Distraction-Free Reading

When and how does anyone make the time? The simple answer is deliberately. There are plenty of mind-numbing, time-wasting activities out there but who wouldn’t want to get something out of it?

One helpful tip is that “Airplane Mode” on your device works just as well
on the ground. That’ll help you with distraction-free reading.

I can say I have accomplished another one of my groundhog resolutions in finishing over 50 books this year. Next year I may limit to something much less and even more deliberate. I also want to invest in more physical books instead of digital copies.

Because another goal for next year is practicing marginalia, the art of marking up one’s book with notes in the margins. I consider it a dialogue with the author and would invest myself back into the book as opposed to reading it and moving on to the next one, learning almost nothing.

This, I think, will make for the best, distraction free and deliberate way to enjoy books.



I am decommissioning my Misadventures.me website and coming back here to ChrisDenbow.com. It was an attempt at a fresh start but then I realized I didn’t want to go that direction. The web domain expires soon and I am not renewing it. It is for sale if you want it.

The transition is smooth so far but included challenges like transferring my two domain names away from Google as well as my email hosting. Now I have to change my account settings to everyone I do business with as well as friends/family. “Hey, I moved!” Want to connect? Send me email to hello@chrisdenbow.com

It’s Not Relevant

Instagram sucks.

It used to be a great way to network with great photographers and friends. It has evolved from a creative community into an abomination of memes, unoriginal work and advertisements. When Facebook purchased Instagram everyone knew that it would change drastically and not for the better.

Shortly after, ads were popping up with no regard for anything. Nothing was relevant because Facebook hadn’t yet figured out your likes, dislikes, friends. It still hasn’t figured me out. I am seeing ads for candy, ads for salt. Yes, salt. Ads for a house flipping seminar by some faux celeb on a DIY channel. Ads for paint etc etc. What the hell does salt have to do with photography? This is a photography platform…or it used to be. IG has added video features, photo/video stories, IGTV for longer video stories. All laced with ads.

FB and IG both have shitty algorithms that is distracting what we want to see. Their shitty algorithms have also destroyed the order in which we want to see our friend’s photos by assuming they know best. But FB and IG don’t know me at all. They’ve stopped caring and allow any advertiser to show whatever they want, relevant or not and then have access to our data.

How pervasive are these irrelevant advertisements? It averages one ad for every four photos in your feed. Four, maybe five of your colleague’s images and then you get a “sponsored post”.

Think these offered options matter?

Why don’t you want to see this ad?

It’s not relevant

I see it too often

It’s inappropriate

Think again.

Deleting Facebook was easy. I never took it seriously and my friends appreciated me mocking everything that they enjoyed about FB.

Speaking of deleting…I just accidentally erased my whole last paragraph and don’t have the energy to recreate it. Anyway, IG sucks and I am getting real close to pushing that “delete account” button

Lightroom Preset Sync!


– all Adobe Lightroom users

I’ve been able to synchronize my custom film effects from the desktop to my mobile iOS devices so now I can edit my images anywhere.

On my iPhone

On my iPad

This is a fantastic development that’ll come in handy when I am out and about and want to share processed images right away.


Here’s an overview about my thought processes and cycles. Steps ten and eleven is the hard part because…number twelve. Repeat the cycle again and again.

Get an idea

1. See, hear, smell, taste, touch something interesting

2. Obsess about it

Do your research

3. Scour books at home, in the library and the bookstore.

4. Look online

5. Watch videos

6. Take a field trip for research

Record what you find

7. Take notes

8. Take photographs

9. Draw it out

Apply what you learned

10. Make something

11. Show someone. Let them know all that you’ve learned

Something else catches your eye.

12. Go back to step 1

VSCO > Instagram

Instagram sucks. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it. VSCO has a great business model. They make and sell digital products to help enhance your photography and provide a social platform to host too. VSCO desktop presets for Adobe Lightroom and VSCO mobile are great tools to create and share your work.

Compare this to Instagram’s business model: advertising. Fun fact: I have never purchased anything from an online advertisement and I will go out of my way to not buy their products for their intrusive behavior. Also, I don’t want my data sold to anyone I don’t want to business with.

VSCO is minimally designed where the focus is on photography, not how many followers you have or comments and likes. These fake forms of measuring how good your image is can be unhealthy and distracting.

The attention to photography and storytelling beats the Instagram feed of 1 ad to every 4 photos. Instagram has ceased to be relevant and ceased being fun.

VSCO is a creative tool program where it provides the tools to edit your images and share on your feed or even in a journal format. Repost others in a Collection as a mood board of inspiration. Even reach out to others with private messaging.

I’ll still use Instagram for my Shots photo group and that’s all. I want to focus on enjoying photography again and being more creative as a result.

**Update** It is finished

Create vs. Consume

I am reading and curating a lot lately for various reasons. Inspiration, mostly but also for reflection and knowledge.

What I am not doing lately is creating. I learn better by doing but haven’t been inspired yet.

This doesn’t make sense.

I’m torn. Should I “just do it” and learn as I go or do I study then practice what I’ve learned?

Parts Unknown

I enjoyed Anthony Bourdain’s travel and food shows when I could catch them but will find time to watch more now that he has passed. Dry wit, curiosity no non-sense bullshit and enjoyed life by meeting people over good food in great places around the world. Inspiring.

Also inspiring was some of his attitudes:

“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as
much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The
extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat
their food, it’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the
couch, move.”

“I’m a big believer in momentum. As an ex-abuser of drugs, I’m not a
person who should have any pleasurable interruptions. Inactivity, time
for reflection–these are not good for me. I work a lot, do a lot of
different things, but I think in some ways I’m overcompensating for the
inner, hidden knowledge that somewhere deep inside me there’s a lazy
hippie waiting to get out, that if I’m given the opportunity, I’d lay
down on the couch, turn on Adventure Time or The Simpsons, smoke a joint, and lay there for the next six months. If I go to work, I’m going to do things. I keep at them.”

“Create an esprit de corp, and a feeling that you are an elite,
that even if you have the shittiest jobs within a large organization,
you should feel proud of the fact that you’re part of something.
Recognize excellence. Celebrate weirdness, and innovation. Oddballs
should be cherished, if they can do something other people can’t do.”

“Who, after all, wants a ‘sensible’ relationship? Might it follow then
that we shouldn’t aspire to live always by sensible choices? That what
is good for us in the short term is not always the ‘best’ way? To live
always by what’s right now in front of our faces and the imperatives of
keeping things running smoothly for me and mine, good business, no
problems — that’s the kind of shopkeeper mentality that got the world
into a whole lot of shit back in the day. So, maybe, just maybe, fuck

“A few years back, I got the words, ‘I am certain of nothing’ tattooed
on my arm. It’s what makes travel what it is, an endless learning curve,
the joy of being wrong, of being confused.”

“The absolute certainty that no one was ever going to care about or buy or read Kitchen Confidential was
what allowed me to write it. I didn’t have to think about what people
expected. I didn’t care. As a result, I was able to write this book
quickly and without tormenting myself.”

6/6 GHR Check-In

Time to evaluate my progress for my Groundhog Resolutions, the 10th
annual attempt at creating life-long habits for myself. I’ve discovered
that right after the end of the year holidays I am not mentally or
physically capable of sticking with resolutions for the upcoming new
year. I need a break so I take the whole month of January off to reflect
and plan and start on 2/2 instead of 1/1.

I’ll check back in on myself on 7/7


Get another tattoo: I am dragging ass on this one. Why?

More camping: Attempted and failed to secure a spot at Lil Sahara, recently.. The park office was closed. Park ranger said we could stay no penalty but it was SPARCE. It was either sleep on sand or asphalt parking lot. No shade or water sources. Um, no. See also, a camping trip in Robbers Cave last month.

More skinny dipping: Gotta get sneaky since summer is here

Join a book club: Still no decent bookclubs around town.

50 Books a year challenge: Currently reading “I Married Adventure” by Osa Johnson of Kansas. Adventure! Photography!



Almost daily practice using the Sworkit app and DVDs. Is it supposed to hurt when I stretch?

Consistent training: Working
out with Tracy is mutually beneficial. Accountability may be the one
thing I needed to maintain this. We’ve just started out this past week
and so far so good for both of us. Will utilize digital encouragement as
well with our Fitbits.

Consistent nutritional training: Work
in progress. Bad food is too cheap and easy to acquire while healthier
options are scare and pricey. Looking at some non-meat options as well
as eating at home more. Again, accountability is key here.

Hashing: Summer is here! More runs, more beers! Got called out by THHH Mismanagement for not showing up in awhile. Will be paying for it when I’m back on trail.

Hiking: Taken
more than a few hikes this year and explored familiar and new trails.
Ancient Forest was extensive but limited access. Will go back. Also,
urban hikes along River parks, Midland valley and Turkey mountain.

Geocaching: I am 0 for 12 so far this year. Um, what? Meanwhile, Tracy has decided to sign up and has found two that I wanted.

Meditation: Will be utilizing the same space as kickboxing and yoga for this.


Complete my book: Plot and character developments Novel or short stories? Hmm…

Photo essay on a topic I am passionate about: Fail.

Video log every month: I am on Vimeo. So far just dark, grainy video of me looking tired but giddy for some reason.  

Leave inspirational notes everywhere: Send me inspiration.

Year in photos album: 2017 is just there, waiting on me. Cannot wait to see what 2018 memories I’ll have at the EOY.

Shoot more film: Buy more film. Ain’t cheap!

DAM: Constant work in progress here

I SUCK AT THIS….is it worth it?


“Five hundred years later, Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks are around
to astonish and inspire us. Fifty years from now, our own notebooks, if
we work up the initiative to start writing them, will be around to
astonish and inspire out grandchildren, unlike our tweets and Facebook
posts. “

“The more than 7,200 pages now extant probably represent
about one-quarter of what Leonardo actually wrote, but that is a higher
percentage after five hundred years than the percentage of Steve Job’s
emails and digital documents from the 1990s that he and I were able to

– Walter Isaacson

How much of our digital selves are trapped inside social media that we cannot retrieve, use or archive?
Digital note taking is fine but what happens when I am offline and need to gather my thoughts?

I have been documenting my research and thoughts in multiple and redundant formats and platforms hoping to find a system that sticks. Pen and paper so far stands the test of time. I hate the act of physical writing and my penmanship sucks but here goes.