Monday, December 27, 2010

Snowy NYC

A blizzard hit NYC last night. The snow continued into the morning. Over a foot of snow fell in the city.

This is Lexington @ 30th looking north, 4:30pm.

Same corner looking south.

I think this is 6th ave and West Houston about 7:30pm.

6th ave at W 3rd around 7:30pm.

I missed the sunrise. I thought it would come up about 7:15am. I got out of the gym on time, but found that the sun was already up. It was overcast, but it might have looked good. This is 34th and Lexington looking east.

34th and Lexington looking south.

34th and Lexington with a view of ESB.

This is 32nd and Lexington looking north.

The subway lines to Coney Island have been suspended as well as the train to Rockaway. 

Do what you can do.

Ulla's Birthday

I gave Ulla a present for her birthday. I framed a comic strip. It's from the series 'Mutts' and it came out really nice. Part of the money I paid for the comic went to benefit animal shelters. It's all good.

Sweet Pea, pictured here, is doing well. Some of her feral tendencies are surfacing. She doesn't seem to like other dogs with the exception of her roommate Jack (not pictured).

Hang in there Sweet Pea. Happy Birthday, Ulla.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My father's pictures

My mother asked me to come out to New Jersey and help her go through my fathers stuff. We cleaned out the closets and selected items to give to charity. Other items I placed in the dumpster out by the parking lot.

I knew my mother had a collection of photographs of the family and I asked if we could go through them. I was curious about what was there and it's been a long time since I've seen any of these things.

There was a sizable tupperware chest filled with items in the bedroom closet. I dragged it into the den and we went through the contents together. There was a lot of stuff in there. Pictures of all of my grandparents, my mother and father, and brothers. High school report cards (my mothers), graduation pictures, immigration documents, and items dating back to the 1920's were found in the chest. We reviewed everything.

I collected as much as I could carry. I'll probably go back and take as much as my mother will let me have. My mother won't let me have everything.

I'm organizing what I took home and intend to do something with them. I don't know what yet.

The photographs will be scanned. The government has been petitioned for my fathers military service records. I've asked some questions. I'll have to ask more. It's a process.

I even found some things that belonged to me. I haven't seen these things since I last wore them in 1973.

I'll post something about what I've found soon. This will take time, but please stand by.

Over and out.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

SNL / Sweet Pea / AMNH

I took pictures Saturday night and into Sunday morning.

This picture was taken from my window at about 11:30 PM.

I got up at 6:00 AM to watch the Journal Report on Fox. The sun was coming up and I thought I could get some pictures. This is what 34th Street looks like at that time. This is facing East.

Another picture of 34th Street at Lexington.

This is the same location.


This is taken at the top of Murray Hill which is the intersection of Park Avenue and 34th Street.

Another pretty shot of Lexington and 34th Street.

Later on Sunday I gave a tour of the Race to the End of the Earth exhibit at the AMNH. I felt good about it. I got this snap in the Roosevelt Rotunda on the CPW side. The dinosaur mount depicts a Barosaurus defending her baby from an attacking Allosaurus. The scene is fanciful and it is made of cast material rather than actual fossils. Real fossils are too heavy to be posed this way.

The museum has cut a walk way in the base so people can get under the mount and look at it from a different angle.

Sweet Pea Update! She's doing well and thriving. Sweet Pea is the alpha of all she surveys, but she can be a little rough with other dogs and needs supervision.

Here she has determined that I have nothing to eat.

It's Sweet Peas' sofa and she doesn't mind sharing. I'm not sure she remembers me but she seems glad that I'm there.

Me at brunch in Jersey City. I had eggs.

I took no pictures of the food. I've got to start remembering stuff like that.

That's all folks!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

San Francisco 1999/Defensive Handgun Training

Today I was thinking about San Francisco and the time I spent there. These pictures were taken in the spring of 1999. 

In the picture below from left to right is:

Enrique: Intelligence officer in the Navy reserves at the time; maybe he still is. He is now a law enforcement officer and a parent.

Mark: Later earned a grad degree in systems security and is now a professional in SF.

Bill: VP of engineering at Quokka Sports at the time. He is also a professional living in SF today. I sleep on a Duxiana bed once owned by Bill.

We used to enjoy pistol shooting and would do it once a week after work at a range. The routine would be to first eat at KFC, and then go to Jackson Arms in South San Francisco and shoot. If I remember correctly we each would shoot about 100 rounds.

Here is Bill checking in at the Jackson Arms. I like the targets in the background. They were for sale; you had to have targets to shoot at.

The men in the targets are all in 'challenging' positions and are armed. I would describe the expressions of the men in the targets as resigned. They had targets with armed women and children also.

The staff at the Jackson Arms got to know us quite well since we were a jocular bunch. Every shooter must first check in and identify themselves before entering the range. Sometimes we would buy ammo and rent a pistol if needed.

Incidentally, they will not rent a weapon to a lone shooter. People have been known to come into the range, rent a weapon, and then use it on themselves.

Enrique owned a Sig Sauer P228; it was the nominal weapon of his reserve unit. Here is Enrique... shooting.

Mark eventually had some big .44 revolver that required a lot of hand and arm strength to handle.

Mark... shooting.

Bill had a very tasty Springfield Armory 1911.

Bill... shooting.

And me... shooting.

I have to explain that I simply enjoyed target shooting. I admired the engineering of a semi automatic pistol. It's design has not changed significantly since it was patented in 1911.

Eventually I bought a Sig Sauer P228 which is a 9mm. It was really not the right weapon for me because I'm left handed and this gun is not ambidextrous. It looked like this:

The de-cocking lever and the slide release of the P228 are on the right side and are meant for the thumb of a right handed shooter.

We heard about the training offered by Frontsight which is a firearms training academy. We decided to sign up for the defensive handgun class in the spring of 1999. The class was held in Bakersfield, which is a long drive from SF.

Here is a picture of the class in session. There is an instructor for every 3 or 4 students. I thought our classmates would be gun crazies, but they were mostly professional people. Doctors, lawyers, business people, many women, and other technologists as well. Business cards were exchanged.

The lead instructor shouted his lectures to us in order to be heard. They taught us how to hold the weapon, aim it, and draw it from the holster. I have to admit I learned an awful lot. 

As a left handed gun, they made me stand on the left side of the line. I realized that a better weapon for me would have been a Glock 40 caliber.

A Glock is ambidextrous and good for lefties like me. It also has a special 'Glock' action and a consistent trigger pull. The Sig P228 is a double action pistol. The first shot out of the holster is a heavy double action trigger pull as compared to the subsequent shots which are single action.

Some of the exercises involved metal targets. They would 'plink' and fall over when you hit them.

We shot at the targets from varying distances. The trick is to be able the draw your weapon, aim and fire, as quickly and accurately as you can. Doing this in an actual gun fight would be a very different matter for several obvious reasons. Think of dealing with the level of adrenaline that your body produces in such a situation.

The range was out in a rural area outside of Bakersfield. Sheep are raised here and herds of them clogged the roads.

We had a night shooting exercise and utilized these extremely bright flashlights. When shooting in the dark you must point your weapon, turn on the light, fire, turn off your light, and step aside. You need to move after firing and extinguishing your flash light because your light has just exposed your position to the enemy.

I shot well at night. 

'Your gunfight better come at night, son!' said my instructor.

In this picture Enrique is elated.

The instructors were mostly law enforcement officers (LEO) who would teach these classes part time. They were really quite good.

This was taken when we arrived at the range at the beginning of class. Bill and Enrique look happy and refreshed here but everybody was exhausted when the class was over. We had steaks and wine at Harris Ranch in Coalinga on the way back to SF.

Of the 4 of us, only Mark graduated from the class and qualified to take the next class. I should have taken the class again. I'm sure I would have done much better. Bill eventually returned to Frontsight and took a shotgun class with his father!

These days I'm facebook friends with all of the guys. I'm on the other coast now, but those days don't seem so long ago.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Old Photos

I found some old photographs yesterday and I took them to kinko's and scanned them in. I've assembled them in reverse order.

This picture is probably from around 1987. I was working for Bankers Trust at the time and I was an Asst Treasurer.. which meant I was an officer... which meant vault duty.

I look like some beat-nik saxophone player waiting to go on stage. Either that or waiting to 'geez' up.

This is me and Sandy on the beach at South Hampton in 1990. She looks as though she's about to chomp on some jogger. Sandy awoke each day assured that she was in charge.

I'm guessing this was taken around 1982. That's when I had that cheap suit. The woman on my right is my cousin Michelle. On my left is my grand mother, Anne Goldberg. I don't know who the guy with the glasses is. He looks like he would be named Izzy, but who knows?

My college graduation day in 1982. We're at Brooklyn College on the quad and that's Ingersoll Hall in the background. Robert is on the right side of the picture. I don't remember who snapped this picture. I remember that my grandparents were there. Maybe it was my grandfather?

This is a picture of my parents which I'll guess was taken around 1968. That is my cousin Cheryl in the center. This was taken at my uncle's house in Brooklyn. I think my Aunt and Uncle lived near Prospect Park. The elbow on the right belongs to persons unknown.

My mother wore her hair high.

I have no idea when this was taken, but I'm pretty sure that it was at a passover seder.  I'm going to guess that I'm on the left side of the picture, but I can be convinced otherwise.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Break Fast... Brooklyn... 9/18/10...

Saturday was Yom Kippur, which is the day of atonement. It occurs about a week after New Year and it is a fast day. This week is spent in reflection. By taking stock, people consider how they'll adjust their behavior going forward.

My friend Lori hosted a break fast at her home in Brooklyn and I was invited! 

I arrived in Midwood about 7:00pm. This is a picture of the sun going down on Avenue M. Not too many people were on the street, maybe due to the holiday, and those that were out were on their way to temple.

This is Dave and he is the face of traffic court in Brooklyn. He adjudicates cases where people are disputing their parking tickets. Sometimes Dave dismisses cases because the tickets are 'defective'. That means that the information entered on the ticket by the traffic agent is incorrect in some way. It does not mean that the defendant was not illegally parked, but they are not responsible for the fine.

I thought that sounded fair.

Here is Lori and husband Ed. I've know Lori since high school and she introduced me around as her 'old' friend Martin.

Lori is a proud parent. This is Lori and daughter Susanna who is a sophomore in high school. She has just transferred to Goldstein High School for the Sciences.

Leon M. Goldstein was the president of Kingsborough Community College and the high school was named after him by David Dinkins. That must have happened in the 20th century.

The other celebrants chatted and helped themselves to the buffet. There was all sorts of food and it was plentiful. I had a bagel with whitefish salad. I cut into the first bagel I picked up which, by accident, was a raisin bagel. Lori thought that was an odd choice on my part.

Here is Lori and Susanna listening to someone standing.

Dave's son Zach was there and he is a junior at Brooklyn Tech. He would like to be a photographer and maybe a photojournalist.  He told me he'd be willing to embed with soldiers in combat to take pictures. He'd like to make a difference and I thought that sounded very brave.

Zach took this picture of me and Lori. I was trying to smile, but I'd say this does capture my mood.

Susanna is quite the cyber-chick. Here she is surfing the web on her notebook, smiling for the camera, and taking a phone call at the same time. She has a pierced nose. Lori took her to a special tat shop to have the piercing done because it's not a simple procedure.

Lori and Ed have a nice house on a nice block.

I haven't been to Brooklyn for a long while and I'm glad I went over there.

I sure hope I get invited back.