Off The Press

June 30, 2009

By Greg Farrar

Greg Farrar Press Photographer

Greg Farrar Press Photographer

Change we can believe in? That’s fine, I can live with that.

What I can’t take is change that’s driving me nuts.

I’m getting tired of all this darn change. Somebody slow it down!

Look at what’s gone away in just the past year:

Lewis Hardware, Allen’s Furniture and (G.I.) Joe’s.My favorite religious bookstore closing after 40 years.

A bank (Washington Mutual) and a newspaper (the Seattle P-I) that I’ve relied on forever.

Part of Issaquah High School is being demolished.

Radio news on the AM dial.

The elementary school in Edmonds where I grew up has been permanently closed this month due to budget cuts.

Now, Kodachrome is being discontinued!

And look at what has been coming down the pike. Television with a bizarre, droopy checkerboard that comes with over-the-air broadcast signals.

Conan O’Brien.

New “Star Trek” people and plotlines monkeying around with planets and love interests from the classic series. Is Spock supposed to be kissing a woman? I don’t think so!

And don’t get me started on people reading the news on their smartphones.

Once, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was driving on the freeway when Elvis Presley died. I punched the buttons on the car radio for bulletins on the all-news and rock stations.

Last Thursday in the car, my two passengers’ phones started ringing and buzzing with text messages, and they were instantly surfing the net for Michael Jackson updates.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think these are bad changes. But two things really fry me. They are all happening at the same time, and they are all costing an arm and a leg.

For instance, I love my iPod. I’ve put all of my compact discs on it — almost 7,000 songs, it’s only 20 percent full and I can listen to it anywhere. But the darn thing was $400. That’s a lot in Issaquah Press paychecks.

I love Photoshop, but to get a copy for my home computer would set me back a grand.

My wife paid $1,500 for our new digital television, and another $500 for a DVD recorder. Yeow!

My old cell phone (you know, one that makes phone calls and that’s it)? My wife and I each have one and share 100 minutes a month. Our bill is $40.

Can I really afford two Apple iPhones at $400, and then handle a monthly bill of $160 with all of the services for two?

So, there’s the situation. Buy all the swell and new toys that make me into a cutting-edge technology lover of the 21st century and wind up in the poorhouse doing it?

Or meander along with broadcast airwaves and a “Brickberry,” being left behind looking like an antique fuddy-duddy in the middle of a sea of youth and vigor?

Please, let’s spread the change out.

For the record, my mama didn’t take my Kodachrome away. In fact, give my mom, Mary Farrar, the credit for providing my first camera at age 11, my second camera at age 14, and spending her money for all of my photofinishing and flashbulbs.

And it was a scenic photograph I shot on Kodachrome at age 17 that won the first photography prize in my life, brought me to the attention of a newspaper photographer and began my career.

You can bet the farm that I wouldn’t be before you at all today without her or it. Give us those nice bright colors, give us the greens of summers, makes you think all the world’s a sunny day!

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