Sunday, March 31, 2013

Stop

Foggy Morning

I love a foggy morning. This Easter morning is all fog. The city stops about a block away, fades into white nothing. Soon the sun will burn the fog away, and the city will return, but right now, I'll enjoy my misty little island.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Quick Draw: Man in Blue


Playin' with a bit of a different style, more painterly-like. The results of such play are sometimes imperfect, but hey, that's learning, right?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"I Never Promised You a..."

I woke up with the song "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden" stuck in my head. Well not quite the song; I don't remember the whole song, just that title lyric. So it's on infinite loop, like a record with the needle stuck: "I never promised you a... I never promised you a... I never promised you a…"1

Maybe now it's stuck in your head.

1 Between the time I wrote this and the time I posted it, the song has switched to"Feliz Navidad". (What's the logic? Mysterious.) 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Coffee, Coffee

Coffee, coffee, in my tum.
Coffee, coffee, yum yum yum.
Won’t you please go and say,
"Wake up, brain. It's another day!"1

1 This poem-let plunked into my brain exactly as-is while I slugged down this morning's third gulp o' joe.

Monday, March 25, 2013

I Just Saw a Haiku

I just saw a haiku fly by: seven(-ish) crane-like birds (egrets?), low and fast overhead, bright-lit from underneath, backed by a near-black sky. I'm sure the right poet could do something solid with that. If I wasn't sleepy and muddle-headed, I'd make my own frail attempt.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Morning Coming Down

There's something in the air this morning, brewing — weather-wise, yes, but maybe something else: charged.1 It's misty gray, cool, but trending warmer, blending eddies. Something off to the left is insistently hooting, really wanting to make its point. The ship horns on the Mississippi, to the right, a mile-and-a-half away, are clearly audible. As is that complex backdrop of early-morning city sounds. The little brown birds2 are busy in the now mostly barren willow. Will it clear? Will it drizzle?  Hard to say.3 (But I think the former. As I write this, the clouds are burning of, and the temperature's rising.) Something's going on. Maybe it's just Sunday morning coming down.4

1 This sense of "charged" might just be that crackling electrical wire working its way subliminally into my brain.

2 I have vague ornithological inclinations, but I can't quite manage to concern myself with the distinctions among that  flitty sub-genre: Little Brown Birds (LBBs), the ones that are everywhere, all having slightly varying combinations of brown and gray. Maybe someday…a
a Ooh! I just saw my woodpecker buddy! Now that's a variety I recognize. (And ooh! Look at me get all fancy with my sub-footnote syntax. I've been reading David Foster Wallace again. Talk about a guy with complex footnotes.)
3 The weather report would tell me, but for the moment, I'm enjoying my uncertainty.

4 I've had that song stuck in my head recently. Though the my brain doesn't have the lyrics quite right and keeps on, in some background process, rearranging combinations of words until the rhymes incrementally fall into place.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Flip-Flopper

You know those high-anxiety dreams when you're in some high-pressure public situation and you suddenly realize you're naked? I just woke up from a dream in which I was on the first day of a new job, and everybody was dressed up all fancy, and I was dressed up fancy too, but then I looked down at my feet and saw that I was wearing — gasp! — flip-flops. I suppose that's a mild-anxiety dream.1

1 There's a bit of a generational thing going on in which younger people tend to have a much looser idea of what's a flip-flop-appropriate situation. Flip-flops are great and everything, but there have been some upscale-ish situations when I've had the curmudgeonly urge (which I most certainly did not act upon) to go over to a youngster and quietly whisper, "Uh, yeah, those ain't cuttin' it. You need shoes."2

2 I used to work with a guy who wore flip-flops to the office every day. It was a business casual sort of place, but this was most certainly outside the prescribed boundaries. (It's is a software company, and we techies are held to a pretty low fashion-bar — and the smarter the geek, the more they can get away with, and this guy was pretty smart3 — but still there are limits.) But he rocked those things everyday. His persistence eventually sort of won me over, gave me a modicum of admiration for his screw-you;-I'm-wearing-little-floppy-bits-of-rubber-on-my-feet-every-day dogmatism. (I am, of course, sympathetic in general to the personal uniform.4)

3 I consider myself a pretty smart geek, but I do not stoop to schlubiness. The uniform —always! (The work version of the uniform: a black polo shirt, not merely a black tee.)

4 Note: that linked-to version of the uniform is somewhat out of date. These things are always slowly evolving.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Satsuma in Bloom

Willow Tree, Early Spring, Pre-Dawn




The willow never loses all its leaves. It starts spring before it's quite done with winter. In the cool months, it loses most of its leaves, and those that remain turn raggedy and brown. But then, as the weather warms, it sprouts new little vivid green leaf-lets. And as the bright babies fill in, the last of last year's old-timers finally flutter off.

This process happens on different parts of the tree at different times, starting on the south side, the sunny side, where spring, in a sense, arrives first. The south side turns full fresh green while the north, few weeks behind, is still dingy sparse brown.

Right now, the willow is at its most wintry, just before the burst of spring begins. At night, it makes spare wind-whipped silhouettes against the sky.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Eye on the Sky


Sarah got me a telescope for my birthday. For a guy who likes watching the skies, it's a great gift. For me and for the girls. Last night I showed them the craters of the moon. Maybe tonight I'll show them the moons of Jupiter; and maybe, when things shift around a bit, the rings of Saturn.

1 Certainly the  telescope is great for seeing cool things, but it's also a great reminder that the sky isn't just one monolithic sphere spinning around us; it's a complex dance of many dynamic elements — some of which you can only see when the pieces choose to align themselves in a cooperative manner.2


2 All of this is also a great excuse to use the absolutely wonderful Star Walk app++. Have you checked that out? You should.

Super Sunday, "Backstage"

Yesterday was Super Sunday, the day the Mardi Gras Indians all come out together in one place in their finest regalia. An Indian, a young man, lives around the corner from us. As I walked Floyd, I saw him (the man) sitting on his porch, casually, in everyday wear, a tank top and shorts, chatting with his lady; his fabulous intricately decorated red costume stood propped up next to him, waiting to be donned when the time came. It was like seeing the performer backstage, the funny realization that in regular life, these fabulous characters are just regular people, living regular lives, just like you and me.

Spring is Sprangin'

I didn't notice them budding. I didn't notice a thing. And then, as I'm returning from walking Floyd, there they are, the irises, blooming.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Take Five

I'd slipped out of my photo-bug habit lately (these things ebb and flow), so this morning I gave myself a little kick-in-the-ass game to play: during Floyd's morning walk, I would take five photos of something, good, bad, or indifferent, and post them here. A day in the life of a dog-walk, as it were.1 The results.











1 Floyd-walks are typically my busiest shutterbuggin' time.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Speed Doodle: Man in Blue Shirt and Green Cardigan


I try not to make my characters look sad, and yet they always look sad. I need to learn how to draw happy eyes.

The Saving of Daylight1

I love Daylight Saving Time. Dark in the morning? I don't mind. Light in the evening? Divine. In the morning, the swaddling darkness is, for me, a peaceful comfort, the quiet hours before the hubbub begins. As the sun comes up, so does the family, and the long busy day begins.

In the afternoon/evening, when the work day is done, when the rigorous climate-control is left behind, those remaining hours of light are precious, an energizing balm for the brain. The shining sun, the Golden Hour. Mmm, vitamin D-licious.

1 I've babbled on this subject before.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Garden Therapy

I'm not sure gardening is that much cheaper than a seeing a shrink — at least early on: those plants ain't free — but it might be just as effective. The therapeutic value of digging holes, sticking plants in the ground, and watching them grow is, for me at least, tremendous. After a long week of spinning the bits and bytes, pure intensive brainwork, getting up and out early on a weekend morning, into the garden, is near pure delight: moving the muscles, feeling the sun, smelling the dirt, and taking part in the magic of cultivating life. And then standing back and surveying the fruits of my labors, all my little green children growing up: the horsetails filling in; the irises thriving; the bamboo towering; the satsuma budding; the jasmine climbing, spreading fresh bright leaves; the banana trees sprouting new spring growth... Makes me proud and gratified

Monday, March 11, 2013

Yep

Forty-one. Yep. As of yesterday. I suppose I'm of an age when I'm supposed to be bothered by my age. But I'm alright with it. Forty was a milestone. Forties is, in a smaller way, another. I'm planning on thoroughly enjoying my forty-something-ness.1

1 And I had a mighty fine time hopping through the birthday hoop: a lovely weekend full of family and friends.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Monday, March 04, 2013

Guerilla Gardening

My"horsetail" haul

I like "guerilla gardening". This weekend, I undertook two converse guerilla gardening operations: (1) I planted plants from a neglected lot in my garden. (2) I planted nursery-bought plants in a neglected lot. (Pleasantly symmetrical, non?)
  1.  A while back I planted some "horsetails" in my back garden, lovely spiky reedy things. They look nice. They've been gradually filling in. I thought it would be nice to have a whole bunch of them, but over at the nursery, a whole bunch of them is a big bunch of change. But then while walking Floyd, I discovered a huge patch of them growing in an abandoned lot around the corner. So... I helped myself, dug up and transplanted as much as I could haul, as much as I could want. Better that they beautify my garden than grow neglected amongst weeds.
  2. The house next door has sat vacant and blighted for years now. The owners mow the yard but nothing else. And it's surrounded by a big nasty chain link fence. I hate that fence. So... I bought some star jasmine and planted it at several points along its perimeter. With time, that ugly fence will become a bursting throng of beautiful flowers with a glorious smell.
Down with ugliness! Up with plants!

Sunday, March 03, 2013

My Morning Coffee: Sant'Eustachio

Not a delicate little bit of china, but your classic cafe demitasse. I bought this while travelling with Sarah in Europe after college, at the Sant'Eustachio Il Caffè in Rome. Going to Europe was a caffeine-revelation. Back in the nineties, coffee shops hadn't quite proliferated stateside, but in Europe...? oh, my lord. Walk in, order an espresso, drink it while surrounded by incomprehensible but mellifluous chatter. Maybe order another. I dug it. (I was highly caffeinated for the duration of our travels.) This little cup is a reminder. Plus it has that really cool weird deer head with the shining cross between the antlers.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Speed Doodle: Guy Who's Maybe Like a Wharf Worker or Something

He looks like he just lost a labor dispute.

In Like a Cold Friggin' Lion

Alright. It's now March. Screw this chilly weather.  Shouldn't it be getting hot again? I live in the sub-tropics for a reason.