Monday, January 31, 2005

Stencil Art - Budapest

This was painted about head high a block away from Central Budapest. I had seen a few like it as we drove to the city. I don't know what it means yet. I'll ask around and see what I turn up.

Cold Travel Buddies

I took this shot of my travel buddies on the bridge to Buda from Pest this afternoon. Once we stepped on the frozen steel bridge, the temperature dropped, the wind picked up, and we froze. This place is cold.

I went for a walk tonight

I had to put away my camera. It was just too cold. I took this last shot of a dark street right after Sundown, and then went looking for coffee. Oh, did I mention I lost a glove? I’m keeping one hand in my pocked for the rest of the trip.

Graffiti in Budapest

As I drove into Budapest this afternoon, I was struck by the amount of graffiti there was around. It was everywhere. This pedestrian underpass is typical.

A view of Pest

This is shot from the bridge between Buda and Pest. It's about 17 degrees and windy. I am cold.

Friday, January 28, 2005

White Tree in Cerritos # 2

After working through my shots today, I found another photo that I liked. This photo has some slight cropping and I pushed up on saturation a bit to bring out the green in the leaves. I don’t normally post process with Photoshop, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. This photo captures the feeling of an early California spring for me.

White Trees in Cerritos

I don't shoot black and white often. This afternoon was a black and white day. The sun was setting after a long period of rain; the trees were wet and black, the flowers stark white. I overexposed to push the saturation, and then shot in black and white.

On another note: I hate these trees. I get a headache every time they bloom. The whole friggen city is in bloom now - My head hurts. In a few days, the white petals will fall like snow.

It's not porno

This is not porno right? If you like watching sexy young girls getting their cars stuck in the mud, and then struggle to free themselves, then this website is for you. You can watch a free demo video, and then move on to purchasing a full-length video, the cost, 50 Euro, plus shipping. The site features a models page, a FAQ, and of course, unique descriptions of each video. Like this one:

Mud-stuck with BMW 7er-series (35 min.)
- rear wheel-drive
- complete stuck story (coming home from a party)
- trying all to get out
- walking with my high-heels through the mud
- a lot of smoking wheels!

I don’t get it. Do these videos serve a mud fetish, a shoe fetish, or a mud-wrestling fetish? The video sample is just plain stupid. Its smoking tires and high heals in mud. I cannot figure out what would be appealing in this, or who would pay to see it.

Before you start thinking I am a freak, consider how I found this site. I asked a friend what his favorite site is. He gave me this url. I pulled it up, looked at it, and had a real good laugh. Every time I think the web cannot surprise me, I find a site like this. Cars stuck in the mud. Go figure.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Another Rain Pic

Since rain is on the way again, I thought I would post a picture from the last storm. I took this at the Hilton in Long Beach.

Industrial Graffiti

Today was a good day. I stopped for this shot after lunch. I needed a little more time away from work to clear my head. The area I work in is amazingly ugly, yet I find this kind of artistic expression quite appealing. Well... kind of anyway.

Nutball Alert: The Willard Preacher

This is the kind of nutball that scares me, Gary Cattel is known as the Willard Preacher. He stands outside the Willard building at Penn State and preaches to students. He started his ministerial efforts in 1982. Which means he’s been yelling “Sodomites, whores, fornicators and barbarians - you're all going to hell!” for over 20 years. He reminds me of the Korean preacher who stands on the corner of South & Shoemaker each weekend armed with a big red cross and a bible. He preaches that we are all going to hell too. The web is full of stories about this nutball, if found him through this news story.

Why do I call this guy a nutball? Anybody who spends his day pushing his religion on others has crossed the line into the nutball neighborhood. You don’t win souls by yelling at people, yelling just pushes people away.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Random blog - all in red.

I found All in Red by pressing the Next Blog button on my Blogger header bar. Random surfing usually results in a 14 year old complaining about her love life, her teacher, or her mom and dad... well, you get the picture. Pressing the Next Blog button is usually not a good idea.

Not this time, All In Red blogs about a bad day teaching 8 year olds in an inner city school. Reading it is like watching a train wreck (poor choice given todays events in Los Angeles). I read every word. I’ll post my opinion Thursday night. What did you think?

Another shot from the park

This picture is another shot taken over the weekend at the park. You can tell it is taken at a park becuase the grass is mowed. In nature, the background would be overgrown with wild plants.

Mojoey, a knife, and Tucson airport security

I made an overnight trip to Tucson on business Tuesday. On my return through the Tucson International Airport, a funny thing happened. I was checking in through the security checkpoint when one of the inspectors asked if she could look in my bag. I said sure but thought it was somewhat funny because two other guards were standing behind her checking me out, and as I turned, I noticed two more guards behind me. I was guided to a private area, shoes in hand, and asked to sit with my hands on my knees. Two guards stood behind me, two stood in front, and one guard watched from about 15 feet away. I noticed they had stopped letting people through the security checkpoint, and that everyone was looking at me. About this time, my pulse started to race and I broke out in a cold sweat. The nice lady searching my bad asked me questions to keep me focused on her, then she reached in a pulled out one of my very nasty double bladed lock back knifes. One blade is a serrated web cutter, then other a razor sharp utility blade. I freaked. I mean I really freaked. For those of you who know me, it was a very un-Joe moment. And then it got interesting.

I was expecting to be arrested. I was expecting trouble; I was expecting embarrassment, missed flights, police reports, etc… What I got was just the opposite. The woman checking my bag said “Supervisor” loudly. On older man walked over to me and said, “Calm down”. He picked up the knife and continued with “You are not in any trouble, this is legal, and you have options.” He explained that I could leave with the knife an mail it home, that I could check it as baggage, or I could dispose of it. He said if the blade had been any longer than three inches, I would have been arrested. I was relieved, and embarrassed. I elected to dispose of the knife. They took it away immediately. The supervisor said, “Don’t worry. This can happen to anyone. Do you need any help?” I offered an apology and ran to the nearest bar, then drank my nerves back to normal.

I had carried the knife through the security checkpoint at LAX without any problems. Yet the security crew at Tucson’s Southwest terminal caught it without a problem, and handled it nicely. I had always complained about how in-depth the screening was at Tucson, now I’m a fan.

Long Beach Fog

I shot this Monday morning on the way to work. Within 30 seconds I was pulled over by the Signal Hill Police for not having my headlights on. It was my third traffic stop in a week, but no ticket.

We don't get cold here in LA. When I think cold, I think fog and rain. We've been getting our share of both lately. I travel to Budapest over the weekend. I understand it is COLD there. I'll take few picture of cold stuff then, but for now, this is my Theme Thursday submission under the theme cold.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Nutball Altert: Bush's Remarks on Religion Offends Atheists

I don't get it. So Bush's remarks on religion offends atheists. So what. I am an Atheist, but i have enough common sense to know that this issue is stupid. It is a waste of people's time, therefore nobody will really care and this issue is moot. Let me explain. Bush apparently said something like:

“I don't see how you can be president - at least from my perspective, how you can be president, without a - without a relationship with the Lord,"

What is the Meta message here?

From within the presidents world view, he cannot understand how anybody could do the job with a “relationship with the Lord”. He is not saying one must be a Christian to hold office, nor is he saying only Christians should hold office. He is not even saying Atheists should be excluded from holding office. He is saying that being a Christian is important to him. Is this wrong? Well… no, not at all.

The people at American Atheists qualify as my “Nutball of the Week”. Their illogical attacks on our county and way of life baffle me. There are other battles to fight. Important battles, like making sure we can teach undiluted science in our public schools. Dave Silverman, communications director for American Atheists, was looking for publicity; instead he looks like an ass.

No Oscar for Michael Moore

In the best news I've heard all week, there will be no Oscar for Mikey! The hubris this man demonstrates. He actually thought his super 8 piece of crap anti-Bush documentary should be considered for Best Picture. I watched every excruciating minute of Fahrenheit 9/11, I would not give this dishonest piece of propaganda any recognition, nor its creator any accolades. Fahrenheit 9/11 is best forgotten.

LGF has a great discussion going. Read it here.

Mhyla's Xanga Site

I found another friend/Pepperdine classmate on the intenet. Mhyla is a charming and alarmingly smart woman who has made my school experience richer. I enjoy working with Mhyla, I expect to see her running a big business soon after b-school.

I have a few good pictures of her that I will post as soon as I get back from Tucson, but check out her blog, she has a nice self pic in her profile. She is very pretty (even when not wearing a skirt)

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Metro Departure

This is a picture of a Metro Train departing the Reaumur Sebastopol station in Paris. I am submitting it to the lensday challange under the "Departure" catagory.

Flag on an oil refinery

I shot this a few weeks ago when LA was getting five inches of rain a day. I happened to pass the refinery when the sun peeked out. This shot is my submission to I-gizmo under the Flag catagory.

A day in the park

My family went to the park today. It was sunny and hot, I figure about 75 degrees. I took my dog Thor and went walking among the trees while my wife and son skated the parameter. As you can see from the picture, we are deep into winter here in Southern California. Everything is green. If it were summer, this picture would be brown. The park is empty because today is the NFC and AFC championship games. I counted less than 50 people in the park today; there would normally be hundreds, if not thousands, of picnickers.

These seedpods were falling from a dozen trees. It made walking a little painful. I shot a couple pictures of these, but only this one comes close to capturing the feel of the day. I played with the depth of field some, but did not like the results.

The park was full of Snowy Egrets. I counted 35 within a hundred yard section of the river. I could not get too close because my dog would scare them away. What you don’t see in this picture is my little minpin jumping in the air trying to catch a bird that is three times his size.

LSD Blotter Art Examples

This is a blast back to the good old days of the 70s. The Erowid LSD Vault : Blotter Art Examples: "LSD Blotter Art Gallery" is a nostalgic look back at the art that adorned ones typical LSD tab. In my day, it was Goofy, Microdot, and “have a nice day” symbols (so I hear).

Back when I was a kid, acid were just part of growing up. It was everywhere (it was the 70s afterall). I look at these pictures today and think, “30 years in jail”. Times do change.

An acid flashback.

I remember being in the Air Force in 1980. I was in tech school learning to fix planes somewhere in Illinois called Chanute. I went out for a weekend beer drinking bender with a few of my mates. Along the way, most of them dropped acid. I pooped out after 12 hours of drinking a fell asleep at our camp sight. The next morning, all the acidheads were gone, so was my ride. I walked back to the base with a few friends, all were nursing bruising hangovers. When we walked through the gate, we were picked up for questioning by the base police. It seems my acidhead friends were busted and were trying to spread the love around by naming names. We all had to take drug tests, those of us that failed were washed out of the service under a general discharge. I passed the drug test, and so did one other guy. I cannot remember the total numberof people involved now, but 11 or 12 seems right. I was sentenced to 45 days of mowing lawns because I did not try to prevent my friends from getting high, and because I did not roll over on them when picked up by the base police. I had a perfectly valid excuse; I was absolutely shit faced drunk at the time, which I understood to be legal.

Drugs blow. I HATE mowing the lawn.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Testing Evolution

Teh digital life laboratory at California Institute of Technology has produced a software application called Avida that is an auto-adaptive genetic system designed primarily for use as a platform in Digital or Artificial Life research.

By studying this system, one can examine evolutionary adaptation, general traits of living systems (such as self-organization), and other issues pertaining to theoretical or evolutionary biology and dynamic systems. The power of Avida is that it gives us a controllable digital system in which to study the theories of evolutionary biology. Often, we can study elements of evolutionary theory that are difficult or impossible in biological systems.

Avida can be downloaded from here. Of course, to truely appreciate the power of this tool, one must be a Linux geek.

Link Dump

Stencil Revolution
Street Photography
Poster Offensive
Streets of Los Angeles

gmail woes - again

Since gmail seems to be down at the moment, well actually all friggen day. I thought it might be a good time to publish a link to the Complete Gmail Tips website. It has everything one would ever need to use this very difficult and reliable email tool.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Check the van for...

This is a first for me. Usually a van like this is a hippy drug van. In this case, I would have to go with cowgirl with an attitude. It might be a chopper riding, D&D playing cowgirl with an attitude, but a cowgirl with an attitude nonetheless. Although I would still check the van.

Read the Qur'an

I had to stalk this one. When the car drove by me, I caught a glimpse of a bumper sticker I did not recognize. I followed, and then positioned myself behind the car for a shot. Shooting bumper stickers is kind of like hunting really, only with a freaking stalking thing added (I am just kidding). I was surprised to see a “Read the Qur’an” bumper sticker. I had expected to see a gun nut sticker.

One other thing, I know this may seem like a weird hobby, but it serves two needs for me. I spend a lot of time in my car, so I try to use it creatively. The second thing is; I think bumper stickers can be a great way to study a culture. I am constantly amazed by what people will put on their cars.

Sticker Graffiti - Fart

I am seeing more and more of this type of sticker graffiti. In this case “FART” stuck to a no u-turn sign in the City of Cerritos. They seem to be made by the same person. I’ve seen them in Lakewood, Cypress, and Buena Park. I prefer sticker graffiti to tagging. It is actually interesting and can be funny.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

A crowd of color

I took this when there was still color in the world. It was only a few weeks ago.

My Photo Friday submission under the category Crowded

Welcome to the world of Mecca Cola

Wow - I guess somebody figured out Coke was an American brand. Mecca Cola Is supposed to be an Islamic replacement, I understand they plan to release Jihad Cola soon.

I don't think they like us:

"Following the example of business activities started by charitable associations - « the charity-business » - we considered the idea of launching a new concept, namely that of putting the economy to work in the interest of ideology."

They are going to use the sale of Mecca Cola to do what exactly?

"...Because of this, militant people who are experiencing financial difficulties have no other alternative than to create profit-making activities to enable them to achieve their objectives, even though they did not start out as either traders or capitalists."

They are going to fund terrorism.

"...The Palestinian people are experiencing indifference and general complicity, these being the most wretched and the most contemptible acts of apartheid and Zionist fascism."

Specifically, they are going to fund Palestinian terrorist.

Great – have a Mecca cola, kill an Israeli. That’s a marketing plan that will work! I wonder who owns this brand?

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Picasa2 - Very Cool

Check out this blog for tips and tricks.

A good Firpo Carr article

A friend brought a good article about Firpo Carr to my attention. It seems Robert Chalmers interviewed Carr for The Independent in July of 2004. My favorite quote from the article is this:

(Carr referring to Michael Jackson)
"Michael is the quintessence of innocence," says Carr. "If Jesus were here today, given how much he loved children, then - if the authorities had wanted to get him on something - probably they would have charged Jesus Christ as well"

I'm not sure of the logic here - it's just plain wrong.

Etymological Fallacy

A friend is going through the University of Phoenix undergrad program here in sunny (it was 84 today) Southern California. He is currently cherry picking elective classes prior to his graduation, but has had the misfortune of attending a comparative religion class taught by Firpo Carr. Of course, those of us who have already been down this path know that Carr will not teach comparative religion, he will instead fill the five class sessions with lectures on topics related to supporting the belief system of the Jehovah Witnesses Cult. My friend is in for a long series of lectures on the true name of god, the problem with the trinity, and biblical contradictions.

One of Carr’s techniques is to subdue his class by establishing how deep a understanding of etymology he possesses. He has read the dictionary cover to cover and has a ready repertoire of special words that are guaranteed to impress the uneducated or uninformed. He normally starts with a word like Gorilla. His intent is to establish with the students that the use of the word is racists because the dictionary refers to Gorilla as “a race of hairy African woman.” What Carr is doing is using an Etymological Fallacy, and he is damn good at it.

An Etymological Fallacy occurs whenever someone falsely assumes that the meaning of a word can be discovered from its etymology or origins. Gorilla may have started as a native term used in the 4th century to describe what we know today as gorillas (not as Carr asserts - hairy african women), but today it is used in common language to describe two things:

Zoology largest ape: the largest ape, native to central Africa, with a relatively short but very powerful body and coarse dark hair.

Thug: a large or brutal person, especially a hired thug

The word gorilla is not racist, nor is use of the word by a white man racist. However, teaching that use of the word gorilla is racist is wrong; it may even qualify as an abuse of power. I brought this up in class in a nice way, pointing out that perhaps he should not teach an Etymological Fallacy as fact. Carr suggested I might not want to be “Disruptive”, and then brushed over the topic with the class, most of whom had no idea of what I was talking about.

My friend is on alert to bring all Etymological Fallacies in after each class. I will be sure to post them here.

Coptic Orthodox Tattoo

This is a picture of a Coptic Cross Tattoo on the wrist of a friend of mine named Paul. Paul got this tattoo at the age of 13 while living in Egypt. It is a sign of pride and defiance given by the Coptic Orthodox Church and worn by its members in a predominantly Islamic county. Apparently, getting caught with this tattoo guarantees the bearer harsher treatment by the government. Coptic Christians have been getting this tattoo for generations, and although Paul’s tattoo is old and faded, at one time it was a vibrant depiction of the Coptic Cross. Paul mentioned that a few generations ago, Coptic Christians would get this same tattoo on their foreheads. I found a picture here.

Paul and I talked about the brutal murder of Egyptian born Coptic Christian Hossam Armanious and his family a few days ago. Paul said something that chilled my bones; “Stuff like this happens everyday in Egypt, and is happening now in Dalfur. Nobody cares."

I’ve posted on the Armanious murder here and here. The latest news release says that the killers did not deface Coptic Christian artifacts nor did they deface their tattoos. There is some hope that this was not a hate crime.

Bridge Abstract # 2

I have a series of these I took on my last trip to San Francisco. I posted another late last year. I love the way the feet are shown as a shadow against the white of the bridge.

This is my Theme Thrusday post under the category Shadows.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Holy Relic - Veil of the Virgin Mary

Many of my readers, well ok 12 of my readers, have written me about the Cathedral Notre Dame De Chartres in France. Most readers have requested I post additional pictures of the Cathedral, and in particular, picture of the Holy Relic housed in the Cathedral. I have a few shots of the relic, but because of photography restrictions in the Cathedral, they are of very low quality. I was forced to shoot freehand with a 1 to 2 second exposure. Most pictures looked pretty iffy.

The veil of the Virgin Mary is called The Sancta Camisia. It is supposed to be the actual veil worn by the Virgin Mary. I cannot vouch for its authenticity, but I can say it is protected as if it is very valuable. It also looks good for being 2000 years old.

More pics will follow when I get the time to work on them. I have some great indoor shots of the choir screen.

Hey, my favorite UOP pseudo professor has a website!

Check it out, The official web site of Dr. Firpo Carr. As if there were unofficial sites! The first paragraph of his website reads:

Firpo Wycoff Carr is a 50-year-old best-selling author who resides in the Los Angeles area, and who hails originally from Watts via South-Central. He is an internationally known author, scholar, and lecturer. Along with Janet Jackson, he is the recipient of the 2004 NAACP Award for Excellence in the Media,・and has been selected for Who's Who in America 2005 (59th Edition).

Let's see:
Best Selling Author – Ummm, I don’t think so, Carr is self-published
Carr is from the hood - that gives him street creed – right!
Internationally known - as a fringe Jehovah Witness nutball
Excellence in the Media - Really?, it must have been a private ceremony.
Who’s Who in America! - Me too! However, I did not want to pay the $250 for a personal advertisement.

Oh, and where did you get your PHD? I could not find it on your website. The UOP catalog does not mention your PHD, is that because it is from Pacific Western University, a known degree mill.

Carrs website blows – I nominated it for web sites that suck.

An Islamic murder of Coptic Christians?

Jihad watch has a good post of the murder of Hossam Armanious and his family. My friend Brad pointed out in a post in a seperate thread that a mutual friend thinks the Coptic cross tattoo was defaced by the murder. If this is true, it would seem religion is a factor in these murders.

The jihad watch article quotes a New York Post article titled "Islamic Hate" Eyed in Slays". The article contained this bit of information:

"The heartless killer not only slit Sylvia's throat, but also sliced a huge gash in her chest and stabbed her in the wrist, where she had a tattoo of a Coptic cross."

It would seem that this is what… a religious assassination?

Blue skys smiling at me

Each morning my view of the skyline ahead is blocked by a never-ending parade of trucks on their way to the Port of Long Beach. I cannot help but notice how ugly they are, but being ugly can sometimes be interesting right (right Brad, Richard?) Also, this shot is so Los Angeles. You can see blue sky peeking out behind the truck, yet your path to this promising vista is blocked by so much crap you often just give up and forget that LA can be beautiful.

This shot is my Photo Tuesday entry under the doors category. The truck has doors, right?

Monday, January 17, 2005

Noser - Bad Graffiti

It was a slow day in photography land. I shot this picture early this morning because I suspected what I had found was a graffiti poser. NOSER looked so bad,I could have painted this one myself. The real artist can be found here on, which is a graffiti index of sorts. Don’t ask me how I know, it comes from being a fan of good graffiti

Bad graffiti is well... just bad graffiti.

I would have got a close up but that would have meant climbing a chain link fence and trespassing, and I was late for work! I hope the abomination will be painted over soon.

Very disturbing - a family killed in NY

I read this news story and shuddered;Coptic Christian Hossam Armanious and his family of four were murdered yesterday. It looks and feels like payback. News reports say the father received death threats after arguing with a Muslim in a chat room. While LGF is pointing to a possible connection in the Steward Terrorism Trial. Whatever it turns out to be, I'm betting it relates back to Islam.

I've got a few death threats since I've started my blog. Most are from Islamic nutballs who would prefer I did not post my opinions about their supposed "religion of peace". I've ignored the death threats for the most part, but I think it might be wise to forward them on to the authorities. I get a lot of hate mail, but I’ve trained my spam tool to delete it, so no worries.

Kind of OT: I know a Coptic Christian from Egypt. He is a nice guy who was raised in America but travels to Egypt once or twice a year. The Egyptian government branded his wrist with the sign of the cross to identify him as non-Muslim. Barbaric, no?

I'll try to get a picture of the brand and post it.

The Angry Arab News Service

Every now and then, I come across a disturbing website like Angry Arab while surfing. I came to this site via some strange link about Michael Jackson, Firpo Carr and a prayer mat. I cannot quite remember the connection now, but the blog stuck out as disturbing. I spent some time reading what appears to be a young woman’s anti Israeli rant before I reached the conclusion that something is horribly wrong with this woman’s mind. Like maybe, logic and reason have gone bye bye.

One of here chief points (made over and over again) was that Jews worked with the Nazi’s to orchestrate the holocaust. I mean WTF? No rational person on the planet believes that drivel. The rest of the blog is anti American & anti Israel, which should really be no surprise.

I have put here on my visit and post list; perhaps you can do the same? LGF are you out there?

Sunday, January 16, 2005

El Shaddai on a Vette?

I was walking through a parking lot today when I saw the I heart El Sahaddai bumper sticker on a new Corvette Roadster. My first thoughts were typical for me. I wondered, what kind of idiot would put a tacky bumper sticker on a $60K car? One never really knows, and in California, one REALLY never knows. It is common to see this kind of thing on a Bentley, so why not one on a Vette.

El Shaddai is a Filipino charismatic Catholic sect. El Shaddai translates as El (God) Shaddai (Almighty) according to the Gospel Trail. Therefore, the bumper sticker means, “I love God Almighty”, which seems innocuous, right? However, I always have to ask, is that what it really means? In this case the answer to this question brings us into the realm of the Nutballs, well maybe anyway….

Brother Mike Velarde is the leader of El Shaddai. Apparently, some services can last 24 hours and start at Noon on Saturday. They often attract over one hundred thousand participants at a service. The sect is said to have over a million followers. It has been reinvesting its donations and has built a media center in Manila to help get the word out. Just what is "The Word"?

Brother Mike is a faith healer of sorts and also professes to being a Dedicated Roman Catholic. His mission is to lead the “unchurched” back to the true Catholic Church, (through him of course). Brother Mike is not a priest, nor does he hold any position in the Catholic Church, nor is he affiliated in any way with the Catholic Church. Bother Mike also emphasizes many of the cultural aspect of Islam in his ministries. It is quite common to see woman wearing official El Shaddai headscarfs, and to segregated duties base on sex. I’m going to have to check my sources on this one, but for now let's just say Bother Mike sets off my “Jim Jones” sensor.

The bottom line, most mainstream Christian groups thing El Shaddai is a cult. tt's leader a snakeoil salesman, and it's real purpose is building wealth. It’s core theological teachings are significantly different from those of the Catholic Church, different enough to get a good Catholic in serious trouble back at the local parish, And most telling, Brother Mike has used his sect to become a millionaire and political player in the Philippines....

Sign me up, oh yes, sign me up! I like Kool Aid just as much as the next guy.

If the bumper sticker had been on a Saturn, I would not have even noticed.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Statues at night, Paris

This is my submission under the catagory "contrast" for I-gizmo

I shot a series of pictures like these on my last trip to Paris; statues at night. They turned out to be some of my best work ever. I'm going to Budapest in two weeks, hopefully I will have some time to take a few pictures and continue the series. I think it is more likely that I will freeze my ass off and stay in the hotel. We’ll see.

How Berkeley Can You Be?

I do not know how I missed this! How Berkeley Can You Be? Parade, September 19, 2004. My son attended Berkeley and would often tell me stories of the nutball nudists, old hippies, and student activists that would parade around town. This page from zombietime is a great laugh. Every nutball group on the planet (well almost) in one place. My favorite photo is the furry naked man with the little winky. What the hell was he thinking?

This site might not be work safe, so be careful when viewing. It contains some really bad nudity. I think you can only get in trouble at work if it's good nudity. This is the "oh my god don't look or you'll never want to have sex again," type of nudity, so you might be safe.

The photos and commentary are very funny, enjoy.

New Photoblog: greyscalegorilla

I found greyscalegorilla on Lens Day. I love his (or her) technique. Greyscalegorilla is going on my list of favorite photo blogs as soon as I get around to making one. My favorite photo is this one of snow falling on a tree. It is awesome.

Was Bob Marley a Christian?

A funny thing happened today, I was reading my email and found I had people pissed off at me again, this time for criticizing Rita Marley for her attempt to move Bob Marley to Ethiopia. I had even a brief exchange will Marley worshiping Pastor Brad while at work yesterday. It got me to thinking, “What do I really know about Bob Marley?”

Well, I know his music, but I know nothing of his life besides what I’ve seen in a few documentaries. I started digging on the web and found an interesting rumor. It seems that Bob Marley may have rejected Rastafarianism by becoming a Christian shortly before his death. The basis of the rumor is a interview with Haile Selassie where Selassie very clearly says he is not God and should not be worshipped as such. Selassie sent Bishop Yesehaq to Kingston to establish the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and to help deal with the Rastafarian belief that Selassie was God. According to Yesahaq, Marley converted about 8 months before his death. Yesahaq eventually presided over Marley’s State Funeral, a honor the Ethiopian Orthodox Church only provides to members.

There appears to be other evidence supporting this rumor, like Judy Mowatts comments, an interview with Bishop Abuna Yesehaq, this article and analysis from Gospel City, and a FAQ entry on the subject by LION of Zion Entertainment.

Why does this matter? Because his Nutball aggrandizing widow, Rita Marley, seems intent on exhuming Bob Marley’s body and sending it to Ethiopia to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Marley’s birth this coming February.

I have a better way to celebrate the life and legacy of Bob Marley; the Bob Marley Day Festival in Long Beach

Friday, January 14, 2005

A little blood, a little sweat...

... a few tears, and some luck. The result is a passible abstract. I am submitting this shot as my Lens Day photo under the catagory "Abstract".

It turns out that I don't do abstracts too well. I think I am a little too structured. I am more of a "pretty pattern" type photographer. Shooting this was hard.

I tried other shots today, like this paint off a car hood;

Or this sign;

Or this hot sause bottle;

Nothing really worked for me. They tended toward the pattern type stuff I like so well. Then I got lucky with my first photo and now I am happy. Of course, I'm going to start looking for abstract possibilities because they are actually pretty cool.

As always, I welcome comments.

New Photoblog: Urbane Archaeologist

Every now and then I come across a photo I really like. Take this one at a new blog called Urbane Archaeologist, it captures everything I love about signage, art, music, and religion. It's just plain interesting. I hope she posts more shots like this.

I found her blog on photofriday, it was her first post.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Some call it home

© Copyright 2004 Mojoey

“Shangri Lodge”, a Mobile Home Park. Home to that fabled breed of American, “trailer park trash”. I can almost smell the pork rinds....

This is my photofriday post under the "signs" category.

Nutball Alert: Exhuming Bob Marley

Oh my god, I love Bob Marley. He was truly a god among men and one of the most influential musicians of the last 50 years. But exhuming Bob Marley and burying his remains in Ethiopia is just plain creepy. We are talking about his remains here, and by now his remains are just musty old bones. What is left of his sprit lives on in his music? Bob Marley is dead – let him rest in piece.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Things I gave up

© Copyright 2004 Mojoey

A year and a half ago I started graduate school at age 42. It is a decision I have regretted and appreciated many times since I started. To be successful, I had to give up things that consumed my time. I gave up sports on TV. I gave up TV in general. I gave up pleasure reading. I gave up sleeping. I pretty much even gave up poker. But the thing I regret most of all is that I gave up chess. I love the game. I suck at it, but that does not stop me from trying to suck less with each new game. I have not touched a chessboard since I started school. I have six months to go... I can already picture my first game. I will not be with my Uncle Demy (pictured above), he is just too good. It might be with my friend Richard. I can beat Richard.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The rain has ended!

© Copyright 2004 Mojoey

I shot this on my way to work this morning. I remember thinking, "damn, another day with no pictures". Then the sky cleared, the sun came up, and things started to dry out. It was actually nice today. I felt the sun on my face and took some great pics; it was a good day. Of course, it rained on the way home, but it was light action compared to days past.

I now know that I am officially “old”. I committed an “old person” sin today. In a conversation with a friend at work, I compared this week's rain storm to the “big one” back in 82 . As I said it, a mental picture of my grandpa flashed before my eyes. He had said the same thing many times. I had become him.

Carson Ugly # 20 - The Grocery Store

This is the last installment on the Carson Ugly project. It has been a fun six months documenting the ugliness of Carson one picture at a time. I could continue the journey, and perhaps I will, but for now, I am ending the project at 20 pictures.

© Copyright 2004 Mojoey

This is an abandoned building in the heart of Carson. It has been abandoned for at least eight years, maybe longer. I have driven past place hundreds of times without much of a thought, and then today my friend Brad pointed it out to me as I passed. He instinctively knew it was Carson Ugly, he was right. This place is unimaginative and grim, a perfect fit for Carson.

© Copyright 2004 Mojoey

This wooden beam was in what was once the parking lot of the grocery store above. Recent rains had surrounded it with a new growth of grass. The parking lot is desolate. It is about two acres in size and is surrounded by a rundown chain link fence, which is open in several areas. The place just begs for a good murder, and is most likely a good place to score some drugs after dark. Why would Carson have a place like this one block from the civic center? I am sure they have a good reason, right?

© Copyright 2004 Mojoey

I ran into “Bud” while taking pictures today. He used to work at this abandoned grocery store. He said, “In its day, it was quite nice, and had a good selection of fruit”, then he started to ramble about the Korean war, gambling, and how he did not need to beg for a living because he made good money collecting bottles and cans. -- I went back to work and doubled my 401k deduction.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Bush Administration and stinky fish

Bush is my president, but that does not stop me from watching him very closely. I do not agree with many things he does, nor do I ever expect to agree with him. Finding out that the Bush administration paid columnist to push its agenda just brings it all home for me. The Bush team has its own stinky fish. His team does things that are not always above board, not always kosher. Like this. Why would they do this? It is so disappointing, while at the same time, so typical, power begets abuse of power.

I wonder what kind of career “Journalist” Armstrong Williams will have now? Hmm... Would you like fries with that shake sir?

I've often wonder how the do it

U.S. submarine hit undersea mountain - Jan 10, 2005

I do not normally do random news posts, but sometimes these things interest me. Take submarines. I have always been fascinated by how one can drive a very large machine in the dark without a window and headlights. I know they use sonar, and other high-tech gear to guide them, but how did they miss a mountain?

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Butts Across America

I really don't know what to say here. Butts Across America is people showing their asses in the most amazing places. The site is family safe, but might get you into trouble at work.

Friday, January 07, 2005

I love this shot

© Copyright 2004 Mojoey

I'm pretty sure my son took this one on a weekend in Vegas, although it might have been one of his friends. I have always loved it. If fact, I’ve always wished I had taken it. I thought I would put it up as this weeks Photo Friday submission.

It's raining again

© Copyright 2004 Mojoey

It is never going to stop, never! It has been four weeks with only a day or two of sunshine at most.. This is Sunny Southern California for god’s sake. Where is the sun? Perhaps the sun will return if we sacrifice a virgin, but where to find a virgin in SoCal? I’m screwed.

Carson Ugly # 19: Main Street

© Copyright 2004 Mojoey

Have some pride.

This picture is slightly over exposed. Sorry, it was raining, windy, and I was in a standing in a deceptively dangerous public library parking lot. It was the best I could do under the circumstances. It is still a good picture. Carson is an ugly place.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Nutball Alert: Santa Claus and Satan's Cause

I don't know how I found this gem, but it is pure Christian Nutball stuff. Apparently Santa is Satan and we should not belive in him. Of course, my immediate thought was "Santa's real, wow"? But seriously, what the hell are these guys talking about? Their logic is all screwed up. Like the following bit:

Santa lives in the north: (This is the Tradition)
Jesus Christ Lives in the North: (They quote an obscure bible text)
Therefore Santa is trying to replace Jesus in the minds of children!

...and this is all the logic we need. It's obvious, Santa = Satan. Ya buddy! Can I go to your church?

I love their main page: They list the following articles as a guide:

Environmentalism = Evil - I'm not really sure why.
Christion Rock = Evil - I agree (execpt for Paster Brad)
Bible Versons = Evil - only there version is correct
Tattoos = Evil - but seductive
Homosexuality = Very Evil
Evolution = Evil (even though they use a red harring argument)
Alcohol = Evil (send it all to mojoey)
The Trinity = belive it like we do or your going to hell
Cursing = Evil - god know what you were going to say, it's a Santa power too.
Catholocism = I don't think they like them
Abortion = Evil - Evil -Evil
Debt = Evil (something we agree on)
The Jew = They don't like them much either
Calvinsim = Evil
Witches = evil, kill them all

Basically, they hate everybody. They are true church of love and tolerance. Sign me up!

Mutsu City, North of Japan

My son spent a nice holiday home with us in sunny Southern California (although it rained a a lot) only to return to his home in Japan to find a little snow. he he. His car is on the right. If I remember right, we took him to the snow three or four times before his move to Japan's great white north. I was thinking about paying him a visit. It will have to be in spring, which I hear is some time around June.

Oban Single Malt Scotch 32 year old

I just recently finished my last bottle of Oban Single Malt 32 year old Scotch (ok, my only bottle). I love the stuff. It is quite simple the best Scotch I have ever drank. I wanted to buy another bottle but, well, maybe not. The price is almost $500 a bottle online. I picked up my last bottle while in Europe two years ago, but only paid about $200 for it. I got to thinking, is there some tariff on Scotch Wiskey that is driving up the price, or is this just gauging? I visited the United States International Trade Commission and found the Scotch Whiskey’s are only assessed at $2 tariff per liter(page 10 of 13 on the pdf). Therefore, it is not a trade restriction driving up the price. It must be demand. Further Searching showed I had picked up a "rare" Scotch. Rare = high price = I am screwed.

I am thinking of posting a link to my PayPal account for donations to the Joe needs an Oban charity. Everyone seems to be in a giving mood lately, it might work.

Something wicked this way comes

I am not surprised that this misguided Marine has deserted again. Being under pressure as a charged deserter must have been a terrible strain. Yet, there is no justification for deserting again. Wassef Ali Hassoun is going to show up somewhere in America. When he does, I hope nobody gets hurt. However, I suspect his intentions are not honorable. It would be a shame if Hassoun further embarrassed the Marines by blowing himself up in some shopping mall or by going postal from an overpass. I hope he is caught soon.

Monday, January 03, 2005

School starts again, yippy!

Well, the new trimester starts tonight with class at Pepperdine's Irvine campus. Tonight is International Business Law. Gauging by the 10 pound textbook, the course should be a lot of fun! Wish me luck.

Women are Beautiful

Tim Carpenter has a slide show titled Women are beautiful on his site Untitled and Unsung. The show is great if you are into the kind of minutia that I like, and is work safe. My favorite is this (for obvious reasons). Oddly enough, I found this website though a link off a wedding photography website. I still don’t see the connection.

He slide show titled "Christmas is Weird" is also pretty cool.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Carson Ugly #18 - The Ladder

© Copyright 2004 Mojoey

This picture bothers me. I cannot figure out what they were thinking when they built this cage around a telephone pole. At first, I thought maybe the pole was valuable. Then I noticed that it was protected by a curb that would keep cars away, plus its location is kind of out of the way, so only a bad driver would hit it. Then I thought it might be to keep people from climbing the fence. Of course, then I noticed it is shaped more like a latter. Then I thought, maybe it is a decoration, a bad decoration, but a decoration nonetheless.

I could not figure it out, and it bothered me, so I called the property manager. He told me to mind my own friggen business. With a little coaxing, because I was really super nice and said please a lot, he said he never could figure it out either. He suggested I call the City. What City you might ask? Why CARSON of course! – They did not know either.

So I let it set until I could come up with a good explanation, then gave up. This is Carson Ugly #18. I am calling it "The Ladder" (because that's what I think it's used for).

*** Update ***

A friend tells me this is just a bad contracting job. They should have bricked in the alcove. Duh, and it’s kind of my point. Only in Carson would a contractor be able to get away with this kind of crap in a public space.

America - Love it or Leave it

© Copyright 2004 Mojoey

There is a subtle message here, let us see if we can decode it. I am a Marine, or maybe I want to be a Marine. I supported Bush in the 04 election. Lastly, if you don’t agree with my political world view, you can head to Canada. We can add, big truck = little dick, (No wait, I drive a truck, that is not going to work!). I think we can safely assume the truck owner has a crew cut and muscle shirt or is a skinhead with a goatee. He might also have a tribal armband, or a Celtic Knot tattooed on his arm. I would also guess maybe a cross hanging from the mirror or a Jesus bobble head on the dash.

Am I close on this one? What do you think?

One last thing. I shot this in Carson.

Nutball Alert - Mary Kate and Ashley are evil? Duh!

Ricky Vandal, the self proclaimed leader of the Church of The Blue Amazon, thinks the Olsen Twins are evil. I read all 2,737 words of his witty diatribe while thinking "this guy is wacked". Then I realize he's not a nutball, he's just funny! What threw me off was that I wanted to believe the Olsen Twins are evil. I mean, it sounds plausable, right?

Deep Thoughts for the New Year

When the age of the Vikings came to a close, they must have sensed it. Probably, they gathered together one evening, slapped each other on the back and said, "Hey, good job."

- Jack Handy

Saturday, January 01, 2005

What is the Carson Ugly Project?

I am an amateur photographer. I love taking pictures. I have taken pictures as a hobby ever since I was in High School. It is how I prefer to express myself.. I take my Nikon D70 with me everywhere I go. I tend to shoot weird stuff. A friend suggested I start doing photo projects based on some of my interests. I agreed and selected the City of Carson as my first subject.

I had a chance to meet the new Mayor of Carson, Jim Dear, a few weeks ago. He was upbeat about his city’s future. I wish I could share his enthusiasm. Carson is just plain ugly, even with the Home Depot Center, and all the redevelopment.

I think Carson is one of the ugliest cities in the country. I have traveled a great deal and besides maybe Chicago Heights or Newark, I have not run into an uglier city. Even Watts and Compton are more attractive. I started a 20-picture project to capture how ugly Carson really is. The pictures are indexed below.

The Carson Ugly series so far:

#1 - The Train Tracks
#2 - The Carson Can Man
#3 - The Gate
#4 - The Tree in a box
#5 - Wilmington Ave & 223rd
#6 - Political Postings
#7 - Fat woman sleeping on a bench
#8 - The Carson River
#9 - The Tarp Fence
#10 - The Park
#11 - Project 1202
#12 - Mullet Man
#13 - The Couch
#14 - The Mobile Home Gate
#15 - No Trespassing
#16 - Gray and Bleak
#17 - Shopping Carts

I Swear by all that is holy...

I will not eat another McRib pseudo pork sandwich again. It is, quite simple, a heart attack pill. For a fat man like me, it is like playing Russian roulette with an automatic. They are delicious, but I’d rather have pork ribs thank you. I’m not even sure what is in a McRib; It’s not rib meat. I tired to find it on the McDonalds website, but they do not give it up. According to Josh Eiserik you can find out by calling McDonald’s toll free number. It had better be pork!

What is this heart attack pill they call a McRib? It is 490 calories, 25 fat grams, 44 carbohydrate grams and 24 protein grams. Add 520 calories for a Large French Fries, along with 25 fat grams, 70 carbohydrate grams, and 6 protein grams, plus a “healthy” diet soda and you get…. Fat.

There are actually fan sites that petition McDonalds to bring back the McRib. And a few that worship it as the best sandwich made. I think these guys are fat too.

I must resist – No McRibs in 2005. No McRibs in 2005!

Why do they care what I think?

I am constantly amazed that Christians care about what I think. I was reading Fundamentalist Atheists – Unbelief with an Attitude by R. Albert Mohler, Jr. this morning. I figured, why not start the New Year off by checking out the other side. As usual, Mohler takes an Atheist website and uses it to paint Atheists as out to destroy the fabric of American society by supporting things like gay rights, abortion rights, and the right to die with dignity. I know these are buzzwords for the Christian community, but why do they care? Atheists are few in this country and we do not all believe the Secular Humanist party line. There are far more pressing issues to attend to, like battling radical Islam, and the growth of Islam as a faith in America. Atheists are small change. We are few, we are unorganized, and for the most part, we really do not matter. I think marginal is the term I am looking for, yes Atheists are marginal, focus on something else, something important.

One of the things what bothers me most about Mohlers article is that he thinks he understands what motivated our founding father when they formed our nation. He seems to think the founding fathers did not include gays in their thinking when forming the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Instead, he comes off as a typical Christian Homophobe. Who really cares what our founding fathers meant? They got slavery wrong, is it possible they got other things wrong too? What they gave us was a right to debate the issue and decide what is right through honest discourse. When you look at an issue like gay rights and take away the Christian filter, it is easy to see that they are no different from us and deserve the same protection under that law that we do. Christians argue from a position of morality as define by their Bible, just as Muslims argue from a position based on the Koran, both are tribal and tend to exclude others for not feeling, thinking, or acting like their holy texts dictate.

Mohler epitomizes my favorite problem with Christians. They don’t take responsibility for their own religions past. Mohler rails against Oxford University’s Richard Dawkins for pointing out that at one time Christians burned their own daughters as witches. The most common response to this is “but they were not part of my religion”. They say the same thing about the atrocities of Spanish Inquisition and the repressive history of the Catholic Church. I can go on and on, but why bother?

I know this post is going to incur the wrath of a few friends. They will tell me “we are different”, or “we are the real Christians”, or even better, “we believe in the bible”. As if somehow this makes a difference to me; Christians are Christians. It brings me back to my meandering point. Why do they care what I think? Atheists are few compared to the “unchurched” in America. Atheists are few compared to Islam in America. Why not focus your energy and attention on them?

Of course, we care about what you think, because not too long ago Atheists were burned at the stake too, and we continue to suffer at the hands of Christians today. Come out as an atheist at work and suffer the consequences. Come out as an Atheist in politics and kiss away any hope of public office. Why is this? We often hold high ethical standards and are model citizens, yet because we do no profess faith, we suffer. I have an idea; why not make 2005 the year Christians focus on people who need the attention? (let me give you a hint, it’s not Atheists.)

The origin of a nickname

Many people have written me to ask how I came up with Mojoey. The answer is simple. I did not come up with it. Like any nickname, it was given to me by others. I’ve had many nicknames over the years. Every thing from “Red”, to “The Mad Irishman”, to ” big guy” and even “grumpy”. A friend from work even calls me "Shrek", which I think is halariouis. I picked up Mojoey by way of a linguistic accident while working in France in 99. The staff of the facility I was working in referred to me a Gros Joe (pronounced “Grow Jo”). Now Grow Jo was not a pretty nickname, they were making fun of me because I was twice their average size and weight. I was not offended, but some of my American co-works were quite taken aback by this. They resolved to find me a better nickname.

We worked long and hard while in France. We were doing a BaaN ERP implementation under incredible pressure and intense deadlines. People’s jobs were at stake. The team, The French included, worked 70 hour weeks for months on end. It was really quite remarkable. One way we were able to keep working so hard was that the facility had a very nice kitchen on-site. We sat down to group lunches every day and rarely discussed work, but instead took the time to get to know each other.

I had developed a habit of ordering steak and eggs for lunch because I was doing the Atkins thing. I needed to communicate my order to the cook each day. She tried to speak to me in English, while I tried in to speak to her in French. I got better at ordering over time, but her English never did improve. Somebody told her that in English, all letter are pronounced, so she starting pronouncing my name Joey instead of Joe with a silent ‘e’. However, she did not extend this custom to other English words, like ‘more’, she pronounced it “Mo”. Combined together, it was common to hear her screech “Mo Joey” at the top of her lungs when my lunch was ready. What she was trying to say was “more of the same boring steak and eggs is ready, come and get it”. It often sounded like she was offering me more, but there were no second helpings in the cafeteria; it would have been bad form.

Over time, a few of my American coworkers would pick up the tagline “mojoey” whenever we were in the cafeteria. Mojoey quickly replaced the less popular “Grow Jo” and a new nickname was born. I let it die when I came home in 2000, but picked it up again while at Grad School. My initial blogging experiences while using my real name were bad. I got lots of hate mail and a few death threats, so I. switched to Mojoey early on. It kind of fits too.

So, now you know. Thanks for asking.

Happy New Year!

Happy new year everyone! Enjoy the holiday!