If you haven’t heard of TED, let me give you a brief overview of this not-for-profit and that they do. Their goal is to bring people together to share “ideas worth spreading”. They hold events all year round and put the recordings of the speakers online, for free. The topics vary from Technology to future predictions to issues that affect humanity as people to comedians and music performances – it’s a big selection to choose from.
This is where Brené Brown comes in. She has presented at TED twice and those recordings have had over 6 million hits between them. She talks about vulnerability, courage and shame from a very human perspective. Her talks cover what makes us think we’re good enough, why some feel a sense of love and belonging and others don’t and that’s for starters. Over these two talks she condenses the results of years of study down into a few minutes, with observations and conclusions that really challenged me to think about how we interact as people in our societies today.
I think the thing that’ll stick with me the most is realising how I have two views of vulnerability. When others reveal vulnerability I’m aware of the courage it takes to do that and I feel privileged to be trusted, but when I’m faced with doing the same thing it feels like weakness, even though it’s not.
I hope these talks are as valuable to you as they have been to me.
I’m a geek, I really am. I don’t blog much about the geekyness I get up to, but I’ve clocked up a decent number of hours taking computers apart, putting computers together, cleaning out viruses, making computers go faster and, of course, playing lots of games. None of this has ever been my job, but it hasn’t stopped me yet.
I use computers every day in one way or another and so do you. I provide all my own tech support, which is great for me, but I know there are lots of computers out there that could do with care and attention. So here we are.
My friends and I are running a computer fixing day for everyone in the community through our church. It will be on Saturday 28th April at Silverstream Retreat, 3 Reynolds Bach Dr, Lower Hutt. We have assembled a team of geeks who will be providing totally free tech support to you on the day. There’s also a rumour that there will be food around and a few non-geeky people too.
The geeks will do the best they can to fix, update and speed up your computer. We even have some spare parts that were generously gifted for the event by the company I work for, Catalyst IT Ltd. So even if your computer doesn’t start you can still bring it and if your computer isn’t fixable but you need to recover the files we can help with that too. We can’t guarantee that we will fix every computer we come across, but we’re going to do our best.
Because computer fixing can take a while we’re asking people to come in the morning from 9-11am and drop their computer off and then come back between 4-5pm to pick it up. If you leave a contact number with us we can let you know if it’s ready before that. This gives us the time we may need to run updates, scan for viruses and diagnose any faults you may be having. Your computer will get a sticker so we know which is yours, it won’t get lost.
We will have plenty of keyboards, mice and monitors, so all you need to bring is the main computer, which will look something like one of the pictures below, or your laptop if that needs fixing.
So bring up your computer from 9am-11am on Saturday 28th April and we’ll see you then
I’ve blogged about photography before – it’s one of my passions, both doing it and just seeing the impact of photography around the world. My passion has led me to buy good camera gear and learn how to use it. I love to capture holidays, parties and events for my own memory and I like to share my photos with others, because sharing is awesome.
Take this shot for instance, editing took it from being too dark with bad shadows to be my favourite shot of those two, who have just celebrated one year together Who knows if this photo will be used in their future?
I’m not skilled enough as a photographer to have every photo I take turn out as I’d like, but since I shoot digital this is not the biggest worry in the world, because I can tidy up my shots later. Another other big joy of digital is the ability to shoot rapidly, even wastefully and delete the excess later. Every time I take photographs I delete more than half later, I also take photos in the hundreds, so this is no small task. For me, photography is a craft. You wouldn’t ask a craftsman to do an apprentices job, that would be an insult to the hours of learning and practice a craftsman has.
That’s not to say that if a photo isn’t taken with a big camera that it’s bad. Polaroid did instant photos back in the film days and we still love them. The next day you can check Facebook and see pictures from your party already there with you tagged in them. That’s where Point and Shoot cameras (and to a greater extent phones with cameras) excel – they don’t cost a lot and they’re easy to use. The truth is that you may not care how sharp the photos are or that people look ghostly or that some are a bit blurry and I’m not going to ask you to start caring, but you need to know that I care about stuff like that.
I have thought about just taking photos and not doing any editing or deleting but the reason I take photos in the first place is because I’m passionate about photography. I want to capture emotions, tell stories or preserve a moment, all through the lens I’m carrying. I want to take clear shots that are accurate and show what’s happening, without distracting imperfections that capture your attention. I want people looking at my photos to go “wow” at what they see, not because I’m great at taking photos, but because the scene is great and I’ve managed to capture it.
Sometimes I take shots because I’m asked to. I try to show that I care by putting effort into the finished product, but too often I’m perceived as not caring and taking too long to give people their finished photos. In truth I do care and because of that I come, take photos, leave, review, delete, edit, edit again, probably edit a third time, colour balance if needed and pick the final shots for the collection. That takes hours, but I still do it.
I even do it for free, because I enjoy it, but even if you paid me you’d still be waiting, because that’s the nature of this type of photography. Couples wait 2-3 months for their wedding photos because pro photographers also take time to practice their craft. I work full time, so I have to balance my life, my job, my other commitments and my photography work into each week – sometimes weeks get busy and some things don’t get done, that’s life and my photos have to wait too.
I have also been known to forget to edit photos at times. I wrote this post to try and shed some light on what happens when I take photos and explain why it’s not instant like other cameras. If I’m taking a while ask me how things are going, but please don’t ask me “are you done yet?”.
So I hope that explains it a bit more, because until now I don’t think I’ve properly explained that editing takes hours to do, or that if you ask me to take photos you’re also asking me to edit photos. I enjoy taking photos and I enjoy editing photos, so I’m not going to stop doing either, but both take time and effort, which I give freely. In return I ask for your patience.
It may almost be March 2012, but I’m overdue for a post about 2011, so I’m going to try and capture my year.
Coming down off the high of 2010 was difficult, but looking back it was quite a ride. I returned to work with a great team, client and new project manager. I made plans to return to Hawaii and got my ass kicked by 40 hour weeks. I reunited with my friends and told them what I’d been up to as best I could. I had too much time on my hands so I started this blog, then I got busy. I moved house. I made new friends including a lifelong one (or two). I started to examine my world view and think about why I act certain ways. I found it easier to sin but I also realised just how crazy Jesus love for us is. I kept the paper I wrote on during DTS in my wallet. I realised that it’s okay to reach out, say hi to someone and try new things. I bought a new camera body, then a new lens. I cried a bit and laughed a lot. I reflected on what makes me happy. I got back into yoga. I turned 25, had to say goodbye to friends who flew to Sydney, started doing theology study with friends, worked on http://eq.org.nz/, joined the Standby Task Force Tech Team, climbed Mount Holdsworth and spent the New Year in Shanghai.
To everyone who supported me last year, your kind words, encouragement, advice and hugs (in person and digitally) really made all the difference. Thank You!
So I’ve been in China for just over a week playing tourist/photographer all around Changshu and the surrounding towns. Changshu is about two hours drive from Shanghai and has a small (by Chinese standards) population of about 1 million. It’s quite a prosperous city because it’s close enough to such an economic hub as Shanghai but far enough that it’s not part of the city, so it’s cleaner and less populated.
Coming back to China has been an experience, as you’d expect. Chinese culture is very different from Western – the country is vast, old and is a huge player in the world economy. Coming from New Zealand, a very young nation, it’s humbling to see how old some of the buildings here are. It makes me wish I’d paid more attention to history when I lived in the UK too.
The biggest challenge has been language again. I’m very glad that the phrases I learned last time are still there, so I didn’t have to relearn them, I just need to build up new ones. So far the most useful has been “I don’t want that, thank you” and “How much is that?” I need to learn the numbers, but pulling out my phone and typing the numbers in (or them pulling out a calculator) works well too. I’ve downloaded Pleco and a paid add-on that has how to pronounce each word, which is helping a bit too.
I haven’t had a big culture shock this time (yet). My time on the photogenX DTS in 2010 covered lots of things including how diverse cultures are and how our world view is shaped by our own culture. I got to put this knowledge to work in Philippines and again in the USA before I came back to the safety of New Zealand. With all this in mind it’s been easier to accept that things around me will seem weird to me (like the food, the protocol, the huge level of hospitality we’ve had here, the fact people want to carry my breakfast plate for me, etc.), but not to others and to be willing to give it a try. This may have got me in a bit of trouble at one point, but we learn from our mistakes.
Our group has been getting along well. We’ve had the usual adjustments any random group of people has traveling, but I must say it’s much nicer to travel with a larger group than a smaller one. There are about 16 kiwis here who came for Neil & Rose’s Chinese wedding yesterday (us + his family) – eventually we’ll be down to 6 traveling around. About 600 people came to the wedding, which is the first overseas wedding I’ve been to. I wasn’t totally sure what to expect, but in the end the ceremony was quite short, but full of entertainment. We went around each table and the couple and their families toasted each table (10 people per table = 60 tables). The ceremony was short (5pm welcoming, 5:45pm start, 8pm finish), but well received. Eddie and Neil made speeches in Chinese and we all cleaned up rather nicely in suits and dresses. Of course, after all that I can’t not show you a couple of photos can I? I haven’t even started editing these ones yet – wait there a second…
That’s all I have time for now, thanks for reading. If you’re keen for more – I update Facebook when I can and I’m uploading more photos to my photo page on flickr after they’re edited. I’ll be making up a photo show when I get back to NZ with more fun shots and stories too. Until then