Engrish_Major / Member

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Engrish_Major Blog

WTC Photo

Here's a photo that I took in '99 or '00 of the twin towers during my first-ever visit to NYC. I just had a disposable camera (remember those?) and took just one shot of these. The rest were of me and my then-girlfriend doing the normal touristy things. We did end up going into one of the buildings. There was a mall underneath of them, and we wanted to visit the Sam Goody (CD store, remember those too?) because we both worked in one in Maryland at the time. I've had an 8x10 of this photo sitting in a box forever, and just decided to get it scanned. I have scoured my apartment looking for the original negatives, but can't find them unfortunately. At least I've got a digital copy now. Because of the crappy film/camera, it's pretty grainy. But I kind of like that quality in this image.

My Supermarket Rant

Most other countries' cities host permanent markets near the urban core where residents can purchase local fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, and dairy products directly from the farmers. Why not ours? Instead of markets, we have one of the most recognizable products of the post-WW2 building boom - the supermarket. This one-stop-shopping mecca of sustenance promises to prevent one from having to interact with the very people who are involved with the production of your food. Even if you could, (if they weren't likely 1000 miles away), why would you? What do you have in common with a factory worker in New York? Or a nutritional scientist in San Jose? As suburban farms disappeared during the boom (replaced by cul-de-sacs named after the very farms they replaced) another assault on our farming heritage was being carried out. Massive subsidies encouraged farmers to dismantle diverse farms in favor of corn - and thus disrupt the natural preferences, and pricing structure, of our entire diet. Thus, neighborhood grocers and markets alike were usurped in favor of dozens of gleaming isles showcasing our scientists' ingenuity (i.e., their ability to make corn taste like almost anything). In lieu of natural food's innate ability to advertise itself, graphic designers had to be hired to make their homogenous products more attractive than their competitors. Rows and rows of cardboard and plastic are not very appetizing, which is where the Pantone color system saves the day! "Our food looks the same before and after you've eaten it, but our packaging has won plenty of awards!" An entire sub-industry has been created to get you to buy their delicious corn-sweetened-varieties of food. Which color is most appetizing? What type of music gets people to spend the most? Which type of end caps move product the fastest? Walk through a farmer's market one weekend (if you can find one). EVERYTHING looks appetizing - and is probably good for you as well. Another foreign concept also presents itself at local markets, as you get to speak to the very person that is responsible for its existence. The products contained on their shelves are not grocery stores' only offense. Google the satellite view of the Safeway at 3830 Georgia Ave in DC. A Safeway that looks just like one further north in Wheaton, which looks just like one in Montana, which looks just like one in San Francisco. This store, created by designers who have absolutely no knowledge (or care) about the local architecture, completely breaks up the pre-existing building fabric in favor of a giant parking lot. Every business in blocks (save for the adjacent partner in crime, Wendy's), directly faces the street. Instead of an inviting storefront, that pays respect to the facing street and surrounding environment, we are given a massive, ugly concrete expanse filled with cars and runaway shopping carts. While fresh food markets are inherently human (and have been a staple of the human experience for thousands of years), we now have, in the center of an urban environment, thousands of square feet of no-man's land - an area in which no person would want to spend more time in than it takes to scurry to and from your automobile. Supermarkets, and their other big box one-stop shopping relatives, represent the death of culture and the death of community.

Engrish_Major's Inferno

Me: Lunch break. Heat index: 95.

The sweet, potent urban fragrance of trash dumpster, urine, and hobo permeate the humid air. I trudge along the Lean, Mean Grilling Machine that is 14th Street, the heat only punctuated briefly by the inviting whiff of AC from the occasional open storefront door.

Looking up, I feel that this particular business will suffice for a brief respite, as I enter Joe's Premium Cupcakery, Haberdashery, and Shoe Repair. "Can I help you?" prods the salesman. I pretend that I'm on my phone. Slinking away to an uninhabited corner, I ask myself, when is it that we become animals? Is it when the pursuit of personal comfort overtakes our sense of decency? Is it when I started knawing on the salesman's shins?

Abandon all hope ye who wish for their undergarments to remain unsoaked. For it is summer in DC, and we hath surely sinned. Surely it's no coincidence that the visage of the salesman was eerily reminiscent of Dante, the poet who described the 2nd level of Hell that we currently inhabit? Alas, it is nigh 1pm, and I must retreat to the purgatory of my office. If air conditioning is a sin, then I shall delay my repentance indefinitely, or at least until September.

Musings from the Imminently Unemployed

Times are tough for everyone, especially those in industries facing rapid technological changes. What does it feel like to know that your job's days are numbered? Let's find out!

Me: Time-Traveling Bounty Hunter
You: T-800

An industry shaking, Skynet-made creation
Unemployment's quite the humbling situation
My industry's demise
Shown in glowing red eyes
O cyborg, yes, you've caused my termination.

Me: Factory Floor Manager, Germany, 1945
You: Allied Advance

In constant fear of daily bombing missions
Our defense succeeding I am strongly wishin'
Wherever will I go
When the only thing I know
Is how to build these Panzer tank transmissions?

Me: Encyclopedia Salesman, 1995
You: Efficient Digital Storage

Going door-to-door, I'm getting the impression
An emerging tech, digital compression
Fits all this history
On one single CD
It's putting me in a severe depression.

Most Valued Possessions

Here are some photos I finally got around to taking of some eggs that my dad made. It is an example of Pysanky Ukranian art, which is the decoration of real eggs (usually chicken). Basically, the lightest color is added first via die, then the area to remain that color is covered with wax via a special pen, then the next color is added, and so on. Then the wax is melted off with a candle.

The black, red, and blue one has a story - I had never had an egg of my own. They were always all around my parent's house, but I had moved out of home a couple years back and didn't have one. Then, one Father's Day, I visited dad and we went out to dinner. Afterwards, we went back to his home and watched Caddyshack and had a beer or two. Upon my way out, he said to wait, he had something for me. It was an egg, in a small box with a stand. He had made one just for me. I said thanks and left. That was the last time I saw him alive. He was killed in an auto accident one week later.

That is officially what I'll grab first in case of fire (that and maybe the cats). The other two I got from mom after he died.

(click for larger image)

Trying my hand with digital art

In a slight departure from my photographic ways, I have recently expanded my Photoshop knowledge to creating digital art from scratch. Thanks to the recent aquisition of a Wacom tablet (thanks to the gf), I have learned so much more about Photoshop than what I needed to process photos. I have also aquired Illustrator, and will be trying out Corel Painter 11 soon. Two of my first creations (click on the image for a larger picture):

I am about to start with digital 'painting' in addition to the above more vector-oriented art. Let me know what you think!

My GameSpot Poem. *ahem*

G is for Gamespot, the hotbed of Awesome upon which I tread. :)
A is for Arguments I tend to dread due to the widespread bloodshed. :(
M is for Moderation, again I pled, what is it that I said? :cry:
E is for Epic YLYL, I lost when I read an image you embed. :lol:
S is for Star Crystal, a retread which really needs to be dead. :|
P is for Political threads, *smacks forehead*, your assumptions are so misled. :x
O is for Off Topic, go right ahead - post another religious thread. :roll:
T is for the Time I spend, when I should be working instead. 8)

Some Photography Notes

I just started taking pictures again after a long break, and it was great! The only bad part was that I shot my very last roll of a discontinued film, Kodak HIE. It is an infrared film that results in beautiful, surreal images. This film, which records infrared wavelengths instead of visible light, was discontinued last year due to declining demand.

Fortunately, I am getting a Nikon D200 infrared-modified so that I can easily take infrared photos with a digital SLR instead of using film. This should be fun, however, I am still very sad about a departed dear friend, Kodak HIE.


RIP :cry: