1. A confused jumble or medley of things.

This Picture is Worth 935 Words: Photo Essays of the Pacific Crest Trail
There’s never a good time to start a project. Words fail, inspiration that we want so badly rarely comes, and life in general goes on in an anxious state of normal.
This is, this was, the start of a project: The Pacific Crest Trail. These days, it’s hardly a feat, and more and more folk are taking to long distance hiking as a sort of medicine. Sick of their jobs, sick of their friends or family, sick from a self-hate. That, at any rate, had been my case.
Setting off on that cool, misty morning, I was 23. Most recently I had come from St. Petersburg, Florida, where I spent one season as a snowbird in an attempt to help my family sell my late grandfather’s house. It had quickly turned into a mixture of a self-made heaven and hell, just another thing to escape. My days, spent working out to beat the depression, bipolarity, or whatever you want to call it that had wreaked so much havoc in my life the last six years, were monotonous and lonesome. That’s likely why, even with all the self-help of sunbathing and biking and running and reading and taking cold showers, having routines to shave, cook, and all that, I still lived alone. Isolated. And I still drank alone, and boy did I drink. Everything that I feared of myself had come to pass. I was broke, unemployed, alone, pissing away what savings I had on shit beer, Genesee and High Life, and shit bourbon, Old Grandad and Ezra Brooks. I knew what I was doing, but fate is funny like that. You can stare it down for months, years on end, and it will not budge. Kerouac, one of my heros, knew this for he lived it. Said more accurately, he died it. It was only a few blocks from the maid quarters that I was holed up in to the hospital where he finally expired. On those few days I got out of my very immediate surroundings, my yard, my block, and my park, I would be reminded of his sad end. And on the rare occasion I would go out, instead of staying in, to drink, I would go to the Flamingo Bar where they had a Kerouac special of brandy and beer for $2.50. Hey, I thought, at least I didn’t have to take out the garbage the next morning and I’m venerating a good soul. Such are the small victories of an alcoholic. As much as I tried, there was, there is, no escaping the self.
You’d think I’d have learned this basic lesson much, much earlier. After all, this was exactly how scenes of my life had already played out. Run, Garik, run. It was just like New York City before where I ran away from my Filipina girlfriend who wanted to get married in order to stay together. Or when I hiked the Appalachian Trail to avoid going on a job search. Or when I dropped out of college my junior year because I couldn’t hack it. Even earlier, I had gone to Vietnam on a study abroad trip, something usually reserved for upperclassmen, as a sophomore simply because I didn’t like college. And, right out of high school, I went almost as far away from home, in perfect little mid-Ohio exurbia, to Portland, Oregon. Every time I ran.
The frustration throughout all of these stages kept mounting, too, as I’d been told that I was smart, that I was talented, that I had potential. On the outside, I was happy, outgoing, and all that one could ask or hope for. Inside, however, I wanted to kill myself, or, simply stop existing because suicide itself seemed too much of a chore.
Years earlier, when I hiked the Appalachian Trail, I was going through an intense minimalist phase. People who want to kill themselves do this from time to time in order to visibly kill parts of their old selves in hopes of catharsis. Ok, maybe that phase hasn’t ended, but I even eschewed something that had been such a big part of me for years on end: photography. It was my conscious choice not to document anything because I wanted to always be in the moment. Besides, the Green Tunnel, as us hikers so lovingly call the AT, is not the most photogenic subject. “Oh look, another group of trees?!” Got it.
This hike, though, was different. The PCT is exposed, and I was drawn so much to that exposure because I wanted to be exposed, too, and I needed a camera along to make certain, in the most ironic way, that I was paying attention. So I had gone from being so present that I said, “Fuck this camera, this mere piece of equipment,” a few years ago to, “This piece of junk I bought for $40 at Best Buy on a whim will be a tool for my betterment.” This, dear reader, is how I think. It’s infuriating, it’s irksome, and it’s capricious, without a doubt. For better or worse, I often do things to get a reaction. That is life.
But now, as my life would have it, it was morning over Mexico, and I had assembled a righteous gang of hiking buddies to tackle the Trail. I didn’t know what to expect, so I expected nothing, and in the process got everything.
Sharing, as you know, is caring. Well, Universe, it’s about time I cared. It’s about time I shared.
This is the story of how I started, again and anew, my life. My project.
The ability to fantasize is the ability to survive, and the ability to fantasize is the ability to grow.
Ray Bradbury
Exit 1 on 670

The Day the Earth Smiled: 19 Jul 2013 
In this rare image taken on 19 July 2013, the wide-angle camera on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has captured Saturn’s rings and our planet Earth and its moon in the same frame. It is only one footprint in a mosaic of 33 footprints covering the entire Saturn ring system (including Saturn itself). At each footprint, images were taken in different spectral filters for a total of 323 images: some were taken for scientific purposes and some to produce a natural color mosaic. This is the only wide-angle footprint that has the Earth-moon system in it. The dark side of Saturn, its bright limb, the main rings, the F ring, and the G and E rings are clearly seen; the limb of Saturn and the F ring are overexposed. The “breaks” in the brightness of Saturn’s limb are due to the shadows of the rings on the globe of Saturn, preventing sunlight from shining through the atmosphere in those regions. The E and G rings have been brightened for better visibility. Earth, which is 1.44 billion km (898 million miles) away in this image, appears as a blue dot at center right; the moon can be seen as a fainter protrusion off its right side. An arrow indicates their location in the annotated version. (The two are clearly seen as separate objects in the accompanying composite image: PIA14949.) The other bright dots nearby are stars. This is only the third time ever that Earth has been imaged from the outer solar system. The acquisition of this image, along with the accompanying composite narrow- and wide-angle image of Earth and the moon and the full mosaic from which both are taken, marked the first time that inhabitants of Earth knew in advance that their planet was being imaged. That opportunity allowed people around the world to join together in social events to celebrate the occasion. This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 20 degrees below the ring plane. Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were obtained with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on 19 July 2013 at a distance of approximately 1.212 million km (753,000 miles) from Saturn, and approximately 1.445858 billion km (898.414 million miles) from Earth. Image scale on Saturn is 69 km (43 miles) per pixel; image scale on the Earth is 86,620 km (53,820 miles) per pixel. The illuminated areas of neither Earth nor the moon are resolved here. Consequently, the size of each “dot” is the same size that a point of light of comparable brightness would have in the wide-angle camera. 
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
» Instagram is depressing

“You spend so much time creating flattering, idealized images of yourself, sorting through hundreds of images for that one perfect picture, but you don’t necessarily grasp that everybody else is spending a lot of time doing the same thing.” Toma says. Then, after spending lots of time carefully curating and filtering your images, you spend even more time staring at other people’s carefully curated and filtered images that you assume they didn’t spend much time on. And the more you do that, Toma says, “the more distorted your perception is that their lives are happier and more meaningful than yours.” Again, this happens all the time on Facebook, but because Instagram is image-based, it creates a purer reality-distortion field.

The more I do
Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source, there is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there.

— Henry Miller
Comment book

It’s hard when you’re so contrarian that you go against yourself.

Four of the millions
Dress rehearsal