Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What Matters Most

What Matters Most
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom


This morning I read a supposedly-serious piece in the AM New York health section about treating Shaky Legs Syndrome (SLS).

Actually, truth be told, they call it “Restless Legs Syndrome” (they say restless, I say shaky, let’s call the whole time rather silly…don’t you think?)

Anyway, quite frankly, this sort of thing perturbs, irks and concerns me to no end, because there is seemingly no end to the senseless garbage that pharmaceutical companies, and physicians who have sold out to them, feed the ignorant, gullible and seemingly helpless hoi-polloi.

Now, this is not to say that medicine, or the practice thereof, is frivolous by any means. Doctors heal and make people feel better and more importantly, save lives everyday—and night (as any bleary-eyed, sleepless resident will tell you). They once saved mine and have healed me many times over since.

However, what interminably concerns me is the culture and values that are cultivated when it comes to prescribing medication for everything under the sun, especially when it comes to resolving the problems that children purportedly have.

Being a father of two rambunctious boys, if anything, I believe the problem is often the parents and the strictures and structures and harnesses of values, duty, and principle that we impose upon our children—Get dressed! Get in bed! Go to sleep! Listen to me! Eat all your food! Don’t play with your food! Be quiet! Stop complaining!

If anything, we senselessly teach our children stress and anxiety and all those wonderful things that make them worry and fret and eventually let go of their natural, careless, state of being.

Nonetheless and allthemore, I strongly believe that the habit of shaking one’s legs is not a problem. If anything, it is merely a symptom of a “problem” that should be diagnosed and treated (only) if need be.

I’ve had shaky (actually, wavy) legs ever since I can remember.

But this has never been a problem, especially since I’ve long known and accepted why my legs nervously wave back and forth. Almost always, it is due to one of two things, either I’m anxious or I’m excited, one often abetting the other.

Most of the time the phenomena is simply a matter about being anxious about getting back to a project I am excited about, and in the midst of undertaking, some tedious task such as work, a meeting or an obligation incurs upon.

Ultimately, I firmly believe that the vast majority of the time it is a matter of putting mind over matter. Getting a grip and coming to terms with, as well as accepting that which matters most is determined by whatever we set our minds to mattering. And thus, it is only a matter of changing our minds, or rather, often, our perspective on such matters, that cures us of our troubles.

For example, currently I am in the midst of developing, creating, organizing and executing an upcoming celebration called 25!, to be held on Saturday, October 25.

As you may know, on October 20, the Lucie Awards (the Oscars of Photogrpahy) will be held at the Lincoln Center in Manhattan. And from October 23 to October 25, PDN PhotoPlus will host its 25th Expo and Conference in New York City, with over 27,000 photography enthusiasts and professionals attending from all over the world.

On the afternoon of Saturday, October 25, the last day of the expo, I am organizing an art opening, featuring a 4-year retrospective of my NYC street photography with prints sponsored by HP (I was their lead launch artist for their 2008 Be Brilliant Ad Campaign, see "artists,)" with partial proceeds going to breast cancer research, and a party to celebrate both the 25th anniversary of the expo and the (re)launch of my book 25 Lessons. 25% of the proceeds for the art opening will go to the Susan G. Komen foundation, which happens to also be celebrating its 25th Anniversary.

And in sum, I am in charge of and, for the most part, doing everything myself, in my “spare time” (i.e. usually every precious minute after work until about 2 AM, and again from 6 AM until 8 AM, as well as all weekend long).

Everything involves contacting and negotiating deals with sponsors, creating marketing collateral, writing the code and testing the website, arranging for a venue, learning to use a professional wide-format printer and making the prints for the art show, and a million other things to ensure this is a wonderful and meaningful success for both all those who are involved and those who attend ( buy your tickets now before it sells out!).

Point is, the cumulative weight of all-there-is-to-do puts a lot of pressure on me, it makes me anxious and a little nervous that all the pieces may not ultimately fall into place, and this important event may not happen after all. In other words, I’ve been having a lot of Shaky Legs Syndrome episodes lately.

But, But! What I ultimately realize is that this anxiety can be easily controlled if I simply control my thoughts and subsequent emotions, and if I consciously look at the situation differently.

For what is the worst that could happen? If the event doesn’t take place, the worst that could happen is that it is cancelled and I have to spend a few hours issuing refunds and writing letters of apology to sponsors. In sum, no one is going to die, get sick, or lose their home or job, if it doesn’t happen.

If anything, all the sponsors would have benefited from all the free advertising they’re getting.

So, point is, when I get SLS I don’t look to meds to cure me of my worries and woes, I simply rely on the knowledge that the problem lies within and that I have the power within me to alter my perspective and make myself feel better.

I also rely on the knowledge that if something truly troubles you far too much, you can always gracefully bow out at anytime—that goes for practically anything from your career to a bad relationship, to even a commitment to one too many passions.

Moreover, my kids have long and often remind me of the vital importance of not taking things too seriously. Life should ultimately be enjoyed and relished and appreciated for its inherently pleasing simplicity and beauty.

Just the other day, Enzo excitedly and delightfully recalled in spectacular detail how he, his brother and their four cousins had entertained themselves at their grandparents' house with a ball of string for “an hour and half”—“First we played spies and tied each other up…and then we pretended that the string was a laser light trap…and then we made old-fashioned tin-can phones, like the kind that you and Mom used to use…” and then and then and then.

Listening to him regale this tale of simple-minded amusement not only reminded me of how mirthful childhood can be, but also made me realize how silly it is to take things so seriously—for the precious moments that we live should never be lost to the obligations we conjure in the process of dying, i.e. growing up and getting old.

This is an extremely important thing to understand, accept and realize in one’s life, because it is often the source of our problems, our stress, as well as all the physical ailments that result from the makeshift duress.

Besides, if I am going to entertain any concerns, I’m going to let it be something real like ABD (Alex Baldwin Disease).

Really people, come on now!


25! The Celebration, Saturday, October 25!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My Life, Unlike An Epic Poem

She's My Saving Grace
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

"Have you read Don Quixote?"
"I have, and found myself the hero."
"Be so good as to read once more the chapter of the windmills."
"Chapter Thirteen."
"Windmills, remember, if you fight with them may swing round their huge arms and cast you down into the mires."
"...Or up among the stars."
Cyrano de Bergerac, Edmond Rostand

My Life, Unlike An Epic Poem
August 6, 2008, En Route to Atlanta:

“…epic poem.”

Suddenly, the slightly stout, yet largely attractive airline attendant at the check-in counter, who I had been ogling with intermittent glances with each turn of a page, interrupted my thoughts as she announced the last boarding call.

Having passed through the metal and explosives detectors without a hitch, I had been sitting, waiting at Gate 93 for FLT 1167 to Atlanta, for the last hour slowly chipping away at my luke-warm breakfast pannini, sipping at my super-sized bananaberry smoothie, while reading a book through bleary eyes.

Albeit tired, I was genuinely cheerful, believing I’d finally learned how to navigate the ever-shifting straits of airport security— no steel-reinforced chastity belts, no firearms—no matter how much you like your right to bear arms, and no foolish attempts at trafficking herbal remedies.

Or, at least, I thought I had learned.

Alas, because the airlines are tightening their belts, squeezing more into less and passing on the pain to passengers, I’ve been forced to rethink my packing strategy.

Hence, I pressed tight corners into all my shirts, stuffed socks into shoes, and expanded my carryon to its fullest capacity in order to avoid the dreaded wait at the baggage claim.

Lo and behold, not only do they charge you for peanuts now, they’ve seemingly shrunk the overhead compartments as well.

And so, to my dismay, I instantly became one of those rather annoying fellow passengers who holds up the aisle, and ultimately, the flight, as I futilely attempted to squeeze, push and maneuver my bag into place, but to no avail.

Eventually, to make this melodramatic recapitulation of my rather mundane moment all the less heroic, I removed my shoes from the bottom compartment of my suitcase and sat on it to compress all the air out of it.

My saving grace was a wiser, older lady in the row behind me who smiled as she pointed out, “You can probably fit that now under the seat in front of you.” Fortunately, I had changed my seat , as I always do, to the emergency aisle, and so she was quite right, as I had an extra pocket of space to the left of my seat, because there was no seat between myself and the window.

I nodded in deference to her benevolence and wisdom and said, “Thank you,” as I easily slid my shoeless bag underneath.

I apologized profusely to anyone and everyone I had inconvenienced throughout the ordeal, and finally sat down.

Closing my eyes, I inhaled slowly, imagining that I had put wax in my ears, silencing the internal sirens of self-castigation. And after exhaling, I buckled, expelling the last of the dissenting demons within, through the false sense of safety that pulling the belt tighter often gave me, well knowing that if we went down, this precaution would merely help the investigative team identify the charred body strapped to my seat.

Albeit, my chance at being the next Sophisticated Traveler of the Year was now riddled with holes, I was relieved that I didn’t have to “You’ll have to check in that bag sir,” after all.

Assuredly, I’ll chalk it up as simply another lesson learned, happy to now know what not to do on my return flight home.


Right before I donned my dunce cap, I had read a bit in my new read, Special Topics in Calamity Physics about prisoners being inspired by Homer—Homer as in The Odyssey, not Homer as in the Simpsons—and smiled, as I am often reminded by such literary references, about the stories, like Joyce’s Ulysses, that have likewise inspired me to entertain the delusion that my life will read like an exciting, exuberant and intelligent epic poem some day.

Yes, perhaps one day, but just not today….


(Ted) Turner loved Gone With the Wind. He loved the romance, the drama, the epic sweep. He called it "a noble movie-the greatest movie ever made." He had seen it dozens of times; more than one guest visiting his plantation recalls being forced to sit through the film with him. Ted pictured himself as a Rhett Butler of the cable age- a brash, handsome, devil-may-care maverick. So, intriguingly, did the media. The Atlanta Constitution once ran an article comparing the two: "Both were tossed out of school...Both are great sailors...Both are full of political contradictions...Both are outsiders in a landscape they dominate." Turner had in fact, consciously gone to certain lengths to pattern himself on the character, admitting that he had fashioned his mustache after Rhett's. He had considered calling his first son Rhett, after a contraction of the initials for Robert Edward Turner, and actually did name his second boy Rhett (although Jane had drawn the line at naming their daughter Scarlett).
Citizen Turner, The Wild Rise of an American Tycoon, Robert & Gerald Jay Goldberg

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My First RAW

My First RAW
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom


This is the very first RAW file I processed through Adobe Lightroom and then CS3.

Admittedly, I'm a bit daunted by the whole process; it was so much easier to just work with JPGs.

Oh, well. I've now invested in a camera that shoots RAW (Canon Powershot G9), after testing and ultimately returning the Canon EOS SLR, the 450d (Rebel Xsi) because it simply wasn't for me and isn't the tool of preference (for me) when shooting on the street and attempting to capture those exquisite decisive moments.

Thus, only time will tell if RAW is right for me or not.

Hopefully, I am doing the right thing, because I've also just sunk a lot of money into the D-65 workshop to be held in September in NYC. This 4-day course covers all the basics of RAW workflow processing, esp. via Lightroom.

Anyway, would be happy to hear your thoughts on the benefits of RAW...