I met an old guy named Wallace today. I'd guess he's about 65, so not too old. But still. He smelled of alcohol and had an ear deformed from something traumatic. He wore one of those little latin-dude mustaches. I'd guess he was Cuban or something, though he didn't have an accent and his name was Wallace, so maybe he's white. Again, I didn't ask, and it's not really important.

I was taking pictures of The Crack Hotel, a derelict hotel with shared bathrooms, once inhabited by John Wayne Bobbitt himself. No shit. Also, Coletrane lived there. It was pretty much a total anything goes crackhouse up until just a couple year's ago. My studio is next door. More on that place later, as it's entering a new phase of it's existence - Renovation. Ugh.

Anyway, this guy Wallace, he favored the idea of renovation and took issue with my capturing it at its worst. The gist of it was: "Nobody wants to buy pictures of ugly shit. Take beautiful pictures of beautiful things and people will buy them from me. Do whatever I can to make as much money as I can so I can send my kids to college and live a good life." He's obviously speaking from experience and suffering in the purgatory of The Arts District that many washouts from society have washed up.

He's here by cincumstance. I'm here at great expense and of my own volition. He's out of society, I'm trying to shape it.

I explain some of the finer points of photography, such as capturing the exact moment of something. This building will be making a metamorphoses, I tell him. It will only be exactly in its current state for a moment longer. None of this matters to him. Money, he tells me. That matters.

So, I ask him if he's happy. "Hell NO! I'm not happy! I pissed all my money away. I earned and lost fortunes!." I ask him what he'd do with the money if he had it. "A Motorhome. A Boat! The good life."

Which tells me that he's never bothered to read Rich Dad, Poor Dad. A person who cannot identify doodads from investments is a poor financial decision maker. And he goes on to give me advice about saving money, buying stocks and so forth. So, at least he's giving good advice, and I think his point is that life will eventually begin to draw into decline for me, and whenever it happens, it's sooner than later. So, make sure I'm not just out jerking off during the few (no matter how many of them there are) remaining productive years. 

That's one of the things I really appreciate about this neighborhood: the wisdom. A retirement home for the graduates of the hard knocks school of life.

Apple AirPlay

Music is a tricky thing for me. Sometimes, the sound just annoys me. Other times, it gets in the way of receiving phone calls. Not so noticeable now, but playing music on the computer always annoyed me due to the extra strain on the processor when I'm trying to get work done.

So, when the iPhone came out and I could offload music playing onto it, I began keeping it plugged into the speakers on my desk. It's nice, because when a call comes in, the speakers ring and the music mutes. The downside is trying to talk on a phone that is plugged into speakers.

Then Apple released AirPlay, a wi-fi solution offering wireless streaming to Airport Express and Apple TV. Since then, it's been hacked to allow streaming through Boxee, desktop computers and jailbroken iOS devices. The iPad 2 and iPhone 4S can even stream HDMI over it, meaning you can play games on the iPad while your friends get to watch on the TV.

Currently, my iPhone 4 is plugged into a charger on my desk, and the music is blasting on the living room system. I prefer to have music a room away from me, as it allows for the loudness to drive the subwoofers correctly. The separation ruins most of what I find distracting about music while working (phase shifting and stereo effects, aggressive high pitched sounds and so forth)

I've been building my system using refurbed $60 Airport Expresses from CowBoom.com and whatever 2.1 speaker system I have lying around. Fortunately, I've picked up a bunch of good ones over the years and can easily add music to every room in the house, while further expanding and enhancing my wireless network. I've also put some old stereo amplifiers back into service with this. I expect the feature to make its way into more products this year. It's far more robust than Bluetooth audio, as it transmits everything through 802.11n. This is especially awesome for people who have speakers built into their back yards, as you won't lose the music when roaming around the house.

Joplin, mo

I'm in Joplin, visiting my mom. Usually, I come in May. Last May, I didn't come. Then, there was a giant cluster tornado that came through town and area bunch of houses, 18,000 cars, the hospital, the elementary, middle and high schools, churches, home depot, walmart and so forth. Now that it's august, a lot of cleanup work has been done. Some stores are rebuilt or rebuilding. The United Arab Emirates have purchased new laptops for the high school students ( who, by the way, will be attending high school at the local shopping mall this year). Some people think this means they're selling their souls to Allah.

It's the closest thing to a war zone as I've ever been in. Communities totally ripped apart. Over 150 people killed. Life is on pause for many of the survivors. Interstitial. Like if you looked at your palm and read your lifeline, this would be the point at which there is an fork. For sure. I met some kids. They took me to their ruined school. They weren't happy about it being destroyed. At all. Which makes me wonder what the hell school is like out here. The girl pointed to the huge iron cross still standing in the cemetery and said Jesus saved it from the tornado. Jesus seems kind of selfish.

There's a Taco Bell. I ate there last year. Wrecked, but still standing.

I've been coming to this town for years, exploring the decay of individual buildings and ruins. Now, the whole town is a ruined place. I'm trying to set up a photoshoot with a model. My friend @clovenlife, who introduced me to Picher, OK (look for wired's story on google). He'd always kind of been into decay. Now, his whole town is wrecked and it seems like he's done with that. After the tornado, he spent 3 days shooting everything he could and putting it on Flickr. I cant quite relate to his state of mind in a direct way. While I've lost most of the places I remember going to as a child, due to redevelopment, I've never had such a huge swath of familiarity reduced to bare dirt so abruptly.

Scrappers roll around in their busted cars, hauling away whatever recyclables they can get. Destroyed cars litter the sidewalks. Bits of personal electronics stick out of the dirt. I saw a tree with concrete curbs sitting in it.

Some new houses are going up. Overall, newer structures fared better than older ones. Brick and stone being the exception. Guess the third pig was right.

My mom's church was destroyed. She worked in the library there. She went out and salvaged the computers, microfilm and readers. She is now housing all this stuff at her basement and making it available to her church friends every Tuesday. I'm always nervous around church folk. Now I'm sleeping in their library.

My mom says she heard of a garden hose being impaled through a tree. I'd like to see that, if I can find it.

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/curtisjoewalker/sets/72157627412390374/with/6033470471/

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

ARS Air Conditioning Service Sucks

If you know me, you know I hate spam and liars. So, let me introduce you to my old friend ARS A/C Service.

Yesterday, I got a coupon in the mail for a $39 AC service. That's cheap. It also comes with a guarantee. Nice.

Until you read the fine print, where it says that if your AC breaks down in August you get a full refund on their service. All $39. And a broken $10,000 air conditioner that, guess what, ARS can repair or replace for you. Wow! Sign me up!

The coupon expires 8/15. Their guarantee expires 8/31. That's 2 weeks of guarantee. Big whoop.

I've asked them to stop sending me their ads. Super annoying company that doesn't listen to customers and likes to use deceptive advertising to find new ones. Avoid them, they are probably big time rip off scam artists. Otherwise, why would they act like slime?

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

How to make free phone calls with your ipad.

This will work on your iPod touch, iPhone and iPad. You will be able to make/receive free phone calls over WiFi or 3G. Call quality is decent. It's generally at least as good as AT&T, but sometimes worse depending on your internet connection.

Step One:
Get a Google Voice account. It's free. If you haven't gotten one yet, here's the big shiny reason you've been waiting for. http://voice.google.com. I'll see you in a couple hours after you pick your idea phone number. (mine's 50-88-CJW)

Step Two:
Download and install TALKATONE from the app store. It's free. You don't need the $2 a month add on subscription either. The only setting I've changed is to set the compression to none, forcing the connection to go directly through Google servers. This seems to be smart, in my trials thus far. I'm not sure compressing and redirecting data is a great idea.

That's it. Now, you have an extra phone. For free.

Why would you want to do this?
1. You can use your iPad as a speaker phone for when you have to call a public utility.
2. Google Voice has call recording. Just press 4 at any time to start it. I haven't used this much, but it will make a debt collector hang up immediately, so it's worthwhile for that alone.
3. You can give your google voice number to anyone you want. Call blocking is built in, so if someone becomes a real prick, you can just cut them off. Also, you can set calls to go straight to Voicemail if it's a stranger or after hours.
4. When you go on vacation (even internationally) you can still make/get free phone calls. As long as you've got internet, it should work.

I use my Google Voice number for everything. This frees me to keep my cell number as private as I want to.

It's possible to have multiple GV numbers set up with Talkatone, but it's going to cost you $2 a month or $20 a year for their subscription.

Father's Day

I have a friend who is a reviewer. Last weekend, she was reviewing a mountain lodge up the street from me (no, really, I can get a dose of 8000' weather and air any time I want with a 30 minute drive up the hill. It's like Telluride in my back yard. I almost never take advantage of this resource though, because it's usually a parking disaster and too many people.

But, it was Father's Day and my friend invited me for a hike. I've only been on a couple of hikes in my life. It's a good way to get to know someone and clear my head. You all probably already figured that out for yourselves, but I'm kinda new here. On Earth, I mean. Adrienne hangs out with my sister on the weekend, so I was able to ride my motorcycle up there. It's a nice ride that only gets chilly at the very end. It's about a 6000' climb, but the road mostly goes straight up. No gut wrenching switchbacks or anything.

So, we set out to do the Cathedral Rock hike. It's a nice one. Nicer than Mary Jane Falls, IMO. I think the waterfall is nicer too. We packed a lunch and had a picnic. Really nice time. I did, of course, get sunburnt, because I really enjoy the feeling of a sunburn. It means Summer to me.

Also, wearing a motorcycle helmet  always ruins my neck, so in addition to the sunburn, I've got neck strain. It's almost like I go out of my way to be miserable sometimes.

IMG_6090 IMG_6131IMG_6130IMG_6135IMG_6134IMG_6137IMG_6126IMG_6121IMG_6116IMG_6091IMG_6094IMG_6097IMG_6099IMG_6105IMG_6107IMG_6110IMG_6111IMG_6113

Netflix suggestions

I got Adrienne Netflix for her birthday. We've been watching it non-stop ever since. The most challenging aspect of on-demand media delivery is content discovery. Netflix has a LOT of content, but it isn't the most carefully curated collection. Fortunately, their instant download collection expands every week. I don't use them for DVD's at all.

In the past few weeks, I've managed to stumble upon a lot of great stuff. Here's my suggestions for your instant queue:
1. Santa Sangre - I'll be honest, I fell asleep halfway through. That was my own fault. The movie is great. It's set in a circus, and there's a coked-up-down-syndrome party.

2. Dead Alive - The Peter Jackson gorefest nobody I  know seems to have seen. I never bothered with it until last week. Pretty amazing. Almost arduous, due to the endless gore, but enjoyable nonetheless. Hilarious as well.

3. Paper Moon - Depression era huckster single father? Or hipster archetype?

4. Some People Call It A Sling Blade - The 30-minute short that turned into Sling Blade.

You can follow more of my media recommendations at http://getglue.com/curtisjoewalker

Get glue is a way of rating, reviewing and sharing books, movies, tv, etc. Not "sharing" in the Napster way, by the way. The cool thing about their service is that once you collect enough stickers, they actually mail them to you. You get stickers for ranking up a certain amount of ratings or when checking into sponsored media. It takes the conversation off Twitter and Facebook too. That's good, because talking about TV is pretty annoying to everyone else on your feed.

The Mammoth Book of New Erotic Photography

A few months ago, I was contacted by Maxim Jakubowski about being featured in his new book, along with 90 other photographers. I sent 20 or so images for consideration which got edited down to the 7 you see here. In the last few months, things have been moving very fast for me. The bio I wrote has already become inaccurate as DeviantNation.com is no longer. I’m working with DangerousDoll.com now, if anyone’s paying attention. It’s much raunchier, for better or worse. And the portrait of me is dominated by a mustasche I no longer have. :)

The book was published on Nov 2, 2010 in the UK and will see its US release soon.

My models are:
Miss Emily Claire
Fedora El Morro

Self Portrait

Self Portrait, originally uploaded by Curtis Joe Walker.

Image: DSC_3371

Intent: I was hanging out on a warm summer night, enjoying the amazingness of the Las Vegas weather when I decided to play around with some photography. I went through a few ideas before landing on this one. It's a statement about the ephemeral nature of most of my neighbors. How they come and go, without even leaving so much as a ghost behind. I've lived in my house since 1996. The house next to me, exactly the same age, has been a rental for its entire life. I've had at least 10 different sets of people living there, most of whom I've never bothered meeting. The current folks are great, and since they've passed the first lease renewal, I've gotten to know them.

The thing about Vegas is that it's a transient place. People come and go without even leaving a trace. Now that I'm getting my feet under me as a photographer, father, entrepreneur and citizen, I feel like I'm beginning to become a part of the fabric of this place. This self portrait is a representation of how I feel about my progress and my permanence.

One day, I hope I'm more than a ghost.

Twitter Update!

  • 10:56 @kattkahr Optima batteries are even more, but totally worth it, IMO. #
  • 10:57 @AlyxMurder out of Twitterific, Echofon, Tweetdeck and Twitter/Tweetie, I prefer the latter. #
  • 11:29 ANTZ is such a bad movie. I'm pretty sure there's no reason I'd ever want a middle aged Jew talking about his sexual fantasies in a cartoon. #
  • 11:47 @TheeSylvia awesome! #
  • 11:49 “@richburroughs: I made a blog to poke fun at other people's lack of effort. I haven't updated it in like 6 months.” #
  • 12:47 Scrabble would be more fun if it required an enigma machine to play it. #
  • 12:48 John Wayne Toilet Paper: It's rough, it's tough, and it don't take no shit. #
  • 12:54 Just got offered a part in a movie. Been a while. I haven't been on set in over a year. #
  • 13:11 It is possible to be spiritual and committed without being religious or monogamous. #
  • 13:38 @richburroughs only through machinery can perfection be achieved. Creativity is not something that can be mass produced though. #
  • 14:01 @TMEPOL how much? #
  • 14:13 @TMEPOL Ok. That's fine. I'd pay $25. Gotta build a donation into it. #
  • 14:14 @iheartangelbeau did you get a DN hoodie? #
  • 14:33 "The primacy of America's most popular threesome, two dudes and an Xbox, is safe." gizmodo.com/5586987/ #
  • 14:41 RT @LauraKMM: Another fire down town #Vegas tweetphoto.com/32686980 #
  • 15:24 @iheartangelbeau All the cool people have one. That would include me and Marcos. ;) #
  • 15:43 Let's say Mel Gibson is a huge racist. Who the fuck cares? Why all of a sudden? He's only relevant in a negative light? #
  • 15:47 In America, you're only noteworthy if you're an idiot or an asshole. That is the message we're sending. #
  • 15:50 @ericfdouglasIs that quote by Bruce Lee? #
  • 15:51 @creamymeat Personally, what I do is choose to ignore hype, celebrities and "news" that affects humanity in no way. #
  • 15:52 This isn't me -> RT @curtis4governor: will be at a candidate forum Monday 7pm-830pm at Las Vegas Rainbow Library #
  • 16:02 @BeautifulAgony_ Unfortunately, success in polititcs is mostly based on the ability for a fallable human to avoid public humiliation. #
  • 16:38 My friend Mayhem is getting married tomorrow. Congrats to her and Bear! And now, her boobs: bit.ly/bs9BTP (#NSFW) #
  • 17:36 @MResort I'd never pay $10 to hit a casino pool. $10 means more to me than to you. I like having a legal option for locals to swim tho #
  • 18:25 I wonder if any custody cases have cited "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." #
  • 18:29 Is any gulf oil being turned into gasoline? I'd pay an extra dollar a gallon for it. #
  • 00:53 I was almost mugged. Chicago gets really dicey in the projects for white people in glasses out for a walk in the middle of the night. #
  • 01:48 I have solved my bitch problem. 99 to go! #
  • 04:31 Summer all nighters are good. Especially when they aren't in Emergency rooms for getting mugged. Thankful for my reality check. #
  • 05:00 Jim Gibbons never raped anyone. Because he threw money on them afterwards. #
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