April 24, 2014

March 25, 2014

"As far as I could tell, I didn't mind…"

"As far as I could tell, I didn't mind the way the date turned out, though I started crying the next day in my car on the way to the drive-in bank."

- from "The Professor" by Lydia Davis.

March 23, 2014

"…the pictures come to you one by one and you look at them, some of them last longer than others…"

"I'm beginning to lose it, you're afraid of how weak you are, that you can't get her all back into you again and now the whole thing is going out of your body and it's more in your mind than your body, the pictures come to you one by one and you look at them, some of them last longer than others, you were together in a very white clean place, a coffee house, having breakfast together, and the place is so white that against it you can see her clearly, her blue eyes, her smile the colors of her clothes, even the print of the newspaper she's reading when she's not looking up at you, the light brown and red and gold of her hair when she's got her had down reading, the brown coffee, the brown rolls, all against that white table and those white plates and silver urns and silver knives and spoons, and against that quiet of the sleepy people in that room sitting alone at their tables with just come chinking and clattering off spoons and cups in saucers and some hushed voices her voice now and then rising and falling."

-from "Break It Down" by Lydia Davis.

March 22, 2014

"…her eyes seemed to her to be wide open behind the closed lids…"

"She thought about the opening and closing of her eyes: that the lids lifted to reveal a scene in all its depth and light and dark that had been there all along unseen by her, nothing to her since she did not see it, and then dropped again and made all that scene unseen again, and could anytime lift and show it and anytime close and hide it, though often, lying sleepless, her eye shut, she was so alert, so racing ahead with what she was thinking, that her eyes seemed to her to be wide open behind the closed lids, bugged, glassy, staring, though staring out only into the dark back of the closed lids."

-from "Liminal: The Little Man" by Lydia Davis.

February 14, 2014

"What a deal of cold business…" [Snowy Valentine's Day Repost!]

"What a deal of cold business doth a man misspend the better part of life in! In scattering compliments, tendering visits, gathering and venting news, following feasts and plays, making a little winter-love in a dark corner."
-from Ben Jonson's Timber, 1640 (p. 5 of the 1892 edition, ed. Schelling).

[reposted from June, 2010]

February 5, 2014

Ice-Storm Indoor Dog-Blogging!

Bucky at the top of the stairs. (Click image for full-screen.)

January 31, 2014

Have you ever looked _down_ on one?

"I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth."
– Genesis 9:13

On Tuesday, while flying over the Atlantic, I looked down at a rainbow:

(iPhone photo; click image for full-screen)

January 19, 2014

Under the influence.

Heraclitus said that you can't step into the same river twice, but sometimes I wondered whether I was photographing the same dog twice, thrice, and more.

I like to photograph Bucky. Sometimes, though, I found that I would take a photograph of him, and it would look very familiar:


(Click any image for full-screen.)

Old dog, new photo. If you photograph the same dog, repeatedly, how different can any new photo be...?

Last weekend, I visited the Yousuf Karsh exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery (USA). In spite of my familiarity with some of Karsh's truly iconic images (his portraits of Churchill & Hemingway, for instance), looking at his prints moved me. Wow. What exquisite compositions! What use of light - and darkness - to frame, and to highlight!

After visiting the exhibition, I took these two photos (click any image for full-screen), indoors, by available window-light; I think they are different from all my earlier photos of Bucky:

Thank you, Mr. Karsh!

And thank you, Bucky.

January 5, 2014

Such ugliness should be an opt-in, not a secret vice. (An open letter.) [Puzzling color corruption in uploaded images turns out to be Google "auto-enhancement."]

Dear Google, please consider making the "auto-enhancement" of uploaded images an opt-in choice, rather than a hidden default.

I like your picasaweb cloud-based photo-hosting service, which I've been using for years. Recently, though, I discovered that I had a problem: newly uploaded photos had corrupt colors. Ugh. I tried deleting and repeating; same problem. What could the issue be? Was this a color management problem for which I was somehow responsible? Actually, no. Turns out, it was something that you, Google, see as a feature.

A few months ago, I found that it was necessary to upgrade my Google account to a "Google plus membership," in order to attend a meeting via a "Google plus video hangout." So, I did. Turns out that you processed all my image uploads thereafter using a feature that you, Google, call "image auto-enhance." Those bad colors were your idea of "enhancement:"



I've now cancelled the "enhancement" of those photos (individually, as you gave me no way to do so en masse; I was relieved that I did not have to re-upload everything). And I've also turned off the "auto-enhancement" of newly uploaded photos, going forwards.

In general, I do not alter my photographs. Light goes through a lens, and hits a sensor, and electrons get happy, and a file is written; that is what I want to see. How dare you, Google, presume that you should "auto-enhance" any image that I entrust to you for storage? And how dare you, Google, presume to do so without even telling me?

In closing: Dear Google, without mentioning that you would modify the images I uploaded, you made them ugly. I've fixed this issue with respect to my own image uploads. I respectfully suggest that in order to spare other people similar ugliness, confusion, and delay, that you please make image "auto-enhance" an opt-in choice, rather than a hidden default.

Jim Pekar
Kensington, Maryland, USA

January 1, 2014

Cooking with NeuroCooking 2!

Last year's Cooking with NeuroCooking was so popular that we are updating it with this season's best new dishes. And wishing you, dear readers, a new year filled with good fun, great food, and healthy brains and bodies!

Here are some of the tasty recipes we enjoyed this holiday:

Banana Rum Cream Pie
Basic Spaetzle
Cricket Ball
Dan Barber's Braised Short Ribs
Kale Salad with Kabocha Squash, Pomegranate Seeds & Toasted Hazelnuts
New York Sour
Pomegranate Roast Lamb
Porcini & Rosemary Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Port Wine Sauce
Va Va Rouge