Archive for October, 2003

They lifted the bar for me to see Clark

October 27th, 2003 No comments

Gallery of Clark pics.

You can see my hair in the last picture on this site (bottom left). Weird.

I got up a half hour or so earlier this morning to get some photos of the second Democratic presidential nominee hopeful who’s come to Madison. Wesley Clark was supposed to greet students and the public at 9:30 AM, but had to first attend a meeting with the governor and his lieutenant.

I sat around the governor’s office for quite a while, and a reporter struck up conversation with me. I asked her who she was writing for and she said The Progressive, I believe. She saw I had my camera and asked who I was working for, so I explained I was just doing some freelance stuff. After she found out where to get press credentials, she pointed me in that direction to get some also. I figured why not, and got some.

I told the guy I was doing freelance work and he didn’t care. He handed me a cool little “Press” tag and pointed me towards the state assembly’s parlor where a press-only event was being held.

That event was where Barb Lawton, Lt. Governor, announced her support for Clark and also that she will be heading his statewide campaign. The speech was somewhat trite, but I was surprised how well Clark spoke. He wasn’t astounding, but was comparably better than Dean.

After the conference, he headed out to shake hands at a rope line. With my neato press credential, I got to walk behind the rope line with him. This allowed me to get some good shots of him shaking hands etc.

I don’t think I would have asked for press credentials if it were not for that reporter who spoke to me earlier. From now on though, I’ll certainly be trying to get them.

As Clark was getting into his van to drive away, I got a chance to shake his hand. I wished him look and he took the time to thank me, so that was pretty cool. I’m two-for-two on shaking hands with candidates coming through Madison. Let me know when you hear of a third.

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Long time…lots I’ve seen

October 26th, 2003 No comments

Sorry I haven’t written in a while, school’s kept me busy. I’ve been interviewing a few places also, and am going for a second round interview this week sometime.

Gallery of the pics from 10/19 here.

Last Sunday, the 19th, a friend of mine (Cheng) asked me if I wanted to come with him and his pilot friend (Adam) on a flight above Madison. Adam apparently does this regularly to brush up on his skills. I was astounded that I was asked and jumped at the chance to go.

We headed over to Truax (Madison’s airport) and picked up the keys and a few headsets from Wisconsin Aviation. Adam had brought a friend along also, so there were four of us going up in a four-seater plane. We headed out to the tarmac, and prepped the plane. I believe it was a Cessna 172.

Normally when I fly commercially I get slighly apprehensive about it. This time, I somehow felt very much at ease. I think most of that was from knowing the pilot was like a foot in front of me, rather than behind some closed door at the front of the plane. It also helped that, to me, it seems you can control a smaller plane more easily than some huge commercial one that literally flies by wire.

Takeoff was smooth and my ears didn’t pop at all. We got up to about 3,000 feet and headed northwest towards Devil’s Lake. I brought my camera of course and shot about 185 pics. Devil’s lake looks completely different in the air – it looks like a tiny hill compared to the beast it is when you hike it.

As we flew back in Madison’s direction, I saw the ferry over the Wisconsin River at Merrimac, the Culsac III. I was surprised to see it in operation because every time I hear about it it’s under repair. Adam flew the plane closer to it and I got some decent shots of it.

We got permission to to a “photo run” over campus as we headed back. We were at just over 1000 feet as we flew over UW. You could easily make out each building, and the light was just bright enough to snap some good shots. I couldn’t really see the Capitol that well from my window, but I could see all of Lake Mendota quite well.

After the photo run, we had to sweep around to the other side of the airport to land the same way we took off. Usually the landings scare me more than taking off, but again, I didn’t feel nervous. The landing was mostly smooth, and it was fun to watch the wheels hit out my window.

Flying over Madison is one of the best experiences I’ve had since coming to Madison. It’s amazing to see places you know quite well on the ground, from the air. We saw sunset while were up there also. The colors were much more vivid, and the sun was more distinct from the air.

The bill for the 9/10 of an hour we were up, was only $88. I don’t think that’s bad at all – especially split four ways. I’d love to do it again, at a different time of day or to a different location. Seeing my house, or Chicago, or Milwaukee for that matter would be cool. If you ever get the chance to do something like this yourself, jump on it.

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He shot me while I was shooting him

October 5th, 2003 No comments

Looks like the Rick Wood of the Journal Sentinel got a pic of me taking pics of Dean, for his shot in this story.

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Howard was the Dean at UW today

October 5th, 2003 No comments

Democratic nominee hopeful Howard Dean visited Madison this afternoon as one of the stops on his Generation Dean tour. A whopping 5,000 attended, according to event organizers.

The event was supposed to be held at the Kohl Center’s “lawn”, but it ended up happening at the entrance near the practice gym/ticket office. It wasn’t nearly large enough to handle the crowd that had gathered, but I guess it provided a decent backdrop for his speech.

Dean’s speech was preceded by a local band, and an introduction from the head of Madison’s chapter of N.O.W. His welcome to the stage was enhanced with signs and pom pons passed out to the crowd.

I had registered for this even prior to it happening, and was able to get in to see him rather easily, even at 4:00 when the event started. Those who did not register early were forced to wait in a massive line, and register with the Dean campaign. I’m glad I took the time to fill out the registration stuff.

I managed to weasel my way up to the front of the crowd, with maybe 2 people in front of me. I took maybe 200 pictures, and got to shake Dean’s hand twice (I snuck in for a 2nd chance:).

His speech sounded somewhat unrehearsed, there were a few choppy parts here and there. But, his delivery was leagues ahead of Bush’s TelePrompted drivel. A couple times during the speech, he was interrupted by some questioning supporters. One person, asked about medical marijuana, and Dean took the time to answer. I’m glad to see he will take the issues head-on, instead of dancing around them and ignoring comments from the very people who do the voting.

Topics ranged from the use of tax money by the Bush administration to the local Tyson food strike. He made numerous to Kenneth Lay and his henchman, and Bush’s contributions to them. Multiple times Dean made an effort to differentiate himself from his Democartic competitors, which was much different than the general Bush-bashing the candidates were up to for the last debate I watched.

He made one faux pas when it came to announcing his capaign’s “email address”. Instead of giving an address to email someone at, he really gave out, which is a website. It’s the kind of error usually made by those who don’t use the Internet that much. So I guess he might not use it tons, but his staff certainly does.

I do give him and his staff props for actually making a blog site, much like this one, to inform supporters. It shows that while he may not know the difference between a website and an email address, at least his campaign is making an effort to incorporate new technology into the relatively old methods of campaigns in the past.
A Bush-Cheney supporter had somehow managed to sneak his sign into the rally, but was pretty much unnoticed until after the event was over. Local media saw him and he’ll probably get mentioned in a story – just what he was after. Heck, I just mentioned him here.

I’m hoping that, due to the turnout, Dean comes back at least once before elections next year. Gore came the month before the election in 2000, maybe Dean will put the same significance of visiting Madison this time next year also.

I’ve managed to sort through all the pics I took and post the better ones here. If you want a link to all the pics I took, feel free to message me for it.

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Rolling up State St.

October 4th, 2003 No comments

I was heading towards State St. on my way to the little Italian grocery store around here, when I heard some lound chanting. I looked down the road and saw a slow-moving squad car with its lights flashing, escorting a sizeable crowd of people up the street. A large banner informed onlookers of the march’s intention: “Stop the drug war! Medical Marijuana”.

Figuring that getting some good pics of the event was better than getting food, I ran back up to my apartment and grabbed my camera. By the time I get back out there, the march was just passing by my section of State Street.

I had heard about this even before, but this was the first time I’ve witnessed it. The march, and subsequent rally at the capitol, is called Harvest Fest. It’s to celebrate smoking pot, and further the cause of legalizing the drug. The most notable thing about this event is the Madison and Capitol Police’s seemingly indifferent attitude towards the marchers’ pot smoking.

When they got to the capitol’s steps, a band was setup and playing some hippie music. About six police officers were waiting on the top steps, prohibiting the crowd from entering the capitol. It was actually a rather small showing as far as police went.

Numerous speakers came to the microphone, all to promote legalizing marijuana. One spoke of his wife’s illness and how it would have helped her live and how she smoked pot front of congress to get them to understand the benefits of pot. Another spoke on how a letter writing campaign should begin so that a bill soon to be introduced passes.
The speaker I didn’t expect, probably due to my ignorance, is local alderman Austin King. He’s currently acquiring signatures in order to raise the minimum wage in Madison by a whopping $2.50 an hour. He professed his love for smoking pot to the crowd, and notified them that possessing less than 28 grams of marijuana does not allow MPD to confiscate the substance under city law. However they can enforce state law, which allows any amount to be confiscated. Between the extreme minimum wage increase and this marijuana nonsense, I’m very disenchanted with Mr. King.

What this gathering was definitely indicative of, is Madison’s extreme leftivism and hippie culture. Sure, I’m a lefty myself, but not like most of these people. It’s very sad that these people feel a drug is one of their main sources of happiness. To campaign to legalize it shows what a sad state these people are in.

I took a few shots of people most would be amused at. Just about everyone there was the stereotypical pothead, except for one group of people I saw. It was a mother and father, with a small four or five year old child. The parents were passing some pot between the two of them, while the child rolled around in the grass in front of them. When the lady saw me taking their photograph, she gave me a thumbs up, then the peace sign and made sure I got some good shots of her and her husband smoking in front of their child. How sad is that.

This is a gallery of some of the better shots, cropped down to the interesting parts. I’ve also made a gallery of the entirety of the images I took.

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Do you know how fast you were pedaling? (Part 2)

October 3rd, 2003 No comments

On the way to class this morning I notced two UW Police officers dressed in bright blue jackets, standing on the corner of Lake and State Streets. From the helmets they had on, and bikes with them you could tell they were there to ticket bicyclists.

Every year around this time, local law enforcement decides to crack down on those who violate bike laws. From what I understand, bicycles are supposed to adhere to the same laws which motor vehicles do. This includes stopping for stop signs, signaling turns and following general traffic rules. In Madison, those on bikes rarely do so because they feel if no cars are around, it doesn’t matter what they do. It’s a valid argument.

What I dislike is when the police officers impose fines on those who do not adhere to those laws. To me, the laws were put in place so that if a stupid biker rides in front of a car and gets run over, some sort of punishment could be assessed on the bicyclist. Local police have taken that a little to far by ticketing someone riding on the sidewalk, skipping a stop sign or not signaling a turn. To charge someone a fine for doing something that really endangered no one, is somewhat silly.

I’m not one to say that you should not follow laws you disagree with however. So those being ticketed really have no right to complain.

I brought my camera along to snap some pics of the COBS (cops on bikes, of course). Cameron was with also, and got a little concerned about me taking pics of the cops again. He mentioned he figures at some point in his life he’ll be arrested just for being with me.

The cops noticed me and waved me over at first, but Cam wanted to head into a store. After we did that, I got a little closer to the cops for a better shot, and ended up talking to one of the officers. He was very polite and offered plenty of information about what they were up to. Maybe he should have a few words with the Deputy I had problems with at the Sheriff’s Office.

UWPD in cooperation with MPD is working on a 2 week long bike crackdown, he said. They do ticket those who violate the law, but the ticket allows the offender to either pay a fine, or attend a class on the rules of riding a bicycle on the streets. The officer also made sure I got a pic “of his good side”. What really is the best side of a pig? Just kidding.

Knowing that the offenders are only stuck taking a simple class makes me feel slightly better about what the cops are doing. It seems they are trying to educate the public on safety issues, and for that matter legal issues. However, if their intent is to educate the public, the cost is the reputation of playing big brother with bicyclists.

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