Shouting Into the Vortex

by Mark Forman on October 11, 2017

A recent night photography sortie leads to a morality play of sorts. First-whenever I go through my old photos I'm most moved by the night shots. I don't know if they're more dreamy or more ideal or more what but simply I like them more, they're more pleasing to my eye and the psychology attached to it I guess. The challenge i have is being an early morning person I generally have lower energy in the evenings so tend to be lazy about going out at night. This night was the 3rd night of a 4 day holiday. Got some good shots. There were enough people out and about to provide the faces and actors I need to complete my one scene movies-all good. One the way back to my scooter (still the preferred way to navigate Taiwan cities) which was parked at a 7-11 (only "7" in local parlance) I noticed an ad for a caramel soft served ice cream, called frozen custard in my native Brooklyn. I was curious because I knew the Family mart chain of convenience stores sold this but didn't know that 7-11 did too.

I went in and looked for the ice cream machine and sure enough there it was to the right of the counter. I asked the clerk what sizes they had and he replied "there is only one size." This seemed a little odd to me because i noticed on the machine there were several pictures/prices of product. Anyway, he handed me a cup and requested NT$45 which is about $1.50. First thing that rubbed me was the NT$45 price because I felt $35 was about the right price but also the cup. I was expecting it to be in a cone which is what was pictured in the ad poster that caught my attention in the first place. I paid him a little reluctantly and went back and looked at the machine again. Sure enough there were 3 sizes/prices marked on the machine NT$45 being the most expensive. So I asked the young clerk why I was sold the most expensive and he replied, "we are out of the cones so that is the only one available". I countered with,"you now I feel a little bit cheated/lied to because when I a questioned the size/price issue you told me there was only one. Now clearly there are 3 which you retroactively acknowledge but 2 are not available because you are out of cones. So why should your supply shortage become my problem and more correctly why didn't you indicate that to me up front and offer me the option to buy the cup because the cone options are not currently available?" He was getting a little flustered/defensive and I said, "I'm sorry I would like a refund because I feel coerced into buying a product at a price I didn't plan to." He huffed slightly and handed me my money and I left.

In Taiwan the convenience store workers are often young people just starting out an admittedly overworked and underpaid. I'm polite and encouraging to them because I'm the father of a young person that is also overworked and underpaid. I don't feel the young clerk was dishonest or evil but probably too expedient in his word choices when I questioned him on the size/price issue. I tied to make that point with him and probably succeeded while undoubtedly pissing him off some and leaving him feeling a little indignant. So what is the greater moral here? Communication is the most important thing between people and it is also the most neglected. That is why so many misunderstandings and conflicts result because we don't make the effort to communicate clearly or try to take shortcuts due to being too busy, too indifferent or too lazy. Am I standing on my moral high ground bully pulpit here? Well I would explain it as in my Brooklyn childhood we learned that you shouldn't play people but the worst is getting plaid. I simply didn't want to be plaid by this kid and hope that he learned that it's not worth it for such a small thing with no likely reward.


Discovery Trumps Routine

by Mark Forman on October 5, 2017

I don't usually talk about the images letting them speak for themselves. In this case that is still mostly accurate other than I am mentioning how I went to this area in town because my wife wanted to see the concert hall immediately behind me (no you can't see it because like I said it's behind me). The concert hall architecture is ok but nothing to write home about. In fact I was delighted when I saw this little girl being in her moment as a child moving about enjoying life on her own terms. I commented to her parents that she is much more beautiful than the building. That seemed to make her Dad happy-and is true. I wasn't going for brownie points just my observation in the moment on the beauty of life at a simple and pure age...


Stay in Your Lane/Bust Out of Your Lane

by Mark Forman on September 28, 2017

Lately I've become more and more captivated by MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). As much as I used to enjoy boxing I got bored with it after a while. MMA is so intense and their events range between 3 five minute rounds or 5 five minute rounds for championship events. The key thing that I get out of all this for my life since I'm too old and out of shape to engage in this kind of sport is the mental toughness and conditioning it requires to discipline your body to compete and remain in the match since you are getting twisted and pummeled in some very damaging ways. This is particularly helpful to me being an entrepreneur that has to develop my own products and find customers to survive. Life is full of challenges and beat downs which can discourage you and make you feel like giving up or just existing. I believe God shows us that the only person that can beat you and get you out of the race is yourself. My wise Nana often told me, "Mark in this life you are either your own best friend or your own worst enemy-you choose!" In the iconic American pastime:baseball you are a stud if you get 1 hit out of 3 at bats. You will quite likely end up in the Hall of Fame if you meet that criteria. Art Williams of A.L. Williams fame used to say,"a big shot is just a little shot that kept on shooting." Lately have been working hard on a new product for smart phones a phone grip skin...I'm determined to keep fighting and it starts with kicking myself in the butt to motivate myself so when life kicks me it won't hurt as much. Ya feel me?


Is it All in My Head…

09.10.2017 by Mark Forman

I just got watching probably the best Joe Rogan Podcast episode I ever watched with Henry Rollins. What makes things good or the best-just personally resonating/connecting with the person, their passion/vibe, outlook/flow... The cool thing about Rollins which I've seen and heard before is how driven he is almost to the point of distraction about […]


3 Simpletons

09.08.2017 by Mark Forman

Seeing this shot reminds me that's it's been a little while since I went out for some night shooting.I think in anything of value there is always some element of struggle. The night is much easier to give in to inertia and just stay at home...however there is the allure of a shot or too […]