The Biscuit Barrel

Silliness, or a deep metaphor for modern angst?

Archive for Ianuarie 2012

A two wheeled learning experience

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Picture source: Velominati

It’s fairly important that i mention: I only learned how to ride a bike when I was already an adult, so I was pretty late to that party. I had a shitty mountain-bike in high-school, it had a short life, died, and then the rest of it got stolen, such things happen. After that i took a serious and dedicated break to pursue other seemingly important things in life, like getting into college, studying at college and getting on with my photography, developing a personal style and what not. But something still felt off…

At one point i started craving freedom, the ability to go where i please, i noticed something stirring deep in me as i watched road bikes going past me on the street. Something had to be done! and i was pretty certain i knew what: BIANCHI!

Several weeks and 100 euros later i was well on my way to becoming a spandex clad pedaling machine on my brand new old Bianchi Campione del Mondo. This was something i had never felt before. The smoothness of a road bike, how it floats through the streets of the city, how it glides. This was freedom, I was flying! I think that’s the time when i really got hooked, those first few days on my first road bike. I started doing longer and longer rides on my own and eventually made a few friends to go on rides with, i still talk to most of them. It’s amazing how bikes bring people together.I think I’ve only met two people in my life  that I dislike while on bike rides. And even that was easy to bear because of the enviroment.

I’ve gone through many bikes since then and am now settled with a alu/carbon Bonetti with Campagnolo bits and Marchisio wheels, but that’s not really relevant. In these two years of pedaling that I’ve done i’ve learned much from this hobby of mine, because i dare not call it a sport though I guess I understand why some people would. For me it’s much more than a pastime, but then again I take all the things I do very seriously indeed. It’s a way of life, much like photography, and from it i’ve managed to extract some important life lessons that i’d like to present to you, in no particular order:

  1. I’ve learned to enjoy solitude.
  2. I’ve learned to suffer with a smile.
  3. I’ve learned I hate headwinds.
  4. I’ve learned that there are things that can always bring people together.
  5. I’ve learned who I am, mapped some of the paths of my own mind and i have an inkling of how i work, at least in some respects.
  6. I’ve learned that motivation is everything.
  7. I’ve learned that friendship is the best thing you can ever offer anyone, and the best thing you can ever get. (sometimes it’s a metaphor made into a spare tube from a total stranger)
  8. I’ve learned that i love the rain.
  9. I’ve learned how to see beauty in the white line on the road.
  10. I’ve learned that mud is great fun, and so is getting really dirty.
  11. I’ve learned to have (some) consistency in my efforts.
  12. I’ve learned where i have to look inside me to pull out that extra bit of power and commitment, and it was a pleasant discovery to find out what exactly is in the middle of my being.
  13. I’ve learned that losing is irrelevant, all the victory you’ll ever need is knowing you did your best.
  14. I’ve learned that La Volupte is not just something that happens to other people.
  15. I’ve learned that La vie Velominati is a beautiful life.
  16. I’ve learned that sometimes you just have to be belgian about it.
  17. I’ve learned that if you don’t get going you’re never gonna get where you’re going.

Written by CyberFaust

Ianuarie 30, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Of determination

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    This is quite relevant, I think. I’ve long wanted to explain some things i’ve decided in the recent years since i’ve not written on the blog. Much has changed in me and I can’t help but feel I may be on to something here. I had gotten old and jaded for a while there. Dreams weren’t important anymore, there was comfort, there were clients and there was life… more or less.

I’m quite pleased that changed, really. Since then glorious things have happened that I’d never thought I’d get to see, but maybe life is all about surpassing your expectations from time to time. I keep hearing people talk of not believing in ideals anymore, in hope and in dreams. I have no idea how that feels right now, though i guess at times they seemed far away from me.

*shrug*

There is great worth in failing, if one does it in one’s own way. If you follow a dream, if you have a purpose, a quest, if you will. One does not simply walk into Mordor. But one can, and sometimes one does. It’s never anything but a fool’s hope, but that’s the only way to win. And that success comes even with failure. Because you made a point, even if to yourself.

There’s a quote that keeps coming back to me that I’d like to share again, and after that you’ll get the main point of this post:

Dust of dreams, dust of all that we never achieved. Dust of what we might have been and what we cannot help but be. – Stephen Erikson, Dust of dreams

 

Steadfastness is the indispensable quality of every man who one day does not wish to be obliged to say: “I have wasted my life.”

A man should not incessantly change with every impression of the moment, but should remain steadfast when he has once determined upon what is right. Of what use are the flowers if they do not produce fruits, and of good ideas if they are not transmuted into deeds? We must encourage stability, habituate ourselves to remain constant, and when we are sure that we are right, must fortify ourselves against invasion. Do not let criticisms or attacks disturb you.

Nothing is so difficult as to remain faithful. At each step of the way outside influences are brought to bear upon us to make us deviate or retrograde. And if there were only difficulties from without, it would not matter so much; but there are those from within. Our dispositions vacillate. We promise one thing with the best intentions in the world; but when the time comes to keep it, everything is changed–the circumstances, men, ourselves; and what duty demands of us seems so different from what we had foreseen, that we hesitate. Those who will fulfill on a rainy day a promise which they have made on a sunny one, are few and far between.

And so we go on casting our hearts to the four winds, giving it and taking it back again, breaking with our past, separating ourselves from ourselves, so to speak. And when we look behind, we no longer recognize ourselves. We see ourselves in the days that are past as a stranger, or rather as several strangers.

There is nothing like a steadfast man, one in whom you can have confidence, one who is found at his post, who arrives punctually, and who can be trusted when you rely on him. He is worth his weight in gold. You can take your bearings from him, because he is sure to be where he ought to be, and nowhere else. The majority of individuals, on the contrary, are sure to be anywhere but where they ought to be. You have only to take them into your calculations to be deceived. Some of them are changeable from weakness of character; they cannot resist attacks, insinuations, and, above all, cannot remain faithful to a lost cause. A defeat in their eyes is a demonstration of the fact that their adversary was right and that they were wrong. When they see their side fail, instead of closing up the ranks, they go over to the enemy. These are the men who are always found on the winning side, and not in their hearts would be found the courageous device: Victrix causa diis placuit, sed victa Catoni.

A profound duplicity, a discrepancy between words and deeds, between appearance and reality, a sort of moral dilettantism which makes us according to the hour sincere or hypocritical, brave or cowardly, honest or unscrupulous–this is the disease which consumes us. What moral force can germinate and grow under these conditions? We must again become men who have only one principle, one word, one work, one love; in a word, men with a sense of duty. This is the source of power. And without this there is only the phantom of a man, the unstable sand, and hollow reed which bends beneath every breath. Be faithful; this is the changeless northern star which will guide you through the vicissitudes of life, through doubts and discouragements, and even mistakes.

From Courage, 1894
By Charles Wagner

 

 

Via: AOM

Written by CyberFaust

Ianuarie 29, 2012 at 11:32 am

it hunts

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You get to your subject, get off the tram or out of the car. Bike, whatever.

You check your gear.

You look, you see. What’s going on? What’s this about?

What is the shot i need to take? What is the shot i WANT to take? What is the shot that will happen, the natural one that you don’t force. The one that tells the only truth you have to see?

Can i do all three?

Step close, listen to the crowd. Listen and watch for non-verbal cues. What’s the semiotic language available to me. What are the symbols, what do they mean?

I’ve listened and I’ve learned what i can say and how. I’ve seen the people and I’ve seen their eyes.

I move back.

I shoot the wide shot. The one with the most context, the one that defines what’s going on in clear, easy to understand ways. Street-signs, people, gestures and context tell the story. I have almost everything i need. But what do i want?

I get closer. People start being entities, not crowds. You catch faces, gestures. The big faces first, then the small, then both. After all, the big faces is whwat people care about, why you are there. This is work, no time for fun.

My eyes move over the crowd.

You hold the camera to your chest so people can see it, never hide it. They need to get used to you, to feel comfortable. Don’t blink. More calmly. This is Zen, this is where you’ve learned through hard work to live. It’s what you love, this is what I love.

I hunt, I snap. I try to explain what’s happening, what I think is happening. This is the moment where opinions matter.

I move closer.  My subject is lurking somewhere out there. The hunt is on. Keep moving. Things happen, people move, you notice beforehand what’ll go on. You position yourself, you check your settings. You wait for the moment.

It happens.
Click.
It’s over.
There’s nothing more in this. You feel it in your gut. You’ve lost interest. You’ve conquered, you’ve caught your prey. What else is there but a warm beer and the dream of the next hunt.  Photography has no slow victories, no lasting glory.
1/125 sometimes more, sometimes less.

Written by CyberFaust

Ianuarie 27, 2012 at 9:05 am

Publicat în Photography

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Dear facebook, we need to talk

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What the hell is wrong with you? This isn’t about me or about the people i know, It’s about you and how judgemental you are of me. Are my friends not good enough?! Is that why you constantly recommend people to me? I don’t think that’s ok. My friends are my choice. I have a limited number of slots for them in my head and that’s how it works. I want you to respect that. Even though I’ve seriously started just accepting aquaintances and people from work that’s not good enough for you.

It’s always ”try friend finder” or ”these people seem nice, let’s friend them” and when i tell you to go frack off you never accept it, you always feel like ou should have the last word. It’s never ” Ok Cyber, I won’t bother you with that again, i understand.” It’s always that fucking ”We’ll talk later about this when you aren’t in a foul mood.” You really gotta start learning to take no for a answer. Is this me being antisocial? No. This is you being a bitch facebook, and if you keep doing this i’m stab you with a lemon.

Written by CyberFaust

Ianuarie 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Our awesome space battle. In SPACE!!!

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The arena. Photo by Alex Vancu

”Laser tag is AWESOME!” Is pretty much the summary of this post, in case you don’t really feel like reading the whole thing. If you do however want to read the whole thing i recommend you use a childlike voice filled with glee, because that’s how it sounds in my head it’s how it was intended.

So after a clown touched me in a bad way with his balloon the other day Iulian, one of my party members, suddenly remembered that he had something to show us.  A space bar taht has laser tag and is conveniently placed near the center of town, where we were. We go see, because ne needed to waste some time and frankly a place called Space Bar sounds like it could be the place to spend it. Inside we find a great bar with monochrome designs that look like the future. They also have evil egg shaed swivel chairs. *swoon* We are impressed by this but then the guy asks if we wanna see the laser tag court. Yes, yes we damn would. OMG!!!!! It looks like SPACE!!!!!!!!!!!! I had the strangest boner as i went through that maze of neon and dark light where everything looked radioactive. I’ve never in my life been in a real map from Unreal Tournament or AvP. This was it, this was gold. This is our new gaming den. A DM on a evil swivel chair seems like a natural choice.

Today we want back there after some frantic searches to find enough people with enough free time and enough free cash so we can do this. Eventually all my expectations we’re exploded into space when we actually managed to get more than the minimum of players. We were 8 in the end. Me, Jew, Iulian, Alice, Motzi, Milena, her fiancee and her brother.

”So, what are we playing. Team deathmatch or free for all?”

”FREE FOR ALL!!!!!! PURGE THE UNCLEAN!!!!”

And purge it we did. After A quick  talk about the rules that went something like this: ” The first rule of space is that there are no rules, the second rule is that you shouldn’t run DOWN that ramp or you’ll  die.”

Then we go in and all hell breaks loose. Lasers and D&B music are everywhere. I feel like I’m Commander Shepard or some sort of poor PDF guy killing xeno scum. At first you run, and you frag. This keeps going and eventually you tire. You hear your own breathing and your eyes move quickly through the maze looking for the blinking lights of another player. A enemy. Sometimes you get him, sometimes he gets you but perspiration starts dripping from your nose and soon you also hear your heart along with your laboured breath. What the hell, this is only 20 minutes, how much longer is this going on. You meat your enemy in a convoluted memory of a shootout. Everyone looses many times and you start feeling more and more tired. Adrenaline keeps you going after that. It’s a war, and war never changes. It’s either you or him and you’ll do everything in your power to make sure it’s him.

The best moments of that game were the small moments of friendship. Of a pat on the back when you die, or when you kill someone. It’s a small thing but it means a lot. It’s the moment that separates it from the true hell of war. It’s the camaraderie of battle without it’s pain. It’s pure unadulterated fun.

We’ll be doing this every week now. It’s a great way to make friends and a great way to get to know yours better. In my group we’re all battle brothers. We’re a party of adventurers, it’s how we know each other but laser-tag came to complete taht and take it to new levels.

 

Oh, and Alice took a  gun to the face somehow. Don’t ask me how, I didn’t do it.

Written by CyberFaust

Ianuarie 6, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Changes

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Somewhere out there

I’m sipping from a mug of tea. It’s my favorite, Lapsang Souchong. Nothing has ever come close to the effect it’s aroma and smell have on me. They nourish  ideas of comfort and invite detachment from the dark corners of the world to which my mind often wonders. The dark corners are the places my subconscious bids me to travel while my mind  pulls me apart from them and proposes I never leave the comfort of my chair. Can uncomfortable armrests ever be the worst of my problems? I don’t think so. A life where uncomfortable armrests are a real issue isn’t exactly a life. Fuck those armrests.

I’m restless these days. It has something to do with recent events in my life. I’ve found passion again. I feel it in my blood. How could something so small have such a wide ranging effect?

It’s been years…

I have returned to my dire need of adventure. The Capa calls to me. So does La Vie Velominatus. And so does art, if you can call what I do art. I have started to because many people have called it that too, and I’ve been informed that it’s OK to name yourself that when it’s common knowledge that art is what you do and people treat it as such. Mind you, clients probably never will. But people, the good, bad and ugly. I had forgotten how the lack of comfort feels. I like it. The chair nags at my brain and i find myself holding a camera just because. The sound of the shutter is as romantic as it always was and I need to explore all the dark places of the world and bring them under the hard, judging light of my flashing judgement. I was never really a journalist. I always care, I always get involved and I always express a point of view. I’ve never really believed in Truth, just in points of view. I guess studying journalism taught me that one.

One day i may have the courage to photograph parts of my own life. My cravings and my needs. My loves and my hates. I’ve always avoided that. I never photograph love, and I rarely photograph friends. What could be harder than to lose  those and still have your stills ready to watch and be watched. Memories change. Negatives don’t. They sometimes age with you but that seldom is enough. I fear this may be my biggest failure. Some day the adventure will take me to my front door. But once there what will i do?

There are many times I’ve though I should stop caring. About my subjects, about life, etc. I was sometimes close to thinking that’s what should be done because it prevents pain. Man, those times were stupid. There’s nothing better in this world than caring, even if it’s the stupidest thing you could do (it always is). Everything ends, and it mostly ends horribly but that’s the charm. One must care. Otherwise where’s the adventure?

Written by CyberFaust

Ianuarie 5, 2012 at 8:36 pm

The trench-coat adoration post

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My old trenchcoat, not as cool and the picture is meh, but I'd rather not steal something from the internet.

I imagine you can guess what my favorite bit of clothing is, what with it being in the title of this thing. It sometimes switches to tweed but all in all I think the trench-coat is the defining work when it comes to my personal ideas  and style.

It all started a few (3?) years ago when is started reading Hellblazer. It took me a few good months to read the whole collection of hellblazer and by the end I almost started smoking. It seemed natural that I should. Then again at this point I might mention that I’m pretty easy to influence by awesomeness and John Constantine is nothing if not awesome. But I’m not gonna start smoking. It’s not my thang`. I find it disgusting even in others, though I try to respect their choices and not let them know how much it sickens me to smell that thing. Me, I like tic-tacs.

Anyway… I wasn’t gonna start smoking, but I must take something away from all of that and what i got, it turns out is a very deep love of trench-coats. Not just any trenchcoat, It must be the perfect trench-coat. It must be beige. It must be appropriately long, It must have a pretty solid material that doesn’t look like all shit and it must have proper shoulders, epaulettes and all the other beautiful things that make trench-coats so gloriously bad-ass. If you don’t get what I’m saying just ask Bogart, Constantine, Dr Strange, The Spirit or any other trenchcoat wearing bad-ass. But this is real life. We don’t get clothes that can change shape and style from one panel to the next so we have to do our best to get the perfect one if we want to exude the right attitude. I am not a sleuth or a spy or a wizard. I’m a photographer and usually i look like one (the giant camera is a big hint) but sometimes i wanna be a wizard. And then the trench-coat comes in. It makes me feel like a wizard. It helps me be misterious and it has the exact amount of flutter behind me that i need. Plus it protects me from the cold and the rain. What could be better? A duster? I’m sure Harry Dresden would say so, but then again he can wear whatever he wants.

The point is that I have found the perfect trenchcoat a few months back. It’s the most money I’ve ever spent on clothes and I’d do it again in a heartbeat because i feel as though it defines me and my moods. I love autumn, I love autumn so hard right now because it’s the perfect time to wear my trenchcoat through the deep fog of Timisoara’s evenings and pretend to brood and be misterious.

If one feels like a wizard, one is a wizard.

 

 

PS: I”M BACK!

Written by CyberFaust

Ianuarie 4, 2012 at 8:13 pm