Sunday, April 27, 2014

SOTC 94/365

Umbrella Blue

Umbrella Blue, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

Morning Reflection (SOTC 93/365)

Morning Reflection
I spent the week in St. Petersburg, Florida, for a work-related conference. I must say, the half hour walk along the harbour was a nice change of pace from the typical half hour drive on Yellowhead Trail.

SOTC 92/365

Daisy Garden I

Daisy Garden I, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

SOTC 91/365

Azalea Among Friends

Azalea Among Friends, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The iPhone's Story

When my mobile phone contract was up for renewal back in 2012, the phone itself was pretty much expired as well, so I decided to upgrade my little flip phone to a smartphone. As the iPhone 5 had just been released, I was able to get an iPhone 4 for free with a three-year contract.

In this convenience-driven, everything-is-disposable society, I find myself part of the ever-shrinking minority of people who still use items until they are worn out or broken beyond repair, rather than just throwing them away at the first chance to 'upgrade.' At the time of acquiring my iPhone, its predecessor was being held together in spots with scotch tape.

My iPhone still has a year left on its contract before I can upgrade to something newer without penalty. In the last two years, my iPhone's screen cover and protective plastic housing have proven their worth several times over. I am fairly diligent about taking good care of my electronics--phone included. Still, that doesn't mean my phone hasn't seen its share of bumps and bruises. Really, given the appearance of many of my friends' and colleagues phones, it is a wonder that all the buttons still work properly and that my screen isn't cracked. The protective plastic case has taken on some scratches around the edges as it has sacrificed itself to protect the phone. The corners of the fabric back side have frayed. The screen protector no longer seals around its edges lining the speaker and home button. And on a recent trip to the States for work, the screen protector managed to acquire hefty scratch marks from being jostled around while sharing very close quarters with a sharp object.

As I first noticed this most recent scratch, I thought to myself, looks like I'll be shopping for a new screen protector when I get home. But as the day went on, I continued to use my phone without issue, hardly even noticing that the scratched section was there, except when I ran my finger over the newly abrasive spot. A decent screen cover runs about $20. With only a year left before I upgrade, if the functionality of the phone has not been compromised, I started to wonder, is a new screen protector really necessary?

And cost aside, this war wound tells a story. When someone sees it and asks what happened to my phone, I can tell them that I was walking along the white-sand shores of the Gulf of Mexico with a couple of colleagues when we noticed a school of sting rays swimming in the waves close to the shore. I can tell them how I took out my phone--screen still scratch free--and captured a short video of their graceful movements. I can tell my listener about how we then continued to track the sting rays along the shore. How they didn't seem to be in any hurry to move back out to sea. How I decided in that moment to get my real camera, which was still in my bag under a beach chair further up the beach. I can tell them how I stuffed my phone into my shorts pocket and made the sprint of my life through the soft sand* to the bag and back. How I snapped the shutter over and over, half galloping along the beach to keep just ahead of the gliding group, while simultaneously trying to capture the lead ray's fin when it would occasionally cut through the water's surface.

I can tell them how, when I was finally, truly out of breath, I stood on the shore for just a moment longer to take in some ocean air and watch them swim and disappear under a large wave. How we returned to our beach chairs and started packing up then, cameras and phones put bag into bags, while the excitement still lingered, and infused with a new peace as the sun started making its descent over the ocean. How I rinsed my feet and legs under the on-site shower, as much to wash away the sand as to cool myself off--still hot as I was after my impromptu run. How it was only when we approached the car in the parking lot that I pulled out my phone once again, and noticed that it was now heavily scratched in one spot. How I still cannot tell you if the scratch was acquired while it was in the pocket of my shorts as I ran, or in the pocket of my bag as we made our return to the car. How I only know that it came as a result of just fully being in the place where I was; taking in the sun, the sand, the warmth, the life--and forgetting everything else in that moment, including the phone. How sometimes an experience is worth a few scratches.

Yes, each mark on my phone tells a story--grand or otherwise. And while there would still be a story if I replaced the screen protector... somehow, without that scratch... It just wouldn't be the same.

 *which is delightful to sink your feet into but something else entirely to try and run through.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

SOTC 90/365

Egg Carton: Study II (SOTC 90/365)

A brief study of light and shadow using egg cartons.
Spring really needs to get here soon.