snow day (2014 edition)

by sam on 01/3/2014

Today is officially the last day of my winter vacation. Sure, there’s still the weekend, but I (almost) always get the weekend off, so it doesn’t really feel like it counts in the same way. This last day of leisure coincided quite well with this year’s giant snowstorm. I refuse to call it Hercules, because naming snowstorms is stupid. My week-and-a-half off consisted of cleaning out my closets, long-scheduled doctor’s appointments, discovering that my fridge died (with the consequent throwing out all my food, spending an entire day waiting for the repair guy, and buying all new food), and finding out that our family’s beloved jack russell terrier, Ollie, passed away.

But I got to sleep late, so that’s…something. In any event, common sense lost the battle this morning and I headed over to central park and bethesda fountain for some picture taking. I don’t know if I was too early or too late (or the kids had more common sense than me), but there was a distinct lack of sledding kids compared to years past. I’m still working the chill out of my face and hands.

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the last stupid idea of 2013

by sam on 12/31/2013

I still have a few hours, but my plan to not leave my apartment (except for maybe CPW fireworks) again this year will probably mitigate any attempt to top the stupid idea I had this morning, namely, to take a photo walk down broadway. on new year’s eve. needless to say, my plan got a bit stymied by the fact that I basically walked into the developing morass that is times square. It was still pretty early in the day, so instead of times square being filled with people, the side streets were filled with people who were waiting on line for hours in order to be corralled into the actual times square at what the police deemed to be the appropriate moment. In any event, here are a few final pics for the year. Side note: It was really freaking cold out today.

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merry christmas!

by sam on 12/25/2013

Up until my most current job, I have always worked in “modern” new york city office buildings (i.e., built in the 1960s or later) that were generally variations on the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. But now I work in a a classic, historically significant building – The Helmsley Building, formerly known as the New York Central Building. If you’ve ever been in NYC, you know this building. It’s the one that sits directly in the middle of Park Avenue (that is NOT the Metlife building), and that you drive “through” when you’re driving up or down Park. Being a historic building, the lobby is generally an overwrought sight to behold, with its pink marble and chandeliers, and the security guards spend a good portion of their time explaining to tourists why they’re not allowed to just come in and take a look around. One would think that the natural ornate-ness of the lobby would be sufficient for the holidays, but one would be wrong. Our building totally steers into that curve.

Merry Christmas all! I’m looking forward to the traditional jewish christmas of movies and chinese food. (hey, we all have traditions!).

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galapagos, day 7

by sam on 08/29/2013

Friday was our last full day in the islands, as Saturday involved an early-morning wake-up call so that we could all spend half the day traveling back to ecuador. Our last day took us out to genovesa island, which is completely covered in various seabirds, including the red-footed booby. Not only do these have red feet rather than blue, but they are the only boobies with prehensile feet, so that they can perch in trees (blue-footed boobies get their foot color from eating oysters. Red-footed boobies get their foot color from eating squid).

We also saw frigate birds, which remind me of nothing so much as a disney villain (or villain’s henchman). Appropriate, given that their main means of collecting food and nesting materials involves stealing it from other birds who’ve done all the work. Other sightings included a really cool owl, more sea lions (of course), more swallow-tailed gulls, a yellow-crowned night heron, a grey pelican, and as always, more nazca boobies. I think if I keep typing “boobies” my whole site is going to end up caught in a giant spam filter.

Our morning and afternoon hikes were both on Genovesa, on different parts of the island, and it was probably the toughest walk of the trip – the first area involved climbing up some giant lava steps, and then having to climb down them again, and the afternoon involved walking over very sharp uneven lava the whole way. so…fun!

Since it was my last day, I took twice as many photos as usual, and couldn’t pick my favorites, so I apologize in advance for the repetition. Be happy that I got down to less than 40 pics out of the almost 600 shot.

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galapagos, day 6

by sam on 08/29/2013

Thursday was our first and only real “beach” day, where we actually just sat on a beach in the sun all morning. Conveniently, it was also the only morning on the entire trip that was full-on sunny and not overcast. About an hour into sitting on the beach and reading, I got bored so threw on my wetsuit and fins and went snorkeling again (that was another option), so there will be some final underwater pics once I get around to picking up the discs from the photo lab. Morning beach was the island of Bartolome.

In the afternoon, it was back in the Zodiac for a ride around Sombrero Chino (chinese hat), named for the fact that it…looks like a chinese hat. Very original. This is the home of penguins(!). Galapagos penguins are extremely endangered, and there are only about 1200 remaining. but we got to see a few, diving in the water, climbing out of the water, and looking off into the distance like champions. Plus a few other already familiar animals.

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