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

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Saturday reflections

So many businesses have closed that I find a storefront that is apparently in the process of getting ready to open quite encouraging.

Life in the time of coronavirus

Also from the New Yorker article. This is comedian Ian Lara: 

What I don’t get is people saying New Yorkers are rude and arrogant. When the pandemic hit, we stood in our little one-bedroom apartments and didn’t go out. We did it for society. It’s funny, I had some road work during the pandemic, and, when I travelled in the cities that have these huge homes with land and pools, they’re, like, “We can’t stay indoors!” New Yorkers sat in one-bedroom apartments for a year and just said, “O.K.” We got hit the hardest, and I kept hearing, “New York is dead.” I was just, like, “Of course New York will bounce back.” This is not like some . . . pop-up city that’s just becoming trendy.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Life in the time of coronavirus

What we call culture is basically the act of sharing air with strangers. Restaurants, theatres, small stores and large ones, concert venues—all are reopening, and, like victims of a traumatic injury relearning the steps that once seemed second nature, we are remembering how to dance.
That's Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker. I'm afraid the dance is going to be called off again in the near future because too many idiots refused to get vaccinated and the Delta variant is steamrolling through our defenses, but I love that description of culture as “the act of sharing air with strangers”--it's a phrase that wouldn't have resonated so deeply a year and a half ago.

Now we know how much we are at the mercy of those strangers with whom we share our breath, and how vulnerable that sharing can make us.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Urban poetry

I'm starting to think that the Hot Yoga is never coming.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Astronomy Tuesday

NGC 7814 is known as the Little Sombrero Galaxy (to distinguish it from this Sombrero Galaxy. I still think frisbee is a better description than sombrero, but nobody asked me.)

What's interesting in this image is that very bright star just above the center of the galaxy: a supernova.

Image Credit and Copyright: CHART32 Team

Monday, July 26, 2021

More heat lightning

Stepping through the resulting video frame by frame to pull these images did show me why I'd never managed to get pictures of lightning before: you have to be incredibly lucky. 

Moving at 30 frames per second through the video, the lightning was often only visible in one or two frames. To capture still images -- in the dark -- even with an amazingly fast camera doing multiple exposures, you still have to manage to have the fractions of seconds that the lightning is visible coincide with the fractions of seconds that your camera shutter is open.

And I thought it was hard to take pictures of birds.

Heat lightning

We usually get strong thunderstorms during the summer, but I don't remember ever having a storm like last night's.

First, there wasn't any thunder. I was just dozing off when the fireworks started outside, and the silence following the flashes was so unexpected it woke me up completely. 

And we rarely get visible forks of lightning like the one in this picture. Usually it's just a diffuse light behind the clouds (followed immediately by loud claps of thunder.)

This was spectacular. I actually got out of bed so I could record it on my phone.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Sunday bird blogging

A sweet little black and white warbler in Central Park.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Saturday reflections

Grand Central Terminal, seen from across 42nd Street.

Friday, July 23, 2021

It turns out the city is still here

Being outside, being able to just walk around and look at things, still seems so strange to me. I goggle at the streets and the people and the buildings like a tourist, as though I've never seen New York except in the movies and I'm only here for the day and have to soak in as much as I can.

And I don't seem to remember how to photograph it, but I'm hoping that will come back to me.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Astronomy Tuesday

This image of M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, was taken in ultraviolet light. While you can see the spiral arms in visible light, in ultraviolet they look more like rings.

It's hazy and the air quality index is skyrocketing because of the fires in the West. Being thousands of miles away isn't as much protection as you would hope.

Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, GALEX

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Sunday bird blogging

In the heat and humidity of mid-July, snow looks quite appealing.

Especially when garnished by a titmouse.

Something really was about to go around the office

I've turned in my final paper, and now I finally have time to do all the chores I've been neglecting since—well, it feels like forever, but it's really only probably since April. Or March.

I got sidetracked by an unread New Yorker from February 2019 that I found mixed in a pile of books. Instead of adding it to the already foot-high pile of unread magazines in my living room, it was obviously more efficient to just lie on my bed and read it so I could toss it in the recycling.

These artifacts from the Before Times always leave me simultaneously shocked and sad. Movie theatres? Restaurants? International travel? What were we thinking

And can we please, please have that careless life back?

The Shouts & Murmurs column in this particular issue is called Signs That Something Might Be Going Around the Office. It's simultaneously scarily prescient, and no longer all that funny, except in a dark, shaking-my-head-while-I-laugh, kind of way.

Everyone is carrying around a paper towel for touching door handles, and a few employees have started wearing surgical masks. 
Attendance at meetings has dropped to just you. 
Your co-workers are avoiding the drinking fountain and the vending machines. Instead, they’re stockpiling water and food under their desks and defending their stores with surprising force. 
Co-workers keep saying obnoxious stuff, like “I need to get out of the city and go to Long Island to survive,” or “Things are just so much better upstate,” or “The only way to save my family from this plague is to leave New York today.”


Saturday, July 17, 2021

Saturday reflections

Flags on Park Avenue on a summer afternoon.

I love seeing people on the street again, but the midday sidewalks still aren't nearly as crowded as they were in the Before Times. And I wonder when--or if--they will be. My former employer is reportedly considering allowing work from home for most staff at least a few days a week. It had always been allowed on an ad hoc basis, if deliveries or repairs or a childcare emergency required it, but no one was allowed to have scheduled work from home days on a regular basis. It would impede collaboration, they said. It would mean a loss of collegiality.

But now I suspect they're noticing that having everyone work from home wasn't quite the disaster they'd expected. And that perhaps they could quit paying those exorbitant Midtown rents on a large chunk of their office space if they no longer have to accommodate every employee every single day.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Before the show

Waiting for the show to begin at Springsteen on Broadway. I really like stage design here.

I snapped awake just before eight o'clock this morning, pleased to have gotten that extra hour of sleep that usually eludes me. I have my final paper of the year due tomorrow and I'm struggling with it, but I figured that sleeping a little later and having a few more active neurons as a result would more than make up for getting a later start.

Except--the light was all wrong. The sky was a milky pink and I had to turn on the light in the kitchen to make coffee. I checked the time again and saw that it was 6 am, not 8 am, and already getting hot. That's probably what woke me up, rather than an urge to get going on my case study.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Astronomy Tuesday

I know I did a nebula last week, but can't resist this image -- the Butterfly Nebula. I've posted many pictures of this before, but the processing makes it look different every time.

Image Credit and Copyright: Alan Pham

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Sunday bird blogging


Not a perfect picture, but a perfect creature: a cardinal in Central Park.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Saturday reflections

I like the minimalism of this -- a street on the Upper East Side, reflected in a door handle on a car.

In another week, I'm done with school until the end of August, and will be halfway through the master's program. It's early for a victory lap, but I am a little amazed at myself for having come this far.

It hasn't been easy.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Urban poetry


I'm not sure what sort of holes or pipes these covers (on First Avenue) are protecting, but at least they are doing so colorfully.

I always like to see splashes of yellow in the city.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Astronomy Tuesday

The Orion Nebula never takes a bad picture, but this Hubble image is especially breathtaking. It looks like a dancer in a cloud of silk scarves.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Legacy Archive; Processing: Francisco Javier Pobes Serrano

Monday, July 5, 2021

Street photography

I just liked the look of this trio standing on 42nd Street on a typical summer day in New York.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Sunday bird blogging

The bluejays were even more annoyed than usual this morning, shrieking in the back yard and yanking me out of a very important dream about working for a fashion designer and buying the wrong fabrics.

This one, in Central Park a few weeks ago, was at least silent.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Saturday reflections


Here are some bright baby blues to counteract the drizzly grays outside my window.

Not that I mind the clouds, since it's only 63 degrees this morning and that's a relief after a week in the tropics. It was a steamy 99 on Wednesday, and I had to beg my dental hygienist for water after walking a mere six blocks from the bus stop to the dentist's office.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Bruce and Patti

I did see the original production on Netflix, and enjoyed it, but it was so much more powerful in person. Of course, just being out of our homes, in a community event, with OTHER PEOPLE, is still almost shocking. There was a sense of gratitude and good fortune in the air that almost made me giddy.

You see that I still haven't figured out how to write about it. I'm so out of practice with this whole “going outside and doing things” experience. I'm having a hard time processing it.

More Springsteen

"In 71 years on the planet, I haven’t seen anything like this past year: The Bill of Rights and the Constitution have been so bludgeoned and disrespected that I’m frightened for us. But I still cling, maybe naively, to that beautiful quote by Dr. King that says, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’ Now, he neglected to mention that it does an awful lot of zigging and zagging along the way. And oh my God, have we zagged, but I’m still stubborn, and I’ve lived long enough to see that that arc doesn’t bend on its own. To reach its goal, it takes all of us leaning on it and pushing it in the right direction."

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