The moments in between

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Mom on a boat back from Celia Thaxter's garden

This snapshot was taken on the boat ride back from Appledore Island on July 23, 2011.

We had just spent the day exploring Celia Thaxter’s Garden, a tiny but dense plot of wildflowers meticulously maintained that mom had been hoping to visit for many years.

I hadn’t posted this particular photo when I shared more from trip, but it is among my favorite because mom’s intent is so clear, basking in the moment and savoring the day.

I thought about this image in the middle of a month-long expedition to South Africa I’ve just returned from.

The first part of the trip was spent exploring Kruger National Park.

Before an early morning bushwalk, our ranger and guide mentioned we might not see particular big game as animals tend to flee from folks walking on foot. He spoke deliberately, giving each sentence a moment to linger.

“Use all of your senses.” he said. “Be open to the small things.”

I had seen so much already. There were moments of elation catching wildlife along the way, learning about animal behaviors and the environment on the trail. There was even a solid shot of adrenaline as a young male elephant became very curious of our small group. (I have a torn handkerchief to prove it, as we ran for cover wrestling with a stickerbush along the way.)

There were challenges too—long, hot, exhausting days and cold nights, and unexpected rain that pelted our skin like needles.

And then there was the last night in the park. We were driving back from our evening bushwalk in an open air safari truck as the sun was going down.

I closed my eyes and thought of mom.

Warm strobes of light with blurred edges flashed between branches of trees—a hypnotic disco without music. The truck creaked and bounced while the temperature dipped noticeably as we rode down small valleys, replaced by a warm wall of air on each ascent.

I didn’t need to see that sunset, I could feel it and the moments in between.

And I was so very lucky.

(There are many, many photos from this trip, I’m still sorting… It’s actually September 26, 2019 as I write this, but I wanted to post a stopgap.)

Hello so soon

Monday, August 5, 2019

Old Slip phone booth and smokers pole

Smokers pole and phone booths

Somehow I find myself back in NYC, but this time? For work! I landed this day and headed over to the Financial District, enjoying new things to see, old friends and colleagues.

Old Slip public art

Brooklyn from Manhattan

Brooklyn from afar.

Trinity Church New York

Trinity Church of Wall Street

Temple Court

Restaurant week deal at Temple Court. Go, if only for a cocktail to see the view above of the Beekman Hotel (The Temple Court restaurant / bar) is integrated.

Oculus

Oculus interior

I’ve been here before, but didn’t post the photos. That was an emotional visit. This time I got some adapter doo-hickey at the Apple Store located here because they keep fiddling with plugs and stuff.

Super annoying.

Like the VOID box in the middle of the space that peddles VR experiences.

Anyway.

It’s neat to see it all again.

It’s so gratuitous.

Oculus steps

Oculus exterior

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Sunday, August 4, 2019

The concession stand at a movie theater in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio

This latest (and perhaps second to the last?!) Quentin Tarantino movie left me flummoxed. It felt slow. The dialog wasn’t as sharp. There was a lot of build-up and then the rug was pulled out.

It ultimately found the violence he reveres, but it had the creepy factor too.

I’m trying not to spoil anything, and though I walked away scratching my head, I think it’ll hold up as good as a Rockford Files episode. Which is saying a lot.

In brief: I think it’ll hold up well, but it was slow getting there. But who am I kidding? Slow getting there is awesome.

Also? Neon.

Look Around

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Meredith said she’d be coming into town for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s event called Look Around. This was my first clue that it was something special. (She has a good spidey sense for these things. )

It was a hard event to grok… Artists spread around Washington Park, with more along a route from Ziegler Park… All told? About 600 musicians, poets, and dancers staggering performances throughout the spaces.

In some ways it was difficult to get from point A to point B, but the journey always had something to see or hear. It didn’t hurt that the weather was pretty great, creating a fine backdrop for the entire experience.

In hindsight, I’m glad it wasn’t a traditional show where you sit there and have the musicians move into view. It was active and demanded a bit more from the audience. That said, sometimes it was hard to see the artists.

With such things, there’s always a bit of the feeling that you’re missing something. You have to make choices. The good thing? There were no wrong answers.

But let me tell you, finding a bench to rest up when all was said and done? That moment came at just the right time.

Bi-Okoto on the south lawn.

Spoon, Cage the Elephant, Beck

Friday, August 2, 2019

Spoon, the band

Triple set at Riverbend: Spoon, Cage the Elephant and Beck.

Ticket purchased, mostly to see Spoon. They’ve been on my bucket list for some time, but maybe I’ve seen them before? I scrubbed through some older music posts and nothing emerged other than a strong desire to port my old journal over to WordPress and run a dead link report.

Spoon was good. Extra loud, which may have been an effect of the outdoor venue, but overall? Filed under “yay”.

I didn’t know Cage the Elephant before today and they certainly charged the crowd with sweat equity. I kept hoping for the lead singer to take at least one coat off (it was hot this day). He complied. By their last song he was barely wearing anything. Essentially we saw a 19 song striptease.

Beck closed things out with a set that was too short, but sound ordinances kept the music from going on too late. A bit more canned backing vocals than I’d like, but the band had super high energy. It didn’t soar as much as the Midnite Vultures tour I’d seen 19 years ago (setlist), but I’m gonna pin the venue on this one.

An amphitheater obliterates a fair amount of nuance.

Chinchilla

Thursday, August 1, 2019

My friend Heather Brown and I debate the emphasis of syllables of Petsmart. Is it PETS-mart or pet-SMART? I’m confident it is the former.

I went there to get Edith her favored kibble as she is not liking the hippy grain-free version purchased to curb her intermittent vomiting. (I should mention, I have removed any deep pile carpet in my apartment to make life easier for us both.)

Anyway, PETS-mart had this male Chinchilla for $149.99 which I did not purchase.

Some bulletpoints from his placard:

  • Lifespan: Average 10 years
  • Activity: Mostly active at night, adaptable to daytime activity
  • Compatibility: Social, do best in same sex pairs. Easily Tamed.
  • Traits: Very intelligent. Overheat easily. Should be kept in a cool environment.
  • Habitat: Multi-level

Sounds vaguely familiar… Though what animal wouldn’t prefer a ranch style house?

Invest in the glass

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

I’ve been researching cameras again. This happens with some regularity but more pressing because my pocketable camera is starting to fail. Each year new digital cameras arrive on the scene boasting the latest upgrades. Lately it’s been things like:

– Moar megapixels
– Vertical video format for vloggers
– Microphone input
– Better Wifi
– Even more articulating screens

And then I wondered, wait a minute. Why am I not regarding cameras like I do a car? Where I prefer old fashioned dials and manual transmissions?

So I started to research film cameras. Particularly, the Canon EOS model line.

I have a fairly long-in-the-tooth digital 5D Mark II which I love dearly. Full frame sensor. Lots of dials. Accepts EOS lenses that work with film cameras. Maybe I should look into a really nice lens. Because they say, invest in glass, camera “backs” will always evolve—lenses don’t. A high quality lens is going to take a better photo no matter if you’re shooting digital or on film.

So I found this monster on eBay for a fraction of the cost of a new lens. It’s a Canon EF 85mm f/1.2. All those numbers mean it takes really shallow depth of field images. It’s a bit pokey to focus, but I’m just figuring out how to use it. But it’s fun, and it should last a lifetime. Now to find a good film back for it…