The Newtown Pentacle

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without cause

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Photographers photographed while they’re photographing.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A short break, wherein offerings at this, your Newtown Pentacle, will consist of lighter fare than that normally served is underway. Obligation and a series of deadlines have dominated all attention, and accordingly – for the next few days, singular images with a pithy yet abbreviated description will be supplied. One must render unto Caesar, after all.

There are now four public Newtown Creek walking tours coming up, one in Queens and one in Brooklyn and two that walk the currently undefended border of the two boroughs.

Plank Road, with Newtown Creek Alliance, on April 19th. This one is free, click here to get on the list.

Poison Cauldron, with Atlas Obscura, on April 26th. Click here for more info and ticketing.

DUPBO, with Newtown Creek Alliance and MAS Janeswalk, on May 3rd. Click here for more info and ticketing.

Modern Corridor, with Brooklyn Brainery, on May 18th. Click here for more info and ticketing.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

April 16, 2014 at 11:00 am

worried faces

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Would it kill you to smile?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

While riding the Subway in New York City, observation of the interesting social behaviors exhibited by the citizenry entertains. There are those who present the “pfft, ain’t no thing” and those who present the “what the hell are you looking at” and also present are the “please, for gods sake, do not notice me” lean. Others pretend to sleep, or stare blankly at the floor (that’s the one which I favor), while a small group of extroverts feel the need to shout and otherwise draw attention unto themselves. Then there’s the buskers.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There are Mariachi’s, young couples who perpetrate the “gypsy baby” scam, those three kids who dance and perform acrobatics. Worst of all are the religious zealots, whose clumsy attempts at evangelism are enough to drive one into the arms of Satan itself. Skillfully ignoring these buskers and con artists, or not, is what separates the true New Yorker from the tourist. The tourists are the worst, of course, breaking all of the unspoken rules of subway etiquette which “regular” riders subconsciously obey and enforce. Nobody smiles, the MTA has a rule against that.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

My camera is always at the ready whenever entering these concrete bunkers with their pungent atmospheres, and one of the odd things I’ve noticed in recent years is the reaction some have upon seeing the device. Lens cap on and power switch off, they will stare at the camera in the manner one would watch the countdown clock on a bomb. I don’t understand this. Humans, they’re weird, and need to smile more often.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

April 2, 2014 at 10:54 am

gently undulating

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It’s only the third most hated company in America? @twc_help

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The whole Time Warner Cable situation has me down.

Here’s the story – which is being said out loud just for the sake of sanity – back in January, the Internet service started cutting out sometime between 10 p.m. and 12:30 A.M., eventually re asserting itself after a random interval. The first week or so, I chalked it up to TWC upgrading something upstream from my connection, or performing some sort of maintenance. After the 2nd week of interruption, I called in and reported the issue. As it continued into February, I began to time my calls so that the TWC rep could remotely “ping” my modem and visualize what was happening with their network diagnostic tools.

from wikipedia

In the case of uncertainty, expectation is what is considered the most likely to happen. An expectation, which is a belief that is centered on the future, may or may not be realistic. A less advantageous result gives rise to the emotion of disappointment. If something happens that is not at all expected it is a surprise. An expectation about the behavior or performance of another person, expressed to that person, may have the nature of a strong request, or an order.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The network “pings” revealed that something was causing “48% packet loss” which is a technical term that refers to a sort of interference wherein two connected devices (server and modem) are having trouble communicating. It’s a bit more complicated than that, of course, but basically the modem is unable to supply a network connection which will allow my gizmos to connect to the web. TWC decided this was puzzling, and after forcing me to do their whole “unplug the modem, restart the computer” nonsense, agreed to send out a technician. Two missed appointments later, somebody showed up and replaced the modem. The problem persisted despite this.

from wikipedia

A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary. As a pathology, it is distinct from a belief based on false or incomplete information, confabulation, dogma, illusion, or other effects of perception.

Delusions typically occur in the context of neurological or mental illness, although they are not tied to any particular disease and have been found to occur in the context of many pathological states (both physical and mental). However, they are of particular diagnostic importance in psychotic disorders including schizophrenia, paraphrenia, manic episodes of bipolar disorder, and psychotic depression.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Part of the reason I hate this organization as much as I do, and I am not alone in this ennui, is that in order to solve the problems which manifest from their end the customer has to manage the situation. From my first call, I asserted that the problem was not within my walls, rather it was an issue emanating from outside of them. They sent out a “Tier 3″ guy who was afraid of the dog, who confirmed my assertion and ordered a lineman crew out. The lineman told me “yeah, the unit on the utility pole is working fine, as is your modem. The issue is actually with the wires running between the pole and your house, which show all the signs of water infiltration.” He arranged for the wires to be replaced.

Yesterday, when the “replace” guy showed up, he neglected to bring a ladder, and TWC somehow intended for one guy to replace wires hanging 40 feet over the pavement that stretch 100 feet across a busy Astoria street all by himself.

from wikipedia

Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC), formerly Warner Cable Communications and sometimes colloquially referred to as simply Time Warner, is an American cable telecommunications company that operates in 29 states and has 31 operating divisions. It is the second largest cable company in the U.S. behind only Comcast, which has agreed to acquire TWC pending regulatory approval. Its corporate headquarters are located in the Time Warner Center in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 21, 2014 at 12:16 pm

soared lonely

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Deep thought in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This is being written while waiting for representatives of America’s very worst corporation, Time Warner Cable, to show up. This particular drama, one which has been intermittently causing late or missed postings at this and other blogs throughout 2014 and part of 2013, crystallizes the horrors of allowing a services company de facto monopoly status with zero municipal oversight. If ever there was a company’s which needed “looking into” by regulatory agencies, Time Warner Cable is it.

from wikipedia

Self-ownership (or sovereignty of the individual, individual sovereignty or individual autonomy) is the concept of property in one’s own person, expressed as the moral or natural right of a person to have bodily integrity, and be the exclusive controller of his own body and life. According to G. A. Cohen, the concept of self-ownership is that “each person enjoys, over himself and his powers, full and exclusive rights of control and use, and therefore owes no service or product to anyone else that he has not contracted to supply.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Under the rule of the Little Big Mayor, companies such as this were allowed a somewhat free hand in their operations with little municipal oversight. Remember the Astoria black out of 2006, when ConEd was allowed a pass for not getting the lights back on for an entire week by the former Mayor? That was standard operating procedure for better than a decade, hopefully under the new Big Little Mayor, things will be different – but I’m not that hopeful about it. This is about Internet service, by the way, not TV.

from wikipedia

Existentialism is a term applied to the work of certain late 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual. In existentialism, the individual’s starting point is characterized by what has been called “the existential attitude”, or a sense of disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world. Many existentialists have also regarded traditional systematic or academic philosophies, in both style and content, as too abstract and remote from concrete human experience.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Intermittent is how you’d describe the problems affecting my service. It’s what I told them on the phone. They sent a guy out to replace the cable modem. Problem continues. They send out a higher level tech, who says that the problem isn’t with the box. They send out a line guy. The line guy tells me that the problem isn’t on the pole, rather its the wires itself that are faulty. Today, as this is being written, I’m waiting for the wire guy.

Comcast, do you understand what kind of a turd you’ve bought?

from wikipedia

In philosophy, “the Absurd” refers to the conflict between (a) the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life and (b) the human inability to find any. In this context absurd does not mean “logically impossible”, but rather “humanly impossible”. The universe and the human mind do not each separately cause the Absurd, but rather, the Absurd arises by the contradictory nature of the two existing simultaneously. Absurdism, therefore, is a philosophical school of thought stating that the efforts of humanity to find inherent meaning will ultimately fail (and hence are absurd) because the sheer amount of information as well as the vast realm of the unknown make certainty impossible. And yet, some absurdists state that one should embrace the absurd condition of humankind while conversely continuing to explore and search for meaning.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 20, 2014 at 12:44 pm

wildest speculations

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In today’s post – it’s the Goyem.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Last year, I got to photograph the Irish Language Mass at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral on Mulberry street in Manhattan, as described in this post from march of 2013.

Opportunity to capture this year’s event presented itself, so I got on the train from raven tressed Astoria to the Shining City and headed over to the House of Dagger John.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This time around, your humble narrator decided to move the camera about a bit more, while still attempting to document the mass itself. As mentioned in the past, one is captivated by the pageantry of the Roman Catholic practice, despite having been raised in the Jewish tradition.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A bit of attention was paid to swapping around my lenses this time around, which runs counter to my normal practice of choosing an “omnivore” lens with which I handle an entire event. Normally, these days, I’m using my Sigma 18-35 or Canon 24-105 for most everything. I’ve got a Canon 70-300 which is somewhat unreliable, but it found its way onto the camera as well during this event.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The issue with the 70-300, a “consumer” level zoom lens, is that I find it to be a bit soft and prone to “back focusing” in the focus department. Its an intermittent thing, mind you. I’ll pop out three exposures and the one in the middle is sharp while the two surrounding it are soft. This sort of unreliability causes me to use it less and less, as photography is all about freezing a moment and there are no “do overs.” I’ve got my eye on a lens I want, but it’s going to take a LOT of summer walking tour revenue to pay for it.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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