Whistle Stop Bar In San Diego

December 31, 2010 by ·  

Whistle Stop Bar

The Eve Of New Year’s Eve – 2010

        This will be my final post for 2010 and I am making it right in the middle of a very chaotic time for me, so it will be brief and it will be remembered for me as the post I made while sitting in a bare apartment, on the cusp of 2011. Anyway, last night my cousins and I went to the Whistle Stop Bar in San Diego for a little spoken word entertainment put on by So Say We All.

Whistle Stop Bar

Whistle Stop Bar

The Spoken Word

        Venues like this are tough for a photographer for many reasons. The obvious ones are lighting, the crowds and lighting. Bars and live music venues all use the same lighting designer that lit the Bat Cave, so either bring some fast glass or be prepared to crank up your ISO. All four photos in this post were shot at 1/45th, 1600 ISO and f/4.5. The photo below was a random, spur of the moment shot that turned out to be a gem. This magnificent Christmas light display is across the street from Whistle Stop Bar, and is a great example of community involvement.

Across From The Whistle Stop Bar

The Last Photo Published By The World Is Raw For 2010

        There you have it my friends. This wraps up the second year of running, writing and photographing for this blog. You’ll see a post from me in the next few days, even though it won’t technically be till next year, next DECADE actually. Happy New Year from Rob at The World Is Raw!

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Review Of Sony Bloggie MHS-TS10 In Low Light

December 26, 2010 by ·  

La Mesa Christmas Lights With Sony Bloggie MHS-TS10

Christmas Lights As Seen Through The Eyes Of A Sony Bloggie MHS-TS10

        Every photo and video in this post was taken or filmed with a Sony Bloggie MHS-TS10 at night during the 2010 Christmas season. Bloggie seems to have a max ISO of 1600. I was ultimately impressed with what this camera can do, especially the video capabilities, with the exception of the slow focusing in low light. Seriously, at full zoom it wouldn’t focus at all until I zoomed out, waited for the focus at then slowly zooming back in. It was very frustrating.

La Mesa Christmas Lights With Sony Bloggie MHS-TS10

La Mesa Christmas Lights With Sony Bloggie MHS-TS10

La Mesa Christmas Lights With Sony Bloggie MHS-TS10

La Mesa Christmas Lights With Sony Bloggie MHS-TS10

La Mesa Christmas Lights With Sony Bloggie MHS-TS10

La Mesa Christmas Lights With Sony Bloggie MHS-TS10

Christmas Video Shot With A Sony Bloggie Touch MHS-TS10

        So what are my impressions of the Sony Bloggie Touch? It takes FOREVER to focus in low light, but it records some damn fine video and photos. It fits in my pocket and powers up in less than two seconds so it is just about always ready to go. Use the photos and the video in this post as your guide. I didn’t include daytime photos in this post because every camera takes great photos with lots of light but only great DSLR’s and video cameras can do the same at night.

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Company Christmas Party

December 26, 2010 by ·  

Macaroni Grill

Christmas Party At Macaroni Grill

        At work, there is one thing employees tend to look forward to and that is the company Christmas party. Ours was at Macaroni Grill and I had chicken parmigiana with angel hair pasta. I personally very much appreciate when employers do thinks like this for their employees because it really does help to make me feel welcome and part of the team.

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Griswold Family Christmas In La Mesa

December 25, 2010 by ·  

Christmas Lights La Mesa

The Griswolds In La Mesa

        If you don’t know who the Griswolds are then you should just turn around and walk away from my blog. Seriously, get your ass out of here until you can appreciate what I’m saying… Go watch the “Vacation” movies!

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Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa

December 25, 2010 by ·  

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

Christmas Eve Mass At La Mesa Christ Lutheran Church

        Christ Lutheran Church of La Mesa held a Christmas Eve mass, as all Christians do, but this particular mass spilled out to the front of the church. With candles in hand, these worshipers sang songs and then enjoyed hot chocolate and cider.

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

        It’s hard to say why these parishioners lit candles and sang songs out in front of their church instead of inside their church. Some sort of projection of faith would be my best guess, while acting on an impulse to play with fire is a distant second best guess.

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

And The Choir Says Amen

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

        For all you photographers out there, this paragraph is for you. I used a Nikon D5000 at 3200 ISO for all the shots in this post. Cranking up the ISO allowed me to keep the shutter speed at 1/30th the entire time. This is a shutter speed right on the cusp of being able to use without a tripod so I made sure to hold my breath and take my time every time I made a photo.

        Let me just come right out and say that I am so glad the large sensors on actual DSLR’s enable me to leave my tripod at home. Those of you that have read my ABOUT ME page know that I hate carrying gear around, so being able to leave the BIGGEST piece of gear (my tripod) at home means I get to do the happy dance.

        Low light photography tends to be lumped into the slow shutter speed box, so I’m here to say , “Ney!” Don’t be scared to up your ISO. I know there’s noise in these photos, but so what? Did you become a photographer to fight the noise of the world or to make great photography? For me, being a photographer is all about telling a story in spite of bad lighting, noise, motion or anything else. Great photographs transcend the digital pixels they are imprinted on.

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

Wait A Minute, He Kinda Looks Like A Baby

        And so ends this very random collection of photos taken during the Christmas Eve mass at Christ Lutheran Church. Merry Christmas!

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Angelique: Living Music Box

December 21, 2010 by ·  

Angelique Living Music Box

Angelique: The Living Music Box

Angelique Living Music Box

Angelique Living Music Box

        Zoe Tantrum is the artist responsible for creating this living music box. If you like these photos, be sure to check out my earlier post which has more photos of Angelique: Living Music Box as well as photos of La Mesa, CA during their annual Christmas festival.

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The Day I Met Chuck Yeager & Duncan L. Hunter

December 19, 2010 by ·  

Duncan L. Hunter Book-signing

Congressman Duncan L. Hunter, Author, Victory in Iraq: How America Won

        Over the last couple months I have been bringing books, two sackfuls at a time to Maxwell’s House Of Books in exchange for store credit. So far, my schlepping of about 70 books has yielded a credit of $38. Yesterday I gobbled up twenty of it so I could own a copy of Duncan L. Hunter‘s new book, Victory In Iraq: How America Won. Why? Because that’s a great title and because Hunter was going to be in La Mesa, at Maxwell’s signing copies. The photo above shows Hunter signing my actual book. After he signed it we chatted for a minute or two and then I was going to be more or less on my way.

Duncan L. Hunter Book-signing

Congressman Hunter Laughs With The People

        I scanned book titles as I slowly walked towards the door when a woman noticed my camera, which lead to a brief conversation that ended with her saying what a great photo op this is since the congressman and Chuck Yeager are here. “Yeah, it sure is,” I replied. “We’re very lucky to have… Wait. What?!?”

Chuck Yeager And Me

Photo By Ken Stone - LaMesaPatch.com

        Chuck Yeager, the first human being on the planet to travel faster than the speed of sound, the most famous aviator in the world for over 60 years is in this bookstore right now? What? Turns out, Chuck Yeager and Duncan L. Hunter are old friends so General Yeager just came down to the signing to show his support. Now that is really something and was the icing on the cake for a great day for me because Chuck Yeager is a quintessential American and that is exactly what I was looking for today.

        Victory In Iraq: How America Won. I saw that title and knew I had to read that book because books that have something good to say about America are rare these days. It will be refreshing to read an entire book that talks about what America is doing right because it will help me to remember that America is a great country.

        Chuck Yeager became a legend during that romanticized time when America was doing most things right and most people loved our country. I had actually been thinking about what it would take to get Americans to just… Love America again. I started that journey yesterday, first by watching La Mesa firefighters use The Jaws of Life to rescue a woman trapped in a car, then by meeting a former congressmen who’s written a book about American victory in Iraq and by seeing Chuck Yeager, the greatest aviator in the history of the world with my own two eyes. It was a good American day. The photo above shows General Yeager on the left and me on the right. Yep, that’s me in the same room, really just across the table from the true American, Chuck Yeager.

        LaMesaPatch.com also has an article and photos of this event which you may read if you click here.

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La Mesa Firefighters Jaws Of Life Rescue

December 18, 2010 by ·  

La Mesa Car Accident Jaws Of Life Rescue

Car Accident Near University Ave. & La Mesa Blvd

        I happened onto an accident scene where the car was mangled bad enough that the jaws of life had to be used by La Mesa firefighters to extract the driver from the car. It appeared to me the car above was T-boned while pulling out of the Social Security building on University Ave. This is the car’s permanent good side, as you’ll see from the photos below.

La Mesa Car Accident Jaws Of Life Rescue

Explaining What Is About To Happen

        Something I noticed was that the firefighters did what they could to help shield the driver from view as hundreds of cars drove by (and perhaps from me as well) by standing in front of the window and keeping a tight perimeter around her once she was out of the vehicle and onto the stretcher, which I thought was very thoughtful of them.

La Mesa Car Accident Jaws Of Life Rescue

The Jaws Of Life Arrive On The Scene

        The firefighters took the jaws right to the hinges of the door and then just pulled the whole thing right off the car, which made it possible to get the driver out, onto a backboard and onto the stretcher.

La Mesa Car Accident Jaws Of Life Rescue

Firefighters & Paramedics Of La Mesa, CA

        At took less than three minutes to get the door off once they started into it with the jaws of life. It’s good to see first hand just how well trained and efficient these men and women are. La Mesa residents, you can sleep soundly at night thanks to what these super heroes do. Below is a short video of the firefighters going to work on the car with the jaws of life.

Jaws Of Life Rescue By La Mesa Firefighters

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Technomania Circus: The Xmas Show

December 13, 2010 by ·  

Technomania Circus Christmas- Show 2010

Mary Christmas At The Door Of Technomania Circus

        The Christmas season is upon us and Technomania Circus is upon Christmas. I’ve never been able to actually say what Technomania Circus is, I’ve only been able to to show photos and write words about what I see when I’m there. So, what is it, why do I go, what do I see and who’s there? Let me put it this way: If I were to blog about the show without the added benefit of the photos I take, no one would believe me. Hell, there are photos taken of men on the moon and I barely believe that happened. So, with that being said, if you care to acquaint yourself with the circus a little bit before delving into the rest of this post, I have several videos that can be seen here. The photo above shows the front foyer of the circus with the lovely Mary Moeller on the right, informing circus goers that in addition to the show, the price of admission also includes homemade Christmas sugar cookies and hot cider. Yes, the ticket booth for this live theater venue is located under an icicle-light adorned UFO and just to the right of an alien sarcophagus.

Technomania Circus Christmas- Show 2010

Technomania Circus’s Stage Decorated For Christmas

        With cookies and cider in hand, I made my way to the stage and up into the stadium seating. I have been to many Technomania shows over the last year and I always have my camera in hand. This ultimately presents a challenge for me as a photographer. You might think it would get easier each time, but that really isn’t the case because at this venue it will be apples one day and sailboats the next. The challenge for me is to ensure that I do the circus justice by keeping the photos fresh and capturing the spontaneity of the show. It sounds easy but believe me, it’s not. It’s like saying all you have to do is blow and wiggle your fingers to play the tuba.

Technomania Circus Christmas Show 2010

The Audience Eagerly Awaits The Start Of The Show

Technomania Circus Christmas- Show 2010

Technomania Circus Christmas - Show 2010

        To the left is the entrance and vanity in the bathroom of Technomania Circus. I bet you’re wondering what’s around the corner to the left aren’t you? I took a few photos of the interior but I’m not going to include them because there are some things you just have to see in person to appreciate, so make a specific trip to Barrio Logan just to get a look at an eclectic bathroom. Above we see Dr. Techno on his rola-bola, which is, as far as I’m concerned, the official start of every Technomania Circus show.

Technomania Circus Christmas - Show 2010

The Elves Arrive And The Show Begins

        What’s that you say? You’d like me to show some more photos without having to read my editorial after each and every one? OK, I can do that, but don’t say I never did anything for you. Stick with the post all the way to the end for a video synopsis of the show.

Technomania Circus Christmas - Show 2010

Technomania Circus Christmas - Show 2010

        I will say a little bit about the photos, but it’s really just to fill up space to make sure they align properly. 🙂 In all seriousness, check Technomania Circus’s website for the next show and make sure you make it down there.

Technomania Circus Christmas - Show 2010

Technomania Circus Christmas - Show 2010

Technomania Circus Christmas - Show 2010

Technomania Circus Christmas Show 2010

Technomania Circus Christmas - Show 2010

        We, the audience were treated to three different Santas, Jesus Christ, jugglers, The Weldermen, Dr. Techno, Hugh Hefner and LOTS of blacklight theater. The circus is also blessed to have a damn fine band with Paul Moeller at the helm.

Technomania Circus Christmas - Show 2010

A Christmas Miracle, Then Grandpa Chopped Down The Tree

Technomania Circus Christmas - Show 2010

The Weldermen Ominously Appear On Stage

Technomania Circus Christmas - Show 2010

Blacklight Theater And Techno Santa

Highlights From Technomania Circus’s Christmas Show 2010

        The video above is a brief synopsis of the show. A great rendition of “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” by John Lennon played on the harp, Valerie Power mystically and beautifully playing “Silent Night” with her singing saw, extreme rola-bola balancing and music are in the video yet represent only a small portion of the entire show. The beginning and end of the video are dark, but for those portions it’s all about the music anyway so there’s no need to adjust your television set. Anyway, bravo once again to the cast of Technomania Circus for being such gracious hosts and for putting on a great show that will give me one more reason to look forward to Christmas next year. Cheers!

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Hotel Del Coronado At Christmas 2010

December 12, 2010 by ·  

Hotel Del Coronado With Christmas Lights

Hotel Del Coronado During Christmas 2010

        Hotel Del Coronado is the most famous hotel in San Diego, with tourists and locals constantly walking in and around the hotel property, especially at Christmas. I suppose The Del is San Diego’s version of Rockefeller Center, a place where anyone can come on by and fill themselves with Christmas spirit while taking in one of the best beach locations on the planet.

Hotel Del Coronado With Christmas Lights

Looking West From Hotel Del Coronado

        A fairly heavy fog bank rolled in as I was taking these photos so instead of seeing Point Loma in the distance of the photo above, we see only the dark blue smudge of swiftly moving fog. This spot has been mentally noted for some blue hour photography in the near future, as well as to get some shots of the ice rink (The Del has it’s own ice rink at Christmas) and some better shots of the pool.

Inside Hotel Del Coronado At Christmas

Hotel Del Coronado With Christmas Lights

        Once it became clear that the fog was in charge, I went into the main hotel lobby where Hotel Del Coronado’s world famous Christmas tree cheerfully stands watch every year. The hotel opened in 1888 during the Victorian Era, so the Christmas decor is accordingly Victorian. This is one of those places to understand they saying, “They don’t make them like this anymore.”

Inside Hotel Del Coronado At Christmas

The Lobby Of Hotel Del Coronado During Christmas 2010

        That concludes this brief tour of The famous Hotel Del Coronado, in Coronado CA. It is on just about every list and included in every book and video about places that people absolutely must see before they die, so don’t skip this by or ignore it all together. Once you see the hotel in person, you’ll understand why.

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Christmas In The Village – La Mesa, CA 2010

December 11, 2010 by ·  

Angelique Living Music Box Christmas In The Village La Mesa 2010

Angelique – The Living Music Box At Christmas In The Village – La Mesa

        I was pleasantly surprised to stumble across “Christmas in the Village” on La Mesa Blvd. last night. Tonight (December 11, 2010) is the final night of this 2 day, free event so grab your kids and bring your appetites on down to La Mesa tonight for some Victorian Era decor, fun and food. The photo above shows Zoe Tantrum performing as Angelique: The Living Music Box. This was something I’ve never seen before and was the highlight of the time I spent spent wandering around.

Food And Rides At Christmas In The Village La Mesa 2010

Food And Rides At Christmas In The Village – La Mesa

        I’ve lived 5 minutes away from the pizza joint above, but I’ve never eaten there, which is amazing considering the amount of pizza I’ve eaten since moving to La Mesa. During the Christmas festivities however, San Filippo’s Pizza is serving pizza by the slice for $2. I practically dove through the door when I saw that sign because I was very cold, I had been craving a slice of pepperoni pizza and I wanted to try out the place. They had run out of pepperoni slices when I entered though, and there was a several minute wait that I just didn’t want to hang around for, so I have a reason to return tonight so I can FINALLY sample San Filippo’s Pizza.

Dancing At Christmas In The Village La Mesa 2010

Dancing In The Village

        The troupe above were dancing and performing to Christian songs and I would say they seemed to be having the most fun of anyone else there.

Children At Christmas In The Village La Mesa 2010

Entertaining The Children

        There are about a half dozen “sit-down” things to watch like musical bands, puppet shows, buskers, etc. All of it is free and it’s fun for the whole family. Bring your appetites as well because all the restaurants are open late.

Angelique Living Music Box Christmas In The Village La Mesa 2010

Zoe Tantrum As Angelique – The Living Music Box

        Watching this performer was memorizing, like watching a whirling dervish. Oddly simple, totally original, yet requiring years of patient practice to look beautiful and graceful.

Bucket Brothers Christmas In The Village La Mesa 2010

Bucket Brothers At Christmas In The Village – La Mesa

        The Bucket Brothers are a comedy drumming sensation that will make you laugh and will probably have you singing along before you leave. So come down the Christmas in the Village in La Mesa tonight for all the Christmas cheer yo want and all the food you can eat. Below is a video of Angelique – The Living Music Box. Cheers!

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Wikileaks US Embassy Cable: Let Them Eat Arepas

December 10, 2010 by ·  

        Wikileaks continues to release classified US embassy cables on a daily basis, and I am continuing to read them on a daily basis. At the current rate a release, it will take about 8 months for all the cables to be released, and that is a rate that is just fine with me. This staggered release makes it very easy to pay attention to each daily release and gives the reader ample time to look at each cable, draw some conclusions and write up some well thought out blog posts and articles about them. This really does help to quantify an old adage that answers the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” One bite at a time.

        Speaking of eating, the batch of Wikileaks US embassy cables released today contained one little gem that (mercifully) has nothing to do with the United States of America doing something scandalous or illegal. It has to do with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez doing something for the people of his country in an effort to sell them on and demonstrate the benefits of socialism.

        According to the leaked Wikileaks cable sent from the American embassy in Caracas to the US State Department on January 19, 2010, Hugo Chavez opened the first in what will be a chain of government subsidized restaurants called, “Arepera Socialista.” They serve only “arepas” which are a native sort of bread made of ground corn, water, and salt which is fried into a pancake-like bread. It’s either topped or filled with meat, eggs, tomatoes, salad, cheese, shrimp, or fish. This restaurant sells their arepas for about one quarter of their regular price, thanks to hefty the subsidies. They idea is to put these restaurants in working class neighborhoods so working class people can have a good, cheap breakfast (the restaurants are only open in the morning) while demonstrating with a tangible, tasty and affordable item what their socialist government is able to do for them. I suppose the logic from there would be, “Stick with this Bolivarian revolution and one day you will be able to eat an affordable government subsidized lunch and dinner too.” Whatever the logic is, the cable contained a note that I just found to be funny:

        LET THEM EAT AREPAS

        This parody of the famous line, “Let them eat cake” seems to me to be very telling, and I’ll explain why. For the purpose of this post, it doesn’t matter who said this line first or when, it’s about the context that it has come to be associated with; a leader that is out of touch with reality. As the story goes, in 1769 a princess was told there was a famine and that her people were starving because they had no bread, to which the princess replied, “Then let them eat cake.” With Venezuela facing high inflation, electricity and water rationing, failing public services and a lack of international partnerships to extract their oil, “Arepera Socialista” is what Hugo Chavez’s government came up with in order to make socialism easier to swallow.

        I think the diplomat that slipped the note, “Let them eat arepas” into the cable was really saying (or wanted to say) something like this:

“Hugo Chavez and his top advisors have launched a new “Socialism Wow!” campaign they hope will win the hearts and minds of their countrymen and help to remove the dogmatic stigma that seems to surround socialism. They opened a restaurant that is only open on weekdays, only serves one item and is only open during one meal. The item: Arepas. The meal: Breakfast. That is the beginning, middle and end of the “Socialism Wow!” campaign. The boys and I checked it out this morning on our way to the embassy, and it looks like a crappy McDonalds that only has Egg McMuffins without any eggs and usually without muffins. In other words, Venezuela is no longer a threat on the international scene because the president just got into the food service industry. LOL! :-)”

        This is my third article discussing a Wikileaks leak, the first being a piece about Bradley Manning and the second one being about Hillary Clinton clearing the way for a US airstrike on Iran. They are interesting reads in which I draw my own conclusions from information made available by Wikileaks. Right or wrong, these leaked documents are at least getting people reading, digging and blogging about foreign policy, and that’s something no high school teacher has ever been able to do. An interesting and funny footnote to this story is that last month, 6 “Arepera Socialista” employees, including the company coordinator were arrested for stealing money from the till.

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San Diego Trolley Visions And Vocalizations

December 3, 2010 by ·  

Alleged Homeless Man On San Diego Trolley

Sleeping (Passed Out) On The San Diego Trolley

        Today was just one of those public transportation days. Today was so off-kilter that it actually had me questioning my reasons, motivation and desire to give up driving a car to be an exclusive public transportation person. My problems started right out of the gate this morning, with the San Diego trolley showing up at my station over 20 minutes late, even though the trolley is supposed to arrive every 15 minutes. The real bitch of the situation is that my home trolley station is only a 16 minute trolley ride from the very first station on the line, which means the trolley I boarded this morning took 36 minutes to move it’s gigantic ass 5 stops down the line. Just to put that in perspective, it takes 45 minutes to cover the same distance on a bicycle. When it finally did arrive, the trolley contained the dude pictured above, drooling all over and hogging four seats to accommodate his worthless ass.

Chula Vista Police At Bayfront Trolley Station

Chula Vista Police At Bayfront Trolley Station

        I finally arrived at my transfer station and while waiting for my connecting bus, which was also 10 minutes late, a police car drove up the curb and parked right up on the wide yellow line of the trolley platform, so I started taking pictures, one of which you see above. The cop and what I think was a paramedic seemed to be waiting for the next trolley to arrive. They were talking and even laughing amongst themselves while they stood there doing whatever they were doing, and I was taking pictures the whole time. When they turned around and saw me photographing them, the laughter turned to the expression you see above, on both of their faces. Oh, law enforcement personnel… You have nothing to fear from my camera. I might even make you famous.

I-8 Crossing Sweetwater Bikeway

I-8 Crossing Sweetwater Bikeway

        What should have been a 45 minute commute took almost two hours, so I was not able to eat lunch and I arrived to work late. Pissed off and hungry is no way to start your workday, but that’s what I was. I dreamt of food and wished for the weekend all day which made it very hard to concentrate on my job. I think the hunger was what broke my camel’s back in regards to thinking about why I ride the trolley and I realized that there is an inherent barrier to making trolley and bus service anything but an abysmal chore, relative to driving: Public commuters can’t complain. Who can we tell that would actually fix the problems of SDMTS? If I were to email this post to SDMTS, some one might read it, but that’s it. My proof can be seen by clicking here. Cheers!

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