Posted in Finding Frost's Road: Encounters with the Culture

Report #4 from The Washington Auto Show: The Automobile As Canvas

(The following is a reprint of an article I posted in 2008 which features photos and commentary from a visit to the Washington Auto Show. I will repost these reports over the next successive Saturdays as a KMLS PhotoShop feature).

Previous Reports:

Report #1

Report #2

Report #3

Report #4

The automobile has always been a place for the human to express his/herself, from bumper stickers to air brush masterpieces. The 2008 Washington Auto Show has some pretty amazing representations of customization and car art. The following are some of the examples:

Car Custom Front by KMLS
Car Custom Side by KMLS

Pretty impressive art, huh? Such work speaks for itself. I as the photographer am only the documenter. Here is a roadster that was next door to the funny car:

Face Custom Car by KMLS

And those flames, who can stay away from flames, and on a Fairlane no less.

Fairlane Flames by KMLS

I’ll leave you with a very interesting car called “Hip Hop.” This baby was decked out with beautiful art on the outside and included an amazing sound system on the inside complete with a DJ system so you can make your own grooves and have your own party wherever you go.

Hip Hop by KMLS

Tomorrow will be my final reflection. See you then!

Posted in Finding Frost's Road: Encounters with the Culture

Report #3 from The Washington Auto Show: The Past Is Beautiful

(The following is a reprint of an article I posted in 2008 which features photos and commentary from a visit to the Washington Auto Show. I will repost these reports over the next successive Saturdays as a KMLS PhotoShop feature).

Previous Reports:

Report #1

Report #2

Report #3

The theme of this year’s auto show is “Engineered for the Future.” Visitors are invited to see a piece of the future of automobiles. My first report took a look at this theme with an emphasis on new 2008 models and vehicles featuring green technology. But no auto show is complete without those beauties from the past. In this report I will feature “oldies, but goodies,” cars from history that still have the power to turn heads.

Since we’re talking about history, here’s some tidbits about the show: As far as I can tell this is the 66th year of the Auto Show. For 62 of those years it was held around Christmas and New Years to take advantage of visitors. But to make it a more world class show for everyone, especially residents of this fair city, Washington Convention and Tourism Corp (WCTC) and the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association (WANADA), the primary sponsors of the show, decided to shift it to a later date.

Now for some shots of history:

Corvette by KMLS
Oldies by KMLS
Nissan Racer by KMLS

Below is the lowly, reliable Fiat, movie star of the ages and workhorse for eons, framed by a muscle car.

Fiat Juxtaposition by KMLS

And we’ll end with those sports cars that have had us salivating for years-Ferrari and Porsche.

Ferrari by KMLS
Porsche by KMLS

My next report will feature art on wheels. Stay tuned!

Posted in Finding Frost's Road: Encounters with the Culture

Report #2 From The Washington Auto Show: On The Inside And Fun With Filters

(The following is a reprint of an article I posted in 2008 which features photos and commentary from a visit to the Washington Auto Show. I will repost these reports over the next successive Saturdays as a KMLS PhotoShop feature).

Previous Reports:

Report #1

Cars Through Glass by KMLS

I never realized this before but one of the cool things about an auto show is that I get to sit inside cars that I will probably never see again, let alone afford to drive. I can do this at a dealership I know but it’s nice not to have somebody pressuring you to buy. I checked out a couple and I must say I was more impressed with the comfort of a “cheaper” American-made sports car than a Jaguar. Here are some pics:

Funky Pink Inside by KMLS
Car Interior PC Filter by KMLS

This report features photos with filters and manipulation through Adobe Photoshop. Automobile pictures lend themselves to very cool results due to light refraction and the intersecting lines and curves. Comment with your questions about specific filters used. Here are several more:

Car Collage 1 by KMLS
Car Front Neon by KMLS

Stay tuned tomorrow for my historical piece. This is your Slow Mover Reporter signing off.

Posted in Finding Frost's Road: Encounters with the Culture

Report #1 from The Washington Auto Show: Introduction and Concept Cars

(The following is a reprint of an article I posted in 2008 which features photos and commentary from a visit to the Washington Auto Show. I will repost these reports over the next successive Saturdays as a KMLS PhotoShop feature).

The Washington Auto Show up is happening January 23 through 27 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. Today was Washington Post Day which more than receiving a plastic bag with some trinkets meant that I got $4 off at the door (reg $10) with a coupon from the Post. (P.S. Print a page from AutoTrader.com and get $4 off for Friday).

I’ve never been to an Auto Show before and I figured I should go as your Slow Mover Reporter. (And to take a plethora of cool photos). So here’s Report #1.

Crushed Car by KMLS

No, this is not a booth on the dangers of drunk driving. It was at the Washington Post Booth on Level D. Guess the make and model of the car and get free gas for a year. I didn’t try. But I thought it’d make a cool pic. (Some guys talking behind me thought it was a Mazda, 1987 maybe?). What do you think?

Car Supended by KMLS

Here is an interesting display set up featuring two 2008 GM Pontiac Firebirds. I noticed no one was getting into the one underneath.

Close Up Chevy Volt Concept Car by KMLS

The 2008 Show features the latest in green technology. The Chevy Volt (above) is a concept car with the E-Flex System. It uses batteries alone for a 40 mile radius before the auxiliary engine starts and can adapt to alternative fuels including diesel or hydrogen fuel cell. Also, it has a transparent polycarbonate roof for all around visibility.

The following are several other concept cars:

Fuel Cell Car by KMLS
Ford Hydrogen by KMLS
Engine and Car by KMLS
Buick Enclave by KMLS

And I’ll leave you with a final reflection. Until tomorrow, this is the Slow Mover Reporter at the 2008 Washington Auto Show signing off!

Funky Close Up by KMLS
Posted in Finding Frost's Road: Encounters with the Culture

The World’s Store on Every Corner

The store has seen better days.

Outside, the paint is peeling, showing a variety of hues. The sign is missing letters and the walls are plastered over with shredded remnants of advertisements in a multitude of languages.

The steps creak and groan as I walk up them past a pair of scattered bicycles and an old man astride an even older lawn chair to the door thrown wide open in the summer heat.

Inside, the young owners of the bikes outside are being told that they are 20 cents short for the items they wish to buy. I fish in my wallet and lay a crumpled dollar bill on the counter.

Thank you, sir, the boys say. I nod, turn away, and begin opening the mismatched coolers in search of some sustenance.

It takes awhile, but eventually, in a rickety cooler wedged between a rack of homemade shelves, I find what I am looking for. I take the drink up to the counter where two men are discussing who is going to buy a case of beer. One man has been helping the other on a roof all day and the other, in rough gratitude, is insistent that he will pay for the beer.

They leave and I step to the counter where the owner greets me with a smile and the change from the dollar I contributed to the boys’ snacks. I am surprised. It is not every day I walk up to a counter to pay and receive money back first.

Spying the rewards flyer on the wall beside the cash register, I ask the owner if the robbers have been caught. She shrugs, takes my money, and shakes her head no. She doesn’t seem overly concerned and I can’t tell whether she has little hope they will be caught or whether it’s not important enough to keep her from the daily running of her business. The door stays wide open. There is no bullet proof glass around the cash register. It’s just her and I making an exchange, sharing a smile and a goodbye. Then I am back outside.

The bikes are gone. The roofers are leaving in a big blue truck. The old man is still in his chair. We nod at each other and I head back to my car, cold drink sweating in my hand.

It has been a long, hot day so once inside, I start the car, turn on the AC, open the bottle, and take a long drink. Sitting there before I go, I realize that in the moments when I left my car, entered the store, and returned, I have been a sort of world traveler in my interactions with the people around this neighborhood store.

Latino. African-American. Asian. Caucasian. For the smallest bit of time, I stepped within the beauty of God’s coloring book. Living where I live, there are many such moments on any given day. It is a gift of my place of residence for which I am profoundly grateful and one which I hope I will never take for granted. I think of how ugly and gray my life and the landscape of this country would be if the border walls kept out anyone who did not look like me.

I resolve again to do all I can to be a bridge builder and a wall breaker. Then with one last glance at the world’s corner store, I put my drink in the cup holder, place the car in gear, and drive on to the next cross-cultural experience.

A block from home, I catch myself humming “Colored People” by DC Talk.

Posted in Finding Frost's Road: Encounters with the Culture

Walking home on a Saturday morning

I walk through the town in the quiet of an early Saturday morning.

I listen to the loud greetings of the alcoholic men who wait for the liquor store to open.

I walk past discarded clothes where the homeless slept.

On the street that was crammed with rush hour traffic yesterday, now there is only the occasional wind of a passing car.

Here is the place where I spoke to the proprietor about playing music in the evenings. She has yet to respond. I think of my concert hat that still hangs from the hook in a dark closet and my guitar lying lonely in its case in the corner.

I share a smile with the old woman beneath her magnolia tree which reminds me of my boyhood home.

Then I am at the hill and climbing toward my house, wondering what awaits me there today.

Behind me the sun rises.

I feel the heat on my back and before me my shadow stretches out, leading the way, pointing me towards home.

Posted in Finding Frost's Road: Encounters with the Culture

Susie B And Me

Susie came into my life recently again. It had been several years since I held her. We met at the Post Office as I was buying stamps. She touched my hand. She hadn’t changed a bit (or eight bits). I should have realized that our relationship was not going to change either.

The next day we took the MARC train from Brunswick, MD to Union Station in Washington, DC. It felt nice to have her along though I was a little worried that she wouldn’t be accepted. At Union Station, I needed to catch the Metro to get to work. I asked the man in the kiosk if Susie would be allowed at the ticket machine and my worst fears were realized. He said that she wouldn’t.

I can’t say that I didn’t see it coming. I had a hard time getting rid of her before. And now I’m stuck with her again.

Tonight, when I catch the bus to the Metro, I’m going to try to give her to the driver. But before I do, I’m going to make sure I show her to him and explain. She may look like a quarter, sir, but she’s actually a dollar. I hope he takes her. If he doesn’t, I’ll be walking. Oh well, I should have realized what was going to happen when I saw her that day in the Post Office. A Susan B. Anthony dollar is the Rodney Dangerfield of money. She gets no respect.

In her 1979, deformed, poorly minted way, Susie B was an omen. She let us know just how bad things were going to get in the 80s.

December 1995

Posted in Finding Frost's Road: Encounters with the Culture

The Coyote Rooster

Coyote RoosterHe’s young so he’s learning how to crow.

I thought roosters knew how to right from the egg. Maybe so. But this one doesn’t. Dawn and dusk I hear his eery yell wafting across the field from my neighbor’s house.

She was out at the coop one morning this week trying to teach him. “It’s not three syllables,” she said slowly. “It’s five syllables – cock-a-doodle-do.” Over and over again. She didn’t think he got the message.

And then she got to thinking. Why is it so important for the rooster to sound, well, like a rooster? Maybe he’s a nonconformist. He definitely is original. Perhaps he has a good reason for sounding the way he does. What with hawks, snakes, foxes, and all sorts of predators in them there hills, how’s a rooster supposed to protect his brood? It sure makes my hair stand on end.

Cock-a doooooo.

Maybe he’s figured something out and is smarter than we give him credit.

Cock-a-doooooo.

Maybe he doesn’t need any crowing lessons at all.

Cock-a-doooooo.

Maybe, just maybe, the rooster WANTS to sound like a coyote.

November 5,2007