July 14th, 2005

More Than One Mirror In This Space

Our D.C. trip was interesting from a photographic standpoint. I have great photographs from our Saturday excursion to visit my parents but those from the other days are below my usual standard. Part of the reason lies in the fact that I was helping Skylar use her camera a lot, which prevented me from getting in that non-fully-there zone I need to be in order to be at my artistic acme. More than that, though, the pleasure she derived from capturing important details of her experience of the trip led me to push my own aesthetic concerns aside. I was happier helping her to achieve her goals than to pursue my own. This is, I suppose, the essence of proper parenting.

I'm going to do an entry later about the Bean's arrival into the circle of family photographers -- a serious matter in my parents' eyes -- but wanted to share something from Saturday that captures a moment of particular significance. After leaving the rosebushes by my parents' front door, Bean headed over toward the woods to photograph some of the flowers along the lawn's increasingly indistinct edge. She had already gotten into the habit of reviewing her work immediately after shooting it, a process that involves sliding a switch on the camera. In my photograph here, she is pushing that approach one step further, looking back not only on what she just did, but also on the previous day's shots. When she came to this particular image on the camera's viewscreen, she paused:

It's from the previous night's meal at the wonderful Lebanese Taverna. Although the photo in question was taken from my perspective, sitting across the table from Skylar and Kim, it was actually Kim who snapped the picture. She extended her arm toward me, using my own "blind" self-portrait technique. I could see what was in the viewscreen, but didn't make any effort to guide her.

The photograph above is complex because A) it's about the way the three of us look at each other and at ourselves; B) because it fixes one moment in our personal history, in which another moment was being looked back upon; and C) because of the play of absence between that latter, past-perfect moment -- me looking at the composition of a photograph in which I will not figure -- and the former, perfect moment -- Skylar pausing to regard at a photograph of her and her absent mother -- in which I compensate for my absence in the earlier photograph by making a photograph from my perspective as one looking on at Skylar's looking. What we have here, in other words, is a circuit of looking that testifies to the power of photographs to return to us, though only in a flattened, inanimate form, what we are lacking in the present. I could write thousands of more words on the psychological dimension implicit in this photograph, but will spare you that in the interest of decency. If any of you have thoughts about my own thoughts here or perhaps about what it means for a child to make the transition from the subject of photographs, imprisoned within a frame constructed out of parental love, to a subject who has control over the making and viewing of photographs, I'd love to hear what you have to say.
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    a cat eating "bricks" while Skylar plays quietly

All Too Eagerly Anticipated

I believe that this constitutes another good sign in my life:
Discussion...interesting developments within the past few hours. It still looks nothing like it should for middle July...but we have a more definitive moisture push underway from the Gulf of California this morning. Kyum has had a 2mb pressure rise in 6hrs with south-southeast 15-20kt flow up to 3kft and a dewpoint in the lower 70s. Dewpoints have also risen into the upper 50s-lower 60s along the Colorado River and at several alert gages west and SW of kphx. Ktus sounding precipitable water is up to 1.18". Mixing things out, assuming zero moisture advection, still keeps the precipitable water near 1" and gives US about 500 j/kg cape. 30kt 3-6km shear from the NE is favorable for some organization despite the weak cape...and the local is just above the freezing level which is favorable for microbursts. Southeast Arizona remains caught in an upper level shear axis which may serve as a Focal Point for development today...but upper level static stability within the shear zone is still high since the upper high is almost vertically stacked. Recent GOES precipitable water loops also show a little drying underway over Cochise County and SW nm -- perhaps because of some weak subsidence. Ktus dewpoint...after briefly hitting 59f this morning...has begun to fall again and was at 56f at 9am. In summary...we have conflicting information in terms of thunderstorm coverage and intensity today. We'll stand pattern with current forecast since the general idea of isolated valley/scattered mountain thunderstorms looks good. But if this moisture push can continue a few more hours...we could be looking at a slight upswing late this afternoon and evening.

All of the models are now saying ktus's first monsoon day could be tomorrow. NGM...ETA model and GFS-based MOS all jump the ktus dewpoint into the upper 50s-lower 60s tonight and keep it there into the weekend. Although we're not 100 percent convinced...a continued moisture seepage today...an even stronger surge tonight...or somewhat better thunderstorm coverage this evening would do the trick. In addition...both ETA model and GFS indicate a change in upper high geometry by Friday such that it will not be vertically stacked like it is now. If that happens...the other negative factor we've had in addition to the lack of moisture will be removed. Again...this is hardly where we should be in middle July...but it's a start. We'll take a close look at trends from both the models and observational data today...but initial thought for the afternoon package will be to bump probability of precipitation up slightly Fri/Sat...retain the downward trend Monday/Tuesday as the high is pushed back overhead...and then start shading in upswing day 6/7 as the high shifts back north and the remains of Hurricane Emily moisten up central Mexico after landfall early next week .
And let's make a plea to Hurricane Emily too: spare the islands and bring us your wetness.

Batter Down the Hatches

In addition to leading the Major Leagues in ERA as he approaches his 42nd birthday -- there's inspiration for you, my dear -- Roger Clemens, who has played all but the past two years of his career in the American League, where pitchers do not bat, is hitting well enough to get signed by my suddenly terrible San Francisco Giants as a utility player. While an OBP of .314 is not exactly stellar, it certainly puts Marquis Grissom's to shame and competes favorably with that of starting catcher Mike Matheny. Yes, this is how far I have to go to generate interest in baseball during a year when the team I root for is destined to be detritus in a few weeks at best.