October 2, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
Oktoberfest 2010 In La Mesa, CA
My original hometown, La Mesa, CA is hosting their 37th annual Oktoberfest this weekend. I think it’s just about the funnest, free thing to do every fall, and with the added benefit of it taking place down the street from my house, La Mesa’s Oktoberfest is also very easy for me to attend.
The Fun, People And Rides At Oktoberfest 2010
If you have never been to Oktoberfest before, it really is worth the trip out to East County. There are hundreds of food, product and service vendors, as well as all the regular stores and restaurants that line La Mesa Blvd to browse through, shop and eat at.
So Much Food!
For me, it’s the food that makes me love Oktoberfest. Last night I spent an hour or so walking through the festival and trying out some food. I personally tried out some bratwurst, funnel cake and pepperoni pizza from the vendors, as well as a lemon drop pastry and hot chocolate from Jitters Coffee Shop.
Just to give everyone a little bit of an idea of how much money to bring, I’ll give an overview of what the food and merchandise prices were like. The restaurants that line La Mesa Blvd do not inflate their prices at all for Oktoberfest, which is exceedingly generous of them. This means that if you decide to eat at any of them, you will experience normal food and drink prices and each and every one of them will be crowded with happy people. For example, a hot chocolate made with whipped cream and whole milk and a lemon drop pastry on the side is only $2.50 at Jitters Coffee Shop. I’m local to the restaurants that line La Mesa Blvd, so I didn’t eat at any of them on this night, but you would be doing yourself a favor by trying any of them out.
The vendor food, which is what I really look forward to has prices that are inflated to similar levels as ballgame or airport eateries. Any sort of a meat sandwich will run you $7-$9, roasted corn and plain funnel cake is $4-$5 (whipped cream and fruit is another $3), pizza is $5 for a NY sized slice, and large sodas are $3. I’m not a beer drinker, so I didn’t examine the prices in any of the 3 beer gardens. My advice is to pair up with someone on every food purchase so you can split the food and the cost. You can try more things for less money that way. So, head on down to Oktoberfest. It is very easy to reach on the San Diego Trolley’s orange line, or there is a lot of free(ish) parking around La Mesa if you feel that you just have to drive. More photos to come as the weekend unfolds… Cheers!
Oktoberfest 2010 In La Mesa, CA
September 27, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut · 2 Comments
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 · 3 Comments
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 21, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
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 · 4 Comments
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 · Leave a Comment
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.
August 29, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
Sunset, As Seen From La Mesa, CA
All three photos in this post were taken at the same time, in the same place. I was just walking around my neighborhood at sunset, and the photos in this post is what I came up with. La Mesa is 12 miles from the coast, but the scenery is right in front of you.
Silhouetted Flowers Against The Setting Sun
There are an infinite number of ways to photograph a single event, including an ordinary sunset. Above we see a typical sunset silhouette with the foreground being a clutch of flowers. Nothing special, 1/1000th, f/5.6, ISO 200. The shot below is different, but the same.
Sunset With Foreground Lighting
The shot above is the same as the middle photo above except that there is more light on the foreground. The difference between the two photos is massive, even though they were taken at the same place at the same time. Pressing the shutter release button is just the first step for creating a great photograph. Photoshop is your friend after the fact. Admit it.
August 29, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
Pitching A Movie
There are some very big, inherent flaws in the movie making industry. Not needing talent in order to be successful is the biggest flaw. Paris Hilton, Keanu Reeves and anyone that has directed either of these “movie stars” in a motion picture know what I mean. Just like the ratio of rich people that serve prison time (*cough* OJ Simpson, Vince Neil) to poor/middle class people serving prison time, we can see that if you have money, power, influence, parents with money or are in a successful rock band you can do whatever you want including kill some one, even if you have no talent.
The rest of you have to earn it. Those of us that ONLY have talent are the ones that have to do legwork, prove what we can do and do it for little or no pay. Or… Am I wrong? No, I’m not wrong because If I was then 75,000 people would be filling a stadium every week to watch cancer research, live on TV instead of watching a bunch bitchy millionaires doing a victory dance for catching a ball or watching silver screen “stars” protesting a war.
August 19, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
La Mesa Police Station
There is one very weird thing about photography that is exactly the same as a pot of boiling water. A watched pot never boils. Have you ever popped a couple of pop tarts in the toaster and stared at the toaster waiting for the pop tarts to pop up? I have, and one of those weird quirks of fate is that things don’t happen unless you are not looking. Wherever your camera is pointed is where there will be no action. Those Pulitzer Prize winning moments happened on days just like today, except that someone happened to take a picture.
A Regular Thing Or A Record Of The Future
Even though there is a rash of instances, right here in the United States Of America of photographers being arrested and detained for taking pictures from a public vantage point, it is not something that can be captured at will. It is an elusive beast that can hide behind the law, and people paid to uphold the law.
Just A Regular Photograph
August 19, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
All That Remains Of La Mesa’s Old Post Office
Once the new post office opened up in La Mesa last year, the old building was slowly phased out and has now been torn down. No word of what will be constructed in it’s place or what is to become of the soon to be abandoned La Mesa police department building across the street. In the background is the city hall building for La Mesa.
Demolishing La Mesa’s Old Post Office
There is a lot of construction going on in la Mesa right now, and most of the downtown area streets will be receiving face lifts over the next year or so. It will be nice to have another opportunity to document, photographically, the process of raising a building.
Along University Ave & La Mesa Blvd
Just down the street and around the corner from the La Mesa post office, University Ave, has been dug into regularly over the last month or so. It seems that most of the work is cable/phone line related, with most of the in charge looking people having the AT&T logo on their hardhats.