Saturday, July 28, 2007

Mets v. Nationals

I caught the second game of a three-game set of Mets v. Nationals. It was a sloooooooow game (final score: 3-1). So I had time to take pictures of sailboats behind Shea Stadium:

It was so slow, the pitcher took time out for yoga in the middle of an inning -- you can see here that he has undertaken a modified tree pose, which is always nice in the middle of a big green field:

It wasn't exactly a sold-out crowd, so perhaps they are building a smaller stadium:

Mr. Mets is going to shoot somebody if they don't start getting a few runs:

In the other two games, the Nationals prevailed.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Fresh Look: Hudson River Bike Path

"If music be the food of love, play on..."Music in the visible spectrum?

The fierce eagle's wings...
...are reflected in the passing cruise ship as it slips between the Statue of Liberty and the long tree trunks...
...which are echoed in the pillars here. See how the roof of this structure...

...foreshadows the raised platform of the Irish Hunger Memorial (it's basically an Irish country hillside replicated on top of the platform).

Then atop a small wall enclosing a children's playground, the early bird considers the early worm, while a cat crouches, ready to pounce... a nearby dog, chained to the water fountain, eyes the scene.

I've always liked these tents (same look as the Denver International Airport)...

...and the arches dimly remind me of this highway support structure, glorious in the setting sun.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Montauk and the Deathly Hallows (NO SPOILERS)

Instead of waiting at home for Amazon/UPS to deliver my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I spent the afternoon at Montauk Point. After taking a look at the prehistoric shark teeth available at the gift shop (price range: $12 to $950), we went around the lighthouse. I kept trying to capture the spray bouncing high up off the rocks, with varying degrees of success.

The lighthouse is a little foreshortened from this angle. From some directions, it is apparently protected by both barbed wire fences and ticks. Guess they are serious about collecting admission fees from all those who wish to visit the structure.

While we were sitting behind the lighthouse, zoning out to the roaring murmur of the Atlantic, a strange drama unfolded. A teenaged girl, looking either "bored" or "bitter" according to various onlookers, came into view. She was holding a pair of hedge clippers. The image caused concern among a particular demographic (i.e., male onlookers with a generalized persecution complex). She stood for a while at the top of the rocky beach, still looking bored (or bitter). She then picked her way down to the water's edge and stood for a while there, with the same expression. After a while, she tossed the hedge clippers about three feet away from her, into the shallow water among the rocks, where they disappeared from view. She walked away. If she was trying to hide an implement of a heinous crime, such as surreptitious clipping of her neighbors' lilacs, she should have taken notice that her extended silent performance was observed by an audience of about 20.

Here is a tower visible from Rockville Center train station:

And then a glorious urban sunset to close the day:

When I got home, I learned that my downstairs neighbor had signed for my Harry Potter book that morning. (Thank you, sweetie!) I read about 10 chapters before bed -- they were funnier and more satisfying than I expected.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

More Fireworks: A Retrospective

A happy camper.

Two for the price of one?

Three generations:

Can we play outside? Please, mom?

Walk along the lake.

Some of these came out nicely over the water.

I like the way the boats sometimes show up in silhouette....

Thursday, July 12, 2007

End-of-Year Parties

Small Group:

You can't really celebrate the end of the year without a rooftop party ...

... or a demonstration of "Guitar Hero"

Primary School Reading Program:

It's all about eating lots of sugar and making silly faces. I introduced my student to Roald Dahl (specifically, The Twits), which was a hit. Unlike Stuart Little. I have a feeling she won't go on to The Chronicles of Narnia or The High King or The Lord of the Rings - but who knows how things will turn out.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Wagner's Ring Cycle

A few of us humble music-lovers tried to get tickets for the Kirov performance of Wagner's very important Ring Cycle (not to be confused with your Washing Machine's all-important Rinse Cycle; this is the one with the immortal chorus, "Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit!") and quickly discovered a troubling fact.

Specifically, even though these shows at Lincoln Center require a tremendous investment of time and capital (rendering them presumptively beyond the reach of the common man), there are either enough uncommon men in New York City, or else there is such a ravening desire of the common man for musical masochism, that we could not obtain a block of four tickets to even one part of one Ring Cycle. Individual tickets, where available, are scattered and cost $300+ each. All I can say is that the price per hour would be quite reasonable if it were a private performance.

These kinds of disappointments can only build character, although it is bitter indeed to be constantly reminded of my loss due to the omnipresent wascally wabbit motifs in New York City. Speaking of which, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Arms and Armor collection features this helmet calculated to strike terror into the hearts of one's fellow warlords in ancient China:

Patricia's Party: First BBQ of the Season

Patricia graciously took time away from her writing and other pursuits to host a barbeque on the finest patio in Manhattan. We dined on hot dogs, hamburgers, watermelon, a variety of pasta salads, and a lovely home-made avocado/potato/tomato salad.

As you can see, the paparazzi were out in force. Not surprising, considering the stellar crowd. There were even rumors of a genuine, live, in-person sighting of the ever-elusive L.K. and Angie (although - alas! - without photographic evidence, many will be hard-pressed to believe it).

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Today was 7-7-07, apparently an auspicious day for weddings (although in Chinese numerology, it might be worth waiting for 8-8-08). To honor the occasion, I went to the intersection of 7th Avenue and 7th Street, and also took this picture of the 77th Street Station on the 6 line. (If only I had gone on the 7 train as well, and done one of my 7s at 7:07 a.m. and the other one at 7:07 p.m., I'd have been all set.)

I liked this trompe l'oeuil on W 83rd Street, outside a dry cleaner's.

This week, like the last several weeks, I indulged in a micro-run ... just 2 or 3 songs' length before I stopped. I have (ahem) missed my goal of running all the way around the park without stopping by the end of June, but I have accomplished my goal of running every week (only missed 3 weeks so far) without otherwise pushing myself. Just goes to show that if you set your goals low enough, you can meet them.

I did listen to some good music during my mosey, including "Love Song" by Sara Bareilles. It was iTune's "free song of the week" a few weeks ago, and is the best free song they've offered so far. It reminds me of Laura Brenneman's songs in style, subject matter and tone. (The lyrics are addressed to a lover who has demanded a love song, and will not be given one.)

This frieze on an apartment building on the upper east side near the Met seems appropriate for my micro-runs:

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Independence Day!

Let's not be too picky about the "July 4th" date, since no one got around to signing the Declaration of Independence until some time in August 1776, and some folks got credit as signatories even months later.

The night of July 3, 2007 was lovely and dark, with fireworks around us in multiple directions. The authorized ones were predictably more elaborate, and reflected nicely in the water.

By contrast, on July 4th, the sun that broiled us during brunch (and lured us onto the water for a quick sail on the most technologically advanced sailboat ever) hid its face around 12:30 p.m. and a serious chill set in as we headed in to harbor. We then ran into a lobster trap that was inauspiciously placed in the middle of the channel, and lost power. This was all a prelude to my mad dash to catch the 5 o'clock bus back to New York, so it was very exciting. A grim, gloomy, twilit drizzle welcomed me back to the city. Boats were already lined up in the East River to watch the fireworks:

Famous buildings loomed overhead.

Portland Museum of Art

We went up to Portland to see a minor league baseball game - the Sea Dogs vs. the Fisher Cats - note the nautical theme - but made the mistake of assuming we could buy tickets right before the game. They were sold out. Perhaps if we hadn't spent the whole afternoon at the museum, we could have gotten tickets earlier in the day. Oh well.

In the rotunda connecting the two parts of the museum, they had some nicely detailed marble sculptures in a classical style. I really liked the one of a drowned pearl driver - a young man of delicate feminine beauty - draped backward over a rock and covered with a strategically carved marble net. Here is a close-up of his feet, with a small tangle of seaweed:

I also thought the fabric of President U.S. Grant's marble coat was particularly well done (although the face was not up to the same quality):

A nice contrast to the classical sculptures is this modern work (visible through the window of the rotunda), called "Rising Cairn":

It's a nice play on words; not only does it look like cairn coming to life in human form, rising up out of the stones from which it was made (a new Adam/Eve), but also it echoes the phrase "raising Cain" - appropriate for some monstrous man-made creature (humanoid but not human).

In the main building, they had a Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit (with no allusions to Fallingwater, worse luck), but their bread and butter was the collection of paintings by New England artists. This one was called "The Raven" - if you can ignore the glare/reflections, you may be able to see that there is no raven depicted. Just a bleak landscape with symbols of death and feathery branches of a tree. I think this was by one of the Wyeths (maybe Andrew):

By far my favorite painting in the place was another Wyeth (N.C. this time, I think). Although one could object to the picture-postcard perfection and almost hyperrealistic colors, the light in the painting was simply spectacular. I think what really made it work was the very intense spots of light on the top of the rock where the sun practically burned through the trees.

After seeing all the paintings of New England's seacoasts, we wandered over to see the real, live version. This rock is painted to commemorate a shipwreck about 120 years ago; I don't know if that was before or after they built the lighthouse that stands there today.

Sunday, July 01, 2007