you’re painting a kinda-gross picture

A handful of 35mm scans from a trip up to Connecticut for some canoeing the other weekend.

The vignetting in bright daylight with the $4 plastic camera I picked up a few weeks back is intense.  You’d be surprised at the amount of abandoned factories and warehouses to explore along the riverfront.  The homeless population seemed pretty low from our surface-level survey, we only discovered one or two somewhat permanent habitations.

We visited the scenic waterfall where Shane proposed to Echo several years back.  Certainly a popular hangout spot for the local teens.

As a followup to what I was talking about the other day, here is one of the aforementioned tiny groves a block from my apartment in South Slope, Brooklyn.  While the recent non-stop rain has been obnoxious for commuting via bicycle, the weeds on the sidewalk have been loving it.  This tree was unfortunately chopped down a while back, but it has company at the moment; a whole little ecosystem, semi-fertilized by people’s dogs and occasional banana peel.

dyno with the black mags

A few months ago Taschen decided to re-release some books as a celebration of their anniversary of something or other.  Having been priced out of owning a first edition, I was able to snag this reprint of Terryworld from Spoonbill and Sugartown for super cheap ($20!).  Very great staff and selection over there, and of course, big ups to T-Bone.

I had never heard of this complex “brining” process.

So Jenn and I hosted a few friends for a hearty Thanksgiving at our South Slope headquarters.  I’ll give you a rundown of the food, counterclockwise from left: 11.5 lb turkey (prepared by Jenn and I), vegan sweet potato casserole (prepared by Big Joseph), more turkey, fresh veggies with hummus and homemade pesto dip (prepared by Sarah), rolls (purchased by Big Joseph and James), regular mashed potatoes (prepared by the group), vegan mashed potatoes (prepared by the group), two kinds of canned cranberries, gravy (prepared by Jenn), and boiled spinach with garlic (prepared by Jenn).  Not pictured: pumpkin pie cookies (prepared by Sarah), cider and rum (prepared by Jenn and I).

Jenn (right) and I (left) like to ride that bike path near Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Sometimes you can’t go for a ride without seeing tons of dead rats.

• It this moment of cycling in the fall/early winter, 50 degrees seems super warm, 40 seems normal, and below 40 requires gloves.  In another month or so, the thresholds may have to be adjusted down.

• So I was initially very disappointed when that bar, Safe Haven, opened up in the old Barbeque spot here in South Slope. However, upon going in there a few more times recently, Jenn and I determined that it may be just the local spot that everyone needs afterall.  The owner Patrick and his business partner, Noel, seem to be doing everything right so far: having a small and excellent (plus affordable) food menu, stocking solid standards on tap and some obscure bottled malt liquor options, handing out free shots to the locals, getting our input on their in-progress photo montage installations, remembering our (and others’) names, and planning for a live music stage area.  By all means support this local business.  A good (but not over the top) rock and roll vibe in there, located on 6th Ave and 20th street.

• Last week, Jenn and I met up with Jesse & Jessee to utilize some free tickets to a Cirque Mechanics show on Broadway, then over to a late dinner at Café Maison (a decent French place in a permanent tent structure near Times Square).  While the show was geared toward a young audience, the acrobatics were still engaging enough for all to enjoy (especially a massive trampoline and tall rope tricks, to name a few).

• Last night, my office rented out Southpaw (that music venue on 5th Ave in Park Slope that used to have slightly better booking) for their annual holiday party.  In open bar settings, as long as you can stay slightly more composed than a handful of other coworkers, you’re in the clear.  Even sipping on gin and tonic number eight.  Speaking of my office, I’ve been running into Ethan Hawke a lot in the elevator and in the hallways, and the man does not seem to age.

The Verrazano Bridge to Staten Island.

“100% Weight Lost or Gain.”

illadelph and barnyard raiding

Wild animals in the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

North of Market Street, on the east side of Philadelphia.

Inside the Philadelphia art museum.  One of the security guards kept pointing out all of the hidden nudity among several pieces in the museum (not the vases here, but elsewhere), and somehow it didn’t come off as extra creepy.  One was almost an homage to River’s Edge (1986).

Window display in a boutique.

Jenn and I stayed at a bed and breakfast down in Philadelphia for her birthday this past weekend.  Despite it being “dumb cold,” we still had a good time.  Some interesting architecture, some good food (a few great markets that put the Essex Street Market to shame), some history, some blue collar dive bars, a large fixed gear community, and certainly schizophrenic & homeless representation.

This was at the end of an amazing strip called Boathouse Row in Fairmount Park.  The road felt like quintessential Ivy League life, moreso than actual Ivy League campuses.  Lots of crew boats stored for the winter.

The previous weekend, I participated in a 48-hr design intervention project with a landscape architect (Hans, on the left) and two architects (Mr. Moses in the middle, Tommy on the right), which began with taking a train down to Allentown, New Jersey to raid some abandoned barns (about three of them) in the middle of the night for wood and metal to salvage as building materials.  I’ve posted more information on the project here (plus there’s a full process photo gallery): canal nest colony. In the end, the project seemed to be a great success, and certainly a learning experience.  It generated a little press, which is always cool as well.

It was a little difficult to capture the scale of these super large structures in complete darkness, though my flash seems to have been working fine.  This was just the loft area in a massive barn.  There were bird droppings everywhere, but we were able to salvage a lot of oak planks (and a little pine) from this area.

Hans and Moses test the buoyancy of oversized tractor tires in a pond in the middle of a thicket at about 3AM.  The tires failed the test.

More abandoned structures in the countryside.  It rained on and off during the night, and remained super foggy in the fields.

kingdom of thailand (part 2)

• There are portraits of the king and queen everywhere in the country.  The king looks kind and smart, the queen on the other hand, well, nevermind, let’s change the subject.

• I thought I had felt heat that 4th of July a few years ago playing basketball on hot asphalt in Atlanta, but Bangkok, even in October, is in the 90s.  And it’s super humid.

• Thailand felt safe the entire time.  No pickpocket attempts, no weird late-night run-ins, nothing but smiles for the most part.  The two issues with relocating permanently might be the language barrier and the job availabilities in the creative realm.  But that’s certainly not a completely prohibitive scenario.

• In terms of the world economy, surprisingly the dollar has been sharply getting stronger against British Sterling (£) and the Euro (€), but not making any headway against the Japanese Yen.  The Thai Baht stayed at about 34:1 against the dollar during our trip.

Wat Jedee Luang in Chiang Mai.

Fishing in the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok.

My sister in Chiang Mai.  Sometimes when we went places, her mohawk/fauxhawk was a conversation starter.

Bangkok.  I really like the way some things are sorta left to decay seemingly because there’s just not a lot of effort and energy put into fixing things that don’t really require use.  Also, it seems like you could leave a bicycle against a tree somewhere and come back in a few weeks to retrieve it.  It’s a far cry from the need to throw a bodega lock on anything for even a 20 second bathroom stop in a park in NYC.

Sometimes you have to eat like a king.  That’s lobster on the left.  That’s my sister and Jenn in the top of the frame.  Chinatown in Bangkok.

There’s probably a healthy and unhealthy number of dead animal photos one can possess.

Dogs like this one were everywhere.  Some were in pretty rough shape.  It was sad at times.  But there were also many dogs that were cared for as pets.  People didn’t seem to neglect these guys completely, but it did look like they lived a tough life.

No derailleurs allowed in Thailand, it seems.

• In addition, here are a few more shots.  If you’d like larger versions of anything, as usual, drop me a line and we’ll see what we can do.

personal mausoleums

I can’t seem to emphasize it enough: riding a bicycle unlocks so many new neighborhoods. Though yes, urban exploration easier in October than February. This trainyard is down in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The misting rain at moments only made the afternoon even more enjoyable.

• I’ve been discussing the current economic freefall situation with Republican Rob and some others recently. According to his advice, it’d be best to take inventory of your possessions and get ready for things to get real out there.

Green-wood Cemetery. I’ve actually been to a lot of cemeteries this year, though on rather somber terms. This one is rather ornate in places (though cannot hold a candle to some South American beauties). I live beside this 478-acre giant spread in the middle of Brooklyn. The photo to the left shows the entrance on 24th St. and 5th Avenue in Sunset Park where many bright green parrots have made large nests in the spires. I’m not positive where the flock came from, but they have permanent residence, and make a lot of noise during the daylight hours. The photo on the right shows one of the older, personal mausoleums, a little deeper inside. I was surprised to find out the hyphen does exist in the official landmark’s name.

The extravagant (see: decadent) homes Shane and I passed on the Escape New York Bike Tour the other week were shocking, just outside of the city. The home pictured here was one of the few without a large perimeter wall and electronic gates.

Another film shot (on the left) from the half century. On the right, I’ve maxed out my bag again, this time with a 30-pack case of high life. (I suppose this is possibly also a shoutout to the van runs up to the Bridgewater IGA in the 1990s.) I may have to get some strap extensions for grocery runs.

Jenn and I met up with Mike & Elizabeth Mararian one last time before they relocate up to a Victorian/turn-of-the-century house up in Buffalo, NY.  We first went to The Hideout in Fort Greene for some Absinthe, then over to a great, newish Italian place on Myrtle in Clinton Hill (I’ll have to get back to you on the name).

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

to the south side

Red Hook, Brooklyn has some strange tropical moments.

• A few weeks ago, my cousin Paul was in town, so Jenn and I met up with he and two of his friends, Jane and Chrissy, to hang at Prospect Park, then Soda Bar over in Prospect Heights (good atmosphere, bad service) and then across the street to Zaytoons (great food and service, some of the best Mediterranean food in BK).

• Also a few weeks ago, I ended up meeting some friends of Mike Morarian’s at Katja’s going away party at the grossly-fratty, Spitzer’s, in my old neighborhood (the Lower), named Steve and Dave.  We also checked out one of those dark, soul bars, and eventually wound up at the Parkside Lounge.  Good times.

“Better red than dead.”

Earlier this year, upstate, NY.

I ended up getting some Mavic CXP22’s laced to Formula 32H hubs on my bike. While they look pretty similar to the stock wheels, they’re considered the strongest in their class.

South Slope/Sunset Park, Brooklyn. I moved a week and a half ago, and we’ve been getting adjusted to the new neighborhood daily.  A big “thanks” goes out to D.Lish and Moses for aiding in the U-Haul move.  Very cool.

Jenn and I ended up running into F.Trainer over near the cemetery the other evening, and he had positive things to say about the area.  He’s always doing good things (ie: the 1058 post).

• The Escape New York ride is right around the corner (Sept 20), but there’s still time to register.  Could be good.

gas, brake, dip, dip

A fish near Lake George, New York.

• Riding home from work the other evening, I saw a guy selling ice cream from a reclaimed and converted wheelchair. He had some sort of cardboard coverings over the larger front wheels, and had fashioned a large cooler into the main chair part of it, as if people weren’t going to notice it’s former wheelchair qualities.

• Also food-related, the owner of the Park Slope-based, Willy’s Dawgs, was telling me about the tattoo he plans to get when his shop hits it’s two year anniversary in a month or so.  I’ve become partial to the make-your-own over the recommended specials.  Also, beware of biting insects in the back patio during the summer.  Great food (and of course they have that carrot dog thing too).

Don’t let them tell you otherwise: Rich can grill some mean hamburgers.

We made use of a bar we found in an empty country club building that we gently let ourselves into for exploring purposes, late in the evening.  From left to right: Emily, Jen, Jenn, and Rich.

To be honest: I have no idea why there were heads on plaques.


Lake George, New York. Jenn and I took the Amtrak up to Albany, NY this past weekend to hang with our friends Jen and Rich (plus Emily and Erin), who invited us up to hang out at a lake house up on Lake George (an hour out of town) that they were in the process of selling.  While the water was beautiful and inviting (they had floating, anchored platforms for swimmers and such), the swimming was maybe overshadowed a little bit for me by the amount of intriguing, abandoned “family fun” parks and defunct, low-budget theme parks that were sprinked in the woods around the dense, touristy area.  Turns out, they even have a tiki-themed hotel and surprisingly-still-operating, ridiculously spooky children’s theme park called “Magic Forest” (suprisingly, i learned that Clara has wandered through it).  We explored Action Park, and noted the weirdness of a handful of others.  Other highlights included: seeing Albany’s downtown area, the large and slightly-dated New York Museum, Albany’s Egg venue, grilling hamburgers while a large amount of fireworks exploded over the lake, the lake water feeling super clean while swimming, an all-American breakfast at The Lone Bull on Lakeshore Drive.  When Rich was kind enough to let me borrow his car for a day, you better believe Weezy had the Albany airwaves on lock.  I’m telling you: it’s oddly unifying (and yes, I did hear those rumors about a biographical film coming out).

Action Park in Lake George, NY.  It hasn’t seen much action (aside from amateur graffiti) in the past few years.

I didn’t have quite enough time to let myself into the main Opera House.

Some of the other buildings, though, seemed to have some salvageable materials.

My cousin, Paul, demostrates how to achieve Ambrel’s aesthetic with stellar ease.  My brother, Clay, is seen on the right in the shot.  Check out all the rest of the shots from the extended weekend at the beach here.

• Emerald Isle down in North Carolina has been a good annual escape for the past few years with my mother’s side of the family, to get away from work for a few days.  Jenn and I went down to a rental cottage they had for a week to find a large assortment of bikes (my brother’s collection, one of Paul’s, and a handful of others).  We did a thirty mile ride on cruisers (a Schwinn cruiser, and an old British-made Royal) while Clay and Paul rode fixed (Bianchi Pista and Surly Steamroller), and my father joined in on a Trek road bike.

• One thing I love about New York in the summer: the way that little weeds and grasses grow up between all of the cracks in the most desolate of areas, and pepper the asphalt and concrete landscape with some green.

• Happy birthday the other week to my boy Val in Boston.

Jenn and I met up with B.Davis and Sylvia to watch the 4th of July fireworks from the Empire-Fulton State Park area (in Dumbo, between the two bridges on the waterfront) with Sylvia being kind enough to bring beer.  The next day, Jenn and I went over to Esperanto on Ave C for brunch.  Reasonably priced and good bloody marys.

I’ve been riding this thing around as much as possible.  Next step: cut the steerer down to get rid of some of those spacers near the stem.  Thanks to Clay for the black risers.

• The bike arrived last week.  I couldn’t be happier about the fit and the fun involved while riding it.  Thanks to Jeff over at Continuum for some wheel-truing and brake assistance.  This past Friday night, after doing a few laps at Prospect Park (and then picking up burritos at Uncle Moe’s), I caught the free Brazillian Girls performance in the park.  We weren’t close enough to get a great look at the lead singer, but the sound quality was pretty good.

• “My junk is janky.”

emerald underbelly

Memorial Day, the Sasquatch Music Festival , and a handful of friends were enough reasons to escape to Seattle for six days.

It turns out that the middle of Washington is sorta an arid desert. We camped near a mini-grand canyon of sorts (not seen here). No rattlesnake sightings, only small lizards. Thanks to Maddy for the spare tent. Unfortunately David couldn’t make it out to the festival.

We saw performances by MIA, The Breeders, REM, Modest Mouse, Ozomatli, Dave Bazan (Pedro the Lion), the Fleet Foxes, and some others, out in “The Gorge,” in the middle of Washington.

We stopped by North Bend, Washington , the town that inspired Lynch’s Twin Peaks. It’s large falls seemed to attract many tourists, even on rainy days. The local diner advertises having the legendary cherry pie from the cult TV show.

• We ate at a conveyor-belt style sushi restaurant: Blue C, a French place that surprisingly was a scene: Cafe Presse, an amazing Mexican place in Ballard: La Carte de Oaxaca, a greasy spoon in the middle of the farmlands, and drank an underground and Mexican wrestler themed bar: Cha Cha, the clean and somewhat empty Grey Gallery, a super-popular gay bar on Capitol Hill: The Cuff, and a handful of other places.

• We paid a visit to Archie McPhee for some Glen’s Smart Shop-esc trinkets.

David and Chad grilled some excellent sweet potatoes, turkey sausage, and shrimp over at their 1970’s style house in the neighborhood that borders some questionable motels. David’s Mexican-inspired salad dressing made the meal.

• It was explained to me that while Seattle is politically liberal, it is often socially conservative.

• I can’t count the number of times that Warren Buffett‘s name came up in conversation this past weekend. Turns out that Dhruv (Brad’s roommate) is one of his biggest fans, well, aside from Dhruv’s relative that paid $600,000 to have lunch with him. Some fascinating stories.

• We went to a chimposium at Central Washington University, where large chimpanzees have learned sign language and can communicate with humans. It raises more questions than it answers, very interesting.

This little diner was near a complex, functional lock system on the river in Seattle. There were a fair amount of bikes, however there are also some ridiculous San Francisco-esc hills that require a little bike-walking. Thanks to Maddy and Chad for the extra bikes. While there was an absence of bike lanes in most areas, cars seemed pretty chill about bikes all over the place. It must be the general west coast chillness. I was sorta jealous that people could use incredibly small & minimal locks on their bikes, and sometimes leave them without a lock at all. Surprisingly there were a considerable about of brakeless fixies around town as well… those hills are killer.

An early morning breakfast for some local cats in the Ballard neighborhood, a few blocks from Matty’s boutique design studio, Turnstyle.

Recreational horticulture.

Pike Place Market near the downtown area. Many well-stocked seafood stands, with large crowds watching.

Chad, Jenn, myself, and Brad . Shot in the photobooth of Re-bar during the longest-running, monthly house dance party on the west coast.