advantage of any of the features of my business account”.

    “How do you usually pay your bills?”

    “I don’t really have bills.”

    “You don’t have bills?”

    “No I live with my parents. All I have is small monthly payments for little things.”

    “And how do you pay those?”

    “Its just automatically taken from my account.”

    “Okay do you realize how dangerous that is?”

    “Well they’re from reputable companies like GoDaddy so…”

    Then she told me about this new thing they have where the money doesn’t leave your account until you approve it to prevent overcharging and double charging and stuff like that, which has never been a problem. She signed me up for it without asking then made me log into my Chase.com account but the password wasn’t working for some reason until I just said

    “Listen I don’t think I would really use this. Can we just move on?”

    I think she was a little taken aback, and then moved on to asking why I don’t have a credit card, and about all the benefits of having one. I basically told her I have no need for one. All I do is check my balance online, make deposits and buy stuff straight debit when I need it. She told me about her dad who runs a business and puts everything on a credit card and just pays it off at the end of the month. Personally I rather deplete my funds little by little than in big lumps at the end of every month, so getting a credit card never appealed to me. I know I need credit to buy a new car (which I have no intention of ever doing) and get a lease and whatnot, but I’ve been putting it off for years.

    So finally she got the hint and just gave me my deposit receipts and let me go. I don’t think I want to go back to that bank anymore though. They’ve been trying to get me to sign up for their credit card for years. So I’m probably not Chase’s favorite customer. All I want them to do is hold my cash and fuck off until I need it.

     
  • John Gallino 12:51 pm on 10/27/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    I just think this is fantastic. 

     
  • John Gallino 12:30 pm on 10/27/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Beautifully directed ad for HBO boxing 

     
  • John Gallino 10:42 pm on 10/26/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , courage, fear, guts, , nerves, phobia   

    Gutless 

    The Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of OzI don’t think I’ve felt real fear in quite some time. In fact, I may go as far as to call myself relatively fearless. But getting to that point has been a gradual progression.

    I used to be a lot more timid. I’d be uncomfortable meeting new people or approaching strangers. That’s pretty much gone these days. I think a lot of it has to do with my job. Shooting weddings for nearly 5 years I’ve had to approach and talk to lots of strangers. The key to overcoming your fears is basically to do what scares you, and realize that you’re just fine afterwards. Each time it gets a little easier until you’re not scared at all anymore.

    I remember in high school there was one time I had to present something in front of the class. For some reason, while I was waiting for my turn to present I totally psyched myself out. When I finally got up there, my hands trembled and shook the paper I was holding. My knees were buckling. I could barely get the words out of my mouth.

    Why? What was I scared of?

    It took some more years of maturing to realize how truly harmless people are. In fact, I think most people in any given situation have the exact same worries going through their head that you do. I started thinking about how I felt when I was watching a presentation from somebody else. Was I judging or critiquing them? Not really. I was usually respectfully listening, and when I could tell people were really nervous up there I actually felt pretty bad. “Don’t be nervous about me, man. I want to hear what you have to say.” So then I started imagining that everyone else felt that way when I went up in front of the class, and I basically got over it.

    Lately I’ve challenged my fears more than ever. In starting my own business I slowly but surely got over my fear of calling people on the phone. I absolutely hated calling customers to talk to them, and it’s still not my favorite, but the anxiety is gone after doing it again and again. After all, it’s just a phone call. It’s really not a big deal.

    This semester I mustered up the courage to do something I’ve wanted to do for a while: take an acting class. We spent many of the first few classes doing intentionally silly and ridiculous things in front of each other to get comfortable and realize that an audience is just an audience. In fact, when you are the performer, you’ve got the upper hand. Most people sitting and watching you don’t have the nerve to do what you’re doing. I realized I really enjoyed acting, and I usually got so caught up in what I was doing that the audience actually disappeared altogether. It’s not only fun, it’s pretty empowering and I would totally recommend it to anyone, even if you don’t think you have any acting talent. It really brings you one step closer to fearlessness, and the less fear you have, the more you’re capable of doing.

    I’m not afraid of bugs, or weird food, or riding in airplanes, or anything like that. My only other big fear was heights. One year of high school my gym teacher decided to do this thing called “Project Adventure.” Project Adventure was 90% climbing shit. The first one was a big net that was hung from the ceiling. I was a little nervous, but I did it anyway and reached the top and felt good. But then things got worse. Kids in project adventure programThere was this thing called the caterpillar that was basically two long 2x4s chained together hanging from the ceiling with little tiny metal studs on them to grab and step onto. It wasn’t tied down at the bottom so as soon as you got on it would wobble and sway from the weight. I couldn’t do that one. I think I gave up when I was only 10 or 15 feet off the ground. I was too freaked out. But most other people did it.

    Then the teacher kicked it up another notch. Now not only did you have to climb the caterpillar, but you had to stand on the platform on the top of it. All of this was done with harnesses and ropes for safety. Fewer people could complete this challenge. I didn’t even try because the caterpillar scared the piss out of me.

    But that wasn’t all. The final challenge was a big red ball that the teacher tied to the ceiling about 10 feet away from the caterpillar. The challenge was to climb the thing again, stand on the platform, then JUMP OFF and slap the ball. The teacher, with rope in hand, would catch your weight and lower you safely to the floor. I think only five or six brave guys could do that one.

    So I guess I’m not totally fearless yet. I still don’t think I’d be able to do these challenges today. It’s irrational. I know I’m harnessed in. I know I’ll be completely safe. I know even if I freefall the worst I’ll do is break an ankle or something. But still it seemed like the scariest thing in the world. I guess it’s just primal. It’s evolution telling my brain to get the fuck away from that cliff. It’s self-preservation.

    But then other people have fears I’ll never understand. Today I helped a friend interview some college students for a documentary. We would set up our camera and ask people as they walked by if they wouldn’t mind being asked some questions for a film. Most people said no thanks. They had to go to class or had somewhere else to be, and didn’t have the time. Fine. But one guy said “I’m camera shy” and it got me thinking. What the hell does that mean? What scares people about being in front of a video camera? Or having their picture taken?  If you walk around all day without covering your face up, possibly passing dozens if not hundreds of strangers, why is it any different for a stranger to see a photo of you? I’ll never understand that one. You could put my face on a fucking huge flashing billboard in Times Square and I’d probably post it up on facebook so even more people could see it. I guess I’m comfortable in my own skin.

    In the past year or two I’ve cared less and less how I’m perceived. In fact these days I often have fun toying with people’s expectations of me. Just little things. For example, I sometimes like to sit indian style in a chair, or cross my legs. And I’m not talking the masculine ankle-on-knee cross. I will downright cross my legs identically to the girl sitting next to me trying to stop boys from seeing up her skirt. It’s effeminate, but fuck it, it’s comfortable so I do it.

    This year I really wanted to dress up for Halloween. I haven’t dressed up in years, but I got the idea that I wanted to go in drag. A lot of guys in my high school would dress up as cheerleaders or something like that for halloween, but go over the top as if to say “hey isn’t it funny that us big jocks are wearing miniskirts and stuffed bras right now?!”

    Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no Divine, but I wanted to get one of those old Victorian dresses with the big bussel in the back and the white gloves that go past the elbow and a little parasol to top it off. For some reason I wanted to keep my beard, but still attend a party in character and talk as much as I could in a sort of Southern Belle accent. But then the rally in DC came up and all those plans went to shit. Maybe next year.

    Without tooting my own horn though, being comfortable in your own skin takes guts. Guts that I find a disappointingly high number of people don’t have. I think people get too caught up in the moments of things and fail to see the bigger picture. They forget that they are going to DIE one day and everything they ever said or did will be FORGOTTEN and ultimately, NOBODY GIVES  A SHIT. I mean, that’s really amazing if you think about it.

    So I guess my point is, you should strive to be fearless. If it’s not going to kill you, and it’s something you want to do, you should absolutely go for it. If it’s an experience you think you would benefit from, but you’re too scared to take the chance, get over it and DO IT. Approach that girl. Jump from that plane. Get up on that stage. Tell that guy what you really think. That type of shit is why we are alive. As the Offspring puts it, “There’s more to living than only surviving.”

    And check out this crazy motherfucker…

     
    • Meg N. Vitale 10:48 pm on 10/26/2010 Permalink | Reply

      If you weren’t so scared of heights, I’d invite you to go skydiving with me. I was supposed to go over the summer, but the plans fell through since we didn’t reserve in time.

    • Diane 9:57 pm on 10/27/2010 Permalink | Reply

      1. Phone anxiety is horrible. When I first started working and had to call people for interviews, I’d dread it all day. But the more calls I had to make, the less nervous I got and now I don’t really mind it.
      2. My school had Project Adventure too. Shit’s lame.

      • John Gallino 10:02 pm on 10/27/2010 Permalink | Reply

        Yeah I think people might snicker when I list Phone Skills/Communication as an area of expertise, but that shit’s no joke. It takes skills to be good at cold calling people.

  • John Gallino 10:24 pm on 10/25/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , brittanee drexel, cold case, , missing, mystery   

    I still wonder about Brittanee Drexel 

    In May 2009, I was working as a pizza boy. I worked Tuesday mornings, which was one of the slowest shifts possible. On more than one occasion I spent the entire six hour shift in the pizzeria without one delivery to make. But the owner was cool and I usually had nothing better to do on those days, so even though I barely made any money I worked there for quite a while.

    Fortunately we would keep the TVs on all day long, usually turned to Fox News if not a football or baseball game. So I would spend a lot of those days just watching the headlines for hours at a time waiting for the next person to order a pizza.

    That’s when I first heard the case of Brittannee Drexel. She had been reported missing, like thousands of people in the US every year, but something about her case stuck out for me. She was 17, pretty, and lived only a few hours away. She had gone down to Myrtle Beach for Spring Break without her parents’ permission and disappeared. The last picture taken of her was by a security camera at the motel she was staying. The night of her disappearance she was with some friends on a beach and decided to walk back to her motel room alone. She never made it.

    That was nearly a year and a half ago, and to my knowledge there’s been no real leads in the case. [Edit: This article may lead to something] Her friends have all been cleared. Though she suffered from depression, its unlikely that she ran away. She left all her belongings in the room. Most likely something happened on the walk home.

    So every few months I check on the story again and see if anything’s come up. There are thousands of missing children stories, but I consider this one “mine” and I’m still waiting for it to be resolved. I wonder if Britannee was physically pulled into a car and taken away, or if she maybe bumped into some normal-looking people her age with sinister motives. If she was upset and decided to take a walk around Myrtle Beach before returning to her room, or perhaps too drunk to even know what she was doing.

    I wonder if it’s possible that she’s still alive after so much time has passed. If she has a new, perhaps horrible life. A new identity — perhaps sold into sex slavery, if such a thing truly exists. There’s always that small chance that she never wanted to come home at all. Is she maybe living the life of a vagabond? Or is she under somebody’s floorboards?

    We’ll probably never know.

    PS. This is interesting: Missing White Woman Syndrome

     
    • Diane 11:06 pm on 10/25/2010 Permalink | Reply

      Oh man, I always wonder about missing people too. The story about the girl at the Metallica concert caught my attention, but they ended up finding her (dead).

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