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Ideas Marinating Blog

My Photography Portfolio!

Today I am launching my new photography portafolio! This is something which I have been thinking of doing for quite sometime and finally, now that I had some free time, I managed to slap something together. Which by the way I have to admit, I am quite happy how that got slapped.  Not too shabby if I say so myself. After some interesting learning curves I can finally say that it is a simple, straight to the point canvas in which to showcase one of my passionate hobbies. I am very excited and hope you take the chance to  check it out it and share your opinions! Here is a bit from my About” page:

‘Welcome to my photography portfolio which includes interesting and eye-catching slices of life. Feel free to visit, browse, comment or simple check through my slide show. I have been an avid photographer since 2005, although only began taking it a little more seriously in 2007 and I am looking forward to sharing some of my work with the world.

As time goes by, you will see an ongoing influx of my work and although I do not consider myself a photographer, I do enjoy the art of it.

For now, this site is development, so please don’t mind the clutter, alternatively feel free to check my project site and see my other initiatives I am currently working on.’

The Coca Cola Case: When Goliath Is Anxious

At the beginning of 2010, an extraordinary documentary caught my attention. In Crude, a group of activists campaign and sue Texaco Oil (now Chevron) who during the course of three decades literally laid waste through hundreds of Ecuadorian villages, leaving a legacy of contamination, countless cancer cases and ultimately death. The movie is a ground-level view of one of the most extraordinary legal dramas of our time, one which could set a precedent of how multi-national business is conducted. 

Because of this, a movie event was scheduled through my Spanish Peer Speaking Group in order to bring further attention to as many people as I could. Since then, another documentary has also caught my attention, one which people must also be made aware of. In the Coca-Cola Case, a group of lawyers try to bring attention and an end to the myriad of human right violations from an even more unlikely culprit.

The Coca-Cola company (Inc. 1888) is a North American media darling and is currently the brand most recognized in the entire world. A friendly, bright & perennial brand, normally associated with sharing a good time with good friends. They have spend hundreds of millions of dollars to achieve this very goal. So very far removed from the reality of this media empire’s hundreds of alleged kidnappings, torture and murder of union leaders who tried to improve working conditions in Colombia, Guatemala and Turkey. Yet in fact, the non-profit network showcasing this very film, Cinema Politica received a letter from Coca Cola lawyers on Jan. 11th implying the showing of this documentary to be illegal! Come now, you just know, when Goliath is this anxious, it’s because he knows David’s is packing heat.

Why would they allow this?If people are dying, why would they look the other way? The answer is terribly simple. It’s greed. Horrible, disgusting, all-encompasing greed. For example, the documentary interviews a number of workers, some of whom earn $15 for 15 hours of physically demanding labour, while in comparison, the  top brass of Coca Cola in Atlanta gets paid almost $5,000 AN HOUR and that’s far from the the worst this film offers as proof. The actual focus is that in order to keep wages low, Coca Cola has gone as far as to use paramilitary forces to systematically murder anyone who wants to change the status quo. So far at least 9 men, all union leaders and all Coca Cola workers, have been killed while the company looks the other way, washes their hands and claims no liability. 

Again, to help out, another movie event was scheduled by Speak Spanish To Me. With 1200+ members, just passing the word via email is a step in the right direction. With a bit of luck, the word got passed to two movie groups in Toronto and we all went to see the movie last night. The auditorium was packed and as expected the documentary showed the outright greed of multi-nationals who will throw as many wrenches into the legal system as necessary to slow down any justice to the men who have been murdered in cold blood. Going on for five years now, the case is just starting to get closer to a resolution, however if you don`t want to wait, we as consumers can and must speak in the one and best way they understand, through their money coffers!

In the end, our collaboration was to get educated and if I say so myself, monetarily speaking, the group’s funds we contributed paid half their rental expenses! But on a serious note, I highly recommend everyone to make the time to see this documentary and for us and most people who saw the movie last night, I think we are all switching refreshment brands… water it`s starting to look particularly healthy. And that’s the real thing.     

A Birthday Gift Story (First Useful Painting)

Rewind to The View From My Old Buildinga few years ago…

Okay. So while sipping green tea in my lonely apartment, a friend of mine rang me out of the blue and asked ‘So, what are you bringing to the birthday party?’ Surprised by such forwardness, I answered the only way I could, with a heartfelt, ‘Who the hell is this?’ Tsk, tsk. A few awkward moments later, and having established the person in the other end to be in fact my friend Kristina, who in fact had a birthday party coming up that evening and who in fact I had no gift to give to. I decided to perform gift surgery in a hurry.

‘How long do I have?!” To which she replied that I was expected at her apartment along with everyone else in under three hours. Now, at this point I lived too far from a round trip shopping excursion and the closest places of business where my legal tender was accepted was a McDonald’s and the corner convenience store. Both not high in the gift carrying department hierarchy. I was totally fried.

Kristina had been a good friend, listening to my stories of woes and wine and she was was going through a bad spot after breaking up with her boyfriend and I thought  a nice gift would  cheer her spirits. Sadly, I was pretty broke and had no clue about what to get her.

Suddenly,  I remembered some wise word I probably made up or hear someone else said: ‘If you cannot buy a gift, then MAKE a gift! AHA! Eureka! Problem solved! Then I sat down and sipped on some more green tea in the jubilee of an idea well thought. 5 Minutes went by. Shit. No idea of a gift yet.

Making a gift is hard, you see. If you are talentless, if idea can explode in your face and not only you look cheap but also tactless. Specially when you have no idea where to start. So then, I thought of doing a drawing, yeah, that’s it, some painting! It made sense, it would unique and worldly. Yes! A painting, that sounded like a great idea. I had done some drawings & sketches while a kid, however I had to deal with the stern issue that I sucked. But hey, it’s the intention that matters right? Right.

So I found some water paint, took some white cardboard –yeah, I didn’t even have a canvas at the time– and searched my vicinity for a subject…. Uh… Nothing in living room… The kitchen? God, I needed to clean the kitchen back then. It looked as if a war-zone had walked in, seen the mess and thrown up in there. Geesh, still nothing. Nothing. NOTHING!

‘Mmmm…’ perhaps my idea had not been as idiot proof as expected. Then, I looked out my north exposure window from my 11th floor apartment and there it was: A sun was setting. ‘That’s nice…’ Eureka!  Paint the silly sunset! Damn, how come I didn’t see it before?! Guess you had to wait for it, no? And so I did.

Mashed paint on of that cardboard of mine like a mad man who is expected shortly at a birthday party and even finished on record time too! Just under an hour. On my way, Ridding The Rocket™, I ended fanning the painting, hoping it to dry on the short subway hop. Guess what! It did! She loved that tiny 10x 7 painting so much she place it dead center on her mantel! I was quite proud of it, if I say so myself.

Until a week later when a book the size of a encyclopedia felt on top if it and crushed it. Still, it was a nice story. The end.

Honorable Mention: My Photography 101

Honorable Mention: My Photography 101

 

 

Ever since I was a kid and started burning eggs while learning how to cook, I realized I truly enjoyed doing creative works. As such, and finally, 15+ years later I decided to try my hand at photography. As luck would have it I got a Canon A-series camera a few years ago as a birthday gift. For those who do not know, the Canon A-series are known for having a lot of manual options for the price. They are pretty straight to the point and although you would not  utter their name in the same sentence along DSLRs,  one cannot deny that for a budget camera and if you want to stay away from dumb-proof-yet-boring point and shoots, they about the best option you can have.

I remember I took some nice shots with that camera. Then it got stolen. Sadly during a move, the bag my camera was in *disappeared* from within my moving truck. A call to the moving company proved fruitless.

A few years ago, I managed to save enough to buy a new camera, another Canon, this time an A640. A 10 megapixel camera which again like my previous camera was heavy on the manual options. So I started shooting again. I would have to say some really nice pics came out of that. You can see them here on my Flickr! Which I am very proud off! Specially since my camera just stopped working and I do not think it is financially feasible to send it back to Canon for repairs.

BUT! Before the camera died, I was able to take a few more shots which I did enter in the City of Toronto Photography contest, and was able to earn a Honorary Mention for my work. Although monetarily speaking I get squat, I am truly proud to have been honored and that is proof that at least, photographically speaking, I am not burning eggs anymore.