I was fortunate to be a favorite with the nurses. I’m nice to them. They are nice back. It makes life so much easier. I learned to be nice and polite as an intern. Nurses, otherwise, could make life hell. When I rotated onto my pediatric neurosurgery rotation the night nurses were nice enough to have a going away party for me. They didn’t wake me for the party. They wanted to let me sleep. Imagine that!
In Jeddah the nurses invited me on a field trip. A few husbands… and me – they insisted I ride in the front of the bus. So far this is my only field trip though they threaten to organize another. For sure they have a sense of humor. And they like to live large.
One nurse was ecstatic to ride a camel. “It was something I promised myself before the age of thirty.” My kids rode a camel in the Bronx Zoo when they were small. So far I’m waiting for my first ride…not.
At the end of the dive – that long night dive – we were hovering at our safety stop. Three minutes. It’s like praying. You just hover and ponder life. It’s a safety stop! It’s not supposed to be entertaining. But this is the reason I ran out of air. Down in the coral – deep down – was a crab. Look. Two eyes over the left shoulder?
Ok. I see him. Her? But to get a picture is impossible! How so? It’s deep. The light won’t reach and there will be shadows. The crab is shy! And he doesn’t like the light. And auto focus is stupid. It will focus on the nearest thing. That would be the coral and not the crab.
I don’t control the camera. It does me the favor of imaging what I point at. And damn! Yes! Got several images. Not great. But I got the eye. The eye is the key to the soul. Ok, too much. But the eye makes the image interesting. Got enough so that you know it’s a crab. And I could even identify him in my book. I think?
And when I reviewed the images, there was an added bonus. A shrimp. And something else. Obviously they were all hiding there. Maybe they were playing, who’s for dinner?
Remember the wall? The nine foot one from yesterday? Hey! Sometimes the posts link. Jumping is an art. To do it the lazy way needs no real leap of height. It’s an illusion. Just bend your knees as you go. Then you will look high without hurting yourself. It also helps if the photographer (you know who you are) presses the shutter while you are in the air. Otherwise it looks like you are holding up your hands at a stick up. Hmmmm? That begs the question, do you know what, “Meet you at the pass” means? It’s an old west term from the movies, when the bandits split up to escape the posse. They would say, “Split up. We’ll meet again at the pass.” It seems they don’t say that in the movies any more. And you need to be a certain age (old) to know the term.
So there was this metal bridge in the park that cut over and across the highway.
Neat. It made for a photo op. I did not have time to plan. It was cold and slightly rainy. Windy. Hey, it was Chicago! No standing around in the rain.
Yup. That’s me with Mike. Who? Mike Singletary of the Chicago Bears, Super Bowl Champs of 1985. Yeah, it’s like when were there four Beatles? Who? Who were the Beatles? Old. Me. Yup. The Bears won that year with a marvelous defense. The Giants – my beloved NY team won the following year. The Bears wupped their butts (Giants) on the way to their championship. Too much history? Mike came to speak at our national meeting. Last year it was Peyton Manning. Is there a theme? At least it wasn’t Ben Carson again. Get it? I’m a neurosurgeon and he came out during our last meeting. Not Mike, Ben. Too confusing?
Well, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons meets once a year. And there are invited speakers. We are a very conservative lot. Not me. Them. Maybe there are a few progressives and even some Democrats among us. I, for one, don’t care to have my politics mixed with business. And, no, I don’t wear striped underwear or boxers. Bet you wanted to know that too.
We had Bush – you know – GW – give the Cushing oration. Cushing, he was the modern godfather of neurosurgery. In fact, Cushing trained Davidoff; Davidoff trained Ransahoff; and Ransahoff tranined me. So I am pedigreed. I digress. Mike was invited to speak and the NFL came. Everyone did a little PC dance and no one said, “Don’t do it!” And we heard a discussion about chronic traumatic encephalopathy CTE. Mama, don’t let your kids grow up to be Cowboys (Dallas) and don’t let them play football. Mike claims he only had a concussion twice. Lucky! He’s still sharp. Once was William “Refrigerator” Perry. I bet that was a boatload of fun. Meanwhile I got a picture at our opening reception. He’s a sports hero of sorts. I have many. But boy was it fun! Yes! Mike and me.
Oh! Bush? The security was so tight that they did not announce he was coming until the meeting started. There was no obvious secret service presence. However, bags were checked and it was strictly no photographs. Some secretly used their cellphones. I’m way too cool for that! W actually spoke coherently. To listen to him one could understand that his TV demeanor was hardly like his real life thinking. Nice guy?! Hey, don’t tell. I voted for him once.
The second election was scheduled just after our fall meeting. Gorbachev was the speaker. Remember him? The room was packed. A member of our national leadership rose and spoke – I thought to introduce Gorbachev. Nope. He said, “Bush will sign medical malpractice reform if it passes congress. Kerry and Edwards will not.” He sat. The room was silent. And the implication was clear. Though I knew there was not a snowball’s chance in hell medmal reform would pass I voted special interest. It was the one and only time I have ever voted for a presidential winner. Yeah, twice I voted for anarchy and Ross Perot. Don’t shoot me, ma? Please.
For fun. There are a group of divers at the resort who freedive. It’s a sport and a famous champion woman died in the Mediterranean recently. You dive with long fins in a camou dive suit. And there is no tank. And you train. And it is dangerous. And you don’t see much fish. And there’s not much to photograph. Well, to me it is about as sexy as eating broccoli. Yes, they do this for fun. I watched an instructor pour a tea cup of water through his nose to clear his sinuses. That was pretty sexy too – about as much so as a second helping of that broccoli. Remember? I never finished it. Every once in a while we see them frolicking – ok ok – training. It makes for a nice picture. I have a new dive computer. It’s a Suunto – made in Finland. It’s a great computer used by most of the serious divers around here and recommended highly to me. The computer cable to my Mac does not work. The dive watch does not connect. The Finns made a piece of crap cable and software connection that is a complete opaque piece of junk to connect. There, I ranted against this great watch. But what good is it that I paid an extra $100 for the cable and can’t get the benefit? (I hope you see this Suunto company. So far you have not solved my problem.) Anyway the dive watch has settings: Air, freedive, nitrox, and off. You set the watch before your dive. Duh? So one day I messed up. I hit the tiny buttons and the dive watch set itself for freedive. And when I was underwater I was locked in. So for 78 minutes I was underwater on a scuba dive and the watch was calculating a freedive. Oh my! I set a new world record.
I’m friends with the instructor who pours tea through his nose. (Don’t ask.) I showed him my watch and he laughed and laughed. These characters take pictures of their dive watches after a successful freedive. He declined a photo of my watch. Not famous enough I guess.
I hide out in an alcove of the hospital. No office. Nowhere to hide. There was an area on the second floor…but they told me people would hide out and have sex. Damn, why do I always miss out on stuff like that. So I am being harassed by my buddies. They make fun that they see me sleeping when they walk by. I know it’s not true because they have never complained about my snoring. Faisal is on the right. He is from Yemen and is my gym buddy. He calls to wake me when I pass out on the gym mat. Rida is my neighbor in the compound and the chief of eye surgery. The whole body – and all he cares about is 2 square centimeters of eye. Yeah, pretty funny. Obviously I was not sleeping. I took the picture! Right? Yes, it’s not much of a portrait, but then again this was not a beauty contest.
It’s a memory test. Back on March 21, I wrote the first post and forgot two images. Aha! Too late. So, new post. The first is my sea lion. The poor guy was lethargic and in retrospect, I agree, he was probably ill. At the time I was more thankful that he posed and did not shuffle away. In fact, he stayed in place for several hours at least. He made no move when I approached. I apologize that I never considered calling for help.
As I related to you, Stewart arrived twenty minutes later. He’d rushed to get his camera. I already was on the scene and had my camera and my shots. So I took advantage to work the scene. It was at Stewart’s expense. His daughter and mine are best friends from kindergarten. So Stewart and I have spent many a time photographing subjects. One rule: get low, it gives you a more natural image from that angle. Adapting that, he knelt on the pavement. A purist would have gone for the rocks. I laughed. The daughters will too. Me? I just sat down. No need to scrape my knees and elbows. I took advantage of civilization.
It’s that same trip to Africa. We were camping. Gee, all the sudden I got camp memories. I’ve been a Boy Scout. Tent, no running water, no shower, open fire, sleeping bags… This was not too shabby at all. The tents had a floor and a cot and blankets and screens and a porch…. The Masai escorted us to and from the dining tent. In the dark it was a possibility to be attacked… by lions. Oh my! The morning we departed I shyly motioned for a picture. Soon enough these guys all rushed to be in the picture. All smiles and delighted to have their picture taken, I was surprised. I usually am not so straightforward to impose upon strangers. And their enthusiasm charmed me. I was searching for that African jump image. This smile one always brings a fond memory and smile to me. Yup, a highlight image!
Everyone happy? You bet. People were smiling for two days straight. Unlike weddings before digital, the smart phone has captured spontaneity and turned everything on end. I still like a real image, you know, real camera? But the smartphone captures that moment in ways film never could. Instant. Instant feedback. Do over. Yup. No waiting. It’s the new order. There are more smartphone images and by far iPhone images online than traditional camera images. Bet you knew that. I’m still amazed at how digital imaging has so easily allowed us to take images in the dark. No flash. No muss. No fuss. Totally spontaneous. Ok, so I shot with a real camera and with a real flash. But you get the idea. They walked away with a shot in hand immediately. Hello World!
Jules’ co-teacher secretly had their class do a project and gave the album to her just before the wedding. Some pages, not necessarily the best are shown. You’ll get the idea. I wonder why no one else ever did this. I guess I have not been to too many teacher weddings. Come to think of it, it was a relatively small group. College friends, high school friends, close relatives the guest list did not include many co-workers at all. Even occasional relatives were left out. It was a cozy campground and everyone simply mingled, partied, and had a good time for a couple of days in California. Yeah, the kids planned it pretty perfectly.
Laugh, cry, weep…it’s a new generation. From the mouths of babes…may your days be filled with happiness…an album of sage advice from a certain innocent perspective. Listen to your kids. They want a happily ever after ending too.