Friday, April 24, 2015

The NYS Lifejacket Rule Is Still In Effect - Please wear them

Quick safety request here -

The New York State off-season lifejacket rule -- the one that says anyone who's out in any recreational vessel of 20 feet or less must be wearing a lifejacket between November 1 and May 1 -- is still in effect.

We've got another nice weekend coming up here, if not quite as balmy as last weekend, but the water's still quite cold. Immersion gear (wetsuit or drysuit) is still a very good idea if you are going boating, but at the very least, please wear your lifejacket.

Because stuff like this doesn't need to happen.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

NYC. 4/22, 10:45 PM - Busker

NYC. 4/22, 10:45 PM. Thank goodness for the right subway busker at the right time. 

I left work tonight after my computer shut itself down at 9:10. I'm swamped with forecast requests and if that hadn't happened I might have stayed much later. As it was, I decided the shutdown was my computer's way of saying "Go home, you have other stuffs to do tonight" (which I do -- more on that before much longer). 

I left the office feeling just plain jangled. I walked to the Broadway-Lafayette subway station. I swiped my card, pushed on through the turnstile, and as I headed for the stairs down to the platform, I heard the mellow notes of a sweetly-played trombone curling up the stairs to meet me. 

My shoulders immediately began to descend from the level where they'd been hovering tensely, somewhere around the lower line of my jaw. 

My train didn't come for I don't know how long. 

I don't know how long because with this gentlemusician pouring popular standards of the 30's and 40's into the air of the platform, it didn't matter that much. I leaned against a pillar and I leaned into the music and I let it massage the day's cares away. I applauded and donated (of couse - the musician is worthy of his hire). 

A few tunes later, the B train finally clattered into the station. I threw a last dollar in the basket and then stepped on board. The bell chimed and doors closed on the chorus of "Dream A Little Dream of Me" and the train pulled out of the station, leaving the musician and his gleaming trombone behind, but the music followed me all the way home.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day. I'm spending it my cubicle, of course, but here's a nice picture I have on my hard drive here. Don't you just look at this and think "That's SO New York City"? Glad we've got bits that still look like this, and that I get to play there as often as I do. August 2013, Jamaica Bay.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Waylaid by warblers (and a ruby-crowned kinglet) in Prospect Park

What a splendid Spring weekend in NYC!
As usual, click on any picture for a better look

Saturday was Opening Day at the club; unfortunately although I took my camera, I forgot to put a card in, so no pictures. As I said over on Facebook, to the great amusement of people who know me and my picture-taking habits, 

"Forget trees falling in forests. If I went for a paddle, and there wasn't a card in my camera, DID I REALLY GO FOR A PADDLE???"

I think other people who came paddling with me will vouch for the fact that I really did go for a paddle, but I'm sorry I can't share pictures because it was a gorgeous day, we had a massive squad turn out to go out (I swear I counted thirty of us although the roster said twenty-seven), the Canarsie Pol ospreys are back, the CCNY Concrete Canoe Team is back in training and they were out practicing, there was a line of Lasers all rigged and ready to go when we got back, Patrick was sailing his Goat Island skiff around, tiny tug Emily and her crew were working on the slips at Diamond Point, and there was a purple, blue and yellow cake at the potluck. So many things to take pictures of and no card, boo. Wonderful day at the club though - I do enjoy the quiet of the bay in winter but it's always exciting watching things start to stir here at the start of the season. Great seeing all the folks back at the club (also great eating all of their good food, of course).

Today I was going to stay home and try to get the apartment looking a little more civilized; it's budget season at work, and when work gets busy, my housekeeping, which never has been and never will be something I'm particularly proud of, really slides. I did get a little done but in the end I decided it was too nice a day to spend entirely on cleaning house and I decided to go see if I could find any nice ducks who wanted to have their pictures taken in Prospect Park.

I didn't, because I got waylaid by warblers instead! I'd started my walk over by the Audubon Center. There were no ducks there, because there was a grand Earth Day concert going on on the steps featuring two young men leading an orchestra of children playing drums and vuvuzuelas they'd all made for themselves, while the nearby shore was lined with young anglers trying their luck with the fishing rods that were available to borrow.

I took a few pictures there, then walked on down the Lullwater towards the lake in search of ducks.

As I came out from under the Terrace Bridge, I spotted two birdwatchers (instantly recognizable by their field glasses and zoom lenses, much better than mine) who were intent on something. I looked to see what had their attention and saw it instantly - it was this gorgeous little brilliant yellow bird with darker wings, just beautiful. 

They told me it was a Prothonotary Warbler and that it was not usually seen in this area, being more of a southeastern bird - this one must have overshot its migration. Sad for the bird, I guess, since there won't be a lot of lady Prothonotary Warblers up here to impress (although in a post-posting update, my birder friend Prof. M just told me that she was out birding in Prospect Park today too and she saw 2 of these birds, and also that when they do end up here, they will figure it out and backtrack to their proper breeding grounds), but what a treat.

There were more birders across the way, the two who'd been looking at the Prothonotary told me they were watching a Yellow-throated Warbler, which is also considered unusual for the area. I caught a glimpse of that one but our little yellow bird was just hanging out in our area so I ended up just staying there for a bit. Eventually I did decide to move on; I made it as far as up on top of the bridge I'd just been standing next to when I spotted a couple more cute little bird, who turned out to be a yellow-rumped warbler - not unusual, from what I see in the All About Birds site run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (very nice site!), but a striking little guy, and a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, who was a very tidy-looking little bird with just a spot of scarlet at the back of his head, which was a bit of the red crown that the site says they will show off when they're singing. I spent quite a while enjoying watching them and trying to get pictures (fast-moving little guys, I got a few good shots and then a whole lot of empty branches where there had been a bird a split-second earlier).

There was still plenty of daylight left when I was ready to move on from there, but I'd gotten a little splinter that just doesn't want to come out in the ball of my foot a couple of days ago and although I'd thought maybe it was gone when I got up this morning, it wasn't, and it was starting to complain, so I decided to save the ducks for another day and head for home. 

Thoroughly enjoyed being waylaid by warblers!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tis the season to get ready for the season

Boating season that is, fa la la la la! Great weather for a couple of work days at the club this weekend, and we got lots done. Next Saturday is opening day, hooray hooray, hope the weather is as cooperative! I attended the Saturday work day and although mostly I was working, of COURSE I brought my camera along and took a couple of picture-taking breaks. Unfortunately, I missed the Concrete Canoe Team (no, I'm not joking, we have a terrific crew of engineers-in-training training for the big annual Concrete Canoe Competition) but I did get some nice shots of the Saturday workers. Can't you just feel the anticipation after that loooooong winter we had?

The rest of this post is all pictures - click on the first one for the slideshow view. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

So you know how it is when you should really go to bed --

but then you suddenly have to draw a boat?

OK, that doesn't happen to me all the time, but I hadn't done any of my more ambitious attempts at drawing or painting lately -- I mean as opposed to doodling on any non-crucial piece of paper that comes in reach while I have a writing instrument in hand, which is pretty much a perpetual thing -- so when I got to feeling like breaking out the sketchbook last night, I ran with it, even though it was pretty late and I was meeting a friend to go out to the club workday today at 8:30 am so couldn't really sleep in.

I had a nice subject, too, which was sent to me by a friend in Hawaii a couple of weeks back. I'd posted this rowboat doodle, which was just one of the aforementioned doodles on a piece of paper that came into range while I was holding a pencil - came out kind of nice for a doodle, though, so I shared it on Facebook:

Sean saw that and said, "Hey, that's pretty nice. How about trying the Araner?". The Araner was a very handsome ketch that Sean worked on for a time years ago; he shared this postcard, which I looked at and said "Ooh, yes, I think I would like to try to draw that".

 Didn't get to it for a couple of weeks, although there was one doodle at the desk one where I tried to just sketch the quickest outline of her lines from memory - that was pretty funny because when I finished it I looked at it and said to myself "You tried to make her into a schooner!" - somehow even though the front mast was taller, I still managed to make the aft sail the largest.

Last night's stab went a little better; this time, with the postcard onscreen, I managed to make her NOT look like a mutant schooner. Good start - hopefully I will get myself to come back to this, she's a nice-looking boat and it would be fun to do a cleaner version. 

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Easter Sunday Swim 2015 - photos!

So yes, I had so much fun going for an Easter Sunday swim with the Coney Island Polar Bears last year that I decided to do it again this year. I think it was a good bit colder this year, I probably would have been better off if I hadn't actually looked at the Stevens Institute NYHOPS site a couple of days before, but since I'd already stated publicly that I was going swimming on Easter Sunday, it would've taken a really good excuse to bail, and I failed to find one.

I had a great time although if you think you detect a note of "oh $#!+ it's cold!" in my expression in this shot by regular Coney Island Polar Bear photographer Bruce Handy, you would be absolutely, positively correct. Love the shot though!

I did take some pictures myself and put together a Flickr album of the afternoon's fun - click here if you want to check that out!

And if you liked this photo by Bruce Handy, you can see lots more of his Coney Island photos Amusing the Zillion.