Friday, July 27, 2007

fight the power

New rules currently under consideration for Film Permits (Chapter 9, Title 43 of the City Rules of New York) could possibly have an negative impact on independent filmmakers and photographers and their ability to engage in creative work in New York City.

The rules would require any group of two or more people who want to use a camera in a single public location (taking pictures or filming on city property, including sidewalks) for more than a half hour to get a city permit and insurance.

The same requirements would apply to any group of five or more people who plan to use a tripod in a public location for more than 10 minutes, including the time it takes to set up the equipment.

Permits would have to be obtained for specific dates and times and exact locations, and the minimum $1 million insurance would be out of reach for many individuals.

In the media, city spokespeople are saying this will not affect the millions of tourists that take pictures and video in New York, but as written, the rules could potentially make hobbyists (like myself) and tourists, as well as artists and commercial practitioners, criminals for taking pictures of New York attractions.

(If you don't know why this issue is important to me, you might want to click here)

Spontaneous documentation of the urban environment is the heart of my photographic work, and with the already strict enforcement of similar rules at malls and shopping centers, I could potentially end up with a severely limited subject range.

Please sign the petition linked here, and help defend New Yorkers' (and my) First Amendment rights.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


If you’ve been paying attention to my Flickr site, you may have noticed I’ve been taking an inordinate number of photographs of late. It’s a project of sorts: a reminder to me that no matter what is (or isn’t) going on in my life, there are still moments of beauty, of texture, of creation. It’s never really cemented into conscious projects before, but the seeds have been subversively planted by the artist that’s still in me…somewhere

The biggest set of the current collection has to be the Downtown Roanoke collection. Conceptually, it’s simple: take a camera out at lunchtime and photograph what I see. Through the camera lens, I’ve discovered my lunch commute is covered in interesting things, great and small. There’s architecture, neon-fired creativity, remnants of a far more urban and gritty past, and quirky things like a dog fountain and a lunar rocket, that most towns just can’t pull off. Roanoke is cool.

The aforementioned neon signs are part of the (obviously) eponymous collection. I have a fascination with signs in general, but neon signs are even cooler than that. The collection spans from the simple to the grandiose, old and new. There are always the ones that got away from the camera, including several in downtown Roanoke that recently bit the dust, but there’s no shortage of them, and as long as they hold my interest, I will photograph them.

The third set of note is the latest New York photoset, taken last weekend. This trip was a little different, as my mom went with me and we explored some locations decidedly different than the typical New York destinations everybody talks about. Not a lot of larger stores or even chains this time, but rather a quirky collection of local flavor, which showed the limitless possibilities of creativity. It was fun to visit and just as fun to shoot.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

the persistent buzz

Well, what can I say?

For those of you still with me, I’ve been busy (as usual) with a case of a slow inter-web, which kind of puts a damper on posting.

Two things are to blame for the latter: a marginal ISP and even worse phone service. This week, there’s been a persistent buzz on the line that shows up from time to time and affects my already slow transmission speed, typically cutting it down by a third or more. I’ve called the phone people and they don’t hear what I hear, with their “repair’ doing pretty much nothing.

The worst part about slow internet service is that just about everything on the Web is designed for high-speed connections, which I can’t get because I live in Middle-of-Nowhere, Va. Just about every site is hard to load, if not impossible. Just posting this is a pain in the rear.

And the solution is not a satellite. Those are a rip. No more than I use this stuff at home, I have time to wait a little while for stuff to load, just not freakin’ forever like now.

Luckily the buzz subsides typically in a few days, so eventually I’ll move from carrier pigeons to the Pony Express.

In other news…

Today’s my day off for Independence Day, which I will likely spend sleeping or doing laundry, my two most reliable and persistent habits. If I had the money, I’d outsource the sleeping, but I think the laundry would be more feasible.

I don’t know if I’d be happy with somebody else doing my laundry though. It’s kind of therapeutic and interesting to use the machines and try out the new products. I’m a Tide man, by the way. Downy too. And Bounce. God bless Procter & Gamble.

Maybe I could a laundry to iron everything, because that’s the worst part for me, even though I do have a fancy European pressing machine that helps alleviate some of the tedium. It’s old, but it’s cool as hell.

Ready, set, shop.

I’m on the verge of buying a professional butter warmer to go with the popcorn machine. The prices aren’t bad for new, but I’d love to get a slightly used one for a little less if I could. I’d have to get different bags if I did use pour-on butter, of course, but that’s minimal for the pleasure connected to having movie-theater style popcorn.

I’ve also ordered a new pair of summerish looking loafers. Cole-Haan. Saddle tan. No kilties. They’ll be good for work. Casual, but a little more formal than boat shoes, yet not as formal as lace-ups. I care about these things. There’s a look involved.

Eastland rising.

Pat sent me a pile of pictures and ads for Eastland Mall in Charlotte recently, as well as for SouthPark. Uploading’s been a pain of late (see above), and I’m always wiped these days, so I’ve been stalling a bit, but they’re very cool. The Ivey’s ad alone is worth the wait.

One of these days, I’ll be where I want to be (here with y’all regularly, like the old days), but until then, stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Sesame Street - The Count hires Ernie to answer his phone

Best. Sketch. Ever. Even my dad still talks about this 30 years later. Click here to watch it on YouTube.

The Count hires Ernie to answer his phone so that he won't be bothered with calls while he is counting. However, when the phone rings, the Count wants to count the rings, and won't let Ernie pick up the phone until it's too late. "I told you it wasn't going to be easy," the Count explains.