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

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Houses of Ithaca, Blooper Edition

This house was near the Cornell campus, and I can't help thinking it was some kind of architecture class project gone horribly wrong.

Saturday reflections

Another picture from Sapsucker Woods, outside Ithaca.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Houses of Ithaca

I loved this house on the street where I was staying in Ithaca. It's completely impractical, and I wouldn't want to live in it even if I had unlimited funds and had borrowed the entire household staff from Downton Abbey, but I like that it's still there, dominating its little corner of downtown Ithaca.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Astronomy Tuesday

A beautiful Hubble image of M104, also occasionally known as The Sombrero Galaxy, because we see it edge-on, instead of from above or below (or whatever we pretend is above or below out in space.)

Showing, once again, that perspective is everything.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Legacy Archive
Processing and Copyright: Ignacio Diaz Bobillo

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Sunday bird blogging

This resplendent creature is the first of my new birds seen in Sapsucker Woods, a pileated woodpecker. He was some distance from the trail, so it was hard to get a good angle, but the splendor of that red crest comes through.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Sapsucker Woods

The same pond, with sunlight.

Saturday reflections

The ponds at Sapsucker Woods on Thursday. These woods are part of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which runs the wonderful All About Birds website, and like the state park, they're only a short drive from Ithaca. It was gray and drizzly, and though the only birds I saw are the same ones I see in Central Park on a regular basis and there wasn't enough light to take pictures of them anyway, I did enjoy walking all of the trails. It's a beautiful chunk of unmanicured woodland full of fairy-sized ponds and witchy trees, with a few paths and boardwalks to make traversing it easy. But I didn't see any need to go back on such a short visit.

Until I woke up yesterday morning to bright sunshine and the itch to get out in it before spending most of the day in the car. Although I had to pack and clean up the AirBnB before checkout, I wondered if I might have enough time for a short visit to the woods. Since I could also pick up one of the wonderful breakfast sandwiches from the Ithaca Bakery on my way back, it was easy to convince myself that I was actually saving time by getting breakfast and a snack for the road before cleaning and packing.

And the woods were even more magical in the soft sunlight and I saw three birds I'd never seen before, and got pictures of two of them. Definitely worth the scraped bumper I acquired trying to get out of the bakery parking lot.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Taughannock Falls State Park

Home again, after what was fortunately a much less dramatic drive across New York State. This park, on Cayuga Lake, is only a twenty minute drive from downtown Ithaca.

You can see that spring has not quite arrived in this part of the state yet.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Astronomy Tuesday

This series of silhouettes shows the International Space Station passing in front of the sun.

You can see the ISS from Earth, usually either just before sunrise or just past sunset, when it can reflect the sun's rays long enough to be glimpsed. The other option is to wait until the station passes in front of the sun, which is obviously much harder to see—or photograph. These wonderful pictures were taken in Beijing earlier this month.

I almost postponed my trip to Ithaca today because of a snowstorm yesterday that left 6 to 10 inches over much of upstate New York. But I decided to go, and it turned out that the roads were fine. I had a little rain and a few flurries but nothing dramatic.

What I hadn't planned on were the power outages. Ithaca is fine—I checked that before I left—but a huge chunk of New York State is not. And I couldn't buy gas. I got off at four different exits only to find dark, locked storefronts and no streetlights, while my gas tank got emptier and emptier. I was finally able to buy gas forty miles from Ithaca, when I had about fifteen miles worth of gas left.

I may sleep all day tomorrow.

Image Credit and Copyright: Wang Letian (Eyes at Night)

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Sunday bird blogging

We all get spruced up for spring. Here are two white-throated sparrows—the one on the left was taken during the snowstorm in February; the one on the right, in full breeding colors, was taken last week.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Saturday reflections

This was a moving car in Brooklyn a few weeks ago, which explains the blurriness. After having to make major last-minute changes to a lesson Tuesday morning, and then teaching it through a throbbing toothache, everything that has happened since has felt pleasantly dreamlike. I may be stuck inside on a beautiful spring day reading and commenting on research paper outlines, but at least nothing hurts.

And I am now on spring break, which really just means that I get to do just as much homework but I don't have any scheduled classes. At least I will be doing some of the work from an AirBnB in Ithaca for a few days next week.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Plus, there were chipmunks

Proof of life

This robin was performing his Good Friday ablutions in Central Park this afternoon. The intensity with which birds meet water always makes me smile, and after an exhausting week I needed it.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Sunday bird blogging

I have a lesson observation this week, which is failing spectacularly to come together, and I'm also teaching a Zoom seminar on Thursday, so I don't have time to go to Central Park on these beautiful spring days and look at all the birds that are passing through on their way to their summer homes.

But I went anyway. On Friday I took a cab up to the Pool, and spent maybe half an hour watching the birds before getting another cab and heading back to my lesson prep. I'd like to pretend that when I got back I suddenly saw how to fix all the issues with my lesson plan, but I was just as stuck as ever. On the other hand, I'd seen this gorgeous Palm Warbler so I didn't mind nearly so much.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Saturday reflections

Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn.

I have made it to Brooklyn early enough to walk around before class exactly once this semester. Maybe next week.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Urban poetry

I will clearly never catch up on my backlog of photos until I am no longer in grad school. I must accept this.

Here's a photo that is less than a month old, of the legacy Bay Bridge in San Francisco.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Astronomy Tuesday

This is the shadow of the Hayabusa2 explorer on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu, in October 2018.

Image credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo and collaborators

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Sunday bird blogging

Here's a bird I don't think I've ever posted a picture of: a ring-billed gull in the Reservoir.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Saturday reflections

This is so very New York to me. I especially love the way the reflection of the scaffolding across the street is almost psychedelic.

It's a splendid spring day and I'm enjoying the blue skies and soft breezes and abundant birdsong from my bed, which is currently Homework Central.

I'm alternating between doing my own assignments, and grading the students in the class where I'm a TA this semester. They had to submit three of the citations for their research papers, with the name of the article, the source, and a brief description of how it related to their thesis. I'm reviewing them now, and more than one student has listed the source of their cite as “The Internet.”

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