Category Archives: Revelation

Fat Loss Miracle or Mirage? My Thoughts on “Slenderiix” the Magic Weight Loss Method

In the past two months I’ve noticed a handful of people posting before-and-after photos of their AMAZING weight loss transformation. “Now you see fat? *VIOLA!* Now you don’t!” But being the hardcore skeptic that I am, I started to look into all these overnight skinnies and wondered, “what the hell are they doing to lose this weight?”


Apparently, there’s a homeopathic “product” being used called “Slenderiix” where all you need to do is plop a few drops of magic water on your tongue, follow a specific diet and POOF! You’ll go from Gary Busey to George Clooney in snap. Yet for some odd reason, all of the people who have lost weight from using this “product” seem to be losing it at an ALARMINGLY FAST rate. Now, I wasn’t born yesterday so I understand the ploy behind many of these bullshit products:

1. Create a product that does NOTHING to the user. No risks involved/no benefits
2. Say that in order for the product to work, you MUST FOLLOW A STRICT DIET, as if the diet will somehow team-up with the product to create a SUPER PRODUCT!
3. Restrict the calorie intake to concerning levels, bordering on malnutrition
4. Make exercising OPTIONAL
5. Stick finger up asses of customers
6. Make it rain.

But the more I tried to research “Slenderiix” (or the company that makes it, Ariix) the more I noticed how UNANIMOUSLY POSITIVE all the reviews were. There’s hardly a negative comment in existence. Now, I’ve been using the INTERNETZ for quite some time and from my experience, there is NOTHING in this world that is that loved and cherished on the internet. Hell, even the beloved Cat picture has its share of haters — so why does this “product” seem invincible from the gamma rays of the almighty trolls of the internet?

Then, a burst of light gleamed from a crack in the system and revealed the ugly truth:

This is another one of those bullshit multi-level marketing companies that sells to their customers while “recruiting” them to sell to their friends. Because of course, if you’re buying into a pile of bullshit you might as well pull your friends into the mess so you can all enjoy, right? Ignorance loves company and this Ariix crap is no different from the phony shit sold from USANA or scAMWAY.

Look, at the end of the day, we are all free to consume whatever Chinese medicine/homeopathic infused moon crystals we desire. If it makes you skinnier, great; If it gives you a full head of luscious hair, fantastic; If it makes you feel like your dick is growing 12 inches a month, hooray! However, I do think there’s a greater issue at hand that does need to be addressed and that is the deformed relationship between greed and insecurity.

You see, there’s nothing wrong with your pot belly and man boobs. If that’s who you are, then embrace it. If you want to change it, go for it. Go for a nice jog around the park, start lifting weights and quit sneaking into Carls Jr late at night to have a midnight rendezvous with a double western cheeseburger (which I admit to doing more than once.) But when companies like Ariix or USANA try to sell you unregulated products — most of which aren’t FDA approved or doctor approved — you have to ask yourself, “what am I getting myself into? What are the long term ramifications of taking this thing?” I mean honestly, most of these weight loss miracles are probably 99% water and 1% 7-UP so I don’t think you’ll be growing tentacle arms any time soon, but you should still wonder…

I guess my problem with these companies is that they’re selling you a product that claims to help you lose weight yet in reality, its the dieting and exercise that does the work — not the product. They’re not selling miracle drugs, they’re selling lies . Bold face lies. And although the alternative of eating well and working out simply cannot be bundled into an effective advertisement, I somehow find myself strangely in approval of these products. Maybe they work because they employ the same tactics that are used by parents everywhere to convince their children to eat more veggies: by hiding the peas and carrots inside the mashed potatoes and pizza, the kids THINK they’re getting something fantastic when in reality, the truth is burried underneath. And though we are old enough to do our research and figure out what is in these products that we’re buying, like that ignorant child we once were, we choose to believe that we’re eating magic mashed potatoes and gravy that our parents claim will make us run faster and jump higher. We choose to not question what we’re given because we want to believe that miracles do exist and that there is hope somewhere beneath our flabby stomach.


In this crushing economy where graduate students with Masters degrees on top of Masters degrees can’t get a job flipping burgers to save their broke ass, sometimes you need that boost in confidence. And you know what? Perhaps that is all Slenderiix does. It’s the confidence that if I take this miracle water, I’ll succeed in losing this weight and maybe, just maybe, I might look good enough to be hired for a job… or find a girlfriend… or feel like I love myself. Perhaps these are the things that we need most in times of uncertainty: a little bit of hope, a few cups of confidence and a gallon of disregard.

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Filed under My Life, People, Rants, Revelation

Why I Quit Fashion Photography And Transitioned To Film

Fashion photography: a genre that was once a soul quenching experience has now coagulated into some other form
of sickness that everyone seems to be coughing up. What killed fashion photography? Was it the over-saturation of
hipster Terry Richardson-esque photos? Perhaps it was the cloning of millions upon millions of Scott Schumans? OR
MAYBE it was the advent of websites like Tumblr, Pinterest and LOOKBOOK that created more cesspools for jovial
narcissists to parade their flaccid egos around. I’m not sure, and quite frankly I don’t give a fuck.

In the end, it all came down to one important factor: Green; Paper; Moola; Cash Money. Whatever you wanna call
it, money is what fuels the fashion photography genre in more ways than one. Without money you can’t buy new
outfits; No new outfits, no new photos; No new photos, no new views; No new views, no more jerking off to how
many new views you have. That’s basically how it goes – kinda.

Though money is often the catalyst and the detonator, the reason why I quite fashion photography was because it
became an endless ladder. You would put in all this work (buy lenses, cast models, scout locations, post process,
etc) and in the end you were left with the reality that all your creative efforts were pooled into making one
simple thing: an ad. That’s it. At the core of fashion photography, it’s all about the clothes. Fuck your lenses,
the seminar you took at night school to learn about f-stops and ISO and your crappy, cross-eyed model that you
picked randomly from Model Mayem – the end product is just a slate of meat wearing a change of clothes.

It’s a little depressing, isn’t it? All that work for a photo that you have very little emotional connection with. It might
be composed and exposed well but it’s not like you’re gonna frame the damn thing and put it atop your mantel. So
that’s what I was dealing with when I was at the stub of my fashion photography scene and that’s why I turned to film.

You see, film isn’t just a hipster gimmick that’s used in a “hur-dur, look at me use old technology!” kind of way. With
film – particularly polaroid – I get a sense that my photos are MY GODDAMN PHOTOS. I shoot a roll of film, the roll
stays in my room for 2 damn months, I develop it, I get lazy to scan the shots, then maybe I post a few. But it’s this
sustained, prolonged process that makes it kind of… personal. It makes you feel like a vagabond as you live from roll
of film to roll of film. And once it’s all shot, you get this sensation that you finished a mystery novel, scaled a icy
mountain or shat a massive dump. It’s refreshing.

Well… my experience tends to be a bit more “positive” than his.

Also unlike digital, you can pick and choose the shots you want to share and which ones you wish to keep for yourself.
Actual prints and negatives that sleep on your nightstand, forever alone, never seeing the pixelated world. You can
shoot pictures of your dog, a shot of your balls and even a hooker at a bar – the possibilities are endlessssssssss!!!!

In a world where sharing millions upon millions of photos instantly has become the norm, it’s wonderful being able to
keep some secrets to yourself. With this mystery comes the feeling that you can shoot without worrying about getting
perfect exposure, or whether or not someone on 500px will think you did a good job or not. All that matters is that
connection you share with that frame. That is all. It’s just you and the image. And while the DSLR users and strobe
shooters are slaving over post-processing and perfect exposure, I have the luxury to ride my bike though an empty
parking lot in a restricted business, with a Polaroid Land Camera 230 swinging around my neck, and I get to
photograph the world with my eyes and with my heart. Frame. Shoot. Move on with life.

soma

Horrible Scan:
Polaroid Land 230
FP-300B

 

 

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Beyond The Smoke: My Photographic Stroll Through Santana Row

Night Time: for a child, this is when all the creepy crawlers and slimy monsters come out to play. But for any
adult in the San Jose/Santa Clara area, night time is when a different breed of monsters come out. Monsters
in mini skirts, tube tops, and douchey dress shirts that are unbuttoned low enough to see some pubes.
Welcome to Santana Row! Where trying hard and making a fool of yourself is abundant and plenty.

Here, I decided to take out the Fuji X10 for a spin. Honing my inner Daido Moriyama, I practiced my zone
focusing and quick shooting. Unlike the sniper like precision I’m used to at fashion shows and photoshoots,
this type of street photography calls for a different mentality. Whereas fashion shooting is about strolling
on by, picking shots carefully like a little girl picking only the ripest of blueberries, this style is more of an
impulsive reaction. You see it, you shoot it. No thinking, no autofocusing, and certainly no chimping.

Thirty minutes in and I’m already starting to realize something: the circus like show that I anticpated – the
bar fights, sidewalk barfing and random fondling of privates – was hardly visible to my 28mm eye. Where
was all the P.D.I (public display of idiocy)? It was then that I realized that although the streets were
congested with walking tube tops and faux hawks, they weren’t hanging out on the pavement, but in the bars
themselves – duh!

I spy an Asian guy.

Perhaps Santana Row isn’t that bad – at least on the pavement. I’m still not gonna eat their shit-tier food and dine
at their over-priced, over-hyped restaurants, but perhaps I can come back more often to photograph the
try-hards and people looking to be seen.

OH SHIT, IT’S THE COPS!”

TORETTO!!!”

Places are much different from the outside looking in, and even more so if you aren’t even close enough to see
through the glass yourself. If you speculate and make assumptions before coming to a place, you could possibly
miss an opportunity. For you, maybe that opportunity is a chance to grind your sweaty balls all over some jail
bait’s freshly waxed leg, but for me, it’s an opportunity for a nicely pressed photo. For every tramp stamped
tramp at this joint, there is a group of Asian tourists, a family looking for grub, and a flock of socially oblivious
businessman.

And me? Where do I fit in with all of the creepy crawlers and tube topped monsters? I’m a kid with a flashlight,
trying to see if there really are monsters under the bed.

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Filed under At The Mall, Blind Fire/Shooting From The Hip, My Life, Out And About, Paparazzi Style, People, Revelation, Scenes From, Street Photography

Why Do We Grow Apart From Our Families?

"Screw you, dad! I'm gonna sniff coke whether you like it or not!"

I have always been baffled by people who hate their families. People
who openly discuss their hatred towards relatives, siblings and parents
were categorized (in my mind) as poor souls in need of a warm hug
while discreetly being handed a pamphlet on “How To Love Your
Family: Even If You Don’t.” In Asian culture, you sorta have to tuck
that underneath your crying pillow while you vacuum those angry
tears right back up your slanted eyes. So why, for the life of god,
Buddha, or spaghetti monster, do we grow apart from our family?

For most of us growing up, our family is a collection of personalities
that we carry with us. Our nagging mother, our neglectful father, the
teasing brother, and the distant sister. This all-day breakfast club of
humans, linked only through DNA and a rooftop, are forced to endure
each others bullshittery as you fight and clash your silly little lives
together.When you think about it, it’s quite an astounding miracle to
see so many families close together despite their crater-sized differences.
But what happens when we grow up?

As we get older, the lines become thinner, and the personalities replace
the titles. In other words, our annoying mother slowing becomes the
annoying woman, and the neglectful father transforms into the neglectful
asshole. We start to see them not as blood related family members, but as
people. Our minds start to separate the two and we start telling ourselves
“wow… I actually dislike this person for who they really are.” Before, you
had no choice. You lived with all of them your entire life but now that you
have a piece of independence, you can choose who surround yourself
with – not them.

In case you’re wondering, this isn’t really happening to me – not really.
Yes, the lines are getting smaller and smaller each day, and the
personalities have resurfaced like a washed up corpse upon the beach, but
it’s not as bad as I depicted. However, I do feel a shift in my emotions.
Before, I always told myself that I could never move away from California,
let alone the bay area. But now? Now I see myself living freely and happily
in the bustle and haze of New York, or even in a cozy apartment in Japan
as I eat warm Ramen and drink hot tea with my lovely girlfriend (hopefully
fiancee by then.)

Maybe this is just a trait of age, or perhaps I’m becoming a bigger and
bigger asshole. Either way, the concrete pavement that I’m jogging over
is slowing starting to erode, and I’m in dire need of some change. Perhaps
I’ll take that trip to New York, or possibly (and more realistically) my
lovely San Francisco. Whether it happens now or it happens later, I feel
the inevitable steam rolling its way and I can hear that train a’ comin’.
The only thing left to do is cherish the time I have in this city, hug it out,
and open up that little pamphlet of mine.

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Filed under My Life, Revelation, Winter/Fall

What If I Worked At The Food Court? + My Feelings About Working In Retail

A few weeks ago as I was walking through the food court on my lunch break, a man from the “Japanese”
restaurant was handing out samples of Teriyaki chicken to people passing by. I picked up the piping chunk of
greasy meat and shoved it into my mouth. Just then, a peculiar thought crossed my mind: what would it be
like to work in a food service job? Better yet, what would it be like to work at the local food court?

I wonder what it’s like to be in that position. To work in a place where all you do is one thing, and one thing only:
serve a single type of food, over, and over, and over again. In my mind, the monotony of this type of labor must
kill your brain cells in a slow yet explosive rhythm. I mean come on! How many is too many burger flips before
your go ape shit on your customers whilst chucking frozen patties at their screaming faces.

“Quick! Somebody call the mall police! A crazed Asian man is tossing frozen patties of death at
the children! Paul
Blart, where are you?!”

But maybe it isn’t that bad. Maybe for some, it starts to become so routine that you start doing your job out of
sheer reflex. Maybe the Subway Sandwich artists become so engulfed in the… erm… art?… of making sammiches
that they simply make it without even thinking (or looking?!) On goes auto-pilot mode and zip! Eight hours go
by and you’ve successfully dipped 436 corn dogs, all while curling up inside that corner of your brain where you
go to escape.

I‘m thankful that I have the job that I have, but in some respects… I’m starting to feel that sense of monotony. As
of now, my job is one that rewards me for my ability to sell an already manufactured idea. To me, that’s not good
enough. To me, I want a job where I will be paid to create my own ideas, and my own concepts. I want a job where
my position is of my own, and I am the specialist. I don’t want anyone to tell me how to do it, or why I’m doing it
in the first place. Call me ignorant, or egotistical, or immature, but in my mind and heart, I know how much I’m
worth. I know the capabilities of my brain and the impact that I want to create in this world. My potential is much
too large to fit inside a simple cash register. I cannot, and will not be quantified by numbers, or sales figures.

Call me crazy, but I am one of those lunatics who thinks he can change the world… and I will.

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Filed under At The Mall, Blind Fire/Shooting From The Hip, My Life, Revelation, Winter/Fall

Revelation #1: My Understanding Of The “Real” Meaning Of Photography

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to fully understand the true beauty of photography. Most people (including
myself at one point) get so bogged down by megapixel count, ISO capabilities, and creative filters that we forget
the true purpose of the photograph. The purpose isn’t to take gorgeous, detailed shots with blown out
backgrounds and perfect lighting, nor is it a contest to see who can generate the best, most “liked” image on the
interweb. In it’s purest, most simplified form, photography is a tool used to capture memories.

That is it.

A few weeks ago, Olivia (my girlfriend) and I drove up to Oakland to visit my brother and his boyfriend James’
house. After a hearty meal of corned beef, potatoes and cabbage, they took us to The Alameda, a small island just
ten minutes away from their home. We strolled through the thick cold Northern California breeze, and sipped
teas and peppermint hot chocolates while walking our three little dogs.

During this time, I found myself in one of those “PHOTOGRAPH ALL BEAUTIFUL THINGS!” mode – which I did.
Now, I did get a handful of shots, but in all honesty, some of them were just… okay. None of them blew my
brains out like a loaded double barrel shotgun.

As I sit back in my bed looking at these shots, I wonder: how much did I miss out on by gluing my eyeballs
to that camera? Was I too busy trying to capture memories on camera and not enough time actually
experiencing them myself? I look at these shots and I feel… disconnected. It’s as if I were never even there; as
if I watched Olivia, my brother, and James experience these events while I floated in the air like a wandering
thought.

Thinking about this actually makes me sad…

Looking at this photograph makes me especially gloomy. My girlfriend, the woman I’m deeply in love with, who
is photographed within arms length actually looks lonely. I’m not even holding her hand…

So what can we do to cut down the time in front of the glowing screen and more time experiencing the memories?
Well, for starters, I can tell you that owning a nice point and shoot (like my X10) makes it very convenient to
snap a quick shot without gunning down your subjects with a giant DSLR. The quiet nature of this camera seizes
the photographic moment as swiftly as James Bond’s silenced handgun snips the neck of a Russian terrorist.

However, the final a-ha moment in learning how to reconnect with your subjects is to stop worrying about
perfecting all aspects. Who gives a fuck if your shot is shaky, and grainy, and non-photoshopped? Does it
really matter? Step away from your technical side and shoot from the heart. Shoot because you feel like
you’re stealing a piece of life – not because you want a Facebook thumb up your egotistical ass.

In the end, you will either understand this or not. But one thing is for sure: our ties to technology may have
simplified our lives in ways we never expected, yet at the same time… it has removed us from the experience
of experiencing our life. Our one and only life…

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Filed under Blind Fire/Shooting From The Hip, My Life, Olivia, Out And About, Revelation, Winter/Fall