During Ramadan the Balad is covered in lighting. I was too early to see the entertainment. But the lights are welcoming. I am simply amazed that the camera figured out this complex scene and calculated the proper exposure and white balance. I got to compose and shoot. No complaints from me. It helps if you have a fast lens. I took this single shot and it was fine by me. Now for the entertainment….
I’ve been to the restaurant on top of the World Trade Center. Restaurants being what they are it was not too difficult to get a reservation as long as it was done in advance. I need not mention it no longer exists. This occasion was for my thirtieth birthday and Lisa sprang the surprise. I don’t have a shot of the view. It is of course why you go there. What’s in my archive are several pictures of how we looked a lot of years ago. No I wouldn’t embarrass Lisa with mention of age. Suffice it to say that these pictures were at the same age as my kids are now.
John and Eric, well, we were all pretty young. I was there at the restaurant on a couple other occasions once for a significant birthday for my neurosurgery chairman Joe Ransahoff. Of course there’s no going back. The restaurant was lost forever on 9/11. My kids never ate here. But they did once come to the top when the Frary’s visited.
Time to trot out a 4th of July shot. I got some good ones. And I learned that you need a long exposure on a tripod. This year Macy’s didn’t plan to set the fireworks off along the Hudson. The New Jersey residents howled. No matter, Macy’s moves things around from time to time and someone is unhappy. I’m just glad I was there when the wheel came around for me that time. Once you master the long exposure you tend to want to get some more. I have a collection of the skyline to my east. Either way it’s a great view.
Progress occurs and before you know it your photo is historic. Sure we’re older. But that’s a portable phone in my hand. The hardline phone no longer restricted movement around the home. And then cellphones became commonplace. My kids don’t even have a hard wire phone in their homes. We still have a portable phone somewhere about. Why bother, the cellphone service has replaced the technology. Records, CD’s, DVD’s …
If the candles are correct it’s fourteen. Otherwise there might be one there for good luck and it was the thirteenth birthday. I’ve reached the point where memory is fading. I don’t remember this cake. I remember this gathering of cousins. John had three sons. Eric had one. Count ‘em. All boys on my side of the family, Jules was the exception. On Lisa’s side it was two nieces. Symmetrical? I was one of three boys, Bill (grandpa) was one of three boys, and Vinnie (Lynn’s husband) the same. Yes, it was very symmetrical. It can’t last. This cake was in Lisa’s wedding cake decoration phase. The lace work and decorations would later be used in building a tiered wedding/celebration layer cake. She enjoyed the challenge. And once mastered, she never did it again.
Lisa did a bicycle ride from Boston to New York City. It was an AIDS ride for charity. I think I was the main charity contributor. I’ve never done anything like this. I don’t have the will to train. Lisa did. she rode in all sorts of weather even the dead cold of winter. The photos aren’t pretty. She was physically exhausted and beat up. Her face had general edema from the physiological strain. But she did it!! And boy were we all proud. The kids and I went to the westside and caught our first glimpse after three days. The bike was a problem and her leg hurt. She was basically pedaling on one side. I could go on and on. Susan and Kevin gave her a send off in Boston. Nick and Nannette met her in NYC. We were all pretty proud. Funny as it seems, I later became the one to obsessively ride for fitness. Julia only recently took Lisa’s old Peugeot bike to California. It’s retro. And David never rode, and then he did a triathlon and went to Mexico for a 1000 mile summer trip by bike.
I did a month in this emergency room as my very first rotation out of med school. I was alone 24 hrs on and 24 hrs off with a second year Indian resident. Clueless!! We had no other supervision except from some third year who only wanted to sleep at night. To say that this was a disaster zone would be mild. I knew nothing and had all manner of simple and complicated emergencies to solve for the first time in my life. We had gangs – the savage skulls – armed and wandering through the ER. The security guards melted away in favor of their own lives. We had to fend for ourselves. I made some big mistakes – no experience. Guilty feelings? One brother – non gang – of the savage skulls suffered a shotgun blast. Though his x-ray showed he was covered with subcutaneous pellets, there was nothing that had penetrated the abdomen or chest. The gang came into the ER with weapons drawn and asked where the victim was located. When I informed them that my (lazy) third year had said admission was not necessary, the gang lifted him from the stretcher and frog marched him into the night.
And then we saw crazy things. Complaint: “bug in the ear.”
“IT WAS A BIG FREAKIN’ LIVE ROACH” waving its legs from inside someone’s ear.
Advice: “Mineral oil, pour it into the ear and wait for the bubble.”
“Yeah, then you know it drowned and you can remove it.” I ain’t proud, but it’s how medical training goes and went in those times. Nowadays the supervision is a little better. At least that’s what they keep telling everyone.
They make it sound so ‘cozy’ and ‘fuzzy warm.’ I’ve been in an inner city ER not too many years ago as in 2009-2012. It ain’t pretty. It’s just different. And different ain’t necessarily better. I’d use a series of epithets but that might too rude for polite company. George Clooney’s would never get this ‘s..t’ past the censors.
I watched only a single episode of ‘ER’ and it turned out to be treatment of an aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. The information was so inaccurate as to be positively scary. Fortunately they don’t let George do neurosurgery.
New York City occasionally does something nice. They took an abandoned section of elevated rail line and converted it into an elevated park/recreation/hiking space. It revitalized the neighborhood. So Dave and I walked it when we headed downtown. It’s a pleasant walk. You can see lots of pictures of the project elsewhere. Here we found a space that just lent itself to silliness and a bit of Photoshop.
This was the first spring when Lisa and I started dating. I took her to Astoria Park. This photo was taken on Triborough Bridge when David and I recently rode across on bikes. The Hellgate bridge approach is in the background. The empty pool is four times the size of an Olympic 50 meter pool with a blue diving pool at the right. And in the park to the right of the pool is where Lisa and I spent a memorable afternoon just happy to be in one another’s company. It didn’t much matter where we were; it could have been anywhere. She had just cut her hair short – not my preference – but that didn’t matter either. As you can see we horsed around the park, went up and down on the see-saw and generally recaptured the days of childhood in the park. It was truly a day of innocent fun.
Here’s a memory from long ago. During my residency in neurosurgery someone organized a dinner in Little Italy at Puglia’s. It had plastic red checked tablecloths thrown over picnic tables. There were candles stuck into empty wine bottles. And there was a “fat lady” who walked about with a microphone and portable speaker singing from table to table. The red and white wine on the table was mixed together to make rose whenever the wine got low. Get it? Funky, but it was just right for a bunch of residents on a budget. There were at least eight of us who piled into my little Honda Accord to go back uptown. This was the early small model built for four. Fortunately one of our group was tiny Stella Tsai, a neurology resident. She lay across the lap of several in the back. Somehow I remember Lisa was there as well. We were seriously overcrowded. But we made it home.
As for dinner, I remember there was an appetizer – “Sheepshead, half or whole.” It was $2.50 or $5.00. I thought for a moment and then said to myself, “I’ll pay to see that.” When the half head arrived it indeed was a half sheep head cut saggitally and our half included the pituitary gland (for anyone who cares). It stayed where it lay on the table until the end of the meal. Then the waiter without any bidding wrapped it up and gave us the brown bag. Obviously none of us were taking it home so … we dropped it off in the secretaries’ refrigerator in the department office. A day or so later I was told there was a loud scream when someone opened that brown bag. For those who do eat sheep’s head I apologize for being so squeamish. And it looks like the restaurant got an upgrade since we ate there decades ago.
I have to admit that I’m in a quandary. Sometimes you look at something … and then it’s like you really ‘look’ or you just discover you’re seeing it for the first time. I did try to notice when Lisa cut her hair. It’s very annoying even dangerous (for me) when she changes things and I don’t take note.
My Canon G12 was acting a bit funny. Don’t ask; we don’t have enough space here. Canon’s repair website feedback was no help. They just sent back a series of generic answers. No prob, what could they really do? My paranoia is worse because this was purchased as a used camera. The images were soft almost unfocused. It was not consistently bad. But it was noticeable when we rode and saw the Pepsi sign.
The example provided here shows that the center of the image is in focus with definite blurring at the edges. I panicked. This is my primary dive camera. And if it’s broken, I have no way to conveniently or reliably get it repaired or replaced here in Saudi. Then I wondered if I was simply crazy. Was this just a function of the camera and lens? You can also see wide angle distortion at close focus as well. To cut to the chase, I took the G12, S100 and my trusty Nikon D200 to the field – soccer practice with Farid’s kids. I shot comparable images. What I can say: the Nikon has better images. Larger and better glass (lens) appears to win every time. The G12 is okay at the center but it was definitely soft on the edges. My problem is that I am shooting wide angle and close up while diving. Shutter speed is slow and the f stop is wide open, not a good combination. (I did have reasonable shots underwater in California, before I noticed the problem.) The S100 is actually pretty good with reasonable edge to edge sharpness.
Has the Canon G12 been like this all along and is it only now that I noticed the edge blurring?
Solving my problem is not going to be simple or easy. I’m locked into the G12 because I have the underwater housing and don’t really want to upgrade and get (spend for) another housing. So I made a compromise and got another used G12 from a reputable camera store. I’ll try to see whether the first camera is really broken. I can go back to the S100 but the battery life is terrible – too small battery for multiple dives. I don’t want to change batteries and risk getting the camera wet/fried.
And then logistically, this all happened just before I returned to Saudi. Now the trick is getting the newly acquired G12 into my hands in Jeddah. Mail it? A US postal package can take more than a month. And Saudi customs is very much a problem. They x-ray and examine everything for contraband. Things like bibles are illegal and confiscated. I have been told that someone with a magic marker blots out magazine pictures with inappropriate pictures. (Maybe not.) Someone has told me that the customs people may take what they want and a camera is certainly something that can be easily “lost in transit.” Insurance is no consolation. I also had medication renewals that did not arrive before I left. A perusal of the website states that medication cannot be sent without obtaining some certificate from the Saudi government. Good luck. The good old internet is no particular help; there is too much conflicting info.
In a wild/frantic/hopeful series of emails, I tracked down my neighbor Wissam, a neurologist, who had casually mentioned he would be in Pennsylvania this week. Great! I found him! He graciously agreed to carry camera and meds with his hand luggage back to Saudi. David FedEx’ed the package. David did me a big favor to find and go to FedEx just as he was headed out the door on an evening out. We needed delivery the next day. I had to send it to a hotel. I double checked and made sure Wissam was a registered guest and that the hotel would accept a FedEx package in his name. As I write, the final story is not complete but it does look like I’ve got a solution going. I had no past problems with medication coming into Jeddah. I’d hate for Wissam to be in trouble.
Today it’s about the story of some other dear friends. I’d say ‘old friends’ but you might take it the wrong way. It was a celebration at their place and I didn’t get a single focused shot. Light was great but the digital camera failed me. And I didn’t look at the screen. The good news is… no wrinkles, anywhere. Fuzzy is okay, I can make-up the details myself. Sometimes it’s possible you don’t want to remember all the details. We’ve been friends since the kids were in preschool. That’s a lot of years ago.
I traveled to Hamilton College to watch one of Jules’ track meets and it was canceled. So we went to the Erie Canal instead. That was pretty neat. The canal slides are somewhere else and I haven’t digitized them yet. The film camera is long gone, relegated to the display shelf. I actually wore out that Domke bag. Judging from the straps hanging out, I was carrying more than one camera. I like things old and ‘beaten’ but I finally broke down and asked Santa for a new black one. This is an early ‘selfie’ before anyone thought to call them selfies. That’s my dog Nellie. The biggest difference in my camera bag, i don’t need all that space to carry film. So I carry snacks and candy.
I got this one in digital with the Canon G3. It sure helps when the image can be checked immediately instead of guessing without feedback. Yes, you must use a tripod. And there are all sorts of technical details about night shooting. But the easiest part is in knowing you’ve got something for your efforts. And, no, I did not delete all the other shots. Did I mention that all my digital files are in a hard drive the size of a brick? And did I tell you that I currently have about twelve bricks with redundant backups of my image files…and there was only one drive that had my G3 images… these images that I have posted today. Things can sure get confusing sometimes. Susan swears by Carbonite and ‘the cloud.’ I say, what happens if they go away. Companies can fold and your stuff is lost. Of course it also helps if your stuff is stored in multiple sites, which mine isn’t. Back to my topic, mounting your camera to a tripod also allows you to do night shots. Bright lights will actually let you get a decent shot handheld. And I do his all the time when I don’t have a tripod handy. Still…
We’ve been friends since forever or at least more than twenty five years. I can’t believe it. It’s as unlikely a friendship as one could imagine. We are similar but very politically disparate. Then there was a divorce and some grand-kids and some marriages. Right now I’m waiting to see what my kids do. They were always the youngest of the bunch. There were other couples who drifted in and out of the mix but this core has hung on. We still meet but it’s harder with all of our lives changing with the times. But it’s nice to find this picture in the archives. It was taken on 6th Avenue in the 40’s (street). I don’t know whom we corralled to take the picture. It could have been one of the kids or a passerby. No ‘selfie’ here. It’s the Tyler group because we met one summer vacation at the Tyler Place. Maybe some of the grand-kids will get to go and we can go back as the ‘old folks.’ Hey, when this was taken we were still playing doubles tennis.
It started in an apartment upstairs in Manhattan Plaza. The guys started baking pies in neighbors’ ovens all over the building and were so successful that the rest, as they say, is history. It began many years ago, but, after we moved to the neighborhood so it has always been in my kids’ lives. The signature pie is the sour cream apple walnut, SCAW. They published a cookbook and did not include this recipe. Drat! So nostalgia drew us to get a small pie. David was gracious enough to allow (and he made it himself) me a BLT. Yeah, life is good.
I have been gifted a new unlocked iPhone (international compatible) by David. He insisted. His reasoning is that I should learn to use it before I’m too old to learn it. And now that he has a job, this was his treat. (Expletive deleted), the kid is too generous. The pictures I took in the Apple store were lost when I lost the camera (don’t ask). Meanwhile, truly clueless employees staffed the first Apple store. Sorry Apple. The second store set us straight and I had no choice in the purchase. We needed a phone that could work in both the US and Saudi.
The other half of the story is that David and Sarah are taking an apartment together downtown. Sarah is working a second job in a restaurant downtown so we went there my last evening. And knowing it was my birthday she chose the dessert. This visit home I felt very fortunate to have connections all over.
My glasses broke in California. A quick trip to the optometrist recommended by my buddy Wilson got a replacement on short notice for his “cousin.” Things had really gone great right up to the point where I lost that ‘xxxxxx’ camera. But what I always said to the kids took some reminding: you can always replace ‘things’, take care of your health. Lastly, I have to track down data service in Saudi. J was ecstatic that I have been dragged into the tech age and said so with many ‘!!!s’ in her email.
Danji is a 36 seat Korean tapas restaurant. It’s small size, hours, and demand have made it difficult to score a table. We’ve tried a few times. David was persistent. So this time we left our name and wandered the neighborhood until the table was ready. Pork belly is recently one of the foods of the year. To name a couple others – mozzarella sticks (1980’s) and tiramisu (you get the idea). Suddenly it’s on menus everywhere. It’s fatty and more than likely not good for you. And mom recently halted a clandestine bacon shipment (in the kids’ bags) to me in Saudi. I did go out of the way to eat some pork and bacon while back in NYC.
And for my birthday, ah there’s some connection to yesterday’s post; technology has finally surpassed me. I was wondering when I would be old? We took a bus uptown in the rain. Lisa pulled out her iPhone and pulled up an app that would tell her when the next bus would arrive. Who knew!? She said the bus was two stops away and it was accurate. To be sure she was never a great adopter of technology. But in this instance I have been behind the curve and have steadfastly refused to get a smartphone much less an iPhone. I have ready access to a computer (laptop or otherwise) and in a pinch all my assistants can look up whatever info we need. Arriving for dinner I almost passed up the salad special featuring melted cheese beneath a pile of healthy greens. Lisa encouraged me to get this as a concession to my birthday. Words and pictures cannot depict the smell and taste… wonderful.
I don’t know about you but anytime I fly I try to get a window seat. With online booking this is now an artful guessing game. The last step when booking is to pick a seat. I’ve flown in and out of many airports and especially NYC . I know the landing and takeoff patterns so I try to sit looking right or left to get a last view of the Manhattan skyline. Sometimes you are in the right spot. How anyone flies and barely looks out the window is a mystery to me. Coming into JFK at midnight I was disoriented but then I caught the lights of Manhattan. Right below the engine is midtown and the Empire State Building. Okay so it’s too dark to really catch anything in focus. Who cares? I’m not getting paid for the image. And the visual cortex can process things so much better than a digital camera. Nonetheless I can make out the Queensborough, Manhattan, Williamsburg, and the Brooklyn bridges. The pattern of street lights is pretty stunning in its own right. Yup, there I was nose pressed to the plexi-glass and loving it.
The sneaker of my childhood was a high top Converse. After I started running at Stuyvesant High School, I was directed to Paragon Sports and got my first Adidas running/racing shoe. So I’ve been a lifelong Adidas guy. Lisa and the kids do Nike, Reebok and everything in between. J told me she wears size 7 ½ and buys 9 because her foot swells so much when she runs distance. I saw a Converse customizing store when I was in LA. I have some old Adidas with ugly green stripes (three) that I’m trying to replace. I don’t want fluorescent colors and patterns on my running shoe. And that’s pretty much the choice from Adidas these days. Even mighty Amazon was a bust. When I returned to NY and walked Chinatown, I found a cheap leather wallet and a soft black leather fanny pack. You just don’t pay a lot for these things especially when you know you don’t need to spend much. And there was a discount running shoe store. I skipped right past Nike and there was my Adidas shoe. I’d have liked the classic blue stripes. But as J had ridiculed, “No one wears, so no one buys, and no one sells – plain white.” Got ‘em!! So it occurs to me that I have had the current shoes for more years than I remember. I’m not that radical a sportsman that I will wear them down anytime soon. So these might be that last sneakers I get. If I had considered the moment, maybe I would have lingered over the choice longer. But, hey, we live forever don’t we?
The color of blood is red, but it can hardly be likened to ketchup. While I actively suspend my belief in realism while watching, it has occurred to me that there are some viewers who actually believe what they see in the movies to be true-life depiction. When you next watch a movie consider the following thoughts on medical injuries. Blood is bright red because of oxygenation. As it dries it becomes a dull red. Old blood is almost brown. Moviemakers would do well to cut themselves and see the transformation of blood through its stages. Knowing the timing, I am constantly laughing at how unrealistic blood looks in many movies. Red yes, realistic no.
Have you ever had a bruise? Number one on my list of complaints is the lack of swelling depicted. That awful bruise is depicted in a purple kind of blotch on the actor’s face. But there’s no swelling. We wouldn’t want to deform the actor’s good looks would we? And later the bruise becomes green and yellow. Oh well the movie is only two hours, so there’s never enough time to evolve in the healing process. But hey, watch a boxing match and see how horrible it looks to have taken a beating that is severe enough to swell your eye shut.
Instant knockout drug?! Here’s a good thought to hold. What in the world is in that dart or what is that knockout drug? Or what is it that they place over the victim’s mouth and nose that knocks the person unconscious in about an instant? After many years of watching and then asking my anesthesia colleagues…? I realize that I became aware of the technique while I was watching the original Mission Impossible TV series when I was young. Well, to be honest, there is nothing … repeat nothing!… no drug, nada!…that works instantly. I am aware of few anesthetic drugs that work pretty fast when administered intravenously. Nothing that comes in a dart is accurate enough or in enough quantity to do what the movies suggest. Yes, there are poisons from exotic arrow tips, which will kill you, but even that takes more time than we could take to watch in a movie.
Blood dripping or gushing from the nose and mouth is pretty gruesome and common to see in movie injuries. Unless you were traumatized in the face and mouth, the poor victim usually doesn’t have blood vomiting from their mouth or dripping from their nose. A gunshot to the chest may cause you to cough blood. But when I think of all the trauma patients I have seen in the ER, the sight of blood is limited mainly to head injured patients. Yes most gunshots don’t leave you gushing with blood.
Entry exit wounds from gunshots and knives tend to be less bloody as well. A gunshot to the head of which I at least have some experience, has an entry wound that is usually not too much to see on the outside. It’s inside the skull where the damage is done. But there’s nothing gory to see if everything is happening on the inside. I will readily admit to having no particular knowledge of wartime injuries in the field.
Shot or cut, you pick, it hurts. If you’ve ever slammed a door on your hand or finger, then you know the pain is enough to stop you – at least for a moment. I watched Arnold Schwarznegger take a nail through his hand and all he did was lift his hand up and out, then continued on his merry way. Have you noticed the good guys never die after one shot? And certainly it takes more than one bullet to slow them down. The bad guys all fall down on one shot and sometimes even if the bullet is only in their vicinity. Luckily I have never been shot, but I would figure that there is pain involved. No matter if it is a “clean wound that passed right through,” it’s got to hurt. That at least has to make you stop and pay notice.
With all the attention to sports concussion in the news these days, I am fascinated with the blows to the head that actors can trade without being incapacitated. I mean if you “have your bell rung” wouldn’t your reflexes be just a bit slower. And for heaven’s sake wouldn’t a solid kick to the head be enough to make you pause.
At the other end of business a good swift kick to the testicles, yeah “balls,” is going to make the average male double over and not get up instantly with fists blazing.
Where did anyone get the idea that you can actually aim a gun well? How is it that the cops fire so many shots and only hit the criminal with about 10% of their shots? This is a fact where several celebrated NYC police shooting cases illustrated the lack of handgun accuracy. Multiple shots from multiple police handguns and only a few bullets actually struck the criminal. When I was an intern in general surgery I took care of a man was shot while sitting on his stoop in the South Bronx. The two gunmen with four guns shot him from close range. He was alive and kicking. Unfortunately because of the angle his worst complaint was that he had several scrotal wounds. No brain damage there and certainly no blood dripping from the mouth, nose, or ears. I grant you that one bullet can kill, but then again I have no military experience.
We live in a video reset culture. You die, the game restarts, and you play again. You get to die until your skill is good enough to pass you through to the next level… where you die again until you learn. I will readily admit that I avoided medical TV shows like ER – George Clooney – because the medical inaccuracies were too painful to watch. Nothing is more realistic than the real life and times in front line neurosurgery. The truth might be too scary to watch.
I think I ate there once. That’s not too good. It usually means that the restaurant will not survive. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed a crowd inside. The restaurant sits on a corner on 11th Avenue where there’s very little foot traffic. It has survived here for more than thirty years that I’ve been in the neighborhood. Well, their time has finally come. The neighborhood is finally improving. Soon foot traffic will increase and it will be crowded. I hope they don’t get bought out.
David was born in the middle of the night. I was scheduled to perform a delicate and difficult (vertebral artery) aneurysm surgery beginning at 8AM. Cancelled – postponed, change of plans. I mollified the patient by telling him that I had named my new born after him. The patient arrived a year later and asked how his boy ‘Vincent’ was doing. I had to do a quick recovery to respond. The obstetrician was a serious woman named Ida. My wife had used an obstetric group so she was the ‘oncall’ ob. “Ida! I always wanted to name my kid, Ida,” I told her as she gave me a puzzled frown. First name followed by last name, you figure it out. (There’s not much humor at 4AM). And poor dear Aunt Audrey, she had volunteered to watch J if we were in the hospital. so she was called in the night as well. This many years later, David has turned out rather well. I do my best to embarrass him and he tolerates my companionship.
We did quite a lot recently when I was in NYC. His sister is working in LA. And mom was busy at school. It seems we made a five borough tour walking and on bikes.
It was another series of magical moments for the memory bank. I am now introduced to the word ‘selfies.’ But sometimes good old-fashioned Photoshop works too. Happy Birthday, David.
This is another favorite location for movie producers. The boathouse is so named for remote control boats that ply the pond. There are rental boats. Or if you are hardcore, you bring your own. The picture is all about New York City.