We had an eventful day here yesterday. Zander got his driver's license in the morning, and went off for his first-ever solo drive in the evening—with his admittedly nervous father watching the taillights recede down the alley. Later, I managed to set up Wi-Fi for the house, which of course turned out to be much easier than I thought it would be, even if I did have to call for help to both the ISP and Apple. (Everything worked from the start except my main work computer, which obstinately refused to recognize the signal.)
In between, we went down to the Milwaukee Auto Show, and I snapped happy snaps of cars, motorcycles, and showgoers to my heart's content. Ever notice that when you first take a bunch of pictures, you're all proud of yourself, and eager to show them off, just because they're something new that you've created?* But my auto show snaps look like every other auto show snap you've ever seen, mainly just car after car with pinpoint reflections all over shiny metal.
Remember that Toyota-Subaru I wrote about a while back? That was what I really wanted to see. Scion said their version, the FR-S, isn't out yet, but—yay!—Subaru had a bright blue BRZ on display.
Emphasis on "on display." I was hoping I'd get to sit in it, to see if I fit (I'm 6'2" and 230, but hey, I fit in my old '01 Miata), but no such luck—the car was roped off and nobody was allowed to touch. Very...anticlimactic.
It brings up an interesting point: it might actually be a long time before I can even sit in one, much less drive it. Dealers aren't going to be doing test drives, because they'll be able to sell their entire allotments without offering test drives. And it's quite possible that dealers will have their allotted cars sold before they arrive—meaning that other interested parties won't even be able to plant their butts in one. It's possible it could be a year before I can even find out how comfortably my aging frame can fold into the front seat. For a while, anyway, it looks like the only way you're going to be able to try one is going to be to buy one.
And you thought buying cameras by mail order was bad.
Meanwhile, Zander discovered his new favorite car at the Scion booth—a Scion tC in "Cement." (That's the color, not a reference to a certain recently famous Porsche.) Good thing he's just about to start a new job. He'll have to save his money. Even cheap cars are expensive these days. (Can you name the cheapest American car ever?)
The picture at the top of the page—the one single snap I lazily made at the DMV, waiting with Xander and bored—turned out to be my favorite of the day (proving, yet again, that you never know where the next good picture is coming from). It makes this post very on topic—note the yellow sign. The guy in the picture takes more portraits every day than almost any of us. There's a downside, of course—most of his portraits look exactly like driver's license mugshots. Because they are driver's license mugshots.
Xander's looks perfectly in keeping with the genre.
*This is a bit too graphic for me, but Phil Davis used to say that photographers with new work were just like two-year-olds being potty trained who are proud of their poops. "Mommy, Mommy, look what I made!" I'd be inclined to cut photographers more of a break—or at least concoct a more dignified description—but it's true, it does usually pay to give new work some time to cure and mature so you can get over that first flush of enthusiasm and edit a little more objectively. After all, even poop becomes fertilizer eventually when it's processed properly.
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Original contents copyright 2012 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
ADDENDUM: The cheapest-ever new American car in nominal dollars was the 1923 Ford Model T. Introduced in the fall of 1922, the early '23 "tin lizzie" cost $290, which proved to be the culmination of the frugal Henry Ford's relentless lifelong push to increase sales by constantly lowering prices. By 1923, of course, his Model T Fords were competing with a new and somewhat unforeseen competitor: used Model T Fords. No production car would ever cost as few dollars again.
The cheapest functioning new camera ever, to my knowledge, was a plastic 35mm camera offered as a prize by Bazooka Bubblegum. To get one you had to send it $1.99 and five comics, which you had to collect by buying the bubblegum.
The first car we saw yesterday was probably the best—this Duesenberg just inside the door. A car very similar to this was probably the diametric opposite of the '23 Model T above—the most extravagantly built car in history. It would cost more to duplicate this car today than Volkswagen Group spends to build a Bugatti Veyron. A Duesenberg set the record for the highest price ever paid for an American car—10.3 million dollars for the Whittell Duesenberg, a Murphy-bodied 1931 Model J coupe.
Featured Comment by Derek Lyons: "Proud of yourself, and eager to show them off? Nope. If anything, I'm (in)famous for being guardedly close and not sharing until I've had a chance to review and edit them. Sometimes, I'll sometimes even toss a whole set into the archives and not revisit them for weeks or months. My current record is seven months between the session (of photos taken for a series I'm working on) and release.... Though there's an even older set I'm still cogitating on, which'll be a year old in a few weeks."
Featured Comment by Eric Ford: "I laughed, hard, at that analogy about new work and potty training. You could probably say that of many art forms. Certainly as a writer and having sat through writing classes/workshops I can say it applies to that field as well."