Oakley is a fascinating company.  They make cool, technologically advanced gear and their ad campaigns are pretty good.  However, once you really start to understand and own the brand, you begin to realize that lack of thoughtfulness in the company and their products in general.  For example, their sunglasses are crack resistant, but have poor visibility; their apparel is poorly stitched and wears poorly, and their latpop bags, although strong, have poorly designed compartments.

To boot, their customer service department is argumentative and they argue with you about silly things, like I had a scratch in my RAZR Wire Bluetooth lenses the day after I bought them (The scratch was there), and they wouldn’t replace the lens.  This made me dislike Oakley and the customer service manager that I talked to didn’t really seem to care.

Honestly, I don’t have time to buy expensive products that are more flashy than thoughtful with half-baked customer service.  Go for Maui Jim or Oliver People’s Glasses (owned by Oakley now btw).  So?  Except for a few lens tints I want for Maui Jim, I buy Oliver People’s glasses, which run at least $400.  Maui Jim ranges from $209 to $400, though the lens that I like cost about $280.00.

Anyway, Oakley is a “poser” brand, and they seem to be ignorant of their brand to offer decent customer service.

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Ducati

I ride an Vespa, which is fun; however, I’ve been feeling more interested in Ducati and Buell motorcycles.  I like the naked-style bikes; but the truth is because I have a couple of kiddos and a woman I love, I’m not going to get a Ducati.  I know I’d be a good rider and get a real kick out of the speed and design of the thing, but I won’t get one because I think they’re pretty dangerous once you really start enjoying them.

I got to a relatively nice gym called Equinox.  It’s very clean, the people are friendly.

When you go to a gym like this you start to notice cool-looking, comfortable apparel.  One of the brands I became even more familiar with is LuLuLemon.  They make modern, lifestyle yoga wear for women, and pretty aesthetically pleasing stuff for men.  I’m not like a guy who particularly feels true to himself wearing “Under Armour” and Nike gets kinda trite.

LuluLemon is nice, expensive enough to make most people unwlling to pay for it…so it’s exclusive and it’s made with such singularity of comfort and purpose it’s actually quite delightful.  Once you start wearing it, it’s very difficult to consider other types of workout apparel.  Checkout Lululemon.com.  Sadly, you can’t actually buy anything from there or even get a real appreciation for their products, but you can get a sense of their values.

For example, around black Friday I called to ask if they were going to have a sale, and they said that’s not how they do things; however, when I bought three pairs of pants, one of the hot yoga girls working their challenged me to a push-up contest.  She said that if I beat her, she’d give me 15% off.  That was over $50 for what I was spending…so I was like, sure…I beat her pretty easily, and I got my discount.  My feeling was that they would have given it to me anyway (or not).  My sales girls was seemed pretty surprised that they gave me a discount.

I bought two more pairs of innovative slacks that are ($118 each) very innovative and just as comfortable as jeans, and a pair of workout pants that costs $98.00.   My favorite things is that they have complimentary hemming, which means a lot to a guy like me.

If you’re anything like me, if you drink too much diet soda, you consume a lot of sodium, which is salt.  This gives you high blood pressure, and creates imbalances in your body water levels, even giving you an unquenchable thirst.

Diet Rite does the seemingly impossible and takes out all of the sodium, calories and caffeine, which are pretty much all the bad things associated with the soda.  The taste ain’t bad either for diet soda, comparable to Diet Coke.

I just ordered a Patagonia Jacket.  I cruise around on a Vespa about 75% of the time, and these couple of months of winter are like lettuce, crisp and refreshing.  I have to travel to New Orleans and the Bay Area, and instead of wearing my usual wear of years yonder, I purchase this jacket so I can look good taking photos with my Canon 5D Mark II, and riding around my Vespa around Los Angeles.  I really like the fact that the Obama’s wear Patagonia.  I think it’s a classy brand.

I resisted downloading music for longer than I thought I would until it just seemed like a pain to wait for my CD that I usually ordered from Amazon.  Why not just have it right away, right?  This was about three years ago.  I started using Itunes, and it delighted me.  However, as I have begun to update my computers on a yearly basis, keeping my music with Itunes has gotten to be quite costly and annoying.  I’ve lost almost every movie I’ve purchased and about half of the songs I bought because of authorization problems.

On top of that, whenever I try to use one of the songs on a video montage, I get the most annoying license protection errors.  It has progressively made me dislike Itunes, which is why I have quite using it altogether, including the fact that I can’t even update my email address that is an old .mac address that no longer exists.

Every purchase of music in the last two months has occurred on Amazon.com.  Even the networks have their shows to view on their websites for free now.  The way I see it – unless Itunes goes DRM free, I’ll never use it again.

That’s how I believe most people, after a given amount of time, will feel, especially after they update their computers and realize what a pain in the ass it is.  I couldn’t even get my invoices from Apple because of the whole email issue.   It really seems archaic.

I spend a lot of money buying smoothies.  At six dollars a pop once or twice a day, it can add up pretty quickly.  The worst part about getting a smoothy is going to the smoothie store.  Jamba Juice is annoying, Robeks is annoying.  And the smoothie place with boba at the mall is annoying.  They’re usually run by teenagers who you have to watch socialize, and sometimes the recipes varies, depending on how many raspberries the kid puts in the blender.   Mostly though, it kills an extra fifteen minutes of your day  just to get a smoothie, and even at my gym (Equinox)  it is really slow and annoying.   I’ll order the seven dollar smoothie, go change my clothes, and when I get out of locker room, the guy is still finishing the freakin’ smoothie.  It’s like he decided to take his time because he noticed that I was going to go to the locker room.

Well, to save time and money, I finally broke down and got myself a Vita-Mix 5200.  It was about $550, almost six hundred with shipping.   I also got a small 32 oz. “wet” container.  They try to sell you a dry container to make dough, but I just don’t see myself making dough anytime soon with my blender.

I was a little worried that my kids weren’t really into my smoothies anymore, but with this new mixer, it’s amazing what some freshly squeezed orange juice from Trader Joe’s, a banana, ice and a little bit of vanilla extract can do to win you some customers at home.   With the older blender, I was a little sad about my four-year-old not really being into my smoothies anymore.   It’s a bonding thing, I think.

When I go to the grocer store now, I just make sure to buy a bunch of frozen strawberries, blueberries, bananas, mangos, freshly squeezed orange juice.  You’d think it’d be expensive, but Trader Joe’s is actually pretty reasonable.  You can buy a bag of froze strawberries for $1.69 (and bananas for 17 cents), as opposed to almost $3 at Ralph’s.

Vincent LaForet

Vincent La Foret  is a photographer that just came to my attention by my fascination with the Canon 5D Mark II.  He’s a relatively young professional photographer who lives in NYC, and seems to have a philosophical temperament toward technology.  He also seems to be willing to share some of his insights into the professional photogs career.  

He cleverly persuaded Canon to let him borrow one of their cameras, and he made this film called “Reverie.”

He’s a talented photographer, but what I like about him is that besides being talented and sharing his insights, he’s also humble.  He calls this film his “bad cologne commercial.”  He actually got help from a documentary filmmaker to do it, and it is very promising.  I don’t quite get the story, but this film is an example of how something visually stunning almost doesn’t have to have a story.  It operates successfully on a primal visual level, which is a lesson for me because I’ve always been so text-oriented when it comes to filmmaking.  That’s at least part of my shortcoming as a nascent filmmaker.  

For the first time, I’m going to begin working with a storyboard artist (if I can negotiate a decent fee) to storyboard the short film.  I think remember seeing Vince using storyboards to help him with his projects.

Several years ago, I wrote a film called “Spaceland,” which is very ambitious in terms of mind expansion.  It didn’t occur to me over night, but after trying to hammer out a screenplay for about a year and a half or two, the concept finally crystalized itself.  One of the unique things about the story is that it is science fiction, but does not require special effects until later.  The story can be told out of order.

The reality is that I have limited resources, and limited experience in filmmaking and to invest other people’s money or my own in this project would be unwise.  I guess my concern is the technical aspects, and even cinematically.  I know the feeling I want to convey, the mood, and the story but cinematically I feel like I’ve never really been able to make a film that I’ve been completely happy with from concept to screen.  

In order to ease into this I’ve decided to make about a five-minute film that uses the main character and problem of the story to create an intrigue about the feature.  The logistics are relatively simple.  I’ve found people who I feel could portray the characters, and the Canon 5D Mark II gives me confidence in the look of the film.  

I bought the HVX200, and I was never really fascinated with the 24P look of the camera (neither was anyone else).  It’s like you had to explain to others, “That’s 24p.”  

The Canon 5D Mark II leaves no question.  It’s visually stunning, and now stories that I had given up on because of my lack of connections in Hollywood or lack of confidence in my lighting abilities, have suddenly been given new life.  This camera has changed my life (and I haven’t even gotten it in the mail yet).

When it comes to artistry, i think we do it because it gives us a sense of purpose.  I feel like I know why I’m here, I know what I want, and I know, on a very intuitive level, the power of truth.  Artistically, this deep, deep notion is what I want to communicate.

You can’t really talk about it though.  It dissipates the quite artistic energy you’ve garnered for inspiration.  If you talk about, it becomes almost course.  Whatever you were going to do, you lose the steam (at least I do).

For this reason, I don’t really talk to my wife about my artistic projects.  It’s an inspiration leak.

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