Thursday, January 31, 2008

Guatemala City II

In the last stretch of our time in Guatemala, the photography department realized it had never really taken many pictures in Guatemala City, our headquarters for two years. In part, it's not photogenic in a traditional way, but more importantly, it's an absolutely world-class top-notch place to get a camera stolen. We did manage to spend a day running around Zona 1, the historic downtown, trying to capture just a bit of it. We emerged still in possession of our camera, and even with a couple decent pictures on it. None of them will win any photography awards, but hopefully they manage to show a bit of what the old part of town is like.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Guatemala City I

Special directorial credit to The Lovely Katherine for saying something to the effect of, "Hey, look at that guy carrying a mannequin!"

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bus Stop

Really, anywhere you want to flag down a bus is a 'bus stop.' Chimaltenango, Guatemala.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Musee Mechanique VI

The last of the Musee Mechanique photos (for now). Next: Back to Guate!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Musee Mechanique V

One of the centerpieces of the Musee is this large display of a miniature carnival. There are midway games, sideshows, rides and more. It's a kind of goofy, fun thing to stare at, but it gets better when you put in a quarter and all the bits move. They don't all move very much - some barely wiggle. It's also really tough to photograph due to it being small and poorly lit but also encased in glass with fluorescent lighting reflecting off it. Ah, well, you'll just have to go put a quarter in yourself next time you're in San Francisco.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Musee Mechanique IV

This game is actually, in full, called "The Marathon Cycle Race for Two Players."

Monday, January 14, 2008

Musee Mechanique III

This is from one of two different displays of elaborate carnival dioramas built entirely out of toothpicks. This one is a single large Ferris Wheel, while the other had smaller pieces but set up an entire toothpick-based amusement park. Someone had a lot of time on his hands; I read somewhere it was actually a felon whiling away his time behind bars. No surprise, what with our prisons being practically country clubs.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Musee Mechanique II

The previous picture and this one are from a pinball/baseball game. A pinball pops out of the umpire (who is luckily standing just behind the pitcher's mound) and into the basket attached to the pitcher. The pitcher then flings the ball toward the player, who has uses a single pinball flipper "bat" to hit the ball into the field. It may be caught by one of the fielders, or may make it to the fence, where it scores a hit.

(If you couldn't care less about baseball arcana, feel free to stop reading here.)

This game is one of two versions at the Musee Mechanique. They each list the names of the All-Stars you are supposedly playing against. This picture, then, is of a mini version of the Brooklyn Dodgers' Dazzy Vance. Also featured on this machine are Hall-of-Fame outfielders Goose Goslin and Chuck Klein, and third baseman Willie Kamm. (The rest of the names have been worn off over the years.) The other baseball machine in the Musee is the same except for the names, and is maybe a year or two older, with Hall-of-Famers Joe Medwick, Luke Appling, Earl Averill, Charlie Gehringer, Bill Terry, and non-HOFer Frank Demaree. Given the time these players were at their prime, I'm guessing both machines are from the early 1930's.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Musee Mechanique I

We said we were going back to Guatemala, and we did, for a few pictures of buses. And then the staff photographer got wrapped up in some pictures he took while we were in San Francisco for New Year's Eve.

The Musee Mechanique is, for our money, one of the coolest attractions in San Francisco. It is a collection of old penny-arcade attractions from various Bay Area amusement parks of days long past. It was once housed in the basement of the Cliff House, which had two advantages: First, it was in a location you might want to visit anyway, and second, it was in a cramped, dim space that seemed perfectly fitting, as if you were going through an old attic where these oddball delights had been hidden away.

It got the boot from the Cliff House due to renovations or progress ever marching forward or some such, and looked as if it was going to disappear. But in the end, it found a new home in a big warehouse at Pier 45, right next to Fisherman's Wharf. This has the disadvantages of feeling kind of cold and sterile as warehouses do, and of being in a part of The City where almost nobody over the age of 14 would go unless forced at gunpoint. Your staff photographer was the exception.

(The editors would like to point out that we are much in favor of the Musee Mechanique continuing to exist and lure quarters (no longer pennies, alas) from the throngs of tourists ambling around Fisherman's Wharf. It's no Cliff House, but it's better than being homeless.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Chicken Bus VI

No excuse for not having posted lately... but we're back with maybe the last couple chicken bus pictures. If you just can't get enough of our chicken bus pictures, there are more here. Anyway, this is another stylishly decorated bus, with the noteworthy (although in Guatemala, not uncommon feature) that it is not a Blue Bird bus, it's a Mercedes. And yet, the owners decorated it with the Blue Bird school bus logo anyway, perhaps indicating that Blue Bird is an established status symbol in Guatemala, up there with the fake Louis Vuitton purses.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Chicken Bus V

We're back! We had a lovely Festivus party and a great ski trip to Tahoe, and now we're back to provide you more photos from Guate. The photo department is working on the next set of images, so the bus pictures will continue for a couple more days. This one is a pretty ordinary chicken bus; the staff photographer was mostly just trying to get the waiting passengers in the frame without being too obnoxious.