I’m still thinking about photos. Specifically, the story behind photos. The ease of taking, sharing and storing photos has created a tsunami of digital photos. The moment (and the photo that captures it) passes through our hands so quickly, there’s no time to consider the story behind the photo (if there is one). Besides, I know who’s in the photo and where it was taken and I’ll be around forever so why bother with descriptions and such. And there’s something to that. I have dozens of photos of the beach near our place in Destin, FL. There might be a story but there might not. Sometimes the photo IS the story.
Our relationship with photos was very different when cameras used film. Days (weeks?) might pass between the time you took the photo and and when you held the print in your hands. It took some commitment to sit down with a stack of photos and make notes on the back about the people, the place, the event. Perhaps it comes down to who the photo is for. If it’s just for me, well, I know all that and when I’m gone, who cares. If you think of the photo as having a life longer than yours, the back story is priceless.
The photo of my mother and father kissing on a park bench (on their honeymoon) is a good example. What if my mom had written a few lines (on the back) describing where they were and what they had been doing?
I’m not going to write descriptions for the 1,900 photos in my collection. At least not all of them. But I have hit on a way to connect to the story behind the photos. My blog. I’ve been blogging for fifteen years and and have written (and tagged) 30 posts about Destin. I’ve added a link to those posts to the descriptions of the photos in my collection. I have a couple of hundred photos of KBOA and I’ll add http://www.kboa830.com to the description field of those photos. And so on. (If you’re a half-empty type, you’re thinking, “Yeah, but your blog will be gone when you die.” I’m working on that.)
This is all well and good if you’re retired with lots of time to manage your photos. True. But I think the case can be made that a photo that’s not worthy of a brief description might not be worth keeping. And a lot of them aren’t, in my opinion. Folks are fire-hosing photos to the cloud with little or no thought. Google Photos is an attempt to address this.
I have some bad habits and a couple of good ones. Perhaps my best habit is daily mindfulness meditation. I sit on a cushion for 30 minutes (sometimes as long as an hour) and concentrate on my breathing. That’s it. That’s my meditation practice. It’s the best half hour of my day.
And I haven’t missed a day for the last 271 days, tying previous record. My longest streak is 371 days. I’ve been practicing meditation for years but didn’t start keeping track of my sessions until November, 2014, when I started using an app called Equanimity. It times my session and keeps a simple log.
That first streak (371 days) was broken due to a bout with pneumonia. I started over and made it 271 days before I missed while out of town at my 50th high school reunion. So now I’ve set my sights on 371. If I can make it to September without missing a day, I’ve not a new streak. And I will have only missed two days in the last 1,000.
I can’t control the quality of my meditation sessions but I do have control over whether or not I sit every day. Which is important to me.
Things have been moving quickly on the Land Rover front. As impressed as I was with the folks at Arkonik, I decided I couldn’t wait 13 months. And the Universe seems to be cooperating with me at every turn. A friend put me in touch a “concierge buyer.” He’s an expert when it comes to vintage vehicles in general and Land Rovers in particular. Let’s call him Mr. Wolf.
“I intentionally keep as small a footprint as possible. I have zero social media, I keep my face off of the internet, etc… I’m one of “those guys” I guess, ha! I don’t mind if you mention me by name, or put up pictures of my vehicles or whatever, but no links to me, please. However, if someone asks (and they don’t seem like a complete toolshed) I would be happy to help other folks.”
“All of my car work comes from word of mouth, friends recommending friends, which works beautifully because it tends to weed out the jerks, and keeps it fun for everyone involved. At the end of the day, I don’t do the car stuff as a real business, I do it because I get to play with all kinds of interesting cars, and I get a huge hobby shop to play in. I am completely, hopelessly in love with vehicles of all sorts. I love researching, repairing, and modifying cars, but mostly I want to use them the way they were intended to be used. If it has four wheel drive, I will find new trails to explore. If it is a sports car, I will get it sideways every chance I get, take it on road trips, and then take it to the race track and wring its neck.”
“Somehow I find a way to incorporate cars or motorcycles into everything I do. Rent a Nissan March to explore the twisty roads outside Tokyo? Yes! Buy shitty Russian motorcycles and ride them through Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia? What could go wrong? Drive a notoriously unreliable Range Rover Classic through Baja with no backup plan? You know it. Heck, nobody died the first time, let’s do it twice! Drive a leaky Alfa Romeo 1,000 miles in the middle of winter to look for fun roads through the redwoods? I think you get the idea…”
“Really what I want is to be an enabler. Put people in the vehicle they have always dreamed of, but never bought, because where do you get the fuel injection tuned on a Morgan Plus 8, anyway?”
I’ll share some of his work in future posts. Before this is all said and done, I plan to jet out to The Coast and meet Mr. Wolf. He promised to take me off-roading.
“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for – in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.”
UPDATE: (May 17, 2017) After two weeks of struggling to get email and phone calls returned, I’ve decided to look elsewhere for my Land Rover D90. The folks at Cool & Vintage are talented marketers and they’re probably pretty good at restoring Land Rovers, but I found their communication skills wanting.
Regardless of how it ends, I’ll probably mark today as the beginning of my Land Rover D90 adventure. It really started last week when spotted a nifty looking vehicle on one of the websites I frequent. They had linked to www.CoolVintage.com’s photo spread of a restored vintage Land Rover (D90). I’ve always liked the looks of these but never gave a thought to owning one but that day I filled out the webform (“Will I have to rob a liquor store to purchase one of these?”)I promptly received an email from Francisca, the Product Manager at Cool Vintage.com.
Turns out the Land Rover with the hot model is not available for export to US but they were restoring a few D90’s that would be ready in September. I fell in love with the 1993 D90 in Nardo Grey with Rugged Interior Trim. I finally got the company founder, Ricardo, on the phone today and while “my” car is still being restored, he promised to send me some photos next week. (This is where you take a few minutes to limber up your eyeballs because you’re gonna want to roll ‘em in a few seconds.)
According to Francisca, I send them 60% of the money up front and the remainder when the car arrives. If this goes down it will probably be my largest online purchase for a while. I’ve already answered a few questions from friends: Can’t you get one of these in the US? Can’t you get one cheaper? Are you out of your fucking mind? Have you thought this through?
No to that last question. Total impulse buy. I fell in love with the look of this car and the idea of some some guys/girls in a garage in Lisbon, Portugal, restoring a vintage Land Rover from the ground up. (“Everything either restored or new down to the last bolt. Probably better than new.” Says Francisca.)
I’ll chronicle this adventure here if you want to following along. Photos next week. And I’ll try to find out a bit more about Francisca and Ricard and CoolVintage.com
UPDATE: I’ve never tried so hard to send a bunch of money to strangers in a foreign country. It is not certain I will be able to purchase one of these. A very “tough ticket.”