Categotry Archives: Rant

by

The Beauty Scam

No comments yet

Categories: Philosophy, Rant, Tags: , ,

Once you get used to the idea that the perception of beauty is managed by companies using things like photo manipulation and unrealistic standards to spread the message “buy our shit or you’re ugly,” you actually stop caring what “they” think is beautiful and start learning to live happily in your own body. Beauty is who you are, not who they can manipulate you into being.

© 2015, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

by

Silliness After DADT

No comments yet

Categories: Politics, Rant, Tags: ,

So, had a conversation a while back with a kid that was thinking about enlisting, everybody else always asks how bad basic is and things like that, this kid was worried that they let in gay people now and was worried that it could get weird because he might have to shower or sleep in the same barracks with a gay person. So, what could I possibly say to allay his fears? I have a something of a go to answer for these situations:

If you’ve been in a high school PE class and/or played sports, you’ve been in the showers at the same time as a gay person was. Personally I’ve been in enough locker rooms and gang showers in my life, including my military life that I’ve probably been wet and soapy around enough gay men to make a marching band for a pride parade and have only been harassed in the shower once, and that was by a coconut crab. That big Popeye-clawed bastard chased me all though the showers as I went from nozzle to nozzle to scrub up and rinse off before he caught up with me, fortunately I can scrub on the run faster than it could chase. No, I didn’t think to ask if it was a male or female crab, I was pretty firmly fixated on the size of that friggin’ claw though. Was I ever checked out in the shower, no idea, but I doubt it and if I was, wasn’t seeing me in the shower punishment enough?

Truth be told, there’s always been gay people in service, first they served knowing they had to keep everything on the down-low, then they served knowing that even if they kept things on the down-low that DADT was often treated as a hunting license, then Afghanistan and Iraq happened and somebody damned near had to have sex on their commander’s desk to get kicked out, and then finally common sense broke out and they got rid of DADT and now gays can serve openly.

I actually retired before DADT was repealed, and I’ve been asked if I ever served with a gay or lesbian and I can actually only give one answer to that. I never had anyone identify themselves as such after they’d been apprised of their Article 31 rights, so anything I would have to say on that matter would be speculation (and as such inadmissible,) as I wasn’t allowed to ask and they weren’t supposed to tell.

As to whether anyone should enlist and risk being exposed to gay people, like you aren’t already in civilian life, if you think that meeting a gay person is scarier that the possibility that the job you’re thinking of signing up for could get you shot up, killed, maimed, disfigured or similarly jacked up in a multitude of ways that only the Murphy of the battlefield can dream up, then I think your priorities are probably a wee bit skewed.

Your mileage may vary.

© 2015, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

by

All and Sundry and Labels

No comments yet

Categories: Observations, Philosophy, Politics, Rant, Tags: , , ,

I tend not to join things very often, mainly because not too many (if any) organizations have opinions that I can support across the board.

Part of the problem with group labels is that there’s a modern tendency to lump everyone associated (even remotely) with everything that anyone (even remotely) associated with a group says or does. Not all Christians/Muslims are trying to impose their religion on the rest of the world, not all feminists are man-haters, not all pro-choicers favor abortion, not all pro-lifers want to picket or blow up clinics, and the list goes on and gets really blatant when we start looking at political parties.

The implied (all) is something I think needs to go. “(All) [insert name of group here] are [insert label here]” or “(All) [insert name of group here] want to [insert action here]” are a couple of the templates of labeling, because not (All) of anything believes in everything, and quite frankly some that join groups are their own special little bag of issues all to themselves.

Hitler was a vegetarian, big deal not all vegetarians are Hitler.

Lumping people together under the birds-of-a-feather philosophy used to have a name, it was called prejudice. Prejudice used to be seen as something to oppose, now it seems that many feel that the only forms of prejudice to oppose are those that they don’t hold themselves.

© 2015, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

by

Treason Reduced to a Buzzword

No comments yet

Categories: Philosophy, Politics, Rant, Tags: , , ,

I hate it when people reduce serious words to mere buzzwords to try and further an agenda. Today’s examples. Disagreement with a president is not “treason,” even if they badmouth said public official. The correct phrase is “politics as usual.” If disagreement with a president is treason, half of the population would be in trouble after every election. The second phrase I find annoying and was tossed m way today, is “rape the land,” unless somebody is performing a non-consensual sexual act on a section of ground, then the term is deliberately being used incorrectly. Reducing a crime like rape to a simple buzzword in an attempt to cash in on the feelings the word raises in people is to reduce the power of the word and minimize its true meaning. /soapbox

© 2015, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

by

Dino-whining about Jurassic World

1 comment

Categories: Observations, Rant, Reviews, Tags: , , , , ,

If Jurassic World had said they were bringing back dinosaurs, then I’d see the points made by the ‘science’ critics. Since the movie says, several times, that they didn’t actually bring back dinosaurs, they fiddled with DNA and created species by mixing and matching more for crowd appeal than any attempt at accuracy. If the science crowd wants to bitch, they should be pointing out just how badly it showed the combination of science and business. People in labcoats and suits were pretty much portrayed as amoral, unethical profit chasers, but that was missed by people that didn’t apparently pay attention in the theater, if they even saw the movie. The science critics should quit walking into the trees and notice the forest!

© 2015, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

by

Gandalf

No comments yet

Categories: Rant, Tags:

Reasons that Gandalf didn’t need to be some ultra powerful spell-slingin’ uber-wizard.

1. Tolkien wasn’t a munchkin, min-maxer, or power gamer, so he didn’t get his jollies writing overpowered characters.
2. The main power of wizards is knowledge and wisdom, they have some spell-type stuff, but they were send to advise and give good counsel, not to grab evil by the balls and squeeze it out of existence.
3. Plot trumps power. Tolkien wrote a story where problems were solved bycooperation, hard work, sweat, pain and loss, not some pointy-headed dweeb with a wand.
4. It was up to Middle-Earth to struggle for its freedom and safety to earn it, not have it handed to them.
5. Yes, with an uber-wizard and a couple of eagles the Lord of the Rings would be about a chapter long, and nobody would read it, and it wouldn’t have millions of copies and been constantly in print since it’s first run until today.

And why didn’t they just fly over and drop the ring into Mt Doom?

“…”The Eagles are a dangerous ‘machine’. I have used them sparingly, and that is the absolute limit of their credibility or usefulness. “
― Letter 210, J.R.R. Tolkien…”

© 2015, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

by

Student’s Opinion on the New School Menus? WE’RE HUNGRY!

No comments yet

Categories: Rant, The WTF??? Files, Tags: , , , , ,

This amused me greatly, apparently the standards pushed by the First Lady are falling flat, especially among athletes and those that only get one decent meal a day…aka…school lunches. So, everybody that really needs a filling meal, they get an hours d’oeurve. Enjoy the video, made by kids to let their feeling be known.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IB7NDUSBOo

 

 

 

© 2012, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

by

Fan Photographer?

24 comments

Categories: Observations, Rant, Tags: , ,

It was a late night, actually early morning of June 23rd, and I was charging batteries in preparation for a Fandemonium dance that I’d be shooting pix at after I’d hopefully slept, and I noticed that Phasodyne, a Red Zone member, had just asked me a question. Phasodyne is a lurker so a rare post bore investigating.  A simple question, in typical Phasodyne Style: “Dude, what is a Fan Photographer and does it pay?”

I’m now at liberty to share a little of the back story; first, to clarify, I don’t know Phasodyne’s gender so I’m going to avoid gender pronouns, but here’s a bit of back story. Phaso lives in Chicago and has experience in journalism from school, and also has a friend that is a former Red Zone member called Bobby Southside, also of Chicago fame and glories that he lives in “Capone Territory.” Digression, but interesting, anyway.

Phaso’s parents had offered to cash in some 401k to help set up enough of a photo kit for Phaso to try to make a living as a photographer, and the question came to see if there was a niche market that a photographer could make a living through specializing.

My answer was pretty simple:

A fan photographer is a fan and a photographer, that photographs fans at events to help publicize events so that people that go to these events can relive the fun, and to show people that didn’t go to the event what they missed.  Its also going to casual photo shoots and taking pictures of cosplayers to let them show off their skills and to let people know that things like cosplay exist and some really cool people have fun showing off their creativity.

Ok, definition accomplished, but bear in mind I’m far from the only fan photographer and they all have their own reasons for doing it.

Does it pay, you ask?

The simple answer is no, I’m sure professional photographers i major markets make some coin in this gig but I’m not a professional, I don’t live in a “major market” and I don’t charge to take pictures.

A smarty-pants answer would go something like this: “Well, they say crime doesn’t pay,” but that isn’t necessarily true.  Someone making license plates in prison makes more that your average fan photographer.

Kindly bear in mind that my smarty-pants answer IS AN OBSERVATION, NOT A COMPLAINT!

I take pictures because I enjoy it, a lot.  I also like things like science fiction and fantasy and anime and I like people that like all of these things and I like supporting, in my own limited way, the events and activities that let fans come together to share their enjoyment of these genres (and many more.)

Money isn’t something you make by being a fan, cosplayers and those that host conventions in areas like this are fandom on a shoestring budget, or as the great Borneo Armstrong said once, “We’ve already cut the budget to the bone, and now we’re cutting it to the marrow.” And that is the heart of fandom, using what you have and making the most of it.  Fans in these parts invest a lot more sweat and innovation into their fandom than they do cash, especially in this economy; and, its a lot of fun visually documenting the results.

When you’re trying to find enough room in your budget for cosplay materials, caffeine, DVDs, comic books, and video games on top of other mundane things like food, rent, gas, and in many cases, school, that doesn’t leave room for things like paying for photo sessions.  The people that I take pictures of do what they do for the same reason I do: its a hobby, a way of life, an expression of creativity.  The reasons are as varied as the number of people doing what they do.

I then went on to explain that I’m not a professional photographer, and never would be, to which Phasodyne replied:

Dude, you take some good fucking pics and that should be what decides pro vs. amateur. Money is used too much to decide whose better than who.  Its bullshit. I see what you mean about people not having the money to have pictures taken though, some of those photo types charge some evil fees.

Never at a loss for words, I replied:

I take some good shots and some bad, about the same as any other shutterbug.

I don’t know that I can categorize fees as evil, if being a photog is your living then it would be silly not get every cent you can for shooting pix.  There’s a lot of studios these days, but in this economy there is going to be some pretty stiff competition for every consumer dollar.  The supply of photographers is exploding with digital cameras, shooting even a hundred pictures on film was expensive you can now take a thousand pix and have lunch for less than the film and processing costs of the old days.

Stock photography used to be a lucrative trade and could net a prodigious photographer a hefty sum for a single pic, now its possible to get a license for a stock image for as low as a buck. I read a piece that said as little as 5-6 years ago Getty Images licensed roughly 1.5 million pics, and last year is was around 22 million, and they use a user-generated content model, which is the direction things are going these days, there are even user-generated wire services that are growing quickly these days for smaller outlets that can’t afford AP and UPI photo feeds anymore.

Those that can adapt, survive. Those that adopt sooner really survive.  The advantage for the photographer looking to cash on stock photos and feeds is that they don’t need the overhead of rent or buying brick and mortar, they just ramble and shoot everything they can, upload to their Getty or whatever account, and get really savvy on tagging pics.  Another way to make money as a photographer is give classes and seminars teaching photo and processing techniques. I’ve seen a lot of pros using this to help make ends meet, they never seem to lack students and this releases even more hopefuls on the market.

I’ve heard the complaints that amateur photogs turning pro are choking out the pros because they are willing to work for less; but, they forgot the law of supply and demand. When there a lot of people taking advantage of the less expensive digital format to jump into the pro arena, the supply is more than the demand and the value of the service decreases; and, the market is glutted.  Like I said, the internet is leaving journalists, photojournalists and photographers that don’t change with the times, struggling, or out of business. According to Studentscholarships.org, 4.2% of “working” photographers are currently unemployed, of course that only counts the ones atill able to draw benefits, the longterm unemployed may raise that rate higher, as it does with the rest of the job market. One of the funniest quotes I’ve seen about the current photography market is from improvephotography.com: “Photography is certainly growing, but not in demand.  It’s the supply of photographers that is growing.  Everyone with a camera (like you) thinks about making money with photography.”

LOL conversely, someone that takes free pictures for people that really can’t afford to pay, doesn’t see a change in their bottom line. They make the same nada than they would if the demand for professional photographers was greater than the supply.  If there were fewer paid photographers to meet the demand for their services, prices would raise and even more couldn’t afford a pro.

That still leaves a lot of people that don’t have the cash to document their hard work in cosplay. There’s not a lot of competition to work for free, if you give a cosplayer more money they are going to invest it back into their cosplays and have a friend take pictures of them, so there’s no back-end for a pro to provide pro bono services, especially in this economy.

Oh, I suppose I did overlook one market. Adult websites. Never going to do it so I guess its sort of natural that I didn’t think of it at the time.

Which drew the inevitable question:

So how bad is the market where you live? And if you decided to go to what you call a professional, what would you do? So you think you could, or do you even want to?

To which I replied:

No desire to, I’m really only interested in one area of photography, that’s fans and fan events (which is largely cosplay,) I have no desire to shoot buildings, landscapes, glamour, weddings, nudes, senior pictures or any of the other “lucrative” areas. I like fans and cons and cosplay, the rest bores me. My interests are very niche, very limited. I speak geek and I like to speak to geeks.

So, for the sake of argument, if I were to consider it, here’s what I’d be looking at:  I live near Boise, there’s 140 employed photographers there (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) This figure doesn’t include self-employed photographers (no idea why, too hard to get stats I guess) and that’s half of the photographers in the state in once concentrated area. There’s only so many brides and graduates to go around, if those even interested me the business side doesn’t.

Again, my interest is the fans and fan events like cosplay shoots and cons. I don’t work with many people that have the cash to plonk down on a photographer’s hourly rates and then pick a few shots to get the prints on their various plans, or pay the cash for the CD of the whole shoot. I did a photoshoot at the state capitol with a group of cosplayers and put 1,200 shots in the gallery, that’s cropped as needed, resized, and even some color correction and processing if they needed it. I did this for my standard fee of Nada. Care to guess what that would have cost the group if it was a paid shoot? 8 hours of taking the shots, plus all of the processing time. Good luck finding out, cost is something you really don’t see on most photog’s business sites, most prefer to break news of that magnitude in person.

It was at this point that Bobby Southside joined the Red Zone to give me a little hell on behalf of professional (meaning, apparently, paid photographers.)  Apparently, he thinks that people who take pictures of people without charge is taking food out of the mouths of “working” photographers. To which I say bullshit.

  • If there was money in fan photography there wouldn’t be fan photographers, the pros would have it all locked up.
  • The overwhelming majority of cosplayers that I know don’t have the cash to cover the fees of a pro photographer. Can you imagine what it would cost to hire a pro for a 5-8 hour shoot at several locations would cost? We won’t even add the costs for them to buy the rights to show off the pix of themselves or buy prints.
  • I’m not interested in those markets that actually pay: weddings, senior pictures and things that sort. I’m also not interested in architectural photography, or landscapes. Glamour and nudes are fine for some, but I’ll pass. I take pictures of fans doing fan things.
  • Cosplayers pay in both time and money to build their cosplays, I pay in both time and money to take their pictures. There’s a good yin and yang vibe to that. Besides, I like fans and creativity, so if they can invest their time and money left after paying their bills and groceries and other necessities, into cosplay, I can work for the same pay scale they do to share their work with the world.
  • I see no reason to try and turn what I enjoy into a business, its the fastest way I can think of to kill the pleasure in what I do. Then, looking at it logically, photography has an horrendous failure rate as a business. 60% of startups fail in the first year and 25% more in the second. An 85% failure rate is not a smart business model to leap into, neither is a world where anyone can use a phone or buy a good camera for not much and not have to pay processing costs, as in the film days. Photography is open to everyone, and its hard to compete with everyone.
  • According to federal statistics there are 290 employed photographers in Idaho, this doesn’t count self-employed photographers for some odd reason (maybe they fold too fast to be counted) and 140 of them work in the Boise area.  Even more depressing, 50% of them make less than $13 an hour. The market is glutted, which just reinforces my desire to remain an amateur.
  • I also don’t want the legal nonsense. that comes with going pro. I shoot pix because I enjoy photography, not business and certainly not keeping track of a ton of paperwork. Business means hustling for work, I don’t go out hustling for shoots; if an event looks interesting I’ll ask if I can come shoot; but, I’ve been invited to cover at least 80% of events I’ve covered, including 3 local cons rather than pester people for work.
  • What it boils down to is this: people and events will get the photographer that they like, that will cover their event properly, and that fits their budget, if they like their work.

So, you can safely bet that I drove poor Phaso nuts, I subscribe to the philosophy of the Elves. Hard to find a better source of wisdom than Tolkien. “Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.” Meaning in my case, that if you decide to do something, I’ll cheer you on, but before you get started I’ll point out everything that can go wrong. If it makes anyone feel better, I rarely say “I told you so.”

Anyway, I concluded that while I agree that everyone has a right to make a living and charge what the market will bear, and I still choose to work for free; because, not everybody can afford professional rates, and I take pictures for the people and events that can’t afford it. They deserve to be recognized for their hard work and dedication.

A few weeks later I saw that my friend and fellow fan photographer Jason had posted an internet meme about how tough it is for professional photographers, and made mention that it was things like that which made him personally have no interest in turning pro as a photographer.

 So, lets actually look at the meme for a moment, bearing in mind that I’m still irritated at Bobby Southside’s indignation that people like me are robbing professional photographers of a living.

  • First, 1-3 hours? Seriously? Most of my shoots have been 5-8 hours and have a dozen or so people. Cons being the exception, a convention can bump the hours and number of people up pretty drastically.
  • How long “editing” pictures? In (way) under 12 hours I can resize and upload around a thousand pictures, I spend around 5-30 seconds max per picture, mainly resizing and cropping. 10-30 minutes of editing per picture means that you’re “retouching” images, I don’t really believe in retouching. Light, shadows and color, if you do much more than that and your picture doesn’t capture what happened anymore. Photographers retouch to a ridiculous degree these days.
  • The rest about no holidays or bonuses and paying taxes and stuff. Welcome to the price of doing business, if you wanted those things and decided to work for yourself, you didn’t do your research. I pay to do what I do, financially and with my time and you don’t hear me bitching about it, I’d do it all again with no regrets.
  • As to respect your photographer, I certainly do, I just don’t limit my respect to those paid to do it. I am an (amateur)  photographer, but I go to others to have my family portraits done, for example. I even sit there quietly and don’t back seat drive while they do their job.

© 2012, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

by

Fundamentalist Fans Can Fracture Fan Genres

No comments yet

Categories: Observations, Philosophy, Rant, Tags: , , , ,

There’s something I’ve noticed over the years, fans of different genres like to look down on each other. Kevin Smith said words to the effect that a con is someplace to see Star Wars cosplayers look across the floor at Star Trek Cosplayers and call them a bunch of freaks. If you want a good look at the scrapping between these two fandoms, watch Fanboys. Does it in a pretty funny way too. Personally, I haven’t sold my allegiance to any one fan genre so I spend a lot of time rolling my eyes at such shenanigans, but when I watch the infighting between fans of a single genre I really roll my eyes.

Using Star Trek as an example, back in the days of BBS groups, FidoNet and internet news groups you saw the golden age of fan bickering. It still goes on but its where it became a popular way for fans that like the same thing to bitch at each other about it. Sadly, fandom almost reminds one of the history of religion. Yes, you read that right, religion. You get a bunch of people that believe the same thing, but find ways to disagree about the best way to believe it. So, you wind up with squabbling that results in schisms and now a bunch or people that believe in the same thing segregating themselves from each other. Sad to see fans acting like religious extremist fundamentalists, but it happens.

You see a great example of the phenomena in Monty Python’s magnificent, The Life of Brian. The People’s Front of Judea mocking the Judean People’s Front as “splitters.” If you haven’t seen this, I thoroughly recommend watching the movie, but YouTube usually has clips of the scene, until Congress makes that a stoning offense anyway.

When it gets really silly is when I’m at an event of some sort and I see a couple of people show up and I hear somebody say “Oh, if they’re going to be here, I’m leaving.” That saddens me. First of all, it feeds stereotypes about gamers, and nothing is worse to fandom as a whole as when stereotypes come to life. I mean, a lot of fans are unfairly labeled as immature or nerdy or geeky or a multitude of other less than pejorative terms by those outside of fandom for being fans of these things in the first place. Bad enough to listen to a NASCAR fan talk about buying generic beer for a month so he could afford the new Dale Earnhardt commemorative plate badmouth someone that picked up a replica phaser or an anime boxed set without having to listen to fans of the same genre pick away at each other for being fans and not doing it right.

If I need a disclaimer here, yes, I made the NASCAR comment to illustrate a stereotype, not to pick on NASCAR fans. I have nothing against NASCAR fans, and I’m happy that being a fan makes you happy. I will say a few people with NASCAR bumper stickers need to stop driving like the road between their houses and Wal-Mart is the Talledega Superspeedway.

Moving on.

The ability to take things that should unite us and using them as a tool to further divide us really demonstrates that human foibles are alive and well and being used by insecure people to try and ruin not only the ability of others to have fun, but themselves as well. So, here’s a few ideas to combat fan fragmentation, or to coin a new term, FanFrag.

The Alliance and the Horde are tools of a game company to generate rivalry among fans and make money for a game company. Standing around screaming at each other based on which side you follow rather than discussing the game is fine and dandy if you’re roughly 16 or under; otherwise…really? And people wonder why the gamer stereotype is an unemployed guy that lives in his parents’ basement?

Further disclaimer, I don’t know any gamers that live in their parents’ basement. In fact The overwhelming majority of gamers that I know hold regular jobs, games don’t come cheap after all.

Addressing the phenomena I mentioned earlier about leaving a fan event because someone else showed up. Yeah…kind of special. I’ve seen this one, more than once, somebody walks in and instantly I’ve heard “If they’re going to be here, I’m leaving.” It gets even more interesting when the person entering sees the one that says they are leaving and they leave too. I don’t think any of us should have to make nice and talk to people they don’t like; but, what use is there in leaving and surrendering an entire event to them? You can’t have fun and avoid people that piss you off? I mean, I don’t want to sound condescending, but unless somebody is under a court order not to be within a specified distance of each other, there’s some serious maturity factors involved here.

This isn’t limited to WoW players or even gamers, there’s a lit of bickering between fans of one Doctor over another, old series versus next generation, D&D 1E vs 2E vs 3E vs 3.5E vs 4, fast versus slow zombies, and so forth. There’s no genre safe from this fundamentalist mentality, Star TrekStar Wars, Anime, Furs, Lord of the Rings…what’s that, what do LoTR fans have to argue about? Have you missed the eternal debate between the Winged and unwinged balrog factions?

Fan events are held by people that are trying to get together and share their enjoyment of a genre, so why allow something that gives you pleasure to be turned into something that makes you leave someplace in a snit? Stay, be an adult and share the enjoyment of others that enjoy the same things as you do. Let other people get their unmentionables in a twist; because, when they storm off in a huff they surrender the playing field to you to share your views of your fandom while they slink off to sulk alone.

And if you find yourself suddenly standing in front of somebody whose beliefs run contrary to your own, be civil. You have no idea how much that pisses them off.

© 2012, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

by

OPPOSE SOPA & PIPA!

No comments yet

Categories: Politics, Rant, Tags:

SAVE THE INTERNET.

This site is protesting bills currently being considered in the US House and Senate. Called SOPA and PIPA, these bills will create a partnership of government and big business that threatens to destroy the Internet as we know it.

If either one passes, your favorite sites could disappear forever.

Below are a great rant by Molly Wood of CNet, and a great debate against SOPA and PIPA from Leo LaPorte from the TWiT Network. Learn the issues and call your Senator and share your disapproval of censorship!

 

© 2012, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

1 2