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The other day on a walk, I spotted what looked like a patch of newer asphalt in our street. I was curious enough to poke my finger at it, and found that it was a hole. It's at the far corner of the two-block area I walk in, a place of several storm sewer drains — midway between two gratings, a yard or so away from the curb.

Tonight, Sarah and I walked that way, and I poked my camera's lens into the hole and snapped a few. This was the best exposure I got. I may try again later, provided they don't fix it or anything. (Larger size photo can be seen at flickr, which makes putting pictures up here insanely difficult all of a sudden.)

In the hole by Kip W
In the hole, a photo by Kip W on Flickr.

I plan to tread lightly there. And warn people I see near it — a dog could step in that and maybe skin a fetlock.
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NYC Municipal Archives releases a database of over 3/4 of a million photos of 20th century life in the city. The Atlantic assembles 53 favorites from the collection.


Feb. 9th, 2012 11:20 pm
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Pass it!

Well, when you put it like that...
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We were in China for about two and a half weeks. You might have noticed I wasn't around! Since getting back, I wasn't around because of some major jobs I had to finish. One is now done and the other was done enough that I have taken a day off to just gibber a lot and get my photos organized.

I finished organizing a photoset taken from the almost 5,000 snaps on the trip — which include duplicates of the majority of shots, because I can't go back for retakes. I would take two or three (sometimes four) of a subject, shifting a little to the right in between, so that I'd get at least one decent shot out of it, and if I got two, I'd have a stereo pair. I also took a lot of pictures from moving buses, and if I find the time to get rid of all the ones like that that didn't come out, my hard drive will sigh happily and stand a little straighter.

Anyway, the first photoset was about 350 pictures. Nobody will look at that. So I went through and pulled the cream from that set and made a subset of 120 pictures. One in a hundred will look at that, and I don't feel like cutting down another one, so there we are. For the other 99, here's a sampling:

0862 Photo op
Here we are, climbing the Great Wall in 97° heat. The guard stations are cooler inside, especially if there's a breeze, but my party never wanted to stop inside, except when they met the donkey and wanted to pet it.

more behind el jumpo )

More at China, July 2011 and not quite so much more at China 2011 in Brief!


Mar. 23rd, 2011 02:18 pm
kip_w: (sarah tongue)
Here's Sarah in, more or less, the present day. Give or take a month and ten days.

We Are All Andy
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P3240141 meet sw

On March 24, 2003, in China's Anhui Province, Cathy and I stood in a conference room at the Hefei Holiday Inn. Late in the morning, somebody handed us a thirteen-month-old girl named Xi Huan, who we renamed Sarah.

In honor of the occasion, here are some reprints from my Live Journal from 2006.

@ 2006-02-07 18:04:00
I waited at the door with the camera tonight, to get a picture of the last time my three-year-old daughter came in after school. Tomorrow she'll be a big four year old. I took a couple of shots. Sarah demanded a tuna sandwich. I managed to get a word in, to tell Cathy I'd finally heard back from the insurance people, and we weren't covered for vandalism. "Angie's grandpa died," announced Sarah.

I expressed sympathy. She asked why he died. "Probably because he was old," I said carefully. We proceeded into the den.

She asked me what other reasons people die. "Well," I ventured, "sometimes if they're in a really bad accident, or if they get really, really sick." I didn't want her to think you die from just any sickness. "I hope you don't die," she said. "Give me a tuna fish sandwich!"

more incontinent nostalgia on the other side )

ps: There's a certain amount of morbidity in the selections. It reflects that particular time in our life when she was figuring that stuff out. This can also be found at The New Pals Club Web-Log.

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Per the meme, here I am. Natural, unposed, and no Photoshop.

natural and unposed


slide show

Oct. 8th, 2009 12:22 am
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I've been slaving over a hot keyboard today. I actually put in something on the order of six hours organizing and selecting photos, putting them on my flickr page, finding that half of them were already there, blasting away duplicates, deciding on an order, captioning, and mostly, waiting for flickr to wake up. That was the fun part.

Anyway, the magnum opus is finished. I have made a new photoset of the pictures I took in 2006 and 2007 of the derelict amusement venue, Holyoke's Mountain Park, and the nearby derelict (and somewhat newer) water park. Mountain Park closed in 1987 after 80 years, and the wooden coaster was torn down in 1990.

In the course of looking up older photos to put names on some of my pictures, I learned that Jay Ducharme (whose pictures and sound files I linked to) finished a book on the park's history. He was one of the last carousel operators. The book, fittingly, is being sold at the carousel, which is now in Heritage Park, by the Children's Museum. It came out about four months after we moved out of town.

I also found out that bulldozers have finished obliterating the place, and a new owner hopes to make a concert venue of it.

some samples after the cut )

Seriously, go have a look if you can. I hiked in the hot sun to get these because I thought it was interesting, and I put a couple dozen of them up two and three years ago, respectively, and they've been looked at between zero and three times, ever. Be the first on your side of the Mississippi!
kip_w: (1971)
Sarah's going to be home all next week. She insists she has nine days off from school, though I prefer to think of it as five. At any rate, we'll be together for nine. The pool at the Y should be open again by then, and she'll probably be in a mood to go back. She's been going to the Adventure Center there several times a week, which is good, as she gets to run wild for a while. I now sit in the lobby and do crossword puzzles, but have excavated and washed my jogging pants, thinking I might take her suggestion and exercise instead.

I exercised yesterday, at about this time. Went for a walk around the neighborhood, roughly a mile's worth. Dogs called "Hey! Hey!" after me, and once in a while, a car went by. I miss sidewalks. After lunch I went to the music store by the canal and bought an inexpensive piano tuner (Korg CA-30). In the afternoon, I spent some time on the middle octaves of the piano in the living room, with some success. I played through the Durand Valse that I have recently boiled down from five pages (with some awkward page turns) to three pages (with one easy turn) by notating when to play what. It comes down to Intro, A1, A2, B, A2, B, A2, C1, C2, D1, D2, C3, A2, B, A3, Coda (the different numbers mean that the last measure differs -- in the case of D, it's a repeat that does four measures for D1, and eight measures for D2). Printing it was harder, because the HP gives me more than I ask for, in the form of ghostly repeats of stuff from higher up on the page.

(Anybody know how to make it quit that? It's a Color Laserjet 2605dn. If I run a cleaning page before each page I print, the copy is clean until the last two or three inches, but there's always some ghosting at the bottom of the page when I print in black. One web page said you have to dismantle the machine and clean a mirror inside. Please don't make me do that. Sliding the cleaning slider back and forth is good exercise.)

We'll probably be going to Colorado at the end of May/beginning of June. First time in five years. It kind of grinds on me that I don't get out there more often. I'm getting old, and five years is too long to go without seeing my friends.

Sarah's roller skating has improved wonderfully in just two monthly sessions at the Y. The first time, she couldn't stay on her wheels for a half minute, but she persisted. The second time, she started off about the same, but by the end of the evening, she was good for a few minutes at a time. When they started dancing, she joined right in, doing the gestures for YMCA and the Chicken Dance and the Hokey Pokey (for our UK readers, that's a version of the Hokey Cokey, which somebody apparently got paid money for). I am so proud of that kid sometimes. We looked for a roller rink here, but the one in Macedon is closed because a pipe burst and warped the floor, and the one beyond Clifton Springs takes 45 minutes to drive to. Sonali's mom says there's one in Henrietta, and I plan to go out and look for it, because Sarah and I have rollerskate fever.

I keep meaning to put some of the 1979 photos I've been scanning where the "Lost Fort Collins" web site can get them. I think I'll put them on flickr and send them a link. (Some time goes by. Lunch is eaten. Photos are uploaded.)

I think I'll show some slides. )

family day

Mar. 24th, 2009 08:24 am
kip_w: (sarah tongue)
Six years ago, on the other side of the planet, they handed us a baby. I am still awed that such a thing could happen, no matter how many forms we filled out, biographies we wrote, pictures we took, fingerprints we allowed, interviews we underwent, and months we waited. They gave us Sarah. Thanks, China. Thanks, everybody.

my family in 2009 )

Thanks, Cathy, for your diligent and committed work on getting it all done right. Thanks, Sarah, for being a great kid. Thanks, Frances, for being such a kid-tolerant cat.

My heart, as they say, is full.


Sep. 5th, 2008 09:06 am
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I don't drive as much as I used to, but when I do, I take a child-like joy in neat numeric strings on the odometer. Ever since I missed the last one, I was looking forward to 123456. I remembered it at 123452 and then again at 123458. I guess the next really good one will be 222222.

I expect this is because I devote too much attention to things outside the car, like the lady who ran two stop signs to get in front of me (I presume she believes, as many do, that stop signs and painted markings on the pavement in parking lots are purely decorative, like the buildings in Disneyland's "Main Street USA"), or the one who turned right against a sign specifically forbidding it.

Anyway, Sarah's in school now, wrapping up the first short week of first grade in Ms. Collins's class. When she gets home, she usually can't wait to race up the hill behind the house to see if Zack is available. I think today's Zach's first day of kindergarten at a different school. Their street is in a different neighborhood from ours, and he'd probably go to a different school anyway, but he goes to yet another school where he can get all-day kindergarten. The two of them usually either vanish up the hill or they troop through our house, getting ice pops from the freezer in the garage before bouncing on the trampoline. I bounce with them for a while, but stop when I get too old. I mean tired.

There was some excitement when I heard on RASFF that I could get the hardware on my Halliburton Zero suitcase (the Airstream trailer of luggage), and after an exchange of information, I found that it was actually going to cost $100 or more. It was Mom's case, and just about the neatest suitcase I've ever had. It still bears the luggage tags from Houston airports, which means it was about 1983 that enthusiastic baggage handlers succeeded in busting the latches off of it. ("High five, Lenny!") We'll probably budget to get it done some day, and I'll also use solvents to get the old tape off of it that held it shut on its return flight from Colorado.

Sarah has been asking me to play chess with her. She wanted to use my little magnetic set, which I've had for 35 years or so. I was reluctant to start losing the pieces, so Cathy brought home a chess/checkers/Chinese checkers board, and we've been playing with that. She gets discouraged that she can't do as well as a 51-year-old man who's been playing since he was her age, but later on she wants to try again.

Did I mention that her apple trees are finally in the ground again? We transplanted them from the pot that I had been keeping them in last week. Their odyssey started in a pot on the porch in Massachusetts, grown from seeds out of apples Sarah was snacking on -- her idea. When they got big enough for it, I put them in the ground out front of our house in West Springfield, and they spent the winter in the ground under a bunch of snow. When we sold the house, I put the four seedlings back in a pot and they traveled in the front seat of my car and lived on the balcony of the apartment for two weeks, then I had them in the sun room. Realizing soon that they were baking back there, I brought them in for first aid, and then let them be out on the deck for another three or four weeks, getting their strength back (by this time, there were two of them). Now they are in the ground, and oh! the difference to me. The big one was lying down a day or so later, and I took care of that. Now it looks like something has eaten the leaves off of it and some of the stalk -- probably the groundhog that lives under the back of the house. I've been ignoring it so far, but it if meeses with those trees, I'm going to see about trapping it. Maybe I should see if the garden center has protective devices for young, vulnerable trees, while I'm at it.

photos beyond the leap )


Nov. 8th, 2007 11:03 am
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After leaving Sarah's bus stop yesterday morning, it occurred to me I had missed a chance to take close-up shots of the frost on top of the wooden fence on the corner. So today, I took a bunch of frost macros.

put on a sweater and jump in )
kip_w: (sarah tongue)
Before we take our jack-o-lantern to the forest to feed woodland critters, I wanted to do something. Something... creative! This morning, with Sarah in the house (all day), I got around to it, enlarging the hole in the back that I made for the insertion of one of those electric window candles until I could take pictures through it.

inside the pumpkin )

big day

Nov. 5th, 2007 10:57 pm
kip_w: (sarah tongue)
This morning, I started off by having Sarah get her pack ready to go before she did anything else. Consequently, we got out the door pretty much a half minute after saying, "We're going out the door now." Sarah ran off down the block ahead of me, and I walked along, not trying hard to catch up. At the end of the block, she was saying something and pointing, so I hurried some, in case the bus was there early.

It wasn't the bus, though, it was a woman in a station wagon who was looking for the bus stop. She has just moved to the street next to ours (as of Thursday), and her son Andrew will also be riding the kindergarted bus, so Sarah has a new bus stop friend. Mornings only -- in the afternoon he will ride a different bus and be picked up by his grandmother while his mom works.

After that, I commenced my usual walk, and varied the routine by listening to my iPod, since I had put some new stuff on -- some Shostakovich symphony movements, arranged for piano. I was enjoying it. As I passed the funeral home, I looked across the street and saw the Bloodmobile, and realized here was my chance at last to give blood. I had nowhere else to be for a while. I was five minutes early for the start of their day, but when I went over and waited, the door opened and I was welcomed inside. Some paperwork, a small sample, a search for a vein, and I was finally giving blood, for the first time since early in our time in Virginia.

In the 80s, I was giving blood with some frequency, and I was glad to share my O-negative. Then after we moved to Virginia, something went wrong. One time, I had been taking antibiotics. Another time, I sniffled. After that, I have a distinct impression there was a secret policy that if I'd been turned down twice, they'd never take my darn old blood again. I finally gave up, tired of going through the preliminaries without managing to give anything. But here I was again, reclining on something like the astronaut couches in Tintin's moon adventure, bleeding quietly into a plastic bag that was being rocked gently as it filled.

Then there was a small snack, some orange juice, and -- !!! -- a free fleece pullover with the hospital name on the front and the words "Blood Donor." Cool! I'm a donor again! And I have a fleece pullover! I walked on home, thinking I should have taken my camera out and gotten a couple of pictures of the interior of the Bloodmobile, then drove on up to my next scheduled event, a shift on the pledge drive for WFCR. But first I stopped off to take a picture.

and it's behind the cut )
kip_w: (sarah tongue)
For Sarah, that is. For me, it's been somewhat more.

On Monday, she had a sore throat and stayed home, but since I was committed to the pledge drive at WFCR, Cathy worked around her schedule to stay home and have a mother-and-daughter day. I learned the ropes to be a volunteer supervisor and supervised the 11-1 shift.

Tuesday was a normal sort of day, with the morning routine getting later and later. I'm trying to forestall those $500 energy bills by taking shorter showers and shaving afterward instead of during. I also close off the den and heat it with a space heater during the day. The thermostat's in here, so that effectively shuts off the heat in the rest of the house, except the basement, which is always warm because it's where the water heater is. I've contemplated moving operations downstairs, but haven't so far.

Wednesday, Sarah was home all day again for another teacher conference day. It went about like last Wednesday, with things going fairly well until I snap and yell at Sarah, then feel terrible about it. We had lunch at Friendly's, which took a fair-sized chunk out of the middle of the day, because our order was late. I spent much of the afternoon getting her pumpkin ready for its light, scooping and scraping to get the possibly flammable fiber debris out. I used one of our electric candles for it, and didn't want to take any chances. Sarah got into her lion costume after supper and Cathy took her over to go trick-or-treat with Traigh and company. She overcame her hesitation and covered much of two streets while I stayed in and handed candy out to the marauding bands of kids whose parents drive them over here from Springfield every year. We didn't get as many as I expected, probably because there weren't as many houses lit up on this end of the street.

Yesterday the morning delays resulted in our arriving at the bus stop as the bus pulled away. Actually, I met them halfway up the block and flashed my lights at the driver, who obligingly stopped for us. Then I did another shift at the pledge drive, back to my humble berth as an operator. It was a slow pledge day, at that.

This morning I tried to get Sarah moving. She was hoping that by watching TV really hard, her juice box, ice pack, snack, and folder for important papers would all assemble themselves in her backpack, which would then stand by the door for her. I nagged persistently to get each step accomplished, and we piled into the car. I scraped the windows perfunctorily, leaving stripes between the frost for me to see out of. We drove a few yards and Sarah announced that the folder wasn't in her pack. Wackiness ensued. After I dropped her off, kissed her and waved bye, I brought the car back and took my morning walk, with my headphones cozy and quiet in my pocket as usual. The birds were noticeably quiet in the 30-degree morning, so I mostly heard traffic and a train down by the river, and trees quietly applauding the breeze.

Soon the weekend will start. We're going out for sushi tonight.

pictures behind the cut )
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world below

I was waiting for Sarah at her bus stop yesterday afternoon, and I got interested in stuff on the sidewalk. This is a crack in the cement, maybe as wide as my thumb. There's a bigger version behind the jump.

here goes )


Oct. 21st, 2007 07:05 pm
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Since flickr is still determined to be the photo-sharing service that jealously guards my photos against intruders from the outside world who would, by invitation, view my photos, I will post most of my teapot set here.

I'm a little photoset, behind the cut )


Oct. 20th, 2007 11:56 pm
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Friday's big priority was to take myself and my piano to the library, set up for the wine tasting, and play a couple of hours, then knock down. I practiced all day, hoping my injured wrist wouldn't let me down. Around 4, I loaded the piano in my car in the light drizzle. Sandy helped me heave the 75-pound instrument up the narrow steps.

I brought a fan and was in control of my own temperature all evening. At 6, the event began. I had to adjust to the somewhat shocking sound of my piano playing really loud to reach the crowd below. I should have put my ear plugs in. Delicacies were being served below. I had some.

The cheap printer did a slack job on the program book. All the greys had dropped out -- like they shot from a copy of the copy I gave them (along with a printable PDF which I doubt they used). I could have done a better job than that on any copier I have ever worked with. I told my contact I wanted a proof, but never got one.

I woke up this morning, still a back-weary. Sarah and I went to Mittineague Park with Traigh and Shane, hiking to the soccer fields, playing a while, then hiking back home. Then this afternoon, Sarah and I hiked to join Cathy for kid activities at Westfield state -- coloring, mask-making, pumpkin painting, sand art, bounce house, and some food -- our parking spot was on the far side of campus, and we went through the woods to get there. On the way back, Cathy gave us a ride to my car.

I had earlier checked on SD cards for my new camera, and found that the neato model that folds and becomes its own USB drive was available there. The 1GB card was $39.99. I checked to see how much the 2GB card was, and it was $35.99. I bought it online, and we picked it up at Circuit City this afternoon, so now I have room for about three times as many photos as we took on our entire China trip.

Speaking of which, I put up a new flickr photoset of some China pictures -- specifically, tea and teapots. Short and stout, tall and willowy, but all with a handle and a spout. Here's one sample, reduced in size so as not to bust anybody's flist window. If you like tea or ceramics, though, please go view the whole set. Or try to (and if you can't, give me the particulars so I can pass them on to the alert folks at the help desk).


Dodecahedral teapot Teapot with the twelve signs of the Chinese place mat. I mean, the Chinese zodiac. This was the second neatest teapot I saw.
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I dropped Sarah off. It's picture day, so we instructed her to keep her hair off her face for the photo. She's wearing the panda shirt she's had since she was tiny. It fits her pretty well now. While we waited at the bus stop, I picked up some little seed pods and tossed them upward and watched them spin back to the ground. Traigh was impressed, and this afternoon we'll gather some up and take them to the park to drop off the tall platform.

Then I went out for my walk in the cool fog, taking pictures with the new camera. I set the compression a little looser so I'd get more pictures -- I can get about 19 5M pictures with "normal" compression, 8 with fine, and 5 with superfine. Messing around with different permutations, I see I can get 13 8M pictures with normal. It'll be nice to get a bigger SD card for this thing.

pictures behind the wall )

I, mapper

Oct. 16th, 2007 02:43 pm
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While walking yesterday morning, I thought about how nice it would be to have a neighborhood map with me so I could pick streets to go down and so on. I basically thought up the whole thing at that point, and later in the day I implemented it.

I opened a popular search engine and called up a map of the vicinity. I tried different magnifications. Too big, and the street names would be too small when I try to use them. I found a size I liked. Then I made a screen shot and took it into Photoshop, where I reduced it a little bit -- as much as I was comfortable with. I copied it to the clipboard.

Then I made a new document the size of my iPod screen -- 320 wide by 240 high -- and pasted the clipboard to it, slid the picture this way and that until it was framed just right, flattened the layers, and saved the file.

little maps behind the cut )

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