Posts in Etc
The Itinerary: Ektachrome, England & Kintsugi

The World Cup just started (find out how to watch it here) and Nick Hornby’s new article for ESPNFC, "The unbearable hope -- and inevitable pain -- of supporting England at a World Cup”, might be the most blatantly beautiful look at the hope and disappointment of supporting a national soccer team, especially England. 

Leave it to Popular Science to give us a revealing look into the Rochester, New York factory where Kodak is bringing its Ektachrome slide film back to market later this year. I’ve currently got a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 loaded in my Canon A-1 and can’t wait to see the new Extachrome when it’s released. 

It’s sweltering here in Houston right now so to keep myself sane I watch this haunting drone video of Northern Norway from filmmaker Sergey Lukankin. It looks cold. And sparse. And amazing.

It’s not a new TED talk, but Rutger Bregman’s “Poverty isn’t a lack of character, it’s a lack of cash” has been flooring me lately. 

Ever wonder what happens to all the coins thrown in Rome’s Trevi Fountain

The art of kintsugi has fascinated me for a while now, and this modern kit brings the classic artform up to date.

Speaking of kintsugi, Death Cab for Cutie just released the first track from their follow-up to 2015's Kintsugi. Watch "Gold Rush" below.

How To Watch The 2018 FIFA World Cup In The U.S.

It's that time again! The FIFA World Cup begins today with a 10 a.m. CT kickoff from the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow where host country Russia takes on Saudi Arabia. The best games of the first few days will definitely be Portugal v. Spain on Friday, June 15 and Germany v. Mexico on Sunday, June 17.

Unlike the World Cup in Brazil a few years ago, the start time for the group stage games are a bit harder to accommodate here in America due to the time difference, so here's a handy chart on how to watch, listen or stream all the World Cup games in the US. 

Time 

All times in Central Time Zone

For the first two matchdays of the Group Stage, most days will see three games take place at either 7 a.m., 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. CT., with the exception being today's opening match and  Saturday, June 16 when four games will be played at 5 a.m., 8 a.m., 11 a.m., and 2 p.m. Once the third matchday hits on Monday, June 25, the format switches to four games a day, two at 9 a.m. and two at 1 p.m. This is done so that every team in a group plays at the same time for their final group match.

The first Knockout Stage starts Saturday, June 30 and will see two games played each day at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. until the July 4-5 break. The Quarterfinals will be July 6-7 with games at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Semifinals will follow on July 10-11 with a single game per day at 1 p.m.

The FIFA World Cup Final will be played Sunday, July 15 at 10 a.m. with a third-place match taking place the day before, Saturday, June 14 at 9 a.m.

Watch

Fox is the official carrier for the World Cup in the US so all games will be shown in English on Fox and Fox Sports 1. You can also catch the games in Spanish on Telemundo and NBC Universo. Check your local carrier and listings for channel numbers and availability.

Stream

I'll be streaming the games through YouTube TV but you can also stream them on Hulu Live TV, Sling TV, Fubo, Playstation VUE and more. 

If you have a cable subscription, you can stream all the games at FoxSports.com and TelemundoDeportes.com. A login is required for both sites.

Mobile

For watching on the go, check out Fox Sports or Fox Soccer Match Pass app. They both require either a cable login or subscription.

Watch Together

One of my favorite things about the World Cup is that it's an easy way to celebrate our individual culture and heritage. Use this time to get to know the people around you and celebrate not just soccer, but the rich heritage we have from all around the world. Living in Houston, I can walk into any pub on a matchday and see people wearing jerseys and t-shirts from teams all over the world. Take the time to get to know them. That's the brilliance of the World Cup.

I'll be cheering for England and Belgium this year (a bit awkward since they were drawn in the same group) but if you don't yet have a team that you follow, try this handy World Cup Quiz from FiveThirtyEight to find out who you should cheer for. 

Let us know who you'll be rooting for in the comments below!!

The Revenge of Analog

I recently finished reading David Sax's fascinating book The Revenge of Analog and it really got me thinking about the way that I consume. Over the past few years I've come to doubt my constant push into digital culture. I've proudly been an early adopter on many occasions without asking myself, "does this actually make my life better?"

As an almost exclusively digital photographer, sometimes I feel like I skipped a step in the process. Sure I had old film cameras when I was a kid but I never learned anything beyond point and shoot. There's an art in composing an image without knowing what it will look like until the developing process. It forces you to really know the concepts of exposure, film speed, focus and depth of field. Many digital cameras do the work for you. It's certainly helpful, but is it robbing you of the experience, the wonder of not knowing? 

My friend Danny reintroduced me to film photography as we walked the streets of Seattle a few years ago. His Leica was definitely a lavish way to dip my toes into the art form. I was honestly petrified as I looked through the viewfinder because each time I hit that button, I was committed to whatever image I had captured. It was exhilarating. 

A DigiLog Future

Today I carry around a Fujifilm X-T20 with a simple 27mm pancake lens. It's digital but it looks like an old film camera and you can turn off the back screen forcing you to look through the viewfinder and not look at images right after they've been taken. It's a semi-compromise in a ever quickening digital world. The functionality of digital exposures coupled with the slow method of not looking at every picture immediately after it's taken. I have also put every setting to fully manual, forcing me to rely on my eyes and hands to focus, set shutter speed, aperture and ISO. 

There's a satisfaction that comes with analog technology that you don't always get with digital. Take listening to a vinyl record. This past Christmas, my lovely wife bought me my first turntable and included was a copy of Glen Hansard's Didn't He RambleAs I sat and basked in the songs, I realized something. I hadn't listened to one of my favorite albums all the way through, probably since the day it was released. Amazing songs like "Paying My Way" and "Stay The Road" were routinely skipped over in iTunes playlists. The act of listening to the record on vinyl made me slow down and appreciate the complete album as art. 

Does that mean I'm giving up on my iTunes and AppleMusic playlists? Off course not, but maybe I need to work on trying to bridge the digital and analog divide. Why not make album playlists and listen to the content as the artist originally intended. 

There's nothing wrong with digital technology as long as it actually brings value to your life and doesn't serve as a distraction from the world around you. In this fast paced world we live in, slowing down a little bit is probably a good thing. Take the time to appreciate the things in your life that take time, effort and craft. You never know what might actually spark a new interest. 

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How To Regain Your Sense of Wonder

I remember watching documentaries as a child about mountain climbers and adventurers. Every scene made me want to strap on a backpack and go explore some unknown part of the earth. As adults, I feel we've lost that ability to look at the world through fresh eyes. Blame it on technology, Google Earth or simply access to travel. Whatever it is, wonder seems to have escaped us. That's why most people are envious of long-term travelers or people who live outside the normal parameters of what we consider life. But isn't that exactly what those mountain climbers in the documentaries did? The stars laid out before me one night as I sprawled out on a dock on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. I was sitting next to my friend Josh and my cousin Julie and never before had I seen so many celestial beings in nature. We were far from major towns so light pollution was low and the stars seemed to dance off one another. In my gut I could feel the pull of the heavens, yearning to reach out and swipe my hand through the cosmic dust. It was a once in a lifetime view, uninterrupted by storms or clouds.

The Wonder Next Door

Nowadays, that sense of wonder is getting harder and harder to come by. If you're like me, travel seems hard on a normal 9-5 work schedule. But the truth is, you don't need to travel far to experience wonder. Any place can be filled with wonder if you only learn to see it with new eyes. My wife and I are consciously working towards finding the wonder in the city we've lived in for years. It's easy to take for granted the things we see on a day-to-day basis. I find that bringing my camera along to take pictures helps me focus on what is beautiful and awe-inspiring in the day-to-day.

So as you go about your life, find wonder in everything. Train your eyes to look for the beautiful, the broken, the weird. You'll find that there's more of it around you than you think.

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EtcKevin ThompsonComment
Cincinnati's Mercantile Library

Libraries were a place of adventure for me as a child. I spent countless hours rummaging through books, living out fantasies in pages and inserting myself into history. I got that same sense of wonder and awe when I stepped into The Mercantile Library in downtown Cincinnati. Founded in 1835 as the Young Men's Mercantile Library Association, the library currently resides on the 11th and 12th floors at 414 Walnut Street, where its been since 1908.  

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I was fortunate to have a tour of the Mercantile Library with author and Religion News Service blogger Jana Riess which included some of the history of the building itself and look at some of the old and oversized books with the library's Executive Director, John Faherty. He described the Mercantile as a "working library" and not a museum.

Amy B. Hunter, Literary Programs and Marketing Manager for the Mercantile Library, brought out some of the oldest books in the library's collection for us to look at. There's something otherworldly about scanning pages bound in 1614 on subjects like Egyptian Hieroglyphics, you can almost feel the knowledge pouring off the paper. I've always believed in the power of reading and transformation. It was this method that took me to London and Paris years before I would ever step on an airplane.

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A Lease Like No Other

Throughout its history, the Mercantile Library has hosted Herman Mellville, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ralph Waldo Emerson and many other great wordsmiths. The lease for the library at its current location was signed for a 10,000-year occupancy, cost $10,000 and was written by Alphonso Taft, the father of President William Howard Taft.

Just the look and feel of the small library was magical. The rich wood and dark metal cut a stark contrast to the bright book covers and white busts. Riess talked about how some people come and eat lunch and read the newspaper in the library, and I can see why. The deep brown leather in the couches mixes with the wood flooring and sparse decoration to create an inviting atmosphere for study, deep thinking or simple enjoyment.

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In a 2014 article written by Faherty when he worked for the Cincinnati Enquirer, he mused on whether the Mercantile Library was the "city's prettiest place?"

The floors are wood, the windows are gigantic and the air is filled with the unmistakable smell of old books. There are glass floors in the stacks to let light filter through because the library was built before the invention of the light bulb. -John Faherty.

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If you find yourself in Cincinnati, make sure to stop by the Mercantile Library, a haven of knowledge, beauty and wonder in the heart of the Queen City.

Thanks to Jana Riess for showing us this magical place. Be sure to check out her books The Twible and Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray and Still Loving My NeighborYou can find Riess' blog for Religion News Service here.