I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Urban poetry

When I was small, I never wanted to step in puddles. Not because of any fear of drowned worms or wet stockings; I was by and large a grubby child, with a blissful disregard for filth of any kind.

It was because I couldn't bring myself to believe that that perfect smooth expanse was no more than a thin film of water over solid earth. I believed it was an opening into some fathomless space. Sometimes, seeing the tiny ripples caused by my approach, I thought the puddle impossibly deep, a bottomless sea in which the lazy coil of tentacle and gleam of scale lay hidden, with the threat of huge bodies and sharp teeth adrift and and silent in the far-down depths.

And then, looking down into reflection, I would see my own round face and frizzled hair against a featureless blue sweep and think instead that the puddle was the entrance to another sky. If I stepped in there, I would drop at once, and keep on falling, on and on, into blue space.

-- Diana Gabaldon, Voyager

This is my last week at my job of 23 years, so I do feel on the brink of -- something. At the moment the anxiety about the huge changes coming is almost overwhelming, but there's excitement and anticipation as well. I'm going to be jumping into my puddles with both feet, fingers crossed, and hoping that if I do get soaked to the skin, it will be worth it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Astronomy Tuesday

The Cassini probe took this picture in 2007, but NASA just posted it yesterday.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Sunday bird blogging

I should call this one The Truth about Bird Photography. I'm posting it because it made me laugh, and because at least there's an actual goddamn bird in the picture instead of just the empty branch, which is what I get a discouragingly high percentage of the time.

The steps of bird photography are:

1.  Locate bird.
2.  Attempt to locate bird again through your heavy and extremely unwieldy lens. If the bird is gone by the time you manage to find the place where it was just a few seconds ago, return to Step 1.
3.  Focus.
4.  No, focus on the bird, not on the branch in front of the bird or the leaves behind the bird. If the bird departs before you manage to see it clearly, return to step 1.
5.  Shoot.

And even if you make it to Step 5, you're still likely to end up with this. That cardinal was sitting in the patch of sunlight on that branch through Steps 1-4, then took off before I managed to get to 5.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Saturday reflections

One of the buildings in Rockefeller Center lost power a few weeks ago, and this is the spooky lobby in the underground concourse.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Urban poetry

This was taken through a window at Bar Sixty-Five above 30 Rock, so there's a bit of a reflection there, but it's pretty spectacular all the same.

We were in the middle of a dramatic thunderstorm, with lightning flashing through every window. No lightning in the photo, unfortunately, but I love those spooky skies over the Manhattan skyline.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Astronomy Tuesday

The Iris nebula, glowing bright blue in the midst of a cloud of dust. I am reminded of returning from Iceland to find that the crew renovating my bathroom had apparently never heard of plastic dropcloths and my apartment resembled Pompeii before the lava arrived.

But at least this dust has that one bright blue star in the center, sparking off all the dust around it, to magnificent effect.

Image Credit and Copyright: Franco Sgueglia and Francesco Sferlazza

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Sunday bird blogging

No other avians do attitude quite like blue jays.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Saturday reflections

This one was kind of serendipitous: I was sitting in the van in the parking lot of the Chapel on the Rock, waiting for the rest of the group to board, when I saw this reflection in the van next to ours, whose driver was also waiting for his passengers.

I took the picture, immediately forgot about it, and then a couple of weeks later, found it when I was cleaning out the folder. I like it a lot, but it's not exactly something I can replicate on demand. 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Urban poetry

This is New York: angles and squiggles and a deep blue summer sky and a peek of Cyclone fence to keep the unworthy away.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Astronomy Tuesday

The Spindle Galaxy lies about 50 million light years away, near the constellation Draco.

Because we're seeing it from the side, we miss all of the typical galactic detail and see only a line of dust and some bright blue young stars. But I love that even though the real beauties of this galaxy are reserved for those with better seats, that halo of light surrounding it is still worth looking at, and bright enough to earn it spot number 102 in Messier's catalog.

Image Credit and Copyright: Adam Block, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, U. Arizona

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Sunday bird blogging

Here's a different kind of masterpiece -- a male cardinal in Central Park.

And speaking of Art Deco

This screen features the most Art Deco fish imaginable. Those tails would make amazing gowns for an Erté illustration.

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