As I drive towards the Everglades, I notice something. I put on my emergency lights and park to the side. "Daddy, why are we stopping?" my daughter asks. "Look to your right, across the canal. What do you see?" I say to her. "Someone is walking," she responds. "Want to know what I see?" I tell her as I turn on my camera, "I see a man making a fateful decision to leave his hell in search of something better." Through my peripheral view, I see my daughter looking at me, then looking towards the figure walking in the distance. "I don't get it, daddy," she says in a low voice. "You will my love, one day you will," I tell her. And with a melancholic sense, I take my favorite photograph of 2019 thus far.
Stones and Knives
I was cooking one day, and I went to slice a tomato when I noticed that my knife was rather dull... the tomato fought back! I looked online and found the best knife sharpener I could get. It turns out, the Chef's Choice 1520 was being hailed as one of the best money(consumer-grade) knife sharpening systems out there.
I placed an order and waited for its arrival. While waiting, I kept on looking online about ways to sharpen knives. I came across a forum where knife enthusiasts spoke about the Chef's Choice sharpening system. It turns out, many were dissatisfied with it and said that it damaged their knives. It did not improve sharpness all that much, overate the blade, and the awful scratches it left behind.
Curious, I kept on reading.
It was mentioned that the best way to sharpen knives is through the use of whetstone. A whetstone? What the heck is a wet stone? I kept reading and started to look into whetstones. NO THANKS. Whetstones are pretty expensive, and I think I would do just fine with the Chef Choice.
It arrived, and I used the Chef Choice Electric Knife Sharpener with one of my cooking knives. I could smell metal being shaved off. I made sure I used only stages two and three to hone and polish, not the first stage that does a restoration.
Curious about what I read in the knife forums, I place the blade under my daughter's microscope to take a look...
My knife is damaged! DAMAGED! I couldn't tell by only looking at it, but when taking a closer look, it clearly showed the damage this supposed best in class knife sharpener did! I was glad I only ran one of my knives through this thing and did not damage any others. Not that I have the most expensive knives, but I do use Victorinox knives (a great set for amateur cooks).
I revisit the idea of whetstones, and after a day or two of looking into this, speaking with others in forums, I order some off Amazon. The total cost was about the same as the electric knife sharpener. So, during my two days wait, I go on YouTube and start looking at sharpening techniques and tutorials using whetstones.
I specifically enjoyed this video.
And so, the stones arrive, and I begin the process of repairing my knife.
After following the YouTube video for a bit, the knife started to look a little better, so I took it under Blu's microscope again.
The first thing I noticed was the lack of scratches at the edge of the blade. It seems significantly more smooth. What a difference! I continue doing this process until the gap is the blade is gone.
Excited after my first repair, I proceed and sharpen ALL my kitchen knives, and all of them cut as if they were just purchased!
The lesson of the story? Never use electric knife sharpeners, especially if you have good quality kitchen knives.
A Lucie in Miami
I took a look at Lucie's hair, and I could not help but feel compelled to reach out to her. A woman with such a distinct feature, one that I don't encounter much, needs to stand before my camera. With a contagious smile, she says she'd love to take a portrait with me.
Little did I know, that her portrait would turn out to be my favorite photographs taken thus far this year. This profound sense of power and control she exhibits in this shot surpassed the expectations I had set for the shoot.
Hands down, this French beauty is one of my favorite people to have shot this year, and perhaps the cover of my next portfolio publish.
Click on Image for high resolution
IO Last on Earth
Storytelling, to me, is one of the greatest things we share with others. It's a pathway to human history is it not? No matter how many nuances occur in such stories, a message is delivered. Be it fiction or non-fiction, the core message, I firmly believe, is inspired by the imagination of someone who's experience needs to be shared with others in one form or the other. It's the very reason why I value a good story, regardless of it's medium; be it a poem, movie, novel, song, video game, play, or artwork.
I remember a time, during an age when I was not responsible for another little human, that I enjoyed going to the cinema. Something happened to me after my divorce. Movies and even video games became bland to me. I sought solace in poetry, novels, art, and music as sources for good storytelling instead. One can make an argument that the psychological effects of a painful divorce took a toll on me, desaturating colors from things I used to enjoy. A valid argument and perhaps even merits some truth, for it was a life-altering ordeal for me despite being the one who initiated the divorce.
I'm rambling here reader, as the purpose of this post was not to get deep into that! I was trying to preface what I wanted to write about, but I went out on a tangent here. It happens — a showcase of someone who has much on their mind I suppose.
Regardless, after putting my daughter to bed, I decided to have a glass of scotch and put on Netflix. I had a long day at work and wanted to take a load off. I began to browse through the movie selection, and one caught my eye: "IO: Last on Earth." Its movie poster depicted someone wearing a biochemical suit standing before a barren wasteland of the sort. "Ok, a post-apocalyptic movie. Sure, why not."
Immediately I recognized the eyes of a beautiful actress, through the gas mask, that has caught my attention in the past. Margaret Qualley, to me, has the most beautiful face in all of Hollywood. Alright, that's beside the point again, but interest settled in reasonably soon. I sat and watched.
IO is a low budget film, having an almost indie-like feel to it as well, but it's storytelling, and it's pace... was very much in line with what I enjoy. It's the atmosphere, its mood, its writing, the actress's demeanor, her intellect, her melancholic yet optimistic persona, and her practicality makes her be one of the more memorable charters that I have seen in a while.
There are no explosions, no car chases, no multi-million dollar computer graphics effects, no gunfights, no daring escapes, no monsters, no gore... none of the typical Hollywood junk that the masses seem to crave. IO was the second film, in a very long time, in which I haven't fallen asleep at some point. It's a simple film about survival without the cheap Hollywood tactics to hold your attention.
I appreciated the flick and went online to look at the reviews.
A whopping 33% on Rottentomatoes!
Ok, let's take a look at the movie I previously saw a while back that I also enjoyed. Bird Box.
A whopping 62 %?
Ok, better but far below the "blockbuster hits."
So, this got me thinking the following: I'm weird, but IO would be a film I would have shot and directed given a chance. It's ultimately my style of storytelling, clearly not appreciated by the masses, but I've always been one to be different. Something I do not shy away from.