Jul 21

Things I saw on the road

If you’re in the car at the right time, you can see something dramatic. You could see something dramatic at anytime, really. It depends on your definitions. A good stable molecular structure is all around us and that’s nothing short of miraculous, if you ask me. Maybe it depends on where you’re willing to look. Going outside helps. I should do that more. But, still the quantum nature of stuff in the house, or in the office or in the studio can be equally impressive …

But those early evening clouds, they sure are swell, aren’t they?

You know how modern phone commercials advertise everything but the actual phone? I’d like to see a few commercials that show the next practical advancements of phone cameras. You want to wow me? Make me buy a new phone? Show me a model that captures an impressive moon photo, or makes a rainbow’s photo look as glorious as the optical illusion of a spectrum caused by the reflection and refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets in the sky.

If I’d had a proper camera with me today, maybe that would be better. But it’s still dramatic in its own way. A rainbow! Shift to the left, hand in the pocket, pull out the phone, open that wondrous little app and snap a series of tries. It’s a picture of chance, a photo of opportunity. The car never slowed down. There’s no thought to composition, only that old story about the pot of gold that’s at the other end, and a wry smile about how that end of the rainbow is always moving.

If you want to improve your non-moving-car rainbow photography, there’s a lot of advice out there. You can also learn to make your own rainbows. See, dramatic anytime.

More of this tomorrow!

Jul 21

What’s that in your eye?

Just a bit of a bike ride. I rode really hard to get this clip.

Really hard. I was well behind and I had to work at shutting that down. It was a four-mile chase, I think. At least I was able to look cool when I went by. You don’t see it in the video, but I did. The whole pursuit and catch was pro, on my part.

With so many other things going on around here we haven’t checked in on the cats in a while. Let’s check in on the cats.

Poseidon, as you can see, is stuck in his tunnel in some awkward way.

He does it to himself, clearly. Oh he’ll whine about it, but this is his doing.

Being a cat, however, he is perfectly willing to exercise his “What? That’s exactly what I meant to do, and I don’t know what you’re talking about, anyway.”

Phoebe stares at him in disbelief a lot. We all do.

As ever, she’s content to sit around and pose nicely.

Truthfully, I only take these pictures because you occasionally get these moments where they are wide-eyed in the sunlight. Sometimes they really show off the iris.

Tomorrow we’re going to show off some other things. The cats know what it is, and they are very interested. So do come back and check that out.

Jul 21

Happy Fifth

I once had two tires go flat on my bike in a place where there was no shade for a mile in any direction, so I had to walk a good ways before I could figure out how to address the problem of having two flats and one spare tube. I once rode in a race so hard that I couldn’t walk for an almost disconcerting length of time after it, because, that time, my feet had gone flat in aging shoes. Once, of course, I crashed my bike and had surgery collarbone surgery, several months of hazy memories, two additional surgical consults, a neck exam (to make sure, months later, I hadn’t broken* it) and multiple rounds of physical therapy before I managed to get the pain of it all under control. Another time I got caught out in a sudden thunderstorm that produced hail, which fell hard enough to break my skin. Oh! And there was the time when my ride went too long and after an agonizing 45 minutes of realizing this wasn’t going to work out it got so dark I couldn’t see anything and I found myself pointing the front wheel in a general area where I expected the road to be and, you know, hoped**.

Saturday’s ride, a 47-mile effort where nothing went right, wasn’t as bad as any of those. But it’d go on a longer version of such a list.

At least I saw this cool barn!

And the old grain bin next to it was pretty nice, too.

The city canceled their fireworks this year. But the neighborhood provided quality entertainment once more. As an added bonus, we didn’t even have to leave the yard.

I decided to experiment with a Twitter live stream.

And I learned that for some dark and mystical reason of video compression, the audio doesn’t sound quite right, which is amusing.

The fireworks show they put on last year was incredibly impressive, but they scaled it back this year. Even still …

And if you didn’t get enough colorful things in the sky around you last night, here are some videos I shot of the neighbors last year. They really did go all out. This one is deliberately blurry, evocative of how fireworks hang in our memories.

No kidding, they had four false finales last year. Here’s the third one.

This was, I believe, the big finish.

*This was about why things were still hurting well, well beyond when I should have been healed up. That second specialist, saw me because my mother-in-law worked with him. He saw me over the holidays, listened to all my complaints and said, “Six months? Yeah, that’s not right” and “Let’s look at your neck.” So they went off to fetch the right technicians to do scans to rule out neck trauma and I remember sitting alone in his examination room, incomprehensibly mad, muttering to myself I do NOT have a broken neck. (And I was right! I did not have a broken neck.) What I did have — according to the third surgeon I consulted later the next year — was a good procedure from the first surgeon, who gave me inscrutably bad recovery advice and a lousy therapeutic regimen. So that’s how that particular bike ride went.

**I have a good light for just such an occasion now. And I don’t typically ride that late in a day anymore, anyway.

Jul 21

More phone photos to round out the week

A few raindrops on a maple leaf. I always joke — it’s more of a complaint than anything, you’ll see — that maples are nature’s first quitters. But the end of June is pushing it, even for leaves that just can’t go on anymore.

Probably it was the wind or the cicadas, which are all but gone now, but even still, that’s a disheartening sight to see before the neighborhood kids have narrowly avoided explosive amputation of their fingers on the Fourth.

I went for a run this evening and it was bad. Just my foot, calves, back And shoulder troubled me over two-and-a-half miles. Why do you ask?

When my back tightened up I decided to just lay down in the grass for a minute. It was a good idea, and it helped! The only problem was, where I was, in an empty little lot across from a park, there was no reason for passing motorists to see a guy laying in the grass.

So when a car came by I stuck my phone up in the air and took pictures. A signal, everything is fine and this is only slightly weird.

I had to take more than one picture like that before I could my back to cooperate, is my point. But, hey, that happens. The next outing will be better, because that happens too!

Just you wait and see.

Jul 21

Here are some phone photos

Here’s a little video clip I took the other day. We’d just come back from our trip, a long, long redeye flight, taken a nap and then went for a bike ride. And if you ever have the opportunity to fly, overnight, two-thirds of the way across the nation and then go for a bike ride, don’t.

The nap helped, don’t get me wrong. But it didn’t help that much.

Anyway, this was the plan. Torture ourselves on a plane and then chase each other on a hard ride.

This was one of those rides where I knew the route beforehand, and I knew where I wanted to shoot this little video, because of this curve and this sign.

Do you know how hard it is to chase someone down and how difficult it is to get into, and stay in, the right spot for a precise moment? I found this to be very difficult that day.

Anyway, I’m just cleaning some stuff off of my phone here. Last weekend, my Chick-fil-A cup was making faces at me.

The path nearest our house isn’t quite as nice as running just off the Pacific coast, but at least it had rained just before I went out for this little jog.

It was my first run in new sneakers. The blue Kinvaras have been promoted to walking-around shoes, while the old black walking-around Kinvaras have been demoted to shoes which are … just in the way. (The left heel on the black sneakers had just sort of … collapsed.) Meanwhile, I was approaching the end of the running lifespan of the blue ones, so it was time all the way around.

And these new shoes are fancy looking.

Saucony redesigns their shoes all of the time, which befuddles real runners and mystifies me, too. Not all change is good. Somewhere around Saucony 5 they just turned these things into really shoes, rather than something people wanted to run in. But now, the Kinvara 12s feel like the running shoes of old.

I wish I felt like the runner of old. Mostly I just feel … like I have new shoes.

You thought I was going to say old, didn’t you?