Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Few Random Notes

-- Our daffodils, which I photographed earlier, came up this year but didn’t bloom. We didn’t get a single flower. I’m not sure what happened; the bulbs are a few years old, so maybe they’re just tired, and I know the soil in our front planters isn’t good. Our tulips do seem to be blooming, but they were just planted last year.

-- I had an interesting medical experience this week. I was at work one afternoon when I suddenly began having trouble seeing. It was like there were blind spots in my vision. And then I began to get swirling, shimmering haloes around the edges of my sight. It lasted maybe an hour, and it freaked me out! I believe it was the “aura” that sometimes precedes a migraine headache. I did get a headache soon afterwards, though not a particularly bad one. I’ve never had that happen before!

-- I have about 6,000 photos on Flickr these days, mostly of street art. One photo, through the weirdness of the Internet, gets far more traffic than anything else. Soon after I uploaded it last June, someone put this photo (warning: phallic street art!) on a site called StumbleUpon. And somehow, through that site, it gets about 50 hits per day. While most of the rest of my photos have about that many total views apiece, this one has had more than 7,000 views. I’m glad for all the traffic, but I wish they’d chosen a different photo. There are so many works of street art out there (and so many photos I’ve taken) better than that one.

-- Surely by now you've seen the video of Susan Boyle? She delivered a truly moving performance; I even joined her fan page on Facebook. But at the risk of sounding cynical, I must say I wonder whether she (and/or the producers) accentuated her dowdiness a bit to better surprise the judges, and us. What do you think?

(Photo: Playground on the Lower East Side, April 2009)


  1. I don't think Susan Boyle even knows she is dowdy. I heard that she suffered from oxygen deprivation at birth and has learning disabilities as a result. She is 47, unemployed, and has never been kissed. I think it's rather miraculous that she has made it so far. I seriously doubt there is anything about her that isn't genuine. I find her voice and her story to be inspirational, especially considering the sea of bad news out there these days.

    Did you check out my post about Fly Girlz, a rapping duo in NYC? Maybe you can hear them in person and tell me about it!

  2. Her voice is amazing

    My most visited photo on flickr is the "Fuck Fashism" one - figures!

  3. B: I hadn't heard that about the oxygen deprivation. I agree she is inspirational; I guess I'm just being a suspicious reporter. :)

  4. I, too, think the Susan Boyle thing is a bit contrived. I think SHE is totally genuine...but the handlers watching from backstage were obviously enjoying the judges' shock, and at one point they turn to the camera and say something like "I bet you weren't expecting that" after she started singing.

    These shows always have a few absolutely atrocious contestants who are there basically to allow the judges and audience to laugh at them (remember William Hung?) In this case, they sent someone out there who looked like they were going to be the laughing-stock, and the tables got turned, with the judges and audience being fooled.

    I don't think the producers of this show made Boyle dowdier than she actually is...but they knew she was talented, and they knew the judges & audience would be surprised by that. These "competitions" are designed to be entertaining, and an occasional surprise works wonderfully toward that end.

  5. 1) What are those in the playground? dolphins?

    2) Old daffy bulbs peter out, I'm afraid. eh.

    3) the blind spots thingie: a) too much caffeine will do it b) migraine and other such things will do it c) low levels of magnesium will do it too.( Any changes in your diet?)

    4) I have nothing against phallic street art but just to be contrary, I will NOT click on the link since it's obviously enjoying all the success it already deserves :-)

    5) Hadn't seen the vid. Fabulous voice. I'm with Lorianne (and Steve-the-suspicious-reporter) on this. The woman didn't just walk off the street and into the studio. Her story is probably as genuine as they come. But with that voice and that look, she just spelled dramatic story potential. What would you do if you were producing the show? Rags-to-riches - you just can't beat it. I choked up when she sang, bet you did too, even knowing the stage management that went on around her. I say: kudos to Susan Boyle and congrats to the handlers.

    Have a great weekend, Steve (I've been away for awhile, but as you can see, I still yammer a lot.) :-)

  6. This is my first visit to your the name. I have been having those visual migraines for a few months, on and off. Fun, huh? It's especially interesting when I get one in one of my 8th grade classes...25 kids I can't focus on. I find an aspirin a day keeps them away!
    I think Susan Boyle is the real deal. I wrote a piece about her on my blogspot, also.

  7. Like R.L., I'm wondering what those playground things are. Are you supposed to climb them, or walk on them, or jump over them...?

  8. I have no idea what they are, RL and Lorianne. I think they're supposed to be dolphins, but that's just a guess!

    Re. Susan Boyle, you're both right. I don't think she's faking anything -- but I think the producers definitely encouraged her to remain as dowdy as possible. They knew exactly what effect that would have on the crowds.

  9. Sometimes we just need a Susan Boyle.

  10. I don't think Susan Boyle thinks she's dowdy either...and to me that makes her story less engaging than Paul Potts, the funny looking fellow who took the very same show by storm a few years earlier. If you haven't seen Potts sing, you can get to his Youtube footage through the Boyle link...

    Not to take away from Boyle, but Potts is amazing, and while he has formal training, he strolls on stage and declares to Simon and crew that he's a cell phone kiosk employee who is there to sing opera. The result leaves me with chills. I bought his CD.

  11. I hope you don't get another weird headache. If it happens again you might want to see a doc. just to check

    I never heard of susan boyle until coming here--but I've been outside all week --