November 26, 2007


What is that famous movie critic line..."I laughed, I cried." Yes, exactly. Thumbs up to Michael Moore's new movie SiCKO. It was incredible, I loved it. I laughed (quite loudly) at parts and well...I cried too. I think all Americans should be informed about what their country does and why, including regarding our health care system. When did HMOs start? What President proposed them? How does universal health care work in Canada, Britain, France or Cuba? I'm glad my answer to those questions now isn't "I don't know." Whether or not you agree with Michael Moore, whether or not you think America should have universal health care, and whether or not you consider yourself liberal or conservative I think you should watch this movie. Thank you to everyone who helped make this film, I am very glad I was able to watch it.

November 25, 2007


I'm going to be putting some of my photography up for sale in a downtown coffee shop called Taste Full Beans this week. I have a 7-week show in April which will feature a lot more of my photographs up on walls, in mattes and so forth, but for the month of December the owner of the coffee shop said I could just put some prints out for the holiday shoppers if I would like. I thought that would be a good idea especially as a test-run, so I printed up 12 for now, gotten foam backing and plastic covering for them and have them just about ready to take over the the cafe.

In the meantime I have been talking a lot with my friends, family and coworkers about pricing, themes, donations and so forth. For instance, how much should I charge for an 8x10 print? Some say $35, some say $20, I was originally thinking around $12. Should I label my photographs to show that I will be donating 25% of the proceeds to UNICEF? As part of my mission to Advance Humanity, I thought it would be a nice thing to share. Will the shoppers even care? Should I just do it without mentioning it? Interesting to think about.

Art is funny; often the person making the art doesn't think about money, but then it can sell (often posthumously) for tremendous amounts. Watching my sister and I sell photographs or paintings for a small amount of money frustrates my dad and I understand that now. When it comes to my sister's artwork I think she should charge like crazy, but then when it comes to mine I downplay it and just ask for enough to get by. It's not really about the money, but regardless of whether you want to or not you are going to decide what the artwork is worth. Someone will probably pay it, no matter what you ask. It's a matter of how it makes them feel and what they think it is worth.

My hope is to share with others great photographs that have the common theme of advancing humanity. This includes the photograph being of something that captures the nature of our humanity, our world or our ideals and also using the proceeds from those photographs to support charity work and my own future photography as I travel throughout the world.

November 23, 2007

Ranking Up

TIME had an awesome article this week: Happiness on the Job. The question is how much is happiness related to work? Are people who make more money in their jobs happier? Are people who are more educated happier? How happy will I likely be in my future job (based on what other people already in that job think)? The results are interesting.

It is hard to make sweeping generalities based on the results you can view on that web page, but here are some things I think about it:
  1. It appears that the people in some of the happiest jobs (clergy, architects, actors, directors, lawyers, physicians, economists, etc.) are paid to use their heads a lot. Their jobs require them to think, analyze and even philosophize about life. Some of the least happy jobs (amusement park operators, freight operators, roofers, messengers, construction workers, etc.) are not really paid to do that.
  2. It also appears to me that the jobs toward the top in happiness also require some guts. It takes a lot of school to become a lawyer or doctor, a lot of experience to become a director or actor, and a lot of faith and confidence to become a clergy member or a professional athlete. The people I know personally either in these jobs, or currently preparing for them, didn't just fall into the field. They have worked hard and had a lot of guts.
  3. Lastly, I notice that some careers aren't listed. Although the website has more jobs listed than were in the magazine, it still leaves quite a few out (United Nations work perhaps?). I know it isn't comprehensive, but it would be nice if there were more careers listed out.

I know the whole thing is a little confusing, but I think overall it is a very interesting chart. Often we jump into careers because we heard they were available, or hard to do, or easy to do, or they just paid a lot. I think a better reason to jump into a career is because you think it will make you truly happy.

November 18, 2007

In The Remaking

Remakes can be pretty awesome, especially if the first version is high quality to begin with.

Exhibit A: An iPod Touch commercial made by Nick Haley, an 18-year old student from Warwick, England. Nice right? Well Apple thought so too and they e-mailed him and asked if they could use it as one of their commercials. They flew him out to California, worked him in with their marketing partners and then the official commercial aired during the World Series. I can't stop watching it, it's so catchy! How crazy would that be for Apple to e-mail you?

Exhibit B: A 70's song by Supertramp called Breakfast in America which is still playing on classic rock radio (like yesterday morning, for example). Heard of it? I might sound familiar because it was also recently remade by Gym Class Heroes in a song titled Cupid's Chokehold. They sped up the song a bit, but kept the famous line, "take a look at my girlfriend, she's the only one I got" and the refrain, "ba ba da da" sung this time by the lead from Fall Out Boy. I like both versions and like the Gym Class Heroes video too. It reminds me a little of Chase's song If You Were. Think so Chase?

Well, just thought I should share them. I hope you don't get addicted to any of these videos, but if you do I don't blame you. I'm gonna go watch the iPod Touch commercial again.

November 16, 2007

Fall Forward

Photographed by Travis Hellstrom
I have to hand it to North Carolina, the scenery and atmosphere in the fall are incredible. The brisk, cool, (and sometimes kitten-tossing) autumn air really lifts my spirits. I drive around with the windows down even though it numbs my face. I run around in the yard with only my skivvies on while smelling the whiff of some nearby chimney's smoke. I lay on the walkway of my friend's house just to stare at the blue sky. Soon fall breezes will turn to winter flurries, but at least for now it's nice and cool.

November 11, 2007


I really enjoy listening to Barack when he talks to all of us through programs and debates. I think he is a great candidate and should become our next President. Recently he was on the Tonight Show (which I've included below), Ellen's Show and made a cameo on SNL. I think that's pretty awesome and I appreciate his honesty and consistency with his message. Thanks Barack.

November 6, 2007

How To Have A Pod-y In Your Car

You have an iPod (or Lil' Monsta, etc.), congratulations! You have a car, congratulations again! You aren't using them together?!?! Ahhhhh!!!! Say it ain't so. If you are like me and you have either a cassette or CD player in your car, you can definitely get that iPod music playing in your car in no time. Here are some options:
  1. Buy a cassette adapter: great quality and very easy to do - $15.
  2. Buy an FM transmitter: good quality and pretty easy - $40.
  3. Buy a new CD player with mp3 input: great quality but - $150.
  4. Buy connector cables for your CD player: great quality - $12.

The first three are pretty much buy and plug in. However, if you are adventurous and want to try the fourth option (like me!) I would definitely recommend it. You can get great audio for little cost and have a little fun, if a little engineering is your thing.

First, you have to check and see what your CD player looks like on the back. I did this online first. Google your player's make and model number and find its installation guide/instructions manual online if you can. Look through the document and find some diagrams of the back of your CD player. If you see some RCA cable hook-ups saying Input, Line-In or anything of that sort, chances are it's worth a shot. That's what I found on my CD player and my friend Jonathan's CD player and both worked just fine.

Next, it's time to pull the CD player out of your car and actually inspect the back yourself. Read the directions on how to remove your CD player and then find the appropriate RCA plug-ins once its out. Generally these plug-ins have a red or white trim around them, to correspond to the red and white RCA plugs that go into them. If you find two plugs you will probably just need one RCA cable. If you have four plugs you will probably need two adapters as well as one RCA cable, this was the case with my car.

Next, decide how long of cables you want based on where you want the cables to run to. In my car, I ran the cables out the back of my CD player, down the middle of my car under the shifting column and then up inside my console between the driver and passenger seat. This required that I remove two screws and lift a little bit of the dash, everything else let the cable slip under it very easily. An eight foot cable was a perfect for this. To plan out the path of your cable, look for holes that are already in your vehicle, whether it's under removable items in your console or on the dash itself. You'll probably be surprised at the possibilities. Once you have a general idea, go on to Radioshack, Target, or another electronics store and get the cables you need. In my case I got one white Stereo Jack to RCA cable and two adapters. In Jonathan's case he just got one black Stereo Jack to RCA cable.

Once you've returned triumphant, plug your RCA cables into the CD player and the headphone jack into your iPod. Then turn on the car, turn on the CD player, turn up the Volume to 1 on the CD player and then start playing a song on your iPod. You should hear the music through your car speakers. You are all set. Just run the wires through your car how you want them and then enjoy. From here on out your car and your iPod (or Lil' Monsta) are best friends and everything should be gravy. If you have any questions, let me know. Otherwise, enjoy!