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

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Sunday bird blogging


I think this house sparrow in the snow looks like something from a Christmas card.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Saturday reflections

 Here's some welcome color, courtesy of a window in Abu Dhabi in 2017.

There's not much distortion in these reflections, but I do like the way the condensation (or dirt) on the windows looks like more tree branches growing out of the window frame.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Later that day

Another view of that neighbor's yard, in the spooky light of dusk.

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting

I know it's premature to declare the worst of winter behind us, but three days of sunshine and temperatures above freezing melted much of the remaining snow, and boosted my mood even more.

I couldn't go out as much as I would have liked, but seeing blue skies even through a window made me smile. And smile. And smile.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Life in the time of coronavirus

The Guardian had an interesting article this week, about the more than 1200 new words German linguists have identified since the beginning of the pandemic.

Some of my favorites are Coronafrisur (corona hairstyle) and Impfneid (envy of those who have been vaccinated), both of which are concepts I'm very familiar with, even if I didn't have a specific word to describe them.

I can't think of too many new expressions in English -- Covidiot, which also appears on the German list, maskne, and of course, Fauci Ouchie, for the shots the objects of our Impfneid have gotten and we have not.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Astronomy Tuesday

It appears I'm not the only one doing window photography these days.

Actually the camera on  the Perseverance rover that landed on Mars this week still had its protective cover on when it took this first photo from the surface. But I like to imagine some humanoid component inside the lander impatiently shooting pictures while waiting for the go-ahead to start exploring.

Image Credit: NASA, JPL, Mars 2020

Monday, February 22, 2021

Oh the Februaryness of it all

It's snowing again, because of course it is.

And though I am grateful not to have to go anywhere and it's pretty to look at, blah blah blah, I think that today I am officially over winter.

It shouldn't matter, since I'm not eligible for a vaccine yet and spring will probably be heading into summer before I can get one, so I'm going to be spending most of my time sitting in this apartment looking out the window no matter what the weather does.

But I do miss the sun. It's supposed to be nice in the middle of the week and I'm going to go out no matter how much homework I have.

(The picture is Antarctica, of course.)

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Sunday bird blogging

I saw this pair of mourning doves from my living room window yesterday.

Unfortunately, the limitations of window photography kept me from getting a better angle, but I think it's still worth sharing -- feathers puffed to the maximum, huddled together on the snowy branch.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Saturday reflections

Another puddle picture.

It's a man in the reflection this time, on Tenth Avenue rather than 42nd Street, but the Februaryness of it remains the same.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Flashback: Abu Dhabi

Snow is still coming down here, so I am thinking fondly of this desert barbecue in Abu Dhabi a few years ago, and having the chance to make friends with this beautiful falcon.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Snow again

It would be churlish of me to complain about the weather here when people in Texas are dealing with much colder conditions, often with no power or water. I'm warm and hydrated, so will just mention that the snow coming down outside my windows right now is our fifth snowstorm this month. 

Apparently part of the reason for Texas's problems is that they refuse to share an energy grid with any other state, preferring to go it alone and bypass all that intrusive government regulation.

We are thoroughly regulated here in the great state of New York, but one thing I'd never known before I moved here is that apartment dwellers, except in the most modern buildings, have very little control over the amount of heat in their apartments. Heat comes from boilers in the basements, controlled by the landlord, and your options are 1. Leave the radiator on, in which case you will be too hot most of the time, or 2. Turn the radiator off, in which case you will still get warmth from the pipes, but possibly not enough. Someday I may have an actual thermostat again, where I can nudge the temperature a degree or two in either direction, but my only equivalent tools now are the window (radiator on but window open? radiator off but window closed?) and the sweatshirt.

But I do have heat. And power. And water. Not complaining.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Astronomy Tuesday

Our weather remains relentlessly Februaryish, so here's some proof that there is still color in this universe, if not in my particular corner of this particular planet at the moment.

This skyscape of stars and nebulae are brought to you by the constellation Monoceros, the Unicorn.

Image Credit and Copyright: Miguel Claro (TWAN, Dark Sky Alqueva)

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Sunday bird blogging

Yes, I know I posted pictures of a tufted titmouse only last week.

So sue me. It's the first decent picture of a bird I've taken in the last year. Also, it's a titmouse and therefore adorable.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Saturday reflections

And in our continuing series, The Monotones of February, here's a puddle reflection -- a woman waiting to cross 42nd Street.

I think the next batch of old pictures I'm going to go through are from Istanbul, and there should be some bright colors there. But I'm taking three very demanding classes this semester, so it well may be spring before I get around to them.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Urban poetry

The beauty of snow is sadly fleeting; within a day it's just dirty and in the way. I was pretty sure I had previously photographed that tandem bicycle buried in snow, and was amused to find it was seven years ago! I'm not sure I've ever seen it except in the middle of winter, but it's very possible that I just don't notice it in seasons when its presence doesn't feel like a kind of joke.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

A winter's day

It snowed overnight, before all the ice from the last storm had a chance to melt. 

Beautiful to look at, so very treacherous to walk on. I do have to go out, but want to wait until it warms up a few degrees.

In the meantime, I have plenty of reading for school to keep me occupied. My linguistics class makes me feel like an idiot savant of the English language -- I have managed to speak and write it for decades with only the most rudimentary understanding of how and why we say things the way we do. This week we've focused on the passive voice; my entire previous knowledge of the passive could be summed up with Don't use it, but it's so much more complicated than I ever imagined.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Astronomy Tuesday

This stunning picture of Earthrise over the surface of the moon came from Apollo 14's landing site at Fra Mauro in February 1971.

One story I don't think I'd ever heard -- the Command Module pilot Stuart Roosa carried a canister of tree seeds on the journey. After his return, they were germinated, and the saplings -- Moon Trees -- were planted around the world.

Image Credit: Apollo 14, NASA, JSC, ASU (Image Reprocessing: Andy Saunders)

Monday, February 8, 2021

Ice ice baby

The temperature during the snowstorm yesterday was in the mid- to upper 30's; you can see in this picture that the snow was already melting even as it kept coming down.

But it got very cold overnight and is still well below freezing, so all that snow is now solid ice.

Fortunately, I don't have to make up excuses to stay inside. I have homework. And there's this pandemic.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

And the accompanying soundtrack

It is snowing quite enthusiastically, and I've been listening to these cello suites today. It's the perfect music for watching the weather -- wise, beautiful, a little sad.

Sunday bird blogging

It may be snowing, but a bird's still got to eat.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Saturday reflections

Silver, blue and black make a lovely winter theme for this headlight.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Urban poetry


I've been fantasizing about buying a car since lockdown started. To be able to go somewhere, anywhere, without having to risk exposure to any germs other than my own would be wonderful, like having a second apartment, with wheels.

But scenes like this make me realize that the car fantasy works best when it's not winter and my imaginary self doesn't have to deal with snow and slush and icy roads.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

More snow

This picture is actually from the last storm. Although I did go out yesterday and there were completely ridiculous amounts of snow piled high in the gutters, the weather was dark and dreary and I didn't take any pictures.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Snow day

Here's a video of the snow coming down on Monday. The yard is sheltered so doesn't get all the gale force winds, but I'm still impressed by all the intrepid birds flying through the storm.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Astronomy Tuesday

The New Horizons probe took this picture looking back at Pluto, 15 minutes after the spacecraft's closest approach on July 14, 2015. 

Honestly, I know Pluto's been demoted but it looks like a planet to me -- I could imagine taking a similar picture while flying from North America to Europe over the North Pole. It even has an atmosphere; you can see it as backlit rings in the distance.

Image Credit: NASA, Johns Hopkins Univ./APL, Southwest Research Institute

The Tenants' Apartment, Le Pedrera

It's appropriate that I finish the flashback to Barcelona with a contribution from Gaudi. I originally posted a few pictures from the exterior and terrace at La Pedrera (also known as Casa Mila), the apartment house that is considered Gaudi's masterpiece.

These pictures are from the interior, an apartment that's furnished in the style of the period. I love the design -- especially that tea set on the sideboard!

Monday, February 1, 2021

Urban poetry

It's snowing, and it's going to snow, all day and into tomorrow. There's something so satisfying about watching bad weather you don't have to go out in, especially if your window on the world is accessorized with a cozy blanket and a hot beverage.

In these locked down days, it's even more comforting to know that I don't want to go outside, instead of the usual I shouldn't or I can't.

Meanwhile, back in Barcelona, here are two narrow streets, leading who knows where. One of the many things I miss about travel is the ability to wander down streets and alleyways in the great cities of the world.

Monday afternoon architecture

No, not a new weekly theme, just appropriate for these particular pictures -- tile roofs, balconies and ironwork, and some spectacular gargoyles

Barcelona, 2009.

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