shoot-out at the audubon

doeThe PortraitScene work last Sunday was a really good time.  How it worked was that there were about twelve photographers–including myself–as well as a representative from Portrait Scene.  They had recently had a special in Groupon, so we all were shooting pictures of the people who choose to take advantage.

We were working at the Audubon Naturalist Society, in Chevy Chase.  The landscape was beautiful and the weather more than accommodating for picture taking.

Hopefully I’ll get a callback because during the summer months it’s a great way to earn a little change on weekends as well as take pictures, which is something that I really enjoy doing.

The doe on the left I saw when we were leaving Audubon.

It left me exhausted though.  I had been running the day before, and had not yet recovered from that, on top of getting up the next day at sixish to make sure that I got there by nine..  It’s a policy that works well when I am trying to get to places that I have not been before prior because it provides a bit of cushion.

As things stand, I arrived about ten minutes late.  Not too shabby considering we were scheduled to be working for four hours.



IMG_2739I got a call from a company called PortraitScene–they found my resume on Careerbuilder–and it appears that they do pretty much what they advertise, which is to take portraits.

They’re having a session this Sunday, which I plan to attend.  I have no idea how things will go, but I am not exactly in the ‘choosing’ position at the moment.

And besides, it’s the first call I have received that has nothing to do with insurance.

I enjoy taking photos, and it’s something that I am good at.  Selling insurance, not so much.

Which is not to say that I am being critical of people who do.  We’ve all got shite, and someone has to insure it.

It just isn’t going to be me.

Besides, as much as I hate the idea of being unemployed (that’s not quite true.  I don’t hate being unemployed more than I hate the idea of not knowing where money is going to come from.  For instance, if I were to win the lottery–which I rarely play because, seeing that the odds are so against me I might as well just burn my money–I would be perfectly content spending time going to school or whatever I feel like doing at the moment) I hate even more the idea of doing something that I think that I will hate–I have never worked in insurance before.  Who knows?  It could be awesome–but from where I stand, I’m just not seeing it.


Lock ChangeThis heavily redacted document is what I received from the management of my apartment building last Friday, and I admit that it scared me a little bit.  You see, I lost my keys last week and so I had to borrow another set from the Maintenance Department, which is located in the Rental Office.

It bothers me because the tone is way so punitive, when the only reason that I hung on to them in the first place is that I needed to get into the apartment I have been renting for 14 years now.

I dropped back to the aforementioned rental office today, and learned that they would copy the keys for me–which is the first time that I am hearing this, by the way–for $5 a key.

For some reason I thought that keys, especially apartment keys, were three or four times more expensive than that.

Though something is rotten in the state of Denmark because the Maintenance Department also charges $75 for plastic entry cards.

And since the last place I worked for used similar cards (they come in lots of 100, and while I didn’t purchase them, I know that there’s no way on earth they cost $7500 a box; especially at the rate teachers lost or broke them) I know the management company must be making an absolutely obscene profit on each replacement card.

So, if they were willing to scalp renters for an entry card, why wouldn’t they do the same for keys?

I called my local hardware store, and learned that they charge only $2 per key.

I think that it goes without saying that I am going to head to the hardware store in a bit.

a memorial day

Thomas Jefferson MemorialI took a trip around the tidal basin today, and while in my head my first stop was the Martin Luther King Memorial, me not quite knowing where the monuments were conspired to make the Thomas Jefferson Memorial my first stop.  It was nice, especially since I didn’t have a reason–other than checking out the monuments–to visit this section of Washington.

From the Jefferson Memorial you can see some sculpture across the Potomac, which I assumed was what I was looking for in the first place, so I started walking.  I then came to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, which was also a surprise.

And finally I came to the object of my quest, the Martin Luther King Memorial.  The statue is massive, and strikes a somewhat defiant tone (which I don’t have a problem with) besides being powerful and authorative.

Something to definitely attach your moral compass to.  Martin Luther King Memorial

All in all, despite the occasionally spotty weather, it was a nice way to spend a few hours.

And speaking of memorials, I really need to get some pictures from the Lincoln Memorial sometime.  I pass it during my weekly run, and I think that I am taking it for granted just a bit.


thinking about a new masthead

Big Minutae‘ is been more active in the past few days than it has been since…ever, and I want to keep it that way. So, what I will probably do is post every at least once a week.  It’s good to set benchmarks for yourself, so that your goals can be more easily reached (thought I will more than likely do more).

Though at the moment little things, like the masthead, bother me (which means that I need to change it).  The theme I like.  It’s clean and implies simplicity, which is what I wanted to get across.

Though unfortunately I am sort of caught up because my image editing application, Pixelmator, currently doesn’t play well with the version of Mac OS X I am working with.  That’s not to say that I cannot start something, but if I do and it weirds out–like it traditionally does–it frustrates the heck out of me.

So I am waiting for the update to Mavericks, Mac OS 10.9.3, in the hope that it brings some much needed stability to the application.

Because I really don’t want to go back to Adobe.

cnbc apparently wants the long-term unemployed to give up

That’s not quite fair.  What their header said was something to the effect that “The Outlook Is Grim For Long-Term Unemployed.”

I am not a fan of CNBC, but other than ESPN there’s nothing else on the televisions at the gym that I attend.

So what are they saying?  According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 3.5 million people that have been unemployed longer than 27 weeks.

That’s a long time, then again, 3.5 million is a hell of a lot of people.

Let’s assume a few things for a moment:  Let’s say of that 3.5 million–I expect the actual numbers to be significantly higher–a million or so are ill-prepared due to frustration with the entire process.

I just pulled that figure out of my butt, but let’s roll with it.  And while we’re going along with things, let’s assume that those 2.5 million individuals are rearing to go by which I mean they’re keeping their skills sharp, and have a suit and some shiny black leather shoes aall ready to go.

If that’s the case, what CNBC should perhaps spend some time exploring why these people aren’t being hired, as opposed to how doomed they may be.

Just saying.

rickety houses


Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 3.14.05 PMI have been watching a lot of “House M.D.” recently, and I am glad that I missed its network TV run because I have grown way too accustomed to binge-viewing.  That being said, I honestly think that watching television shows in episodic sequence, as many episodes as you can stomach at any given time, reveals things that you probably wouldn’t otherwise notice.

For instance, no one on the show pays for their healthcare (or if they do, you never see them actually doing it).  I understand that it’s not called ‘Medical Billing’ but I honestly think that people need to see such things because a lot of people get their information about the world from television, no matter how silly that may sound.

Though it bothers me for another reason:  Heathcare in this country isn’t something that most people can afford to take for granted because there are so many people–at the moment, myself included–that cannot afford healthcare.

Which is because in this country healthcare isn’t a basic right, but a business.  This means that their goal is to make a profit first, and care for the person second.


brian at home

Brian in the morningIt’s interesting to me that there is always someone going on about how people who are unemployed are lazy, as if someone could actually make a living on unemployment benefits.

I don’t know what the situation is for people that have children–beyond the obvious–but as a single male, it’s pretty difficult.

And now, I receive nothing in terms of benefits.

Zip.  Nada.  Zero.  Nothing at all.

Though this isn’t the normal state of affairs.  Traditionally in the District of Columbia, unemployment insurance (UI) lasts five months.  It’s renewable for another five, in which it becomes known as extended unemployment compensation (EUC).

And the truth of it is, even if the economy weren’t as weird as it is now, five months isn’t a long time.

But because our government is a more than a little bit dysfunctional, primarily because  Republicans in the House seem to be doing them damnedest not to allow EUC to even come up for a vote, never mind renewing it.

This means that despite applying for unemployment, I will not receive any support or a monetary nature.

And let’s make things clear:  I have been paying taxes for most of my life, and this is the first time that I have been unemployed for an extended period, so I am not being given anything–if I were receiving benefits because I have been paying into this system for at least thirty years.

So I have no issue with asking something from the system that I have been paying into for quite awhile.

And here’s an interesting little fact:  An average member of the US House of Representative earns $174,000 a year, which is a lot of money.  When I was working, I didn’t earn that kind of money from one year to the next, though if I were I would imaging that I would have significantly more money saved (when things are sunny, I try to squirrel away as much as I can, which came in handy early on).

Which makes me wonder:  Can a person making almost $200,000 yearly even understand what a person is unemployed is even going through, considering that being a government employee Congressmen make quite a bit more, which should enable them to save quite a bit more than a person who makes significantly less.

Which is remarkably cynical and unfair, though it makes a sort of sense because most Republicans seen intent on making government as dysfunctional as possible.

introducing flickr photos!

I haven’t forgotten about Big Minutae, though it’s a blog that I take my time with.

When the thoughts are there, I roll with it.  There will be more posts coming, though it’s not something that I particularly rush.

Though I am writing to today to let people know that I have introduced Flickr Photos to my blog, which are also taken by me.  I enjoy photography a lot, and I think that all of them are pretty interesting.

the american way

The worse thing about being unemployed–other than the lack of incoming revenue, which is definitely high on the radar because the outgoing debt just doesn’t quit–is that I think most people don’t even understand how many of the people they know they became acquainted with through work or some sort.

I also think that I understand why Americans work so much.  Sure, many of us define ourselves by how much stuff that we have, so there’s that.  There’s also the fact that everything is so damned expensive that it seems that there’s almost no option at times.

But more pertinently, I think that Americans work so much because–for the most part–having lost any sort of community with other people, work is all we have.