Tjoet Nja’ Dhien

Eros Djarot’s 1988 film was picked as the Best International Film at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival. It chronicles the life of one of the most highly regarded Indonesian freedom fighters on the long road to independence. I was reminded of the film when I ran across the pamphlet distributed at the screening of the film in Jakarta in the early ’90s.

Tjoet Nja' Dhien 26-Mar-1873

I was surprised that the full film can be seen now on YouTube. Subtitles are in Bahasa Indonesia.

Tjoet Nja’ Dhien (1988) Full Movie

This is the first film to provide international recognition for Indonesian film. It stands out as the first notable serious film in an industry otherwise devoted to film for popular consumption.

 

3 Years of Alas Bamiyan

The three year anniversary of this blog falls on St. Patrick’s Day 2015. I am reminded of last year’s post about the birthplace of Ireland’s patron saint;

Saint Patrick was born in Dunbartonshire!

I was also reminded that there have been only four postings to this blog over the past year. I will try to do better. I am back in the US after a six month contract at Bagram Airfield and I can no longer use the lack of internet connectivity as an excuse for failure to do regular postings. I will try to do more in the year ahead.

Here’s wishing everyone a pleasant meal of corned beef and cabbage as those of us involved with broadcast prepare to handle the yearly whirlwind of information forthcoming at the NAB Convention.

 

Another Radio Yowali; personal notes on sustainability and influence

(Joan Didion once remarked,“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” This piece developed in a similar fashion. It was written at the suggestion of Elva Narcia, Director General of the Mexican NGO Glifos Comunicaciones, an organization focused on communications and social media. It was one of those stories that only came into existence when I tried to set down my thoughts about the impending loss of the station where I spent my year in Kandahar.)

Radio Yowali - The best music and fresh news 88.5

Radio Yowali – The best music and fresh news 88.5

A few months ago I wrote some notes (The Many Lives of Radio Yawali Ghag) on Radio Yawali Ghag, the radio station in Wardak province founded by Internews Network with funding from USAID. That is the station rebuilt three times to date because of insurgent attacks either on the station or on nearby facilities. My conclusion was that the station was sustainable at a minimal level as a commercial entity, gaining enough in revenues to purchase fuel for the generator and pay a few staff members, but that it would never generate sufficient revenue if it needed to rebuild the facility without outside assistance.

The Radio Yowali of this article is a group of about half a dozen stations in the south of Afghanistan with studios In Kandahar. Yowali (or Yawali) are transliterations of the Pashto word which is usually translated ‘together.’ These stations identify themselves as a voice for unity.

The Radio Yowali programmed from Kandahar is relatively resource rich. It was founded and continues to be funded by NATO as an ISAF asset. Its multiple transmitter facilities, program links to the transmitters in other provinces, and a staff of more than a dozen all are maintained through international funding. All the messages on the station are either “infomercials” designed to facilitate government programs to aid agriculture or education or are more general messages in support of the peace process. There is no commercial funding of the station. It does not sell local advertising.

The target audience of this group of stations serving Kandahar and its neighboring provinces would be males 18 to 35 years old. At least that’s the major standard demographic group that is closest to the audience the stations are trying to reach and hold. Music programming constitutes the bulk of what is found on the stations. Unlike most of the other station in the region which are programmed from the capital Kabul, Radio Yowali puts forth the effort to find Pashto music which reflects the taste of its target audience. Some of the best input for music selection comes from within the station staff. Most of the staff are within the target demo.

The focus on this segment of the audience does not mean that other groups are overlooked in the stations’ programming. There are specific programs directed to women and coverage of Shura (elder council) activities is significant.

Most of the local programming effort is focused on the hourly newscasts. Here, Radio Yowali really shines in relation to other stations in the area. Along with membership in the major Afghan news agencies, Radio Yowali has a team in the field that allow coverage of events that are important locally but are overlooked in the news delivered from the capital. The effort towards local and regional news coverage is not found in the commercial stations available to listeners in the south of Afghanistan. Few stations in the south of Afghanistan could fund this sort of news operation. No other stations do.

The station set out from the beginning to establish itself as a credible regional news source. All material is delivered in Pashto. The journalists and announcers hail from the area and speak a Kandahari dialect. The journalists have retained their editorial integrity and the stories delivered are not slanted to be favorable to the source of station funding. The effort towards local and regional news coverage is not found in the commercial stations available to listeners in the south of Afghanistan.

Good market research is scarce in Afghanistan but the number of shops in the bazaar that have radios tuned to Radio Yowali indicates high acceptance in the market. The objectives of the station have been met and goals achieved. The message has been sent and listeners in the south have experienced a true radio service in the region.

I was saddened on returning to this country in August to learn that Radio Yowali will probably not survive to the end of the year. Funding cuts and the withdrawal of international forces will make it one of the casualties of lack of sustainability. I am familiar with the stories of misdirected funding found in Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s Little America. Radio Yowali is not one of those.

Rather than bemoan the loss of another bit of foreign construction that cannot be maintained by the current Afghan economy, I think it is appropriate to view Radio Yowali as a significant success. The station group was never designed to be transitioned into a commercial entity or have the likelihood of transfer to some benevolent government department. It was intended for a specific purpose of limited duration. It accomplished that purpose very well.

In the years of the station’s existence, listeners in four Afghan provinces had the chance to hear news and information specifically directed to them. Most of the other stations that can be heard in the region are associated with stations in Kabul. Most do not have the resources to fund a local news team of this caliber at the present time. Radio Yowali gave its listeners the chance to hear what radio can be like as the Afghan economy grows.

The station group also gave the staff, particularly the journalists, the chance to operate at the next level. They had a few years to work with a news oriented radio station of the sort that does not exist in the commercial realm outside of Kabul. This is termed “capacity building” in the NGO world but that term tends to minimize the significance of this type of opportunity. A chance to participate in an organization like this would not been available to any of the staff without this grand endeavor in local radio.

Having spent a little more than a year working at Radio Yowali I feel the loss from knowing the station will be with us only a short while longer. But, were I given the chance to remake the project into something at a smaller scale that had a chance at sustainability, I would not. The right choice was made. Many smaller stations will spring up as the Afghan economy grows. Radio Yowali has given root to the idea that a news and information radio service is possible outside of the capital city. It has exposed listeners to what radio can be when serving the public interest is placed at the forefront of station goals. Radio Yowali may go away but it has blazed a path for future service minded broadcasters to follow. It has performed its purpose well. Its impact on the community will be felt for years to come. It will be well remembered and others will fill its place.

NGOs take note; sustainability is only one in a larger inventory of effects. The value of a project is always measured by what it brings to human experience no matter how difficult that might be to quantify.

The neighborhood at night near Radio Yowali

The neighborhood at night near Radio Yowali

Tale of Two Contests

Photo contests come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes the rules for submissions are extremely specific and limit entries to a highly defined theme or objective.

Contest One

My favorite example of tight entry definition is the call for entries associated with The Artist’s Path 2014 Festival which featured presentations related to the topic The Artist’s Response to the Changing Landscape of Journalism and Ethics through Theatre, Film & Photography.

The topic could be thought to be very inclusive. The submission guidelines narrowed the options considerably;

Submit one to three original photographs that explore one of the following three themes:

1) The changing landscape of journalism and ethics
2) Social justice or
3) Environmental issues in your community
(Community may be defined along a spectrum from local to global.)

To clarify, you may have only one submission on one theme,
but that submission can include up to 3 photographs
all of which should be related and explore the same theme.

Other than for the likes of a W. Eugene Smith, putting together an entry with rules like this is no simple matter. My final solution was to write my 250 word or less description to be able to pull together three photographs from a visit to Kabul Municipality in Zarnegar Park into an appropriate theme.

Here are the photographs I chose;

The mausoleum of Abdur Rahman Khan is one of the only remnants of the palace buildings that were demolished in the 1960s. Work still continues to restore this reminder of the origins of Afghanistan statehood under a monarch as the country tries its hand at democracy.

Kabul Municipality 51 – The mausoleum of Abdur Rahman Khan is one of the only remnants of the palace buildings that were demolished in the 1960s. Work still continues to restore this reminder of the origins of Afghanistan statehood under a monarch as the country tries its hand at democracy.

Kabul Municipality 61 – These groundskeepers were obviously very proud of what they did to maintain the appearance of the seat of municipal government and the relics of the capitol of the Afghan nation. I was asked to photograph them rather than needing to photograph them candidly.

Kabul Municipality 61 – These groundskeepers were obviously very proud of what they did to maintain the appearance of the seat of municipal government and the relics of the capitol of the Afghan nation. I was asked to photograph them rather than needing to photograph them candidly.

Kabul Municipality 72 – Preparations are going on here for an exhibition of art depicting local scenes. The period spanned by the selections that had been made at this time covered more than one-hundred fifty years.

Kabul Municipality 72 – Preparations are going on here for an exhibition of art depicting local scenes. The period spanned by the selections that had been made at this time covered more than one-hundred fifty years.

These photographs were not made with a photo essay in mind. It was over two years later that they came to be linked to a theme for the 2014 Artist’s Path Festival by this description;

The photographs were taken on the same day in August 2011 in Zarnegar Park in Kabul. The Park, originally the site of the Zarnegar Palace, is the site of the Mausoleum of Abdur Rahman Khan, who ruled Afghanistan from 1880 until his death in 1901. It is the home of Kabul Municipality which is the seat of Kabul’s city government.

Zarnegar Park has changed owing to over thirty years of conflict in this country but pride of place is still very much evident in the work on the grounds and buildings and in the use of the facilities to try to provide continuity of the culture that has developed in the nation’s capitol.

I added to these notes in some material to be read in my absence at the Artist’s Path Festival presentation;

I was struck by the normal activities going on in the center of a city that has been the scene of conflict for the past forty years. The grounds were conscientiously maintained and provide a patch of green in a city notable primarily for its concrete barricades. At one of the buildings that dates back to the period of the Afghan Kingdom, paintings and images were being selected for an exhibit displaying Kabul before the wars. The mausoleum of Emir Abdur Rahman Khan was being restored to maintain the memory of the Iron Emir who is credited with restoring unity to the country following the second Anglo-Afghan War.

The story told by these photos is that life goes on in the Afghan capital despite forty years that began with a coup, was followed by incursions of foreign troops, and included years of civil war. Life goes on despite continued violence inflicted in the Afghan capital.

The people of Afghanistan continue to maintain reverence for their heritage as a nation. My trip to Zarnegar Park convinced me that Afghanistan will survive well beyond the departure of international military forces, perhaps not in the way envisioned by its foreign aid providers. Afghanistan will survive in its own manner because of the resilience of its people.

A week before the 2014 Festival (6 April) presentation I added to the text to accompany the photos;

A geographic footnote to these photographs – Café Zarnegar, the scene of the recent attack which claimed the life of Agence France-Presse journalist Sardar Ahmad and three members of his family, is located in the Serena Hotel. The hotel is located directly across the street from the mausoleum of Emir Abdur Rahman Khan.

Contest Two

Contrasting the guidelines for submission to our photojournalism competition are the rules for entry for Emerging Focus Barcelona;

Each entry must be the original work of the entrant, and entrant must be the sole owner of the copyright of such entry.

Emerging Focus Barcelona elaborates on the rules slightly but there is no direction given towards theme or subject matter. I was pleased to hear about Emerging Focus Barcelona on a posting of Glifos Comunicaciones and entered straight away. One of my entries was from my submissions to The Artist’s Path – with the groundskeepers at Kabul Municipality. No particular theme tied these photos together.

Phewa Lake Pokhara

Phewa Lake Pokhara

Monastery Cow

Monastery Cow

Lazimpat Road Kathmandu

Lazimpat Road Kathmandu

 Trees at Habarana

Trees at Habarana

Green Kabul Municipality

Green Kabul Municipality

None of my photos made it to the Barcelona exhibition. Pity. Barcelona is a great place for photography with its harbor, Las Ramblas, and the architectural gems of Antoni Gaudi. I’ll have to find another excuse to revisit the city. I do feel entering the contest was a worthwhile experience however. Just as performing in public is a different experience than practicing one’s instrument at home, preparing one’s work for presentation adds another dimension to the craft.

The winning entries have been announced and can be seen online at any time. 20 June is the opening date for the exhibition at Barcelona.

Emerging Focus Barcelona

For the aspiring professional photographer, the lure of prize money is dwarfed by the chances for useful contacts in the profession and exposure in the marketplace.

LensCulture,  in connection with their own photo competition, has published a useful guide on how best to make use of photo competitions. Along with describing what value these competitions have for the photographer, the LensCulture guide provides some criteria for picking and choosing between them and even some “insiders tips.”

The guide is extremely useful and is available free;

How to Get the Most Out of Photography Competitions

As one who has been tracking photography for a long time, it certainly seems that we have come a long way since the competitions fostered by the Photographic Society of America.

 

Rewrite – Radio Yawali Ghag – Glifos Comunicaciones A.C.

Radio Yawali Ghag is an independent FM radio station in the Sayed Abad district of Maidan Wardak province in the northeast of Afghanistan. Constructed with assistance from Internews Network and USAID funding in 2004, it was the first significant independent media voice in this district which is shielded by terrain from signals from stations serving the capital in Kabul. The impact of newspapers and other publications is insignificant in this area.

Radio Yawali Ghag became the district’s prime source for local news and information. By its satellite connection to Salam Watandar it carried national news as well, from reporters in the capital and from the assembled reports of other independent stations who were also affiliated with this national network. To itself, the station brought the violent reaction of the Taliban who resisted the affect of this new source of information to the community. As I was departing my position with Internews in 2012, the station was undergoing the second reconstruction following Taliban attacks. Clearly, Radio Yawali Ghag was a voice fostering change.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to rewrite part of the ongoing story of Radio Yawali Ghag for publication in the blog of Glifos Comunicaciones AC. Glifos Comunicaciones is an NGO founded last year which is involved with media for social change. Its founder, Elva Narcia, is a journalist who brings fifteen years of experience with the BBC World Service and four years with Internews Network to he perspective of media fostered change. She was working with Salam Watandar and organizing training for Afghan journalists at the time the events described were taking place.

Here is a clipping from the Glifos Comunicaciones blog;

La historia de una estación de radio que ha sobrevivido tres ataques del Talibán

Elva Narcía

https://twitter.com/elvanarcia

Nuestro bloguero invitado de hoy es el ingeniero estadounidense Mark Timpany, colega y amigo a quien conocí en Afganistán en 2012. Mark estuvo a cargo de proveer asesoría técnica a 50 estaciones de radio que forman parte de la red de emisoras de Salam Watandar.

Publico integro y en el idioma original el texto de Mark. En resumen, y para quienes no leen inglés, el texto cuenta la historia de Radio Yawali Ghag, una estación que transmite en el Distrito de Sayed Abad, Wardak, una de las provincias afganas con fuerte presencia del Talibán.

Radio Yawali Ghag llevó por primera vez a esa provincia, noticias locales con estándares internacionales de periodismo objetivo y plural. La emisora fue construida en julio de 2004 y desde entonces ha sido atacada tres veces por el Talibán.

El primer ataque ocurrió tres años después de haber iniciado operaciones. Un grupo de 100 insurgentes prendió fuego a la emisora y el equipo fue destruido en su totalidad. El segundo ataque fue con un coche bomba y el tercero, aunque no fue dirigido a ellos, también dañó las instalaciones.

La estación fue construida y reconstruida por INTERNEWS, un organismo no gubernamental especializado en desarrollo de medios. Agradecemos a Mark Timpany su amabilidad por compartir con Glifos Comunicaciones A.C. este texto.

The Many Lives of Radio Yawali Ghag

Construction and Reconstruction of Independent Radio in Afghanistan

Generation of positive effects is one measure of success for NGO projects. Sustainability is another. Typically these qualities are difficult to evaluate. Because so many other variables are in play it might be years before the worth of a project can be properly assessed.

Radio Yawali Ghag is an FM station serving the Sayed Abad district in Maidan Wardak province in Afghanistan. Internews, an NGO whose media infrastructure work in Afghanistan is largely funded by USAID, did the original construction of the station in July 2004. The impact of the station on the community is shown by the necessary to rebuild the station three times in its ten year history following insurgent attacks meant to silence this independent radio station. Radio Yawali Ghag is truly the Phoenix of Afghan independent media. It is still too early to tell whether the station operation will be sustainable. It is clearly a significant target of anti-democratic forces in Afghanistan.

The station’s studios and FM transmitter were first located at a hillside location that gave them easy line of sight coverage to their audience in the valley. The northern section of Wardak can receive some FM signals from neighboring Kabul but Radio Yawali Ghag is the only local station serving the Sayed Abad district. A staff of four and a dozen volunteers managed to create the first independent media outlet serving a population located less than 150 kilometers from the nation’s capital.

Radio Yawali Ghag gave the Sayed Abad district its first taste of local news and information. It also provided regional and national news from the satellite network of Salam Watandar. Salam Watandar was another Internews founded organization which produces programming in Kabul and also assembles news and public affairs reports from affiliated stations across the whole of Afghanistan. All went smoothly for the new station until the early morning of 17 August 2007 when the station facilities were attacked by Taliban fighters. The night guard at the station was bound and briefly held captive while the station was set afire. All station equipment was destroyed in the attack. The attack ended near dawn as police reinforcements arrived and dispersed an estimated eighty to one-hundred insurgent fighters.

The next site for the station was alongside one of the PRT (Provincial Reconstruction Team) bases in the city. The full time presence of military personnel at the site made them less vulnerable to the type of attack that had destroyed the first facility. Coverage was reduced with their antenna height limited to a thirty meter tower but still enabled independent coverage of events for the district and allowed an on-air forum for discussion of topics important to the community

Radio Yawali Ghag was silenced again on 10 September 2011 when a large vehicle borne bomb was used in an attack on the PRT base. I had been working at Internews for several months when this attack happened and can testify that feelings ran high over the loss of this particularly valuable station in Sayed Abad.

This second rebuilding process was a long one with gaps each step of the way. There was little equipment that survived the blast. Fortunately the tower and antenna made it through in usable condition. The station had an older transmitter that had been stored off site. Some of the studio equipment could be repaired but was not working after the blast. The Salam Watandar satellite antenna had been pressure formed into a new shape. There were no longer any doors or windows in the studio but the shell of the building remained.

The Internews tech team arrived with a car full of equipment to get the station on the air as soon as possible. Satellite receive gear was installed so that the station could broadcast the Pashto programming of Salam Watandar. There was now only limited access to the site so live talk programming was now impossible. Enough equipment was scraped together so the station could air material either off satellite or from programming recorded on CD. The technical part of getting a signal back on air from Radio Yawali Ghag went quickly.

A new facility for the station was something that Internews could do well but funding turned into a lengthy process despite recognition of the value of the station to the community. While funds for rebuilding were being arranged, it was necessary to clear the rubble from the bomb site. The station was provided the loan of a conex to house the studios but the satellite antenna got shifted during the bulldozing operation and local staff could not re-aim it for Salam Watandar. Selection of a new site went through several iterations with one site ready to be granted then withdrawn for political considerations. A document was eventually prepared to grant the station land near the town’s bazaar until such time that security conditions allowed the station to return to its original (2004) site. During the time the site and funding were being pursued, the station came under increasing pressure to move from their PRT location. They were forced to leave the old site after they had arranged a new location but before rebuilding funds were arranged. They were again completely off the air owing to lengthy administrative procedures.

Signatures were affixed to a contract 15 March 2012 that would fund the reconstruction of the station. The studios were going to be done using conexes for the construction to speed the process and to simplify compliance with international building codes. IBC compliance was mandatory because funding was obtained from USAID grants. The studio gear was to be some of the nicest that had been seen in the history of the station. An Audioarts Air 3 console was used in the air studio which allowed the use of StudioHub cabling to greatly speed the installation. The Internews tech team had refined their skills over ten years of constructing and maintaining broadcast facilities in Afghanistan. Ron Hunter, a Professional Engineer who had worked with Internews on several other tower and studio projects, provided his own design for a 20 meter self supporting tower that could be erected in the limited space available. An RFP was issued about a week after the funding was assured. The responses were evaluated about two weeks after that and the work began.

The next stalling of the work was again from the administrative side. As with any USAID funded construction, there are a number of requirements mandated by federal codes. Ron Hunter was our savior here because of his familiarity with these codes and regulations. He had mentored people in the USAID OIEE section now responsible for reviewing his submissions. Unhappily, it is also possible for USAID to impose additional requirements outside the federal code. That was the case with their requirement that the engineering documents be stamped and signed by a US PE. No insurer will underwrite the liability of a PE stamp for construction in Afghanistan. This was the issue that almost saw the project scrubbed. Resolution of this single item finally happened but allowed less than two months to complete all the work prior to the contract end date. This was after negotiations that provided a five week extension for the work. No more time could be allotted because the funding agency (DAI) was  itself closing out the work in this region.

The happy conclusion of the second reconstruction is that the work proceeded to a successful finish on 7 July 2012. Radio Yawali Ghag again had full facilities to provide independent programming for this Pashto speaking district in the east of Afghanistan. Training was provided for the station manager by Internews’ tech team at the conclusion of construction. Station staff were unable to attend because of security concerns. Internews team members returned to provide additional training as the station resumed a normal schedule.

The unfortunate epilog to this story is the effect of another nearby bomb blast on 1 September 2012. This time the radio station was not the primary target but this bomb was another large one. The attack followed the same scenario as the 2011 attack at the PRT base. A single suicide bomber began the attack and blew himself up to serve as a distraction from the movement of a truck loaded with explosives to the target of the attack. The station had managed nearly two months of broadcasting before it was removed from the air for the third time. Damage to the station was less in this last attack and a lot of the station equipment was thought to be repairable. The tower and the conex building frame remained intact. The Internews’ Technical Department Manager estimated that the station could be back on the air in a few weeks time.

The positive effect of the operation of Radio Yawali Ghag has been significant. One can judge by the efforts expended in multiple Taliban attacks to silence the station. Sustainability is a different matter. The station has remained viable through periods when it has been forced on the air because of the dedication of a small number of staff and volunteers. It has attracted sufficient income for fuel for the generator and a minimal operating budget but it could not have been rebuilt three times without outside assistance. The next ten years which will see the drawdown of international security forces from Afghanistan will show whether this southern district of Wardak province will continue to have its sole independent media voice.

Mark Timpany, CPBE, worked at Internews in Kabul through May of 2012. He left to work with a national network of stations providing news and information programming under NATO funding. He is currently back with family in Arizona.

–     –     –    –    –

If the media and their social effects are topics of interest to you, the Glifos Comunicaciones blog is worth your time;

El blog de Glifos

The home page of Glifos Comunicaciones is found here;

Glifos Comunicaciones’ página principal

 

 

8VSB, we hardly knew ye.

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain   T.S. Eliot   (The Waste Land)

Wheeler 08-Apr-14 61

No one in the audience gasped or flinched noticeably when FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler started mentioning the acronym OFDM. (That’s Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex, a very efficient modulation scheme.)  No murmur went through the crowd of broadcasters when Wheeler brought up scrapping a transmission system that had been implemented at considerable expense only a few years previous. Once again, the new system is not backwards compatible and places 8VSB and the investment made in that digital technology on the scrap bin of technical history.

Sinclair’s Mark Aitken should have enough, “I told you so” ammunition in the Chairman’s brief remarks to last several lifetimes. He has pointed out since before the adoption of 8VSB how the system used by the world outside of North America has tremendous technical advantages – not only for single frequency networks (SFN) but for its flexibility in encoding techniques. A new standard is the only way to allow for higher quality video than that possible with the current standard. A new standard is the only option to allow more flexible use of broadcast spectrum for non-traditional purposes. The fact that OFDM is now the television modulation method of choice throughout most of the world is another practical consideration. This NAB exhibit floor had NHK demonstrating over the air transmission of 8K video, managing to do the transmission in a 6 MHz channel.

Chairman Wheeler pointed out that ATSC 3 is not backwards compatible with existing standards but that it is compatible with the repacking that will allow the next round of spectrum auctions. He proclaimed the recent channel sharing tests as successful and offered that concept to existing broadcasters as, “a risk free option.” He urged broadcasters to avoid the mistakes of the canal owners that were displaced by railroads because of their limited view of the product they offered, noting that the, “horizons are greater than the current product.” He suggested that broadcasters are more than what they have traditionally considered themselves, that they are, “digital information providers.” Wheeler contends that broadcasters have an advantage to those they see as competitors in the broadband sector, since they are already content producers and have no bars to entry into the broadband marketplace. “Open” is the word scattered into the later part of the prepared speech, as in open internet and open sesame.

I was surprised by this casual discussion of the demise of the current television transmission standard. Maybe I missed discussions that preceded these remarks while I was out of the country for a few years. It is nice to have the US join most of the rest of the world in a global transmission standard. (Can we scrap iBiquity and go with DRM, too?) Whatever the case, we are in for some interesting times once again.

Saint Patrick was born in Dunbartonshire!

Head north on the electric rail out of Glasgow toward Loch Lomond. Get off in Dunbartonshire just a tad past Clydebank. The place you want is Old Kilpatrick, which my paternal grandparents left to come to the US.

Here’s the sign outside the church that lays claim to the city being the birthplace of Ireland’s patron saint.

11 Old Kilpatrick

My other photos from 1977 make this place seem quite idyllic. It is only bold stories with promises of grand new adventures in the new world that would make someone want to leave. Or, in the case of the one who became Saint Patrick, Irish raiders who kidnapped him and enslaved him as a shepherd for a number of years.

I am inclined to believe that Kilpatrick is the birthplace of the one who used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish. I can attest to not seeing any snakes in the time I was walking about the Dunbartonshire environs.

Here are some more photos from near the banks of the Clyde.

08 Old Kilpatrick 10 Old Kilpatrick 09 Old Kilpatrick 07 Old Kilpatrick 93 Old Kilpatrick 91 Old Kilpatrick 92 Old Kilpatrick

Now you know why I will always ask for second helpings on the corned beef. My Scottish heritage is the reason that I will always wait for a few days after the holiday to buy the brisket when it is on sale.

The rest of the 1977 Scotland photos can be found over at Traveblogue.co.

 

 

Archiving India

Many of the photographs from the April 1989 trip to India have the appearance of having faded but they are the same Kodachrome as some of the older travel slides. Maybe it has to do with the conversion to digital. Overexposure perhaps? They are still a nice reminder of what Istanbul, Delhi, and Srinagar were like at that time.

I can’t forget Gulmarg either. The sledging offered there was a bit laughable. Now I am told they are getting organized as a winter sports and recreation area. I hope it’s not too close to the border so as to be bothered by stray rounds from any future skirmishes.

Srinagar did not fare too well in these photographs either. Srinagar and houseboat living, though, does retain the feel and nostalgia of the city that was once the summer capitol of Jammu and Kashmir. Where else can you sit comfortably on your houseboat deck and have Tibetan handicrafts displayed alongside by a refugee in a shikara.

Hare is a sample of the trip photos;

Street traffic in Istanbul still had a good mix of horse carts though diesel fumes were the dominant smell.

Street traffic in Istanbul still had a healthy mix of horse carts though diesel fumes were the dominant smell.

The harbor is where the action is in town. The ferries provide low priced transport and a great tourist adventure. If you have the time you can book passage to Trabzon in the east.

The harbor is where the action is in Istanbul. The ferries provide low priced transport and a great tourist adventure. If you have the time you can book passage to Trabzon in the east.

Delhi's Red Fort - another must see attraction, of which there are too many to possibly see.

Delhi’s Red Fort – another must see attraction, of which there are too many to possibly see.

Shalimar Gardens. This was a little less impressive  than anticipated. Maybe we were confused by the gardens with the same name in Lahore and Delhi.

Shalimar Gardens. This was a little less impressive than anticipated. Maybe we were confused because of the gardens with the same name in Lahore and Delhi.

Srinagar's electronics shop. I delayed my purchases until the return to the States.

Srinagar’s electronics shop. I delayed my purchases until the return to the States.

Srinagar was a pleasant place to unwind after the hectic pace of Delhi.

Srinagar was a pleasant place to unwind after the hectic pace of Delhi.

The full collection of photos are over at Travelblogue.co under the category India April 1989.

 

Archiving Egypt

“Another country heard from,” was a phrase used often by my father-in-law. The 1978 trip brought back slides from several countries, one of which was not on the original agenda.

This 1978 trip began with a Eurail pass. A visit to Barcelona gave me a look at Antonii Gaudi’s Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, one of the apartment buildings he designed, and his Guell Park. Sagrada Familia was still very much under construction at the time.

The Eurail pass actually got me as far as Greece with a discount on the passage between Genova and Athens. The Acropolis was getting reconstruction while I was there. I began to think that a construction crane or scaffolding was part of every World Heritage Site. In Athens I met some folks who were headed to Cairo for the Grateful Dead concert. With a cheap Egypt Air fare I managed to get my first look at Cairo on my Eurail pass trip.

The trip covered more distance than I had anticipated but offered some unexpected opportunities for photography along the way.

The trip starts and ends in Amsterdam. I don't think major automotive overhauls are usually conducted on the side of the street in this city.

The trip starts and ends in Amsterdam. I don’t think major automotive overhauls are usually conducted on the side of the street in this city.

Basilica de la Sagrada Familia was impressive in unfinished form in 1978. I suspect it is more so now that is has an interior.

Basilica de la Sagrada Familia was impressive in unfinished form in 1978. I suspect it is more so now that is has an interior.

Some of the apartment buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi can be seen without leaving Barcelona.

Some of the apartment buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi can be seen without leaving Barcelona.

Park Guell is not your typical centerpiece of a real estate development project. Only two homes were built of the sixty planned by Eusebi Guell. One currently houses the Gaudi House Mueum.

Park Guell is not your typical centerpiece of a real estate development project. Only two homes were built of the sixty planned by Eusebi Guell. One currently houses the Gaudi House Museum.

A bit of photographic memorabilia on the Acropolis grounds. Did you need another photo for your next visa?

A bit of photographic memorabilia on the Acropolis grounds. Did you need another photo for your next visa?

 

After the last of the Cairo perfume salesmen leave in disgust suggesting you, "Go to hell" you can complete the thought and make the short trip to Helwan. On the Nile opposite the ruins of Memphis, this city offers a respite from activities in Cairo.

After the last of the Cairo perfume salesmen leave in disgust suggesting you, “Go to hell” you can complete the thought and make the short bus trip to Helwan. On the Nile opposite the ruins of Memphis, this city offers a respite from activities in Cairo.

The Grateful Dead, with Hamza El Din, replaced the normal Son et Lumiere presentation in front of the Sphinx for two nights in September. Video taping made for some additional lighting requirements.

The Grateful Dead, with Hamza El Din, replaced the normal Son et Lumiere presentation in front of the Sphinx for three nights in September. Video taping made for some additional lighting requirements.

 

Bob Weir dropped by where I was working (WIBA-FM) in February the following year and I managed to get an autograph on the program from the Giza concert.

Bob Weir dropped by where I was working (WIBA-FM) in February the following year and I managed to get an autograph on the program from the Giza concert.

The rest of the photographs can be seen at Travelblogue.co under the category Egypt 1978.