Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Plattsy The Clown sez:
“I’m reporting live from the Plattsburgh Public Library. The AC is still busted. Windows and doors are wide open. Fans drone on. But it’s still like a steam bath in here. It’s now 6:15 PM so let’s check on conditions.”
“OK, it’s over 85 degrees Fahrenheit with the humidity hovering around 45 percent. I wonder the heat index is. Wait a minute – I don’t feel too well. No, I’m reaching critical mass…”
“I’m melting! Melting! Oh, what a world, what a cruel world...”
So much for the live report from Plattsy. Like they say at the nuclear power plant, meltdowns happen. Meanwhile the renovations at the parking lot on the corner of City Hall Place and Court Street look neat. Why spend money on upgrading the AC – heating system at the library when the city can lay out the dough for fancy brickwork and stonework?
Isn’t it worth sacrificing the comfort, even the health, of the public library employees? And why should the city worry about its infrastructure? Screw infrastructure. Let’s build something neat downtown!
Look at this expensive stretch of stonework. Great place to let the wild weeds grow wild. Neat!
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
A summer evening. I’m on my bicycle, heading downtown, when I notice a gnarled tree across the street. The slanting sunlight rakes across its trunk, a striking image.
I slow down, turn around, and park my bike. I take out my compact digital camera and shoot a few images of the tree. It’s a tricky exposure so I switch between center-weighed and spot-metering modes. I walk across the street to get some closer shots while also double checking the exposure reading. Mission accomplished, I get on my bike and continue on my way.
When I arrive downtown, I get off my bike. A big pickup truck turns and illegally parks on the corner. I’m about to take my bike across the crosswalk when the truck driver, a blond crewcut Aryan, gets out and confronts me.
He looks at me and says, “Why were you taking pictures of my house?”
I do a double take. Then I realize what he means. Looking at him straight in the eye, I simply explain I was photographing the tree near the curb.
Mr. Crewcut continues: “My neighbor told me that you were taking pictures of my house.”
For a second time I state that I was photographing the gnarled tree, not his house. Satisfied, he gets in his truck and drives back to his sacrosanct dwelling.
But questions remain on my part. Why is Mr. Crewcut’s neighbor keeping an eye on his house? Is the concerned neighbor assuring the safety of Mrs. Crewcut, acting as a stalwart sentinel with binoculars in hand?
Why is Mr. Crewcut so concerned about my little widget camera imaging his house? Why did he have to jump into his pickup and follow me downtown to confront me? Does he have something to hide? I have nothing to conceal as a photographer. That’s why I took my time, out in plain view, taking a few shots of the tree that happened to be near his house. If I was being furtive, then there’s a reason to inquire about my activity.
If Mr. Crewcut is so upset about his house being imaged, why doesn’t he go after the operators of various high altitude spy satellites that have recorded his house without his permission? If he wants to get angry, why doesn’t he check out the sky shot of his private abode on Google Earth?
And if he’s sensitive about surveillance, why doesn’t he inquire about the mysterious camera system on the pole at the corner of Broad and Prospect streets?
Monday, July 23, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
When Dan Stewart was mayor of Plattsburgh, he issued a proclamation: this winter the sidewalks shall be clear! And – Behold! – all sidewalks were kept passable, the snow was shoveled away!
But Dan Stewart didn’t rest on his laurels. When the warm weather came, he declared: All sidewalks shall be free from untrimmed hedges. And – Behold! – from that time all hedges in the city have been properly cut back.
One wonders how Dan is doing with his new job in Albany. If I could only Behold! his latest accomplishments…
A friend let me borrow his film-slide scanner and after spending too many frustrating hours, I've finally learned how to get a decent image from a negative. (The instruction manual is next to useless - but what else is new?) These images are from the Mayor's Cup fireworks, scanned from negatives. The previous images were made from 4 by 6 prints, created with a flatbed scanner. The film scanner gives me more control over how the image will finally look.
Monday, July 16, 2007
A week later: still no photos of the Mayor’s Cup fireworks in the Press-Republican. To prove that I can provide a little more for your dollar with this blog, here are my images of the event. Maybe they’re not as impressive as what a professional photojournalist would provide, but (1) at least I have some to share and (2) the “cost” to you is reasonable.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Today wasn't as hot and muggy as yesterday but the Plattsburgh Public Library was plenty uncomfortable; the air conditioning is still on the fritz. Even with all the fans going, it felt a lot stickier and warmer inside the library than outside. Without proper ventilation the air within the library just hangs there, sapping your strength.
As you can see with the accompanying image, at 3:20PM today one section of the library was up to 86.9 degrees F. I don't know how the employees can tolerate such conditions. As a patron I have the option of leaving at any time, especially when I start feeling sick.
The heat is so bad that it's killing off the bugs. How long before patrons and employees start dropping like flies?
I propose that the library should be relocated to the parking lot built down by the lake for the grand hotel-conference center that still hasn't materialized. A nice breeze comes off the water. Just throw up some big tents and park the bookmobile there. This way the empty parking lot will get some use. In fact, it may be the only time that lot will be used for anything.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Monday, July 02, 2007
Jesus. The name doesn’t really attract attention when walking by a church. But when it prominently appears in an unusual setting, you can’t help but notice.
The parked gray van was adorned with messages painted with bright golden lettering. The owner was sitting in the front passenger seat, talking to a passerby who shared similar beliefs.
I asked the owner if it was OK to take some photographs. She agreed, seeing my interest as an opportunity to spread her message.
As I grabbed a few pixel pix, she told me that she bought the van for only $100. When I was imaging the hood, the self-proclaimed reverend asked me if I knew what the biblical quote meant, the one on the driver’s side. She explained that the quote from Revelations meant that all churches who received non-profit status from the federal government were under its control and therefore under the control of Satan.
Apparently the Number of the Beast is 501(c).