Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

     Hey, Merry Christmas. I say ‘merry’ at the beginning of every holiday now, because ‘happy’ is a feeling, but ‘merry’ is an attitude, like a higher level of happy. But everyone looks at me funny when I say “Merry Thanksgiving!” Or “Merry New Years!” So it’s nice having a holiday where you can say merry properly.
     We’ve got a very big show for you today, first a video of me telling a winter–type story, perfect for all you displaced northerners, and then we have a bunch of pictures. Not a lot of text, because it’s all packed into the video! Almost a thousand words and the bonus of my face. You’re welcome. Merry Christmas. Merry Holidays too.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

From Alaska To Arizona [2013]



     MY DAD is pilot, he has his own tiny plane that he loves to fly. Every year we fly from our house in Alaska to our house in Arizona, and every year we fly back. This takes takes us a week and most of the time we are in Canada.
     If you are a new reader I’ll just lay it on the line here; I have some neuroses. These manifest in what I would not precisely categorise as obsessive behaviours, but I do prefer certain things to be consistent in my life. Certain patterns. Listening to the same record repeatedly, Espresso in the morning, a particular method of dress. I see old home movies of myself and I recognise these behaviours but for different things and I see young me lose his mind when these patterns are broken.
     So I have been trying to get away from that.


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Autumn in Alaska {2013}

It’s pretty neat up here when autumn rolls around.  When some trees turn bright yellow and the mountains turn white, it’s a visual poem in primary colours.



Sunday, September 08, 2013

The Obscurantists



     I was reading a book about libraries, and they made reference to this old guy who had opposed the exploration of the new world. I forgot his name, but they called him an Obscurantist. That word struck me, I was sort of familiar with the concept of someone who would oppose new things, who would embrace obscurity in all its forms. I am that guy, most of the time. Then this record cover came to me almost in one piece in my brain. 

    I sort of imagine them playing retro R&B style music with a saxophone, a xylophone. some drums, and a crackly electric guitar. All their songs would sound uplifting, but are in fact veiled cries for help,  or angry sounding but with very cheerful lyrics. There would have to be that juxtaposition. And they would have lots of secret references to an agreed upon, very boring text. Possibly a history of europe. 

Tracks: {*Most if not all imaginary}

[Side 1]
  1. I’m Alright, Alright!
  2. Please Stop Calling Me
  3. Here We Go, Oh No
  4. Glorious Court 
  5. Love is for Losers and Us Two Too
[Side 2]
  1. You’re Okay By Me
  2. Sometimes is not Forever All The Time But it is When it Rains
  3. Nothing Can Hurt You if You Don’t Care
  4. Let’s be Boring Together
  5. We’re All Going to be Okay





Original
Better version of original

Arbiter


Follow me on twitter: @STCroiss

Friday, September 06, 2013

Robot on a Field Of Pine


Robot on a Field Of Pine, a Self–Portrait. 
2013
Mixed media; Pencil, coloured in photoshop. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Alaska State Fair 2013


I didn’t take as many pictures as I usually do.
That’s odd.
But I did see some fake egyptian artifacts, and a bunny. So, definitely a good day.


So before we left I saw this smug little snotface. 
Stayed just out of reach too.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hatcher Pass

     Yesterday Dad, Hanna, several friends of ours who will remain nameless and secret, and myself, visited the magnificent and majestic natural wonder just minutes from where I live; Hatcher Pass.
Now, despite it being named after a person, it is not Hatcher’s Pass, even though that is what everyone everywhere calls it.

     Anyway.

     We parked the car and walked up a mountain to a lake that a friend of mine who will remain secret and nameless knew about, and had been to. As we walked I was struck by how crazy nature is, just the sheer amount of detail in nature blew my mind, the tiny, tiny swirls of plants that grow in hard to access locations.
   
      I have always sort of suspected that nature and the earth is a sort of trick, a simulation provided for the amusement of people, that the only reason anything exists is so that people can go and look at it but you go to a place like hatchers pass and that’s so obviously not the case. You walk up to any rock and you stare it and no matter how long you stare you just keep. Noticing. Details. If I were to recreate this somehow it would take me so much time, and so much energy and would be so. Boring. Our nameless and secret friends are religious and I felt so, sad for them. I mean, I understand. It is so, so easy when presented with something so strange and complex that your mind can’t handle it to just push it aside and say, well of course, God made all this so that I may see it and it is great. But whatever. Isn’t this supernatural being great! God is the amazing thing here.

      That is the wrong thing. You’re still stuck in that mind set of ‘Of course everything exists so that I may see it’ and you are not seeing the thing that is in front of you. Because the world is not a simulation for your benefit it just is there. Lichen will continue to grow on rocks and create the most insane patterns whether you walk past it or not and that is awe inspiring. Rocks can be perfect cubes in nature and that is so weird. There are tiny black flowers and it is all basically pointless and that is amazing. Those flowers and massive forests aren’t growing so that they may be good plants and then go to heaven or something, trees don’t have a concept of anything because they are trees and that is okay.

      The concept that the world is massive and insanely detailed and doesn’t exist just for me is a thought I try to have regularly but it is hard to do that. And when this concept is presented in a way that you cannot ignore and you cannot deny and when this all happens in a very low-oxygen environment it is the craziest thing. Awesome in the true sense of the word.


     So here are some pictures.


As you drive up you notice how intense everything is. How green the ground, how blue the sky. 



Hey, our town’s down there. 

Sunday, August 04, 2013

On Tardigrades



     SO back in may I enrolled in a biology class at the college near here, I needed the biology credit and man if biology isn’t half hard. It nearly killed me learning about chemistry and cell organelles, {Fun Fact: All of your energy is created by teeny tiny turbines in all your cells. Literally turbines. Anyway.}
     For the final part of the class I had to write a paper {4–6 Pages, double spaced} cited to APA standards with at least six references. The topic was up to me but it had to be biology related. I’d never written a paper before, and I’d never even heard of APA.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Time Travel



Hey! I got ahold of a time travel device but it only has the one shot left, so this is what I decided to do. 


—Jacob


Sunday, April 14, 2013

How to Photography



Step up step up!
Have YOU ever wanted to take pictures of things but just didn’t know where to START?
ALLOW ME!

For the next couple of weeks watch this playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLStygM4i5VdDzVFqNwO_J1CjDaJcKIPRn
And subscribe for ensured delivery of subsequent installments!


Wednesday, April 03, 2013

There Was a Snake in Our Yard

SO I was out in our yard, here in Arizona, taking some pictures and walking the fence, very reasonable things to do in your own yard.
I walked towards the corner of the yard, I’m maybe a meter from the fence now and I see a tree branch.
Tree branch moves, just a tiny bit.
It’s a snake.
I run, terrified, to the back door, the sliding glass back door, the locked sliding glass back door.
After what felt like hours of terrified tapping on the glass Mom comes up and lets me in, staring at me like I’m an insane person.
I tell her there’s a snake, she goes over to look, I get my zoom lens and follow her.

After careful review of the photos in the field we determine it’s a gopher snake, harmless.
Unless you’re a  mouse, bat, or gopher.
It only eats tiny mammals, turns out.

Now the snake’s in the corner, he tries to slither out the crack in the wall he obviously came in by.
He has eaten a mouse or other small mammal whilst here, he’s fat and full and stuck.

Now here’s a video of what happend next:










Tuesday, February 26, 2013

GE Sponsored Tour, Day Two

The second day had a lot more stuff in it.



Portrait: Photographing a photographer photographing a photographer.
Included: The first time the staff photographer smiled. {The guy on the right.}

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lunch in Sedona

 Dad if you didn’t know, has a plane.
And for the first time since we’ve started doing this it’s in AZ with us and also not broken.
So a couple days ago Dad said “Hey we’re flying to lunch. In Sedona.”


Takeoff.

GE Sponsored Tour, Day One

THE whole point of this trip was something oil–related, I think there was a conference?
{Dad’s part in this was that he and his team were buying spare parts from GE.} Because there were so many people there GE sponsored a tour for the “Spouses” {Really the wives/Girlfriends. And Me.} Spouses is in quotes because I was the only guy {On the Tour} I saw.
 There were a bunch of organised things, but I only went on the tours of the last two days.


We were on Tour #1. 


Portrait: This was quite the official outfit, there was a guide and a guard and a photographer.
This is the photographer, I took a couple of pictures of him because of his grumpy face.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Florence: The Graveyard of San Miniato al Monte


THEY call it the Remembrance Park.
  I like a graveyard, mostly because it makes me feel better about my character names, a lot of real people had crazy names. You’ll see.



One day we had some time, and Dad wanted to walk. So we took a taxi to the church on the hill, just up the hill actually from where David used to be, and walked back. 
Around back of this church is a really great graveyard, huge and cool and free.

Friday, February 22, 2013

St. Peter’s Basilica {2/2}

WHEN you walk into St. Peter’s basilica your senses sort of overload.
 It’s a HUGE space, the walls, covered in carved marble, sometimes that is covered is gold, there are paintings of bible scenes I know nothing about and statues of Popes and Saints with names I’d never even heard, it’s overpowering.
 Frankly, I didn’t like it. It was too much all at once.


Detail: Two of these cardinals/popes were obviously the best ones, Iacobo 3 and Iacobo 2. 
{Iacobo is Latin for Jacob.} 


Detail: A Corner. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome. {1/2}

ONE of the things most people go and see in Rome is St. Peter’s basilica, spiritual and political centre of the catholic version of christianity. 
  Dad kept calling it the Vatican, and while The Basilica was in Vatican City but I think the vatican is actually a bunch of offices and such in the back that tourists can’t get to. 


The Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica are way too big to see in a day, especially if you have a cold. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Graduation


Rome: The Ruins Behind the Colosseum

Out behind the Colosseum are some ruins, there weren’t a lot of signs so Dad and I didn’t really have any idea what we were looking at most of the time, we decided eventually that it was where they kept the animals and where the support staff lived, because there were houses and shops.

Turns out we were looking at the roman forum.
 It’s all a little confusing, because it’s all old, all broken and mostly built on top of older ruins.


There was a big line to get in, but we decided we were italians and just bought and walked past the line. 
I’m not sure what this is, but it’s right next to the Colosseum, looks like it used to have steps going up to it, and drops down pretty seriously just inside the door. 
So, obviously they kept something in there that they didn’t want to get out.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Rome: Colosseum


 The Colosseum: Death Dome of the Ancients. 
  The Colosseum is weird, most of the monuments in italy, the really famous ones, are way bigger than you’d think but the Colosseum seems to fluctuate.
 When I first walked up  I thought “Wow, this is way smaller than I thought it was.” But it isn’t. Not at all. In the subsequent pictures, look for the people who are standing on the ground directly next to it. That’s the real scale.



Panorama: When we walked over to the Colosseum we ended up on a hill with some parked cars, look in the botom right hand corner of the picture.
Those teeny–tiny dots are people who are actually CLOSE to the Colosseum.


Detail: Included, people for scale.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

People In Italy


Street Photography of tourists and photographers, but overwhelmingly old italian guys in hats.



Ordering a snack unwillingly.
Stazione S.M.N., Florence

Friday, February 15, 2013

Rome: General

I have never been to New York. 
 But I imagine it has the same feeling as Rome, big and loud and kind of fast paced and stressful. 
I grew up in the country, in the forest in Alaska, One time I visited Chicago, but that’s about as big city as I got. Rome was kind of a shock to the system, especially considering the system had just realised he had a cold. 

 On the train to Lucca Dad and I sat across from this nice young australian couple who were doing eight weeks in Europe, they had just come from Rome, and they suggested a hotel; The Viminale.
It was cheap, and nice, and right in the center of everything.  Definitely suggested.


Portrait: Dad. ALMOST smiling.


Scene: The train station. I Spy: a hobo. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Original Grotesque


Before the middle ages, {or “Dark Ages”} the Greeks and subsequently the Romans had a pretty thriving culture, with art and temples and carved marble and things covered in gold, {Like the Catholics! More on that later} but then Christianity went mainstream {Thanks a lot, Constantine} and all this cool old stuff was “Lost” and destroyed because it was “Pagan”.

Fast forward to the Renaissance and Europe is rediscovering all this old stuff, like “Math” and the old stories, which were a lot more popular with artists because Nymphs and Goddesses of Beauty presented a lot more opportunities to carve naked women than the Madonna ever did.

One of the things they eventually rediscovered was Nero’s tomb.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Ponte Vecchio {and the Vasari Corridor}


This is a bridge in Italy most people know, I had always assumed it was flanked by several similar but inferior bridges and that this is how all the old bridges used to be.
Wrong!
 In fact the only reason this bridge is like this is because the family that used to run this town {The Medicis} wanted to get from their palace to the office without going down on the mucky street with the dirty common people.  So they had a famous architect build the Vasari Corridor on top of the shops that were already there.



Panorama: The Ponte Vecchio



Panorama: The Old Bridge. 
Here you can really see where they built on top of the old shops. 


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Pisa


Pisa is a lovely little college town in Italy, with a river and a hat shop and about as many little art supply stores as you would like, none of which sold my malfunctioning mechanical pencil. 
{It’s very difficult to get a Parker Jotter mechanical pencil overseas. Everywhere had the pen version, but whatever.} Pisa is not a small town, {You couldn’t amble the perimeter in a day, for example} but it wasn’t as big as Florence. We did everything in an easy day trip, and walked across almost the full diameter of the town just to get from the train station to the tower.

There’s a lot more in town than the tower, {or Torre Pendente as the signs will tell you} there’s even a lot more RIGHT NEXT to the tower than you’re expecting, including dad’s favourite church. 

Oh, before we start a word of advice to other pin buyers such as myself in the past:  There are a lot of cool pins in Pisa, but don’t buy them from the little tourist shop next to the tower.
Buy them from the street vendor guy on the way back to the train station, they’re about $1.30 cheaper per for the exact same thing. 

Learned THAT the hard way.


I don’t know who this is, but he’s got an awesome hat and a sword, so obviously he was d*mn lucky.


Saturday, February 09, 2013

BONUS: Pins



Everywhere I went I collected one of these little shields with the name of the place on it, except Fiesole and Lucca.
Because there I didn’t see any.


The Inside of the Duomo, and the Baptistery

The inside of the duomo is very nice, but it’s also very big and very dark and I left the tripod in America. {SO HEAVY}
So bear with me here.

WARNING TO RELIGIOUS/UPTIGHT PEOPLE: There are some pictures of an old painting where the devil or somebody is stuffing sinners in his mouth.
It’s bloody and kind of gross, but still, it’s religion.
Oh, there’s also an actual human skull.
I think it’s a saint, or something.


 Detail: Doors with sheep on them. 
They’re really big on sheep here.


The main interior of the duomo, walk up view.

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