Friday, January 31, 2014

More Fun With Der Erlkönig

The other day while listening to my favorite lied, 'Der Erlkönig', yet again (both the Schubert and the Carl Loewe versions), I started idly doodling the sinister figure of the Elf King -- the spirit of the forest who can deal death invisibly to humans to satisfy his whims -- to go with the song.  Then I got the bright idea of coloring it in with  I'm still learning to use the program and I've never actually drawn with it before, so the result was necessarily very basic (O.K., primitive^^), but I was surprised by how so much like a watercolor or block print it looked.

After coloring and darkening it, as a finishing touch I squashed it vertically with Windows Paint.  I rather like the result.  Looks like a page out of a children's book -- for older children^^.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Still Another 'Just Looks Odd'

I encountered this leaf, standing in the road in a curiously heroic/aggressive stance as if to block oncoming traffic.  It made me think of a lone surviving warrior courageously meeting insurmountable odds, à la Roland guarding the pass at Roncevaux.  Or maybe a midget Sumo wrestler.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


The smoke from the Glendora fire north of Los Angeles, as seen from Downey from about 7:00 AM through 10:20 AM today.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Stacked Bird

Makes me think of the Monty Python skit 'The Royal Society For Putting Things On Top Of Other Things'.

Speaking of which, I suppose in the UK the title of this post might carry a very different connotation.

Monday, January 13, 2014

My Hummingbird Obsession

I'm certain it's really a subset of my other, more general obsession -- odd things seen in the sky, including things that seem to defy gravity.

As I have mentioned before, birds may be largely free from the constraints of gravity, but hummingbirds are different from other birds in that they are completely free.  They can fly forwards and backwards, they can stop and hover in midair, and they can even fly upside down.  Straddling the border between bird and insect, hummingbirds enjoy a three-dimensional freedom of movement in space -- rather like animated figures in a CGI universe -- that's denied other, larger birds, who cannot stop in midair but must always soar, glide or flap forward.

Today I was taking my noonday walk as usual, and as I was walking past the courthouse parking lot next door, I thought back to the occasion over a year ago when I wished for a hummingbird to appear and voila! one did -- and voila! one did.

From the fidgety, restless manner of this bird I knew he/she was going to take off again soon, so I waited with my camera at the ready -- and within a couple of minutes I was rewarded with what I believe must be one of the most unusual images available on the internet of a hummingbird -- behold, the 'wingless' hummingbird in flight.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Bull's Eye


The secret to shooting a bull's eye is to

And shoot again

Until you have the perfect shot

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Tuesday Morning Commute

Has a bit of that 'science fiction paperback cover art'-type feel to it, but anyway, very pretty.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Synchronistic Event #27

Yesterday I met my mother for lunch at our favorite Japanese restaurant, Noshi Sushi.  We were seated at a table from which the working side of the servers' station was visible, which includes a set of pigeonholes (for keeping checks separate, I think).  As is my habit, I automatically started counting the pigeonholes.  There were 20, but just as I checked off 16 I heard the old lady at the next table say "...sixteen" to her companion.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Crooked Crow

Also fits the "Just Looks Odd" category.

This crow seems to be demonstrating Euclid's parallel postulate.  This could be one of those hidden animal abilities that seemingly have no use in nature, like how seals can balance beach balls on their noses.

Smoking Sun

It's Official

The other day my eyeglass frame snapped.  I repaired it temporarily with scotch tape.  Then, on a sudden hunch, I searched the internet for images of 'nerd'.  And sure enough, of the first 2 lines of results that came up, consisting of 11images, 5 were of guys wearing glasses patched with tape.