I live in Brooklyn with my husband Sam and our little boy. We arrived here in October 2021 after a stint in San Francisco. Took us long enough considering we started the process of moving from London in August 2019 (visas take a long time, and a pandemic doesn’t help).
Went to an HTML Energy gathering last weekend, got to see some great old faces and meet lovely new ones. I tried to hand-draw a leafless cherry tree ASCII-style but got the grid wrong. Here’s a re-attempt.
A teensy, tiny bit of snow stuck to the ground overnight and there was a light dusting when we woke up. First of the season.
The entire tree was covered in rows of these woodpecker holes, head to foot. I’m pretty sure it’s a crabapple. Supposedly sapsuckers drill these holes and come back for a sweet drink every once in a while. These holes are probably old, there shouldn’t be any sap flowing yet this year.
There is a bird that hangs out in the tree behind our apartment, its call is super distinctive. It goes like this (recording below is me whistling an octave down from the actual bird call):
If I were describing it in musical notation, it’d be in F minor starting on the fourth, then to the minor third, then to the root, then repeating the root in a pattern three times. Maybe two times? I’m not sure, it’s night right now and the little dude is asleep.
I don’t think it’s identical every time, I think I’ve heard a few that have a very slightly different interval between the second and third pitches, and a different duration for the third pitch. But they’re all usually within this range, very close.
It’s funny though, when I listen to other White-throated Sparrow calls online they are similar, but not really the same. Ours is a bit less frantic, more relaxed and sing-songy. It’s like a slightly different dialect or something. Maybe our little collection of sparrows have a Brooklyn accent.
I’ve never been super enthused about identifying birds via binoculars. I mean I find it find it interesting, but not compelling. But identifying birds by their call, that’s something I could get in to.
It’s a beautiful, premature spring day today. Mid-50s in the sun, and might even reach 60F tomorrow before it drops back down for a bit.
B and I picked up some cupcakes from Ladybird and I stopped to feed him on the bench outside. An older guy was sat on the neighboring bench reading Right-Wing Critics of American Conservatism by George Hawley, but mainly holding court. He asked me B’s name, and we got talking about books and movies. Larry gave me some homework:
Listen to the Octavia E. Butler interview on Krista Tippett’s On Being podcast. This is a tough one… I had a look for it but couldn’t find it. Perhaps he meant the episode with Anthea Butler and Arlene Sánchez-Walsh on Sister Aimee? I don’t think so though since he said the interviewee was talking about spirituality and sci-fi. I scanned through all of the episodes before Butler’s DOD and didn’t find anything. Perhaps it was a different radio show? I’ll have to ask if I run in to him again.
Watch Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, a PBS documentary presented by American Masters. You need a membership to watch it, but there are some short clips on YouTube as well.
Watch The Hustler, a 1961 film with Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, and Piper Laurie.
Watch Days of Wine and Roses, a 1958 episode of Playhouse 90 on CBS with Cliff Robertson and Piper Laurie. He said it is on YouTube but unfortunately I can’t find it. Perhaps it was taken down. He also recommended the film from 1962 with Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick.
Read A Clockwork Orange, the film isn’t enough. Anthony Burgess was his teacher.
Check out Thomas Nast’s editorial cartoons.
Check out Alice Neel’s portraits. He mentioned a retrospective at the Whitney that made a huge impression on him, when I look for it online it looks like that was back in 1974. Looking at her paintings now online, I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of her before. Shame to have missed her retrospective at The Met last summer but c’est la vie, we weren’t in Brooklyn yet.
Last Friday, it snowed properly for the first time. At least the first time this year, the first time since we moved to Brooklyn, and the first time ever for B. He’s still too little to make much of it, but it was fun taking him in to Prospect Park to stomp around a little, and to see the sledding and cross country skiers.
By the next day, the snow piled up on our neighbor’s wooden arbor had melted in to these swirling shapes, it looked like people dancing.
The snow’s gone for the most part, now it’s just frozen mud and slush puddles.
The holidays were more lonely than we had planned, but we got to have Christmas dinner with a new neighbor/friend. That was unexpected, and special, especially considering the circumstances.
B’s still out of daycare because of Omicron. It’s wonderful to spend all this time with him, but in terms of the personal and work plans I had for 2022, it’s pretty stressful.