Stranded starfish have no place to hide

30 10 2012

Some of us are fine, some of us are not.

My neighborhood was barely hit: a lot of twigs, a fair number of branches, and a few trees down, but as far as I know, no flooding, no fires (Breezy Point!); there is electricity up and down the block.

As a weather nut, I thought of biking over to Red Hook or down to Coney Island to see what I could see, but then I thought, Well, if the police are doing their jobs, they won’t let in looky-loos like me, and besides, I’d only get in the way of work crews. Most importantly, the folks in the washed-out areas didn’t need a dipshit on a bike photographing them in their distress.

So this dipshit went to Prospect Park, instead.

The park got hit, and much worse than during Irene, but for the most part the damage was here-and-there, not overwhelming-and-everywhere.

Still, the clues to the damage were apparent at the Parkside entrance to the park:

Then right inside the entrance, a number of downed trees:

I went less than a mile and shot a bunch of downed trees, but after the fifth or eighth tree, I decided I didn’t need to shoot every sideways tree.

Still, I did take a few more shots. There’s a pavilion near the southeast corner of the park that I really like, so I checked to make it sure it was still standing and found this striking shot:

This tunnel leads to the bridge near the Audubon Center, so I trekked through to see how it fared:

It’s fine, as you can see.

I then made my way back to the road and circled the park. Leaves and needles and twigs  spackled the road, and in a few spots snapped trees blocked a lane, but at no point was the road completely blocked. There were plenty of walkers and runners and a few bikers, and dogs were eagerly pulling their people hither and yon.

Trucks were lined up along the west side of the park and crews were already beginning to chainsaw branches and chip up the mess.

And then, because I’d been sitting on my ass for over a week due to a bent back, I decided to take a few laps around the park in order to remind my body that it did, in fact, still move.

At the top of the second lap I stopped for a shot of the magnificent Grand Army arch and framing columns:

This part of Brooklyn, at least, still stands.

I planned on another lap or two, but the rain spat on that idea, so I headed home. I saw a couple of snapped trees on the way back, but, again, most of the houses and streets seemed to be in good shape.

The major concern for me at this point is how to get to work. The tunnels are flooded, and while I could grab a Q over the East River to Union Square, it’s not clear if any 4 trains would be running in either direction. My office in lower Manhattan and CUNY are both closed, but I don’t know if CUNY will be opening its campuses before the trains are back in service; if so, it’s not clear how I’ll get up to the Bronx.

Eh, I guess I’ll worry about that later; nothing I can do about it now. That maddening phrase makes a certain kind of sense, now: It is what it is.

Of course, it’s easy to say that when one’s home is intact and powered, and all its inhabitants safe.





We might as well try (or not. . .)

19 09 2012

Posts in my head, not on the page—so I bring you instead pics of This Absurd Household.

Back in May I decided to experiment with growing basil, so I bought a few wee plants and rigged up a box planter (I stuck a tension rod in the window track, stuck the box on the ledge, then secured it with a bungi cord hooked to the rod):

A week or so after I set ‘em up

That window faces west-south-west, but as its set back a bit I wasn’t sure it would get enough sun.

Here’s how they looked in early August:

Those little buggers were water fiends, taking up a soaking every other day, and not minding if they got rained on some more.

I didn’t take any pictures in September before I harvested most of the leaves, but they got bigger and bushier and leaned over the lip of the box toward the sun. I bought extra basil from the Bowling Green green-market in order to make pesto, but next year I might just plant a few extra and see if I have enough for my, what, 5 or 6 double-batches.

The plants still have quite a few leaves: Since I bought basil I only took the larger leaves to supplement the purchase, and the smaller leaves have since filled out nicely. I think I’m going to harvest the rest in the next week or so and try to freeze ‘em.

Now, on to the critters.

This is what I awoke to one morning:

Wonder how this happened. . .

The ottoman should, obviously, be parked against the chair, the footstool under the chair, and that rug should, well, should not be visible from this angle.

The cats do enjoy skiing on that rug, and Trickster likes to hide herself behind the little moguls she creates after bunching it all up.

Speaking of the Tricky Girl, she’s a pretty, pretty kitty:

Everything here is mine

She looks quite elegant there, doesn’t she? Well, she also has a habit of slunking down:

She leans her head forward down; it would look like a hunch, except that she extends rather than scrunches her neck.

Anyway, she’s a gorgeous weirdo.

And the Kitty-boy, the most beautiful black cat in the world? (You might think your black cat is the most beautiful black cat in the world, but you would be wrong.)

Well, Jasper also has the BEST PROFILE IN THE WORLD—but he refuses to let me take a picture of it:

This is as close as I could get, and you can’t really see it.

You can, however, see his impressive claws. . .

. . . which, yes, I should cut more often, but I like how they look. (I know, I know: stupid human.)

That desk, by the way, is 42 inches across. Yes, Jasper is a big, big cat.

And how do the cats get along?

At least in this instance they’re not doing this at 3 in the morning. On top of me.

Anyway, back to words tomorrow.





All things weird and wonderful, 24

29 08 2012

Courtesy of the redoubtable dmf, a few of the Google street-shot photos caught by Canadian artist Jon Rafman:

The. . . absurdity of this scene strikes me.

The building makes the rock seem alive.

See the rest of the sad, surreal, and puzzling photos—including one of a tiger ambling across a parking lot—here.





This is not a painting

23 05 2011

Camel thorn trees, Namibia.

Photograph by Frans Lanting, National Geographic





I was so much younger then

16 11 2010

I need an image.

No, not for me—I have my lovely red cube—for my first novel.

I really slacked off on the editing, but it’s done, now. For the most part. One last walk-through. . . .

Anyway, I should be able to post it to Smashwords say, oh, around Thanksgiving, and I’d really like it to have a ‘cover’, and, given that the novel is neither abstract nor experimental, an abstract or experimental image wouldn’t work.

So a photo, or a drawing, something which has some relationship to the setting of the novel itself. I sketched something out, but, well, there’s a reason I work in words. Then I tried searching for images of what I’d want, thinking I could just pony up a licensing fee, but, eh.

Then I thought, Huh, I wonder if I’ve got something which could work in my photo bin. So, after hoisting Tricks and then Jasper out from the pile of photos, I dove into my past.

There are my nieces and nephew as babies. My sister with a perm. My brother with hair. And, jesus, that short-sleeved green shirt I still love? Apparently, I bought that in high school, as there’s a shot of me wearing it in the high school theatre makeup room. There’s K. and M. and me in our costumes from Mame, and, ho, there I am, in a bikini at the quarry.

No, I won’t be posting that one.

I just bought some film for my old Olympus, but, really, most of my shots these days are digital. Will it be the same, in ten or twenty or thirty years to flip through my computer (or online or whatever) archive and see shots of the kitties or my apartment or snow on the fire escape?

Maybe. It is the image, primarily, which pulls me back, and that’s what I’ll see. But I can also tell the different cameras I used in the film shots, the kind of film, the matte and glossy finish. And while I regularly delete bad images from my digital chip, I kept a lot of the old bad film shots—hey, I paid for those!

I’m not slagging the digital, and who knows, in twenty years digital may be old school.

But I’ll never be as young as I was on film.





When all else fails. . . kitties!

18 10 2010

I got nothin’.

Yes, all kinds of opinions about politics and football and freelancing and upcoming family visits but, honestly, why put you or me through that.

So, until the mojo returns. . . kitties!

Kitty croissant, or nautilus shell---take yer pick

Here’s the kitty boy, decidedly ignoring both me and The Trickster:

Not paying atttention: la la la la la

Here he is again, driving me up a fucking wall:

Oh, is this bothering you? Really?

He’s got this thing, where he climbs on to something inconvenient and proceeds to dig away at whatever is hanging on the wall. Not the wall itself, mind you, which might be amusing. No, he has to whack away at something which could fall and break or fall and break something else and in either case generally rip up the plaster.

Or just hang around the desk while I’m trying to work, because, you know, it’s not as if there’s not an entire apartment available for their amusement:

*Sigh* Fucking Feline Union.





Bean-a-lee-a-lea, Bean-a-lee-a-lou. . . .

31 07 2010

Bean loved to do two things, eat, and:

Sleep

And sleep some more

She slept on the floor, on rugs, in chairs, on tables, on my desk, in my closet, and, of course, in bed:

Whaddya mean, move?

As Chelsea and Bean got older, I set a low chest near the bed to make it easier for them to get up and down. In one apartment, however, I didn’t have room for the chest, so set this stool next to the bed, instead:

Chelsea would step lightly up, but Bean never quite mastered that. Instead, she’d climb partly on to the lower step, then stick her paw into the notch on top and haul herself up and over; made me smile every time. Shoulda gotten a shot of that.

When I had a proper kitchen set-up—i.e., a table and chairs—Bean liked to jump into the chair. She then expected me to tip it back and rub her belly. She’d squeak and squeak until I’d stop, then look at me like ‘You’re stopping? Is there a problem?’

Even without the tip-and-rub, however, she liked to reign from the chair.

This became a point of contention between her and Jasper, as he, too, liked to loll on the chair. Bean would chase him off if he dared slip on to her perch, but at some point this past winter, she ceded the spot to him. It was a concession both sad and inevitable.

Still, she never gave in fully to Jasper, never let him get too familiar. Tolerance, however, she could do.

Early detente

I did see them sleeping together—actually touching—once or twice, but Jasper could never get the hang of how to hang without chomping on Bean. And then he wondered why she wanted nothing to do with him.

Chelsea was the same way, initially, with Bean, although because they were much closer in age, they had more time together to learn how to live together.

Unfathomable in the early years, constant later on

Chelsea, as I may have mentioned, was a marvelous jumper, able to leap from the floor to the top of five-foot bookshelves with little more preparation than a look and a butt-wriggle. This was how she most often escaped the Bean-kitten, as the young Bean had neither the strength nor, frankly, the chops, to follow her.

But oh, how Bean tried. One night, when my roommate P. and I were sitting on the couch, Bean chased Chelsea down the hall and into the living room. Chelsea skipped on to the nearby desk, then hopped on to the bookshelves.

Bean, determined to follow, didn’t bother first scrawling up the couch to get to the desk (a board slung across two file cabinets), and instead tried to conquer the desk in one leap.

She managed to get half her tiny body up, but her back didn’t quite make it. She bicycled her back legs, to no avail, and her front half slowly slid back off, until all that remained on top were her paws, the claws dug into the plywood.

She hung there for a moment, her little body swinging, before she finally let go.

Bean never attained the grace so natural to Chelsea, but she had her own dignity.

And she was sweet and lovable, who pipped and squeaked and purred and purred and purred.

Bean was a good cat. I don’t know if there’s anything after life in this world, but if there is, I hope she and Chelsea are together.

They were good cats.

If there is something else, I hope they’re happy.





Sugar boy, whatcha tryin’ to do

17 01 2010

Jasper is an odd cat.

When I pour my cereal in the morning, he hops on to the table and rubs himself all over the boxes and me in a kind of ecstasy. He then closely inspects the poured cereal.

He seems particularly to like Grape Nuts.

(For all of you non-critter owning folk who are now gagging at the thought of a cat on a table or a whisker in a bowl of cereal, hell, you’re probably right: it is unsanitary. I also think it’s funny.)

(This may be among the reasons that you don’t have critters and I do.)

And no, excepting the just-poured  pre-milk cereal, I don’t let him stick his face in my food. As I tell him, that’s just rude.

He does generally like to lounge on the table—which I wash off before I prep any food. My tolerance for kitty dirt does have its limits.

Whaddya mean this isn't a kitty bed?

He also has this thing with the litter box: He climbs halfway inside and pushes the litter around with some vigor.

He then perches on the edge of the box to do his business.

Then, back inside for more vigorous litter-shovelling. Which leads to litter all over the floor.

Which explains the broom in the bathroom.

C. wondered if he doesn’t like the lid. Possible, but given that he has no problem crawling all the way inside to scratch at every last bit on the box—minutes, he does this, honest to pete—I think it’s more about Jasper than the box.

Oh, and have I mentioned how well he’s training me? In addition to lulling me into thinking the breakfast routine in endearing, he’s also learned how to sucker me into comforting him—even when I don’t think he’s really all that upset:

The steam pipe in the bathroom knocks like hell, which makes Jasper squeak out a pathetic little cry, which leads me to say ‘C’mere Jasper. It’s okay. C’mere. . . .’ So he’ll squeak a little more, then jump into my lap for a round of head scratching. (And if I stop before he’s done, he’ll shove his head under my hand and wriggle it a bit.)

I gotta admit, I doubt he cries when I’m not home. I bet he just rolls over on whatever surface he’s snoozing and dreams of new ways of manipulating me.

That is, unless he falls off. Boy has no edge-sense whatsoever.

Well. Given that this is his first winter, I thought I’d introduce him to snow. It started promisingly:

But any attempt to lure him on to the fire escape ended at the sash:

Jasper was not impressed with snow.

Bean, of course, is still unimpressed with Jasper.

She’s tolerant enough of his presence, but I have seen them lying next to one another—briefly, it must be said—only twice.

He’s very interested in her, but he can’t seem to figure out that her unwillingness to hang out with him might just be related to his penchant to pouncing on her back or swiping at her with his paw or chomping on her neck.

Bean don’t like it.

In any case, as successful as he’s been in charming me, he’s not yet achieved that Zen state in which he can simply claim any space as his own.

Such as the middle of my bed.

Yes, Jasper may be the Odd Prince of Prospect-Lefferts Garden, but Bean remains Queen.





Gettin’ oot and aboot

7 11 2009

I haven’t been great about my lists lately. You know: that which is designed to keep me in line.

Well, it still works, kinda, if only irregularly, and if only as a reminder to get off my tuchus.

So, today, I took my tuchus and the rest of me over to Brooklyn Heights & Cobble Hill, with a stopover at the ferry landing near the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge:

This was  a day which made me wish for an SLR with a couple of decent lenses: Intermittently cloudy, with some beautiful cuts by the sun. Alas, the point and shoot had to do:

You can’t really see the Chrysler Building, in front of the Empire State. Still, the Manhattan Bridge provides a nice ramp into Manhattan.

Again, a camera with more flexible exposure options would have allowed me to capture all the nuances of this multi-dimensional shot down Furman Street. Still, you get the various buildings, as well as the platforms of both the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges.

No, this is not how the Manhattan Bridge actually appeared before me: I cranked up the contrast using the (free) rudimentary photo fixes Windows offers. Still, I like how the colors pop out in an almost painterly manner.

I know: If I spent less time mooning over my life and more time trying to sell my novel and/or get a real job, I’d have the money for both the camera and Photoshop.

But in the meantime, I’ve got my walkin’ shoes and the city. That’ll do.





Git yer gay on!

28 06 2009

Any parade that begins with Dykes on Bikes can’t be bad, can it?

She was cute, but turned her head at the wrong moment:

T. scoped out a spot under a tree near Christopher and Bleeker, and she, E., N., T., T., and I shifted on and off the tree-protector stand and tried to catch whatever breeze deigned to blow our way.

At one point, near the front of the parade, there was an, oh, 10-15 minute break while. . . something was (not) going up further on. While I groused whether this was a parade or a sit-in these 99 luft (and whatever else is German for the rest of the colors) ballons kept us company:

Soon, enough, the parade re-upped, with the support of our officers in (pink and) blue:

Of course, this was a gay pride parade, which meant queens:

Fairies:

And niiiiice young men in underwear:

(Be glad I cropped out the guy with bare ass. Not good.)

And, of course, that is gay pride means that this is still (still!) a question:

Overall, it was nice. I’m not really a parade person, but there are worse things than hanging out with T., E., and N. (T. & T. booked at some point) on a warm Sunday afternoon in the Village.

One final note: There was a lot of Michael Jackson music. A lot. The sweetest moment, however, may have been when one group played Whitney Houston’s ‘I wanna dance with somebody,’ and the whole crowd sang along. As the float moved down Christopher, all you could hear was us singing ‘I wanna dance/with somebody who loves me.’








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