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

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Urban poetry

I got out of the office early, and fortunately the people pens for the big ball drop in Times Square were not all in place yet, and I was able to get home without having to cajole my way across the barricades. The NYPD is not in a terribly cajole-able mood these days, and you just never know.

Sometimes they have let me cross as soon as I say I'm just going home, sometimes they've made me show my driver's license to prove that my home is indeed on the far side of Times Square, and sometimes I've had to walk all the way up to Central Park and then back down again because there was no crossing Broadway, period, end of story.

This is one New York ritual I've never been the least bit tempted to join. I'd rather be warm and have access to a bathroom, and anyway, from my apartment I can actually hear the roar of the crowd at midnight. Or that is, I could hear it, if I were awake, which I won't be.

Happy New Year and pleasant dreams of a bright 2015 to you all.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Astronomy Tuesday

The Star of Bethlehem may not actually have been a comet, but here's one in Christmas colors -- Comet Lovejoy, discovered in August, set for its pass by Earth on January 7th.

Image Credit and Copyright: Damian Peach/SEN

Sunday, December 28, 2014

I've been for a walk on a winter's day

Two more photos from yesterday.

All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray

The sky was actually bright blue yesterday, but that's rare; typically these days it's as gray as the landscape.

Here's a look at the world without the distraction of color, Central Park in winter, when we're left with the consolations of shape and texture. The beauty isn't as obvious -- you have to work for it -- but it's definitely still there.

Sunday bird blogging

Okay, this is not exactly fine wildlife photography -- you can't even tell what kind of bird it is -- but it made me laugh so I'm using it.

The bird -- it's a junco -- landed on the path right by my feet in the park yesterday. Of course by the time I'd hoisted the camera to my eye it was hopping away, and I caught it mid-hop, en pointe like a ballerina. Except that what it makes me think of isn't ballet, but Michael Jackson moonwalking.

Here's a better picture of the same bird.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Saturday reflections

Tis the season -- mud and puddles and dead leaves piled up. But at least it's not snow, and we had a rare blue sky today, unaccompanied by Arctic temperatures.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The day after

My Christmas present to myself was a sampler of fifty different colors of wool roving for felting. I'm always greedy for colors -- I can't buy one strand of glass beads; I have to buy one in every available color. I crave the paint sets and boxes of pastels in my art catalogs, even though I'm not likely to use them; I'm drawn in by the rows of bright silk scarves in upscale department stores and want all of them, even though I'd never wear them.

I will use this wool, but right now I'm so delighted by the silky texture and bright colors I just want to pile it in a huge glass bowl and use it as a centerpiece.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Astronomy Tuesday

I don't think I'd ever seen this before: the Jellyfish Nebula. It's another supernova remnant, in Gemini (the bright star on the right is Eta Geminorum, part of the constellation.)

Image Credit and Copyright: César Blanco González

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday bird blogging

The darkest evening of the year

Winter solstice this evening, so the long crawl back to daylight has started, even though I know we still have months of nasty weather to look forward to.

It's been overcast and gloomy every weekend so I haven't been taking many pictures, and there's rarely been sufficient light for bird photographs. So here's yet another Galapagos souvenir, a juvenile swallowtail gull on Genovesa.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Agriculture for the 21st century: your basic cube farm.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Urban poetry

Graffiti is almost too easy, but I couldn't resist these.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Astronomy Tuesday

Just because, obviously, there can never be too many galaxies, here's a Hubble image of the one our friend M. Messier designated as number 83, also known as the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy.

It's been the site of at least six recorded supernovae. Oh, and it's pretty.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Saturday reflections


I love how something so mundane has such complexities when you look at it closely, the textures of the glass, the distortions of the reflections.

This was a difficult week for many reasons -- I'm still really anemic and have come far too close to fainting a couple of times -- and though I've tried to filter out the toxic responses of the apologists to the damning torture report -- enough seeped through to sicken me more.

I wish I believed in hell, because it would be an enormous comfort to think of Dick Cheney there.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Street photography


Another iPhone shot from the cab Wednesday night. I'm starting to like the way the iPhone does night shots -- the lack of detail doesn't matter as much and there's a dreamy, abstract quality I love.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Urban poetry

A glimpse of Grand Central, taken with my phone through the back window of a cab on my way home from dinner with Geraldine last night.

First snow yesterday, thin but persistent, coming down through the afternoon and into the night. It melted as soon as it landed, so it was more like a light rain, not unpleasant to walk in bare-headed.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday bird blogging

A seabird swooping over the icy waters of Prince William Sound.

I love the colors on the wings and body against the steely blue of the water. The crew on our boat fished out some of the glacial ice floating in the sound and made margaritas from it. I didn't have one, but after a weekend spent alternating between moving heavy furniture around, and looking bleary-eyed at the ensuing chaos and wondering just how I managed to acquire so much stuff, I could definitely use one now.

Saturday, December 6, 2014


I spent much of today emptying out a desk and two storage units I'm having carted away tomorrow, and now I'm trying to soothe myself towards sleep and away from thoughts of being smothered by all the stuff that's now sitting in piles everywhere.

This nice depiction of the fluorescent hell that is the modern cube farm at least has the virtue of looking nothing like my cramped and cluttered apartment.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Urban poetry

Another overlooked shot from Seattle.

I thought I had seldom seen a less promising venue for the creation and/or consumption of quality beer, but I looked at the website, and it is much more charming when it's open for business.

What qualifies it as true urban poetry though is this:

At Peddler, we strive to be a gathering place for beer lovers and support bicycling as an awesome way to get around our beautiful city.

Beer and bicycling!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Astronomy Tuesday

The Galileo spacecraft spent eight years exploring Jupiter beginning in 1995, and the images have now been remastered.

This is a new look at Europa, calibrated to approximate what the human eye would see. There may be a liquid ocean under that icy surface, and if so, it's the most likely location for extraterrestrial life in our solar system.

Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, SETI Institute, Cynthia Phillips, Marty Valenti

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