September 27, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut ·
What Are You Looking At?
When I leave my house, with downtown San Diego as my destination, I have two public transportation routes I can take. The best and fastest option is to jump on the orange line trolley, which takes about 40 minutes to reach downtown from my neighborhood trolley station. The second, much slower avenue is to take the #7 bus, which plods along University Ave. from La Mesa all the way to Balboa Park where it turns south on Park Ave and continues on into downtown San Diego. This route takes about an hour, and even though it is a much more interesting ride, it is much less desirable because it just takes so long.
May I Help You ?
So, every photo in this post was captured while riding along on the #7 bus, from La Mesa to downtown San Diego. The photos were taken through the window, inside the bus or in downtown, after exiting the bus. The generally confused look of the people above is probably due to me snapping their photo as the bus was driving by or stopped at a light, leaving them to wonder why the Hell I was taking their photo.
I am a very big fan of what I refer to as unposed portrait photography. People looking directly at the camera and grinning like a fiend is just about as dull and ordinary as you can get. There are subtle things that happen when someone poses for the camera that can only be photographed in unguarded conditions. I think that when the subject doesn’t know they are being photographed or isn’t posing, the photos turn out much more interesting.
There are a lot of homeless and unfortunate souls out here in sunny San Diego, and there are a lot of veterans too. San Diego is of course a Navy town; I went to boot camp here myself back in 1992, but back then I only rode the trolley to the Mexican border , so I never noticed the homeless people that try to make their way here.
Riding public transportation in several major cities in several different countries over the last 20 years, with 5 of those years being right here in San Diego, I have become desensitized to the price of gas, traffic reports, insurance premiums and the other things that go along with owning a car. These are all things I enjoy not thinking about and not spending money on. The problem is that public transportation substitutes a slew of other things into the place of automobile ownership, and uh… Those other things really suck!
Bracelet, Tattoo And Fingernails
Anyway, this post is meant to showcase the views of the people, places and things you will see while on the bus, and a few things other things you can see by utilizing the bus, or the trolley, not to rant about how time consuming, slow and generally frustrating riding public transportation can be. If you go to San Diego’s public transportation website, you may notice that they only tell you about money you MIGHT save by riding public transportation, and NEVER mention things like the time you will lose, the asshole security guards, or the constant tardiness of EVERY SINGLE trolley and bus in San Diego county.
Dancing At The Trolley
Whatever. We say that, so why shouldn’t SDMTS? They can pay dancers to work on a weekend day at trolley stations, as pictured above while slashing weekend trolley service by 40%. Awesome. Padres & Charger fans still receive preferential treatment while actual commuters get dick, which is very, very frustrating.
September 26, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut ·
The Beer Show Begins
I have inexcusably missed a show or two, presented by Technomania Circus this summer, but I did attend the BEER SHOW last night and the Technomaniacs did not disappoint. This particular show was about all things that, in one way or another, having to do with beer. It started out with a clutch of the cast walking in a zombified manner to the stage, affirming their allegiance to beer.
Dr. Techno Introduces The Musicians
One (or two) of the unsung heroes of Technomania Circus are those that provide the music for the shows, playing everything from a tubas to accordions to pianos.
Evil Lucy Plays With Fire
There were a few guests from out of town performing at this show and one of them was Evil Lucy, from New York. She is one of those irrational people that plays with and flings fire around like a yo-yo.
John and Anton are two of the mainstays at Technomania Circus. They like to balance things on their faces, juggle and heckle the crowd, more or less in that order. We all know that I am an anti-flash advocate. Flash photography is just about the worst thing in the world. This show, and Jon in particular helped to drive that point home… When some one is balancing on a ladder, 10 feet in the air while juggling bowling pins, turn your flash off! Crank up the ISO on your camera and slow your shutter down. The photo below is a great example of this. The slow shutter and lack of flash create a great sense of movement.
There was a goodly amount of audience participation for this show, and that is something that never fails to entertain. Even though I have only two series of live theater performances under my belt, I have a vast reservoir of public speaking and debating to draw from, so performing, as a volunteer or not is something I personally find easy to do. That being said, it is very comical to watch people being dragged up on stage that would rather remain as members of the audience. The joy of Technomania Circus is that audience participation transcends phobias like this, and brings everyone up (or down) to a level that consists of laughter, happiness, joy and comedy.
All Hail The Beer!
Cows Filming A Commercial
We all remember that late 1990′s and a series of Budweiser commercials with three frogs, each responsible for a syllable of the word, Bud-wise-er. For the photo above, a big shot Hollywood director tried to re-create this commercial with cows, but all cows can say is, “Moo.” Or so we thought.
So, ultimately and for the umpteenth time in a row, Technomania Circus entertained, amazed and perhaps even enlightened me… Great show guys, the world of beer drinking will never be the same!
Technomania Circus Presents The Beer Show
September 26, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut ·
Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater
I was lucky enough to stumble upon a portion of “Trolley Dances 2010″ at the American Plaza trolley station in downtown San Diego yesterday. It’s one of those spontaneous type of events where 50 local dancers are stationed at random trolley stations and perform the art of dance, incorporating the terrain and shape of the trolley stations into the performance. This is the 12th year Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater has put this together for the public transportation riders of San Diego.
September 23, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut ·
My Technorati Authority Skyrockets
One of the most difficult things I ignore, as a blogger, is where my blog ranks on any number of lists and meters. Even though I fill my blog with content and photos I personally produce & edit for free does not mean I do it all for nothing. I am one of those that is aware of things like Google PageRank, Alexa Rank and Technorati Authority, yet does not coddle to any of them. Anyway, the point of this post is to enlighten those that live for rank and recognition. I have recently produced an article about Bradley Manning with photos and text that has absolutely blasted off in terms of internet credibility.
San Diego hosted a rally this past Sunday that demanded the release of Bradley Manning, so I attended, took video and posted photos as well as text. The unexpected artifact of my excursion was acknowledgment by Wikileaks.org, via twitter, and the subsequent use of my photos and words all over the internet. This caused my Technorati Authority to jump by 307 in less than a day! So, what did we learn? Great photos combined with great, current event text is what the world wants to see, and are what will make your blog get noticed.
September 21, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut ·
San Diego Stands With Bradley Manning
Why was there no media coverage of the rally held outside Horton Plaza, in San Diego this past Sunday? Bradley Manning has been incarcerated since early July by the United States government because he released a classified video to Wikileaks.org that shows agents of the United States government committing the act of multiple murders. In the same way that Enron’s own falsified accounting books were used as evidence to prove deceit & fraud, a government’s own video was used to show an act of government sanctioned murder.
This is big news, so why is there no mainstream media coverage of the situation or the rallies? I think it’s because the video in question was classified, which makes Bradley Manning a technical criminal for releasing it, and the network television stations just don’t have the sand to say a man that broke the law, in order to expose a government crime can be a hero. Think about it like this: If the dominant media in the country were to actually admit that Bradley Manning did the right thing, they would also be saying the content of the video he released would have to be, in some way… Wrong.
Releasing classified government property to unauthorized parties is wrong. Exposing murder is right. Bradley Manning did something wrong (by releasing a classified video to Wikileaks.org) in order to expose something wrong (the shooting of 2 children and murder of 11 people). Did I mention that Bradley Manning is and active duty US Army intelligence analyst? He is. This story has all the makings of a Hollywood action flick:
1. US Army Apache helicopter pilots want to kill some people in Baghdad, 2007 so they lie about the people having weapons in order to get permission to engage.
2. The helicopter pilots receive permission to engage, based on the false intelligence the pilots provided, so they fire the 30mm cannon mounted under the fuselage of their choppers, killing 11 people.
3. The crawling, wounded men are shot.
4. A minivan happens on the scene, wherein a Good Samaritan attempts to evacuate the wounded.
5. The minivan is the shot up with 30mm fire from the Apache helicopter.
6. Ground troops arrive and discover the van’s driver is dead, and his two children are wounded, from bullets and shrapnel inside the van.
7. No weapons are found, only the camera equipment of the two Reuters employees that were among the victims.
8. The Army classifies the video and releases a statement about the incident: “American troops were conducting a raid when they were hit by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. The American troops called in reinforcements and attack helicopters. In the ensuing fight, the two Reuters employees and nine insurgents were killed.”
9. Bradley Manning discovers the video and understands what it shows, so he gives it to Wikileaks.org, who subsequently releases it on the internet and introduces the attack to the world.
10. The American military is forced to acknowledge a cover-up.
11. Bradley Manning is arrested by the United States government under suspicion of releasing the video, but not charged with any crime. Those IN the video, committing murder, are neither charged nor arrested.
12. A movement begins around the world that calls for the release of Bradley Manning, saying he has been unjustly arrested because he should be protected under the Whistleblower Protection Act.
13. Rallies are held in at least 19 cities around the world in to call for the release of Bradley Manning.
14. The rallies are attended but not reported.
15. Bradley Manning lives the rest of his life in jail.
That is a tragic movie that is playing out right now. It has a beginning, middle and end, and it is a very crappy ending. We must force the mainstream to acknowledge this story, and carry it.
September 20, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut ·
Free Bradley Manning Rally – San Diego, CA, September 19, 2010
On April 5, 2010, Wikileaks.org released an Apache helicopter’s 30mm cannon gun-sight video that shows US military personnel in Baghdad in 2007 kill 2 Reuters reporters, 9 other men, and then shoot up a van that happened to contain 2 children and their father. The video includes audio from the radio chatter between ground forces that came onto the scene following the attack and the two Apache helicopters that carried out the attack display an amazing amount of disrespect to the people they had just, and were about to kill, and not caring at all that two children had just been subjected to the 625 round per minute spray of 30mm bullets from the cannon of the Apaches’ fuselage gun. The audio also lets us hear the Apache pilots say that the men they want to open fire on are holding AK-47 machine guns and rocket propelled grenades. The only problem is that this video, which has come to be named, “Collateral Murder” shows the men were actually unarmed, and were just talking in the street when the Apache pilots asked for permission to engage. The boiled down, succinct version, complete with subtitles is below, and I would advise that you watch it if you are not familiar with it and it will also help to give some context to this post because the content of the video is only the first part of this story.
Who Can Argue With That?
So now the world has a video that shows Apache helicopter pilots lying about circumstances in order to… Well, murder some people. This is why the man pictured above had this sign at the rally. Truth equals democracy. That means that everyone, including the government has to be held accountable for the truth. If these helicopter pilots, working as agents of the government lied to facilitate killing people, then as a democracy, we the people have the right to know the truth and the truth should also be used to meter out justice. Simple, right?
Flags At The San Diego Rally To Free Bradley Manning
So why is it then that people are gathering under so many different and colorful flags in sunny San Diego, holding signs reminding us that the government isn’t allowed to lie to us and to “Free Bradley Manning”, and who is Bradley Manning? He is in the United States Army and he is the man that gave the video above to Wikileaks.org, who subsequently decrypted and released the video to the world.
Who Is Bradley Manning And Why Does He Need To Be Freed?
You see, back in 2007, before the video was released, the United States military said the following about the attack:
“American troops were conducting a raid when they were hit by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. The American troops called in reinforcements and attack helicopters. In the ensuing fight, the two Reuters employees and nine insurgents were killed.”
Bradley Manning is the young intelligence analyst who saw this was a video that showed Apache pilots lying in order to kill unarmed people, and that also disputed the official story released by the Army. He had evidence of multiple murders and a cover-up, so he gave the video to Wikileaks.org.
Three months after the video was released on the internet, Bradley Manning was arrested and charged with releasing the video. But why? Why would agents of the federal government arrest a United States army analyst for releasing a video that shows a war crime in the form murder, and subsequently exposing the lie that covered it up afterward? Because the video was CLASSIFIED. That means that Bradley Manning broke the law by giving classified US government property to an unauthorized person, in the form of Wikileaks.org. People on both sides of the fence are very unhappy about this. Because of the video, the world has seen US Army personnel kill unarmed people, and the world also now knows that the American government covered it up afterward. To the government, the content is not the issue, it’s the fact that the video is a piece of classified government property they take umbrage at.
What that means is that there is a young man in jail right now because he blew the whistle on the whole thing, and there are a lot of people that believe he should be protected under the Whistleblower Protection Act, including the good San Diego people featured in this post. This is a very odd situation since classified government property (as opposed to corporate, private sector property) were the tools used.
I will just go ahead and say it… I think the video was classified in the first place because it shows Apache helicopter pilots committing multiple murders. Rather than have an incident that could damage the war effort, the military stamped it as classified never to be seen again and released their cover story.
If the video had come from anywhere other than the depths of the United State’s military industrial machine, Bradley Manning would be regarded as a hero by all, instead of incarcerated by his own government. The government does not like that they will have to answer questions like why the video was classified to begin with and why they want to prosecute a man that brought transparency to an event should never have happened.
Is it all right to commit a crime in order to expose a crime? Releasing classified government videos is a crime, we all know that, just like we know murdering people is also a crime, but in this case, only the person that released the video and not the person committing murder IN the video has been charged with a crime. That does not seem right. To me, this is not a case of the ends justifying the means or justifying one crime with another… This is about making the United States, my country, accountable for something we did that was wrong. If our government would just own up to a mistake in a timely manner and then take steps to prevent the mistake from happening again, we would earn some worldwide credibility, and that is something America needs right now. When you are big and tough, as America has become, you can forget that it makes you a much bigger person to admit when you’re wrong.
America – We Need To Learn From Our Mistakes
This brings us to the Free Bradley Manning rally all the photos for this post came from, one of 19 held worldwide to show support for and call for the freedom of Bradley Manning. It was held on the north side of Horton Plaza, right in the middle of downtown San Diego on September 19, 2010. It was well attended and it was very interesting to listen to what the speakers had to say. There were a lot of veterans and San Diego’s LGBT community was also well represented. There were many calls for the need for transparency in the government on all levels, and calls to keep politicians accountable and to actually do what is best for the country, not most profitable. One common theme that I think all the speakers stressed was the need to organize. The way location is most important in real estate, getting organized is most important for grassroots movements like this. Forcing the United States to release some one from custody will not be easy and it will be impossible if the movement is not organized. That is what I took away from the rally most, so that is what I am going to say now… After you read this blog, do what you can to help the movement get organized so we can get Bradley Manning out of custody and allow him to receive the credit he deserves.
September 9, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut ·
Great Minds Wait For The Bus
I’ve been riding the San Diego trolley since 2006 so I feel I have come of age enough to say two things: First, the trolley, SDMTS, bus and trolley system is a joke with an embedded scam to write tickets to unwary passengers. Second, if you are a tourist, rent a car to spare yourself from the lunacy that is San Diego public transportation.
Heating The Lines
For those of you that don’t know, the wide stripes at intersections are rolled out like carpet and then heat blasted into the ground. This roadwork was going on near my local bus stop, which is why I included it in this post.
September 6, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut ·
Mirrored Exhibit At The Denver Art Museum – 1996
Even though it can be hard to remember what things were like when my world did not yet include Photoshop or digital cameras, it is much easier to do if you have photos from those pre-digital days to jog your memory. Unfortunately, the cycle that most photos go through has them being passed around for a few days or weeks after they are developed, and then placed in a box or an album where they became forgotten and might never be looked at again.
The other day I selected about 100 pre-digital prints from a box of my photos that hasn’t seen the light of day for years. It has been a steady walk down memory lane ever since, as well as me foaming at the mouth in anticipation of being able to work on them in Photoshop and them share them with the world. The best thing about this is that it breaks the cycle of a photo ending it’s life in a box or in an album in a basement. The photos are going to live forever now because I had them scanned AND I have a whole new library of memories and images that I can blog about, and I can’t wait to do it! My blog will now span between film and digital. I have created a new tag and category for the blog as well, “Film Photography” that will feature photos I took with any number of film cameras and have subsequently (and very recently) had scanned. The time span will be from around 1989 through 2003, so my earliest photography, photos I took more than 20 years ago will be shared on a modern day blog and seen by the world. It is very hard to describe how excited this makes me!
September 5, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut ·
1998 Suzuki GSXR750 About To Smoke A Ford Mustang c.2003
I recently had some film photos of mine scanned and digitized, so I’ m about to have a lot of fun playing with photos that were taken before digital cameras and ESPECIALLY before I knew what Photoshop was. The camera I used back then was a Pentax ZX-M.
Bandimere Speedway used to be open to the public on Wednesday nights. For $20 you could race your car 3 times down an official NHRA 1/4 mile racetrack. On this particular night, back in 2003 my friend, Tim was racing a GSXR750, which ended up pulling a 13 second quarter mile.