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March 31, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Hacer


IMG_7805, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Hacer. San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2004


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Photo of the Day: The Plunge


IMG_8308 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.





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March 30, 2007

A Train Service Changes

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If you ride the A Train in Brooklyn, you've probably already know about the
construction that's going to screw up your weekends for the next month or
so.

Just in case you haven't heard, here's the deal:
There will be no train service between Utica Avenue and Jay Street. In its
place, there will be a shuttle bus running along Fulton Street - except
where there's street construction, between Bedford and Vanderbuilt. Annoyed
yet? You will be.

The MTA recommends taking the L train from Broadway Junction into Manhattan.
Allegedly, there will be extra service to compensate. For those unfamiliar,
it's 15 stops to Union Square.

It's also 11 stops to Lorimer in Williamsburg. I plan to take the opportunity to check
out the newly opened Fette Sau or play video games at Barcade.

Regardless of what you plan to do, I expect to spend a lot more time in
Brooklyn.

::c::

Graffiti of the Day: Insa


IMG_9019, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Insa. London, 2004.



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Hartford: Mayor Mike's Cheese Balls


IMG_2752, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I've got another trip up to Connecticut coming up, so I'm contemplating Hartford food again. One of my favorite individual dishes up there is at Mayor Mike's, a semi-casual bar and restaurant a few blocks from Union Station.

By far, the best thing I've eaten there is the Mozzarella Cheese Balls. They're not the frozen sticks you get at Chotchkie's, which look like they popped out a machine months ago. These seem to be made fresh in-house. The cheese is gooey and wonderful. I like the sauce too. It tastes like there are actually tomatoes in it, unlike the generic marinara sauce you'd get in other places.

They always have a good beer selection, including a few New England beers that I can't always get in New York.

Mayor Mike's
283 Asylum St
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 522-6453

Photo of the Day: Paris Beer Bar


Paris, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.


Bar la Pinte 13 Carrefour de l'Odeon, 6th arrondissement Left Bank, Paris

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March 29, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Shocked!


IMG_3516, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Toronto, 2005


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Photo of the Day: 3 Bridges


Bridges, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.




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March 28, 2007

Bars: Mé Bar

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Spring is here. Yesterday New York had the warmest day of the year so far. It got up to 78, which beats the hell out of the frigid temperatures we had for most of the second half of winter.

After work Eric and I met up at Me Bar on the roof of the La Quinta in Koreatown. The bar is small and remarkably unglamorous, considering how fancied up so many roof bars can be. I got there just around 6pm, which is apparently the perfect time. When I got there, only two or three of the outdoor tables were taken, by the time Eric got there around 6:45, it was standing room only.

The beer selection was unexpected. It had some of the usual generic beer, but it also had some relatively obscure mid-shelf beers as well. I drank Red Hook ESB and Anchor Porter, Eric had Kirin. They also stocked Sol, a Mexican beer that you don't find in too many places.

Despite being on the roof, you can't see particularly far. The 14th floor isn't so high in the middle of midtown. I glanced around and wasn't particularly impressed with the view. That is until the person across from me started taking pictures of something behind me. I turned around and there was the Empire State Building, up close and personal.

We drank beer until we got snacky, then we got dinner at Bon Chon.

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Graffiti of the Day: Obey Eye


IMG_9880, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Shepard Fairey
Williamsburg, Brooklyn


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Photo of the Day: ESB at Night


IMG_3548, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.





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March 27, 2007

Settling In

This is going to be a week of firsts.

Today, I did my rush hour commute for the first time. Sunday night, I took a taxi to our new home for the first time. I didn't know where to turn, or how many blocks we'd be going.

Trial and error is everywhere. The washer and dryer we ordered wouldn't fit in the house, much less the basement. We have to order a smaller one. The couch in the living room is bigger than we thought, we have to rearrange things, maybe even buy a new one.

Meanwhile, we're making progress with the unpacking. I still don't know where half of my things are, but there's progress. This morning I dug through boxes to find some speakers so I could listen to npr and begin my morning ritual in my room. In the bedroom, Tammi watched NY1, her preferred way to start the day. One regular point of contention solved already.

There's a lot to be figured out, tons of progress left to be made, but everything is already starting to come together.


::c::

Graffiti of the Day: New Orleans Stencil


IMG_2499, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Magazine Street, New Orleans, 2004

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Photo of the Day: Blow


IMG_4176, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.


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March 26, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Paris Truck


Paris Truck, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Le Marais. Paris, France, 2004.




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Photo of the Day: Candlelight reflected


IMG_1734, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.




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March 25, 2007

Moved in, wiped out

IMG_4555.JPGMoved out...


...and moved in.
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Yesterday was crazy. It was nerve-wracking and frantic, but by the end of the day, my stuff was in our new apartment. Many thanks to my mom and our friends Dorla and Kevin who came out to help. And of course to Tammi who put up with me totally freaking out all day.

Last night, we had dinner at Chez Oskar and got very drunk. It is (was?) Brooklyn Restaurant Week, and they had a prix fixe menu. I had a great Lamb Shank for my entree along with Country Paté and Creme Caramel.

This morning we got up early and Tammi's stuff was moved in. The place is jammed with boxes. We've already started unpacking, but it's total chaos. I spent 15 minutes searching for underwear.

Sadly, instead of celebrating, I'm stuck at the office. I'm hoping for a quiet night. Tomorrow is delivery/hookup day.

Graffiti of the Day: Terminestor


IMG_0033, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Terminestor, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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Flicks: Easy Rider

I don’t do drugs.
Consequently a major dimension of Easy Rider is lost on me.
It’s a little disheartening to see that Dennis Hopper’s been doing the same damn routine for thirty odd years.
It all descends into madness in the New Orleans LSD scene. I’m sure there are layers of complexity to be found here, but all I see is a cautionary tale as to why one shouldn’t play with film equipment while high.

Ok, so there’s more to it than that. Jack Nicholson’s role was minor, but the only one that was worthwhile. He was the only sensible voice in the movie and he was raving drunk. His monologue on freedom is the only redeeming feature and unfortunately all the freedom they want is the right to be dirty hippies. For all the harassment they suffer in the movie, the only freedom they are looking for amounts to doing lots of drugs and not shaving. Given the context of the time, it all just seems like adolescent persecution fantasy. They aren’t rebelling against an unjust war, they aren’t fighting for equality or a proper education, they are just riding around stoned and dirty.

There’s nothing wrong with that. Be a stoner, be a dirty hippie, make a movie that’s an end-to-end trip. But don’t act like it’s any more than that. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas did a great job of this. And it did it without the self-righteous claptrap.

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Photo of the Day: Jellyfish


IMG_7449, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.




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March 24, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: An Indecent Proposal


IMG_0869, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Mildred, North Beach, San Francsico 2007.

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Maui: The Makai Inn


IMG_0017, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.
Tammi and I went to Hawaii for Thanksgiving 2005. We spent a few days in Lahaina, Maui. The town was settled as whaling village, so much of it reminded me more of Martha's Vineyard than anyplace in Hawaii. The main strip was like any 'destination' town, more than a little touristy, but very laid back.

The laid back vibe stretched to our accomodations at the Makai Inn, about a mile from the town center. When we got to the Inn, there was no one there. We walked upstairs to the office and it was closed. I wandered around the grounds looking for someone but the only people there were some workers cleaning the grounds. They told us to call the number on the door of the office.

The lady I spoke to said, "Oh, I left for the day. You're in room 5, just let yourself in. The keys are in the room." And that wasthe most we saw or heard from anyone until we checked out. It was so relaxed there.

At night the sound of the waves hitting the shore woke me up. I'm so accustomed to the sounds of the city it disoriented me.

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Moving Day

I hate moving. That's why I haven't done it in 8 years. I'm exhausted. I'm just barely functional. There's a little packing left, but it's fine. At this point I'm happy to just dumnp everything in a bag or box and deal with it when we get there - after I sleep for 10 hours.

::c::

Photo of the Day: Tango


IMG_8554, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.




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March 23, 2007

SF: Swan Oyster Depot


IMG_1776, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I stopped in at Swan in January when I was in San Francisco for Macworld. I was supposed to be going with some friends, but they weren't going to make it in time. Guyvera insisted that I go without them, just so I could check it out before they closed.

When I got there, there was a small line out the door. It reminded me of Schwartz' in Montreal, which I will post about one of these days. The Depot is a long narrow room with a counter that runs nearly all the way back.

I wasn't blown away by the chowder, which I prefer thicker. What I loved was the crab cocktail, made with big chunks of dungeness crab smothered in a sweet and tangy cocktail sauce. Their horseradish was intensely strong, a great balance to the sweetness.

Swan's is a great little hole in the wall that I definitely want to go back to next time I'm in San Francisco.

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Graffiti of the Day: Swoon Entryway


Swoon Entryway, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

By Swoon.
Graffiti Exhibit, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
Summer 2006

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Maui: Haleakala


Haleakala, Maui. Originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

While in Maui, Tammi and I saw the sun rise from the top of Haleakala. We woke up at 3 in the morning to get out there. A guide drove us out there. When we went to the van, he told us what we were wearing wasn't warm enough and advised us to go get a blanket from the room. Thankfully we did. It was freezing up there. Who would have expected that in Hawaii?

It was also one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. The serenity of the moment was slightly marred by the other hundred people there, but nothing could ruin a view like that.

Coincidentally, as I was writing this, Eric passed on a link to our friend Iggy's new blog. In it, he wrote about his trip to Haleakala ride last week.

More photos from 10,000 feet up after the jump...

Haleakala





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Chicago: Giordano's


IMG_8773, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Here's a little food porn for the pizza lovers out there.

I had heard that I needed company to even begin to dig into a real Chicago deep dish pizza, so I didn't bother trying until Tammi met me there. We ended up going on our last day, a couple hours before we had to head to the airport. The pie was so thick and heavy that we barely got through half of it without hurting ourselves.

The pie above is from Giordano's, a local chain that I passed a dozen times while I was there. We went to the branch across from the Sears Tower.


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Photo of the Day: Carnival!


IMG_3308, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.




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March 22, 2007

Chicago: The Julian High School Marching Band


IMG_2892, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I took Tammi to Millennium Park on her first day in Chicago. I had just finished showing her the Bean when we heard music coming from somewhere. I didn't know what was going on and just ignored it until I noticed it was getting louder. I turned around and Tammi was already going to see what it was.

When I caught up with her, there was a big old marching band doing their thing. I had never seen anything like it before. None of the schools I've attended had a band, so this was a totally surreal experience.

Tammi ran over and asked the leader about what it was all about. They were the Julian High School Marching Band. Their band was the only band in the region to be selected for an out of state competition., so they decided to practice downtown for the tourists in the park.

More photos after the jump...

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Graffiti of the Day: TO Town


IMG_3704, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

416 Graffiti Festival
Toronto, 2005

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Chicago: TV Flashback


IMG_8717, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

It's a testament to my lost youth that as soon as I saw Buckingham Fountain the theme song to Married...with Children started ringing through my head. I didn't even remember that the show had had been set in Chicago and it took a moment for me to even conect the show to the song. But inexplicably the sight of the fountain triggered a Pavlovian response.

Obviously, I watched way too much TV as a kid.
::c::


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SF: Cafe Niebaum-Coppola


IMG_0650, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Peter, the bartender in the rose colored glasses has been there nearly every time I've stopped in over the last 5 years. He's pictured above, barely, as the blur between the waiter and his reflection.


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Photo of the Day: Colonia Umbrellas


IMG_0646, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.





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March 21, 2007

Chicago: The River


IMG_8442, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I knew they dyed the river green for St. Patrick's Day, but I was there for Labor Day and it was still green. ew.

Come on now. I'm from New York and this river grossed me out. Something is not right.
::c::

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Graffiti of the Day: Borf Box


IMG_2028, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Borf. Washington DC

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LA: Oki Dog


IMG_7717, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This place was totally sketchy. It's just a little shack on Fairfax.

I had grabbed some tacos in the Farmer's Market and was walking up towards Hollywood.

I had a Chili-Cheese dog.

The dogs were plump and juicy, much rounder than the narrow sabretts we get everywhere in New York. The cheese wasn't the cheez whiz that you usually get, it was a thick slice of cheese wrapped around the dog. Between the heat of the dog and the chili on top, it had started to melt immediately. The cheese was gooey, but still firm enough to add a little more resistance when bitten into. The thickness added another texture to the experience. The roll was big enough to stand up to the saucy chili without falling to pieces.

So good...

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Photo of the Day: Chipped Away


IMG_1577, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.



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March 20, 2007

Keys to the Kingdom

I picked up the keys to the apartment today after work.

I'd probably have something significant to say about new beginnings and the start of spring if I weren't so exhausted.

We've decided to wait to paint, which seriously diminishes the chances of actually doing it, but is much more realistic.

The next two days are dedicated to packing. Enjoy the pics and travel posts in the meantime.

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SF: Bob's Donuts

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IMG_0727, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I read about Bob's in the guidebooks, but hadn't really planned on checking it out. It was listed as a good place to grab a sweet snack and some coffee after boozing it up in the Trenderloin. I only shot the photo above for a flickr group, then I walked right by it.

One of the conference after-parties ended up being on the same block and I had an opportunity to check it out as intended - drunk and snacky. It was perfect.

The doughnut was light and fluffy with a slight chewiness that reminded my snacking companion of a zeppole. My glazed wasn't overbearingly sweet like Krispy Kreme. It hit the spot.

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The LA Metro


IMG_7768, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

When I went to Los Angeles last summer, I didn't know what to expect. All I had ever heard was that it's the anti-New York. On the short list of things I just had to see was the LA Metro. The idea of a subway system in this city of drivers intrigued me.

While walking through Hollywood, I walked down to the Metro station at Hollywood and Vine. The station is a lot farther underground than most stations in New York. It's steep escalators and high ceilings reminded me a bit of the DC Metro.

Even though it was early evening, when I'd normally expect a rush in one direction or another, the station was empty. I never saw more than 10 people, even when a train came in.The wide, cavernous space seemed that much bigger without people. Seeing a subway station that big deserted seemed vaguely apocalyptic.

Disorienting me further, I couldn't find the turnstiles or anything familiar. In the entryway, where I would usually expect to find such things, there were scanners of some sort. I saw someone walk by and pass their card over it before walking to the trains.

There was no turnstile. No gate, no barrier at all. In the entryway was a sign stating that riders were required to show their ticket if requested.

I was expecting somethings to be different in LA, but not a subway run on the honor system. That's just weird.

Graffiti of the Day: Laughing Buddha


Laughing Buddha, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

London, 2005

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Travelogue

I'm moving on Saturday. Today is Tuesday. Many things have yet to be packed.
In order to avoid an obvious form of procrastination, I'm going to take the opportunity to post some brief or pre-written pieces over the next week or so. I may post about the move here and there, but really, I need to focus on the actual move more and writing about it less. In the meantime, enjoy some of what I've had to say about San Francisco, Chicago, Hawai'i, and Montreal among other places.

::c::

Flicks: Sleeper

If every story has a beginning, a middle and an end, the middle of Sleeper lasts about 10 minutes. The movie is really rather strange. It’s all set up. I don’t know much Woody Allen. I’ve only seen Annie Hall. I wasn’t expecting quite so much slapstick. The musical chase scenes were like something out of Benny Hill. I'm not really sold on Woody Allen given what I've seen so far. Maybe I need to see more, but I'm not so motivated from what I've seen so far...

::c::

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Photo of the Day: ESB & Manhattan Bridge


IMG_2099, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.





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March 19, 2007

Bon Chon: Closed for Lunch

Apparently Bon Chon is no longer serving lunch. I went over there today and it was locked. When I called in, the recording said that they are opening at 4pm from now on.

That's greatly upsetting.

I guess I'll have to start eating lunch late.

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Graffiti of the Day: Inept


Inept, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Bleeker Street, NoLita, NYC

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Photo of the Day: Watch out for bear traps


Watch out for bear traps, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

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March 18, 2007

St. Patrick's Day


IMG_3842, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I just happened to be in midtown yesterday morning, just in time for some of the festivities on 5th Avenue for the St. Patrick's Day Parade. It reminded me of the little rant i wrote in the Photo of the Day post the night before about immigration.

It was an interesting experience: soldiers, cops, firemen, state troopers and law enforcement officials from all over the country were waving another nations flag and wearing another culture's traditional garb. Their kids stood out in the cold, bare-legged, wearing kilts and playing bagpipes to demonstrate their allegiance to their ancestral home.

And they've been doing it for 251 years. So much for assimilation.

More photos after the jump.
::c::

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Graffiti of the Day: Twerp Label


IMG_2819.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.



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Photo of the Day: Burger Joint


Burger Joint, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This is Burger Joint, in the basement of the Parker Meridian. It's a great, no-frill's burger shack hidden deep in the heart of one of New York's fanciest hotels. There is absolutely nothing fancy about this place. The menu lists 5 options: Hamburger, Cheeseburger, Grilled Cheese, French Fries or a Whole Pickle. The tagline is "If you don't see it we don't have it." The fries are served in a brown paper bag and they stock one beer, Sam Adams, by the glass or pitcher.

I'm rarely up at 57th Street, so I don't get these tasty burgers nearly often enough. I think it's been 2 years since my last fix. Shake Shack opens this week, but I'm sure the lines will be ridiculous. Maybe I'll head up here next time I've got a craving. I'm sure the train ride to 57th and back would still take less time than standing in that line.

Burger Joint
118 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019

::c::

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March 17, 2007

DITC: 2nd Round KO

This track was scandalous when it was released. Upstart Canibus, who didn't even have an album released, seemingly came out of no where and slammed veteran Rap Star, LL Cool J. Since history is ultimately written by the victor, Canibus' footnote in the annals of Hip-hop ends with him getting crushed by the sleeping giant he awoke.

LL came back hard, proving though "99% of his fans wear high heels," he was still "Bad." He reassured the hiphoperati that, despite having a sitcom and perpetually showing off his pecks, he was capable of putting out a song that was good for more than just dancing with your girl to.

To be fair, LL wasn't just in a sitcom, but had co-starred in a Michael J Fox movie. He really didn't ever wear a shirt and hadn't released a song that wasn't girly in years. Also, the fight did start after LL invited him to co-star on a song and then inserted a verse after his saying that Canibus would never ever be as good as he was.

That said, none of the songs involved (including one by Wyclef, who got dragged into the fight) are particularly memorable 10 years later. Certainly nothing was as interesting as the nervous excitement of the Hip-hop community at the time. This rivalry took place in 1997. It was the first 'Battle' since the Bad Boy/Death Row beef culminated in the deaths of Biggie and 2Pac. We were intrigued and refreshed by a rivalry that didn't have the spectre of violence clinging to it.

As for the song itself, Canibus didn't help his cause by having Mike Tyson as a guest-star - post ear-biting. The instrumental was interesting and complex, which I think ultimately was his downfall.

Canibus' strength was always his straightforward style. He was a freestyler. Wyclef's production was imaginative and complicated. It had arias and flutes and influences from all over the world. His beats were experimental. That's great in theory, but it wasn't suited to someone who only needed a breakbeat to flow over. It was too much. His whole album got panned for that reason, I think.

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Graffiti of the Day: Anime Postal Label


IMG_1395 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Royce Bannon
DUMBO, Brooklyn, NY.


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Photo of the Day: Yiddish Advertising


IMG_1408, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I always liked this shot. I took it last spring on a walkabout in Williamsburg. I discussed this image and a few of my others on The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC our local NPR station last summer. It was very exciting. I listen to the show nearly every day, so actually being a guest was a great experience. This was about a year ago, when protests were erupting all over the country.

I come from a family of immigrants. So does nearly everyone else in this country to some degree. It's always been inexplicable to me the way some people can call themselves 'real' Americans and judge or exclude others because they aren't from here. The foundation of this nation has always been immigration, people have come here from everywhere for opportunities and freedom. There's always some group that somebody doesn't want here. Now it's the Mexicans, before that it was the Jews or the Irish or the Italians or the Germans. And it's always the same arguments. "They don't assimilate into our culture;" "They stay to themselves in enclaves speaking some foreign language;" "They don't have our values." It's always something.

So these signs in Williamsburg struck me. Every immigrant community has the same sort of experience. They come in and form communities for support. They bring some of the comforts of home with them, the food, the language, the music. It's normal. Yet it really pisses some people off - when some people do it.

Those trying to crack down on immigration complain about 'these people' not learning 'our language.' But I've never seen the Minutemen patrolling these enclaves, harassing these immigrants or telling the Hasidim to speak 'our language.'


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March 16, 2007

So Much for Spring...

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Wow, thankfully I escaped the weather for most of the day. I didn't realize how bad it was until we went out to grab a bite. We got beaten down by frozen rain as we trudged through the snow and ice. I guess our little taste of Spring earlier this week was just a tease. It was almost 70 degrees on Wednesday, now they're talking about a foot of snow in some places.

::c::

(Re-)Opening Night at Blind Tiger

Blind tiger Re-opening



Last night Eric and I headed down to the new Blind Tiger right after work. They opened up at 4pm, by 5:30, when I got there, it was jammed with people. I could barely get in the door. The place was full of familiar faces. It was a celebration.

The new space seemed nice, but I could barely see anything past the crowd. I'll have to go back again soon to get a better look.
::c::

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Graffiti of the Day: Señor Roboto


IMG_9873, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Buenos Aires, Argentina.


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The Move: More Verizon Nonsense

I've got just over a week to go before moving and not nearly enough packed. So far, I've mostly been purging, but at this point I just need to start packing everything up. I decided to work from home today so I can start really packing stuff away. Given the crappy weather, today seemed like a good day to stay in the house and get some packing done.

Verizon of course had other plans. I was on the phone with them for almost 2 hours trying to figure out why I still don't have a dial tone. Allegedly the issue is fixed, but I still don't have service. Now I'm totally irritated with everything.

Bah!

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Photo of the Day: Reservoir Dogs


In the park, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

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March 15, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Apex


IMG_0415, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

By Apex.
SoMa, down by the CalTrain Depot, San Francisco


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Photo of the Day: Into the Deep


Into the Deep, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Submarine tour, Thanksgiving day 2005. Honolulu, HI

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March 14, 2007

The Move: Verizon sucks

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Fucking Verizon.

I'm trying to be on top of things. Today I started the process of moving over subscriptions and utilities. I called Verizon and scheduled an installation for a week and a half from now. I told them I to disconnect my line at my current apartment the same day.

Tammi calls me tonight and it's disconnected. Apparently 'the 26th' sounds like 'today.'

Fuckers.


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Graffiti of the Day: Chomp!


Chomp!, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Philadelphia, PA

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DITC: Me, Myself and My Microphone

I can't really be consider A+ a one hit wonder, since I don't think any of his songs ever really constituted a hit. When his album came out he was 12. His appeal was that he didn't spend too much time capitalizing on his age. He lyrics were like any other rapper at that time, sans the guns and violence. He also had guest appearances from some of the more prominent names of the time. These days the only people I know who have heard of him are my friends who DJed with me in college. They were working from the same pool of albums as I was, many of them freebies from the record companies who flooded our mailbox with acts they were pushing.

This song was a Hip-hop love song a la "I Used to Lover Her." This was a year or so before Common turned the theme into a franchise. Instead of the music, he was professing his love to his mic. His lyrics weren't bad actually, all things considered (see Puffy's lyrical skills, mentioned earlier), but not incredibly compelling.

What I like about it is the lilting tune looped in the background. I recognize it from somewhere, but can't quite place it. Q-tip does the hook, giving a little hip-hop gravitas to it all. This is before "Vivrant Thing" and Budweiser ads, when Tribe was the epitome of intelligent hip-hop.

::c::

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Photo of the Day: The Manhattan Bridge


The Manhattan Bridge, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

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March 13, 2007

DITC: Step Into A World Remix

"I'm gon' make you dance."

Who ever thought a KRS-One song would start like that? More to the point, who ever thought 'The Prophet' would ever do a track with Puffy, who many of us, at the time, could only think of as the Hip-hop anti-christ. It was an obvious radio track for KRS. It had a hot beat but still had all of the self-righteousness brilliance one would expect alternating between the bubble gum clap trap Puff has always been known for:

"Hear the sound of my money machine See the 600 Benz see the chrome rims gleam See the teacher KRS and the Puff Daddy See the young black and famous Rich like Matty With the power and the knowledge at our fingertips With a style make the ladies wanna lick they lips, shake they hips Shake they rumps, bass thump Believin they could fly by the way you jump, player, uhh Hip-Hop mayor, fat rhyme sayer From the Boogie Down to the Himilayas..."
(Puffy's lyrics courtesy of Gold Lyrics )

As I said, clap-trap.

Thankfully it was the only track of its kind that I can think of. I'm not sure if the backpacker community would have survived had there been more. Contemplating the juxtaposition of skills and extreme nonsense too much would certainly had caused heads to explode.

Sorry, I can't end this entry without posting a little more of puffy's hackneyed bullshit:

Politic with the teacher (c'mon) as the hits reach ya Puff Daddy and KRS-One, double feature (that's right) Uptown diplomats, watch chips get stacked So-and-so, this and that (uhh) Just 'Show me the money!' Ain't nuttin funny (uh-huh) Have you stuck on stupid broke feelin crummy (ahah) Ain't no time for Girl 6 Cause I got a ten, holdin my stack of big Benz Correographer causin your funky dope maneuver (say what?)

Say what indeed...

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Graffiti of the Day: OK Baby, Paris


Paris, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Storefront gate, Le Marais, Paris.

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DITC: Usual Suspects

I remember the album, Vendetta, was supposed to be Mic Geronimo's big comeback. Unfortunately, the lead single turned out to be his own Flava in ya Ear remix. DMX came out of nowhere and outshined him on his own track. What I didn't remember was that Jadakiss was on it too. This was back before the Lox album, I think. He took a little while to catch everyone's attention. I remember my friends and I jumping on All for the Love, when their album came out. I wonder if we even noticed that it was the same dude who was on this track.

These days I rarely listen to new music, so I haven't heard much Jadakiss in a while, but I do know that he got pretty damn big since I got out of school. Sadly, I haven't heard anything at all about Mic Geronimo. Just like Craig Mack, no one has heard from him in a long time. According to AllMusic, he's released two albums since, one just this year. I guess there's still a chance he'll blow up. I wouldn't recommend he use too many unknown guest stars this time around.

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Photo of the Day: Banderas! Banderas!


Banderas! Banderas!, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

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Diggin in the Crates: Intro

The essential part of moving is purging. Really, when you accumulate as much crap as I do, you have to purge before you can do anything. As mentioned, this has taken me back to my college days. Nothing has taken me back so much as the music. I decided to rip the giant bin full of CDs that's been sitting untouched for the last several years. Most of them are CDs that I acquired while I was a DJ and Music Director for the college radio station.

In the last week I've ripped 2352 songs. Mostly it's Hip-Hop and R&B from my 1995-1999. I've heard some tracks that I haven't listened to in 10 years.

The DITC will be a series of posts about what I've found....

March 12, 2007

Pork Party in Jersey

A little over a week ago, our friends Dorla and Kevin had a housewarming party in their new apartment in Union City aka North Havana. They have a nice place in Kevin's dad's building. They had been working on it for months. Kevin built the cabinets and they painted all the rooms different colors. It's a good size too. Of course their kitchen was my focus. There's a huge counter space that I would have ogled all night if it were covered with the main attraction: a whole roasted pig.

It was glorious.

I was going to post this a while ago, but I was waiting for my photos. I dunno when I'm going ot get those, so I figure I might as well, just post it now. I'll post some more images
::c::

Where it all began...


Where it all began..., originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

In case you ever wondered, this is where my nom de geek came from. I discovered the name on a bottom of a pizza box when I was in High School. I've been using the name UltraClay ever since.
::c::

Graffiti of the Day: Jimi on The Haight


Haight, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Haight Street, San Francisco, 2003.

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Photo of the Day: Fire Door


Fire Door, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

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March 11, 2007

The Old Neighborhood, New Again...

After seeing the apartment again, we decided to do a little exploring. We both lived within two blocks of the new place, but the area has changed a lot in the last few years. When I moved out of my old house 10 years ago, the neighborhood was very different. There certainly weren't cafe's like Solomon's Porch there.

We had brunch there, I wasn't as happy with it as I was on our previous visit. I'm not really a breakfast person, Tammi is. One of the things I like about brunch is that I can eat real food and not just bacon and eggs. Sadly the brunch menu at Solomon's Porch is severely lacking in the 'lunch' side of things. Regardless, I expect to spend a lot of time over at Solomon's Porch. After all, they have beer, food and music, a great vibe and a comfy-looking couch up front.

I'm pretty excited about the idea of having places to hang out nearby. Living in Bed-Stuy for 20 years, I've never had neighborhood places where I'd really like to hang out. When I was a kid, I spent my days in Brooklyn Heights and my weekends in the Village. Since moving back from college, most of my leisure time has been spent in Manhattan somewhere. In the last few years I've gone to Fort Greene or Smith Street or Atlantic Avenue.

After we left, we wandered over to Lewis where we found a new restaurant in the old Akwaaba space. There's no sign up, so I'm not sure what the name is. A couple of doors down is Bread Stuy and Brownstone Books. Tammi also happened upon a boutique on Lewis and Macon.

On the way back to my place, we walked down Tompkins and stopped in at Ibo Landing to look for lighting ideas. We talked to Achuziam, one of the owners about their new expansion into the space next door and the businesses in the area. She filled us in on a number of new restaurants and cafes that have been popping up in the last year or so. She also pleaded with us to support Common Grounds, a new coffee house just down the block. More on that in upcoming posts.

Restaurants:

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The Move:

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The Move: A second look

We visited the apartment again this afternoon. It was the first time I've seen it since we the open house. It was a little different from what I remembered. In order to plan everything out, I needed get past the idealized version of it that I've had in my head. This trip I got to check out it's flaws. Now I have a better idea of the issues we're going to have to deal with.

First and foremost is lighting. There's a long connected space encompassing the entryway, the hall and the kitchen which has little or no light coming in. The stairs that go to the parlor floor apartment are also unlit. We're going to have to buy a lot of lamps.

Another thing is the height of the ceilings, maybe about 8 feet. At least one of the shelves we were going to get won't fit in there.

Going into the door on the garden floor is going to be difficult when we move in. The bay windows jut out into the path, leaving less than 3 feet across. Getting our larger furniture in may mean passing through the parlor floor.

On the plus side, the rooms are all bigger than I thought and I actually got a chance to measure them. Also, both closets are walk-ins, which is nice.

The living room, being an extension on the house has windows on three of its walls, so it's very bright. Looking through the place again, we got a better idea of how the paint will look in the natural lighting. That was very useful. Some of the colors that we had picked out looked totally different inside. We're going with a orange-yellow spectrum moving from the entryway to the living room. My current apartment is orange, so I've been partial to that for some time. We haven't quite decided on the colors for the other rooms. I was going to stick with orange for my room as well, but now I'm thinking I may go with a red. The color for our bedroom is Tammi's choice and she's not sure what she wants to do with that either.

I'm glad I got another chance to look at everything, if slightly overwhelmed with all that needs to be done.

more to come...

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DST has arrived

It is 6pm and the sun is shining. Thank goodness. The lost hour is a small price to pay for that.

I feel like I should go outside and take advantage. Maybe tomorrow.

Happy Spring everyone!
::c:

Graffiti of the Day: Dumpster Diving


IMG_8546, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Solve stencil, Chicago, 2006

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Photo of the Day: The F train


The F train, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

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March 10, 2007

The Move: wading through the past

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My Alma Mater....

I can't say I was totally surprised when I found a batch of stuff from college. Even so, it took me back to find a stack of flyers for a party I threw when I was a sophmore. Somewhat gratifying, I found a few of them with numbers on them from various Mt. Holyoke girls I tried to talk to back then. I was never successful with any of them, but still.

I also found a box full of thesis drafts and notes. I wrote about online communities and the degree to which people have always used technology to create and extend social groups. It's funny because Mike and I were just emailing yesterday about online communities and the failings of BlackPlanet, a site which everyone I know gave up on years ago.

One thing I had forgotten is that, true to my geekiness, I had code-named each chapter. Every chapter of my thesis was named after a character in the Bloom County comic strip. Opus, Bill the Cat, and so on. If I recall, I had a set of Bloom county icons that I used to signify them on my computer.

Back to work...

Graffiti of the Day: Green Spaceship


IMG_0170, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Not sure who this is. It was a part of a larger piece in Williamsburg.

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Photo of the Day: Brooklyn Bus Stop


IMG_5283, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

March 9, 2007

The Move: Paint Fight!

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Not as much fun as a paintball fight, a paint fight is when you go to Home Depot and try to pick out paints together. Much like Paintball, you should be sure to pick out exactly opposite colors. Unlike Paintball, you don't get to shoot your opponent, no matter how much you want to.

Ok, it wasn't nearly that bad. I will say this though, compromise is hard. It's particularly difficult for someone as overbearing "strong-willed" as I am.
This whole excercise is a challenge. It's a good thing to go through, though. Better that we figure out how to work together from the start.

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Graffiti of the Day: Bombs Away


IMG_1775, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Warplane stencil, Aspen, Colorado, 2007.

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Japan Trip's Booked

In order to provide Tammi and myself with a beacon of hope after the chaos of the move, I finally booked our trip to Japan.
We'll land on the afternoon of my 30th birthday and be there for 10 days.

The tentative plan is to spend most of that time in Tokyo, with 2-3 days in Kyoto.

So far I have a list of food I want to eat there. I haven't figured out what else I want to do while we're out there. I'm sort of intimidated by all the options.

More to come.

DST! Y2K2!! OMG! STFU!

Sad Mac

I just want to reiterate the fact that the tech industry totally dropped the ball here.

Our mail admins had to send out an automated script to push all appointments ahead an hour because no fix was going to get this working soon enough. it also reissued every appointment invitation ever sent. People received hundreds of them this week.

It's totally ridiculous.


::c::

Hip-Hop: The Greatest of All Time

"The Greatest Rapper of All Time Died on March Ninth"

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10 years ago today, Christopher Wallace aka Biggie Smalls was killed.

Hip-hop has never been the same.

Rest in Peace
::c::

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Photo of the Day: Back of the 7 Train


Back of the 7 Train, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

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March 8, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Celso Nudes


IMG_1377, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Nudes by Celso, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY.

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Flicks: Some Like it Hot

We have Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon to thank for such gender bending comedies as Juwanna Mann and Sorority Boys, but I won’t hold that against them. The plot is similarly silly: musicians running from the mob, blah blah blah. Thankfully the set up is pretty quick. It’s all the same formula that’s been used for the last 60 years. Much like Caddyshack, this movie was less about the plot than the actors.

Jack Lemmon plays ‘the fool who follows’ very well. He martyrs himself for someone else’s plan, whether it’s sitting out in the cold while his bosses use his place as a love den in The Apartment or whiling the night away with a rich old man so his buddy can make time with the female lead. He’s very funny. Watching any movie of his, it’s clear where Felix Ungar came from. He’s indignant and put upon. In his mind he’s the voice of reason, but he’s rarely willing to stand up for himself. I’ll have to add The Odd Couple to my list.

Whoa. Marilyn Monroe.

This was the first movie I had ever seen starring Marilyn Monroe. Now I know where Jennifer Tilly got her schtick. Marilyn radiates sexuality whenever she’s on the screen. The role she had was simple, but she shined through every scene she was in. Her dizzy blonde cover belied a deeper knowledge hiding beneath the surface.
I’m looking forward to seeing more of her.

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Photo of the Day: Poppin


IMG_7447 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

March 7, 2007

A new day for The Blind Tiger


IMG_5170, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Just the other day I was mourning the passing of Blind Tiger Ale House, but now I hear that I may have been premature.

Eric, the blurry subject of the photo in my previous Blind tiger post, sent me this via IM. Apparently the State Liquor Authority finally issued a license for BT.

No word yet on the new opening day. I'm sure I'll be there! ::c::

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Graffiti of the Day: Honolulu Peace Poster


IMG_7719, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Obey Giant, Chinatown, Honolulu, HI

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Photo of the Day: The Boxer


The Boxer, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Art Institue of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

March 6, 2007

DuMont

Last night Tammi and I met up with a friend for dinner at DuMont in Williamsburg. It seems like a really cool place. We definitely want to go back. I'll write more about it next time. For now, here's a quick rundown...

I started out with a Duck Confit Risotto, which was thick and creamy. It had the perfect amount of meat mixed in, with shreddings of duck in every bite.

I followed up with the DuMac n Cheese, one of their signature dishes. The cheeses are cheddar, gruyere and parmesan. A gooey layer of cheese coated the top of the bowl and dripped over the edges. The cheese had been burnt with a torch or under the broiler. It almost looked like creme brulee. The crispyness of the burnt cheese added a slight bitterness to the flavor. The macaroni itself was fine, a little too soft in texture, but then you eat mac n cheese for the pasta. The cheese mixed in with it was a creamy white sauce that coated my tongue as I ate it.

I was still pretty full from yesterday's lunch, so I don't know how I managed to eat as much of that starchy meal as I did. When I couldn't eat another macaroni shell, I peeled off the last of the cheesy coating and finished off my meal.

I was so absorbed into my meal that I didn't even steal a taste of Tammi's Braised Short Ribs, but she enjoyed it. She also enjoyed the parsnip puree that came with it, but was afraid it might not be diet-friendly. She finished off with a side of sauteed spinach.

Our friend, Laura told us tha the brunch there is fanastic as well. We will definitely have to go check it out.
::c::

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Graffiti of the Day: Invasion!


Invasion!, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This shots a lot closer to home. These little guys are all over the place near my office. This is on 5th Ave in the low 30's.
I don't know who it is but I like to call him :|.
::c::

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Move Update: 3.6.07

I'm stilll trying to wrap my head around the task ahead. So far everything is going pretty well. I'm shredding papers, which is pretty entertaining. I started packing books this morning.

Predictably, Tammi and I have already had a couple heated debates regarding budgets for necessary purchases. We'll figure that out.

Our broker went on vacation on Wednesday, so we had to deal with someone else for the lease signing. Unavoidable, but it meant that no one could answer our questions - or even give us the landlords phone number.

There's still no word on when we get the keys, but it has only been a day. I'm a little impatient about that. A lot of our planning depends on when we can get access. I'd love to be able to schedule moves and figure out when we can paint.

Also, I haven't seen it since before we decided we wanted it. Besides tammi's pictures, I'm flying blind as far as dimensions and such.

I'm just eager, I guess.

::c::

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Taxes

I'm finally getting my taxes done tonight. I usually do them myself online. It's such a simple thing to do for the most part. Copy fields from the paper to fields on the computer. It bugs me to have someone do them, but I found one complication that I don't want to deal with, so I'm being lazy.

Hopefully he can get me a better refund than I'd have gotten myself. Wish me luck.

::c::

Photo of the Day: Paris Metro


Paris, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

March 5, 2007

Bon Chon Chicken

All this talk of wings inspired me to finally check out some of the Korean fried chicken that I've been hearing about recently. I first read about it when The New York Times wrote about it. After writing the last post, I had a craving for more chicken wings, so I IM'ed Eric, who was down, obviously.

It's just around the corner from the main strip of Koreatown, 32nd Street between 5th and Broadway. I knew it was on the second floor, so I was expecting a non-descript side door to get in. It was definitely non-descript - and totally sketchy. There was a hand-written sign next to the elevator that said, "Elevator was broken, use stairs. Bon Chon Chicken." I walked down the hall to the dark stairway with a broken first step and wondered exactly where the hell I was going. The second floor landing was unlit, all that was there was a single, unmarked door. I had no idea if this was the right place and sort of wondered what sort of hole it was going to be.

When I opened the door, the contrast couldn't have been more stark. There is a long shiny bar directly across from the door. The decor is industrial chic, looking more like it belongs in a giant loft space rather than a shabby office building. The walls are exposed brick and faux poured concrete. Iron work and plate glass divides the space and colored flourescent lights hide in crevices in the walls and ceilings.

Eric and a co-worker were already there when I got there. We chit-chatted about the hidden entrance while we figured out what to eat. That took all of a minute.

The menu itself is very simple. At least the one that mattered. The chicken menu was a glossy postcard with photos of the food and a list of how it's served in English and Korean. The other menu had drinks and other dishes. We pretty much ignored that. Our waiter, seemingly the only one working there, was a young guy who sauntered over after a bit to see what we wanted. I had heard that the service was not so great and that the food took forever to show, but we had no problems at all with the 'relaxed' pace of things. The food showed up within 10 minutes, which was more than acceptable.

The chicken comes in large or medium sizes of wings, drumsticks, breast strips or the special, which is a little bit of everything. We ordered mediums in spicy and soy garlic.

First off, the medium is huge, a mountain crispy goodness. And I mean crispy. The breading was like a hard shell coating the meat with herbs and spices. I started with the spicy chicken which started hot and just got hotter after each bite. It wasn't numb your tongue hot, but I think it may have ruined my palate for the more subtle flavors of the soy garlic.

The texture is the most memorable part, though. Every bite had a gratifying crunch that resonated in my mouth. As we made our way through our piles, we all realized that we had gotten way too much food. Any reasonable person could have split a medium with someone else. Maybe we should have split two mediums between the three of us. I don't think I want to know what a large looks like, although I will be dreaming about it tonight.

We managed to polish off the majority of our monstrous portions without hurting ourselves. Getting anything done when we got back to work was going to be a whole other challenge.

::c::

BON CHON CHICKEN -- 314 Fifth Avenue (32nd Street), second floor, (212) 221-2222;

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Food: Hot Wings

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I mentioned in passing recently that I've been on a serious Buffalo Wings kick lately. It's still there. I've probably had hot wings from maybe 10 different places in the last month, not counting the set I made myself last weekend for a friend's party.

Last night I found a topic on Chowhound on the Top 5 Chicken Wings
. Here was what I came up with:

Atomic Wings
at
Down the Hatch
were some of the first Buffalo Wings I had as a kid. In high school we'd have to order them to go because we weren't allowed to stay in the bar. They're a little scrawny, but still tasty. And with 6 levels of spice, you'll get them just as hot as you want.

I used to love the plump, saucy wings at Uno's, but they changed the recipe a couple years ago and it's just not the same.

A week or so ago I had some good wings in Brooklyn at Solomon's Porch in Bed-Stuy. I posted about it a week or so ago. Per my earlier post,

"They were crisply fried and topped with a spicy, vinegary hot sauce. It left my mouth tingly and happy. My only complaint was that it only included 6 wings instead of the customary 10."

I love the Honey Hot wings at Croxley's on Ave B. The sweetness of the honey adds a great balance to the spice. I love it. And now I want some...

::c::

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Graffiti of the Day: Open Your Eyes


Paris Stencil, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Open Your Eyes Stencil. Boulevard Haussman, Paris, 2003

After seeing this I searched and searched to find out more about it. I didn't see it again for years, until last year I saw it on Flickr. The shot was from right here in New York. I later came across a few myself when passing 5 Pointz in Long Island City.
::c::

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National Alliance in Brooklyn


IMG_1542, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Found on the upper back corner of the (immigrant-run) newsstand at Jay Street-Borough Hall.

I read about these people in college. Scary stuff. More info here
::c::

Macharia 2007

At the Polls

This weekend I got an email from Edwin Macharia, a friend from college. He was writing everyone to announce his candidacy for Parliament in Kenya. I was shocked and very proud. Edwin's motivation has always been to serve his people as best he could. I'm glad to know that hasn't changed.

Follow the jump for his message to friends and supporters.

Hi friends,

As you all know, I have always been focused on how I could best serve in moving forward Kenya’s and broadly Africa’s development. -From Amherst, through McKinsey and currently at the Clinton Foundation, my work has been exactly that, and I am now looking to take it to the next level. I have spoken with several of you in the period and received a lot of great advice as well as some challenging questions.

As a result, I have decided to run for Parliament in my home constituency of Kieni during the upcoming 2007 Kenyan elections. Like many, I have grown increasingly frustrated by the general make up of our current political leadership so I want to play a role in changing it by moving from the proverbial armchair conversation to the campaign trail.

My overall message is quite simple, focusing on the need for a new kind of leadership that can creatively wrestle with problems, both locally as well as nationally and internationally. Over the last 4 weeks of being on the trail, this has resonated strongly with voters, clearly showing that they have been yearning for a viable alternative and a different approach to leadership.

To make all this possible, I am turning to you as a friend for support as I will be taking on a well known incumbent – he was once the Minister for Internal Security then Minister for Transport before being dropped when linked with corruption charges (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Murungaru for more details). Your support can take many forms, including making a financial contribution to the campaign. While big checks are most welcome, I’ll also appreciate your assistance in approaching like-minded individuals who would be interested in supporting a new way of approaching politics and development. Similarly ideas and contacts I can leverage on the ground will be much appreciated.

Let me know how you would like to be involved and we can work together to identify the most convenient and helpful way for you to do that. I’ll be setting up a website as well as a emailing out regular updates. Let me know if there is a more appropriate email address to send those to.

I look forward to hearing from you in the next few days. Feel free to share this email with any other individuals who would be interested.

cheers

edwin

Photo of the Day: Crescent Box Water Meter


Crescent Box Water Meter, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I noticed these the last time I went to New Orleans in the spring of 2005. I love the design. Apparently they were so popular that they kept getting stolen. No one knew where they were disappearing to until after September 11th. Once the airport rules changed, the authorities found them over and over again in tourist's luggage. I decided to go the legit way by shooting this picture. Tammi also bought a plastic cast of one for me as a souvenir from one of those cool little shop on Magazine Street.

I haven't yet made it back to NOLA since the storm, but I hope to in the next year or so.

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March 4, 2007

Heavy Rotation: I Don't Know...

Photos

A week or so I was hanging out with Jon Oliver, while he DJed at Madame X. Jon's been putting me on to great music for over a decade now. Whenever I'm completely tired of everything I'm listening to, I can count on him to hook me up with something I've never heard before.

Except this time. This time he hooked me with something I thought I already knew. A couple years ago he posted about the song "I don't know why I love you" by the Jackson 5. Listening to young Michael Jackson sing his heart out was amazing. I had heard a few old Jackson 5 songs and I had the Christmas album when I was young, but I grew up knowing Michael Jackson from Thriller, not ABC. 'My' Michael Jackson has a jheri curl and fancy footwork, not and afro and his 4 brothers. I listened to it over and over again.

So when a song Jon was playing started out with a pleading "I don't know why I love you..." but with an unfamiliar beat I presumed it was a remix of some sort. I was feeling it, but something seemed off. By the second verse is became clear that that wasn't young MJ. It was N'dea Davenport and the Brand New Heavies. By the time it was over I knew I needed that song. Jon got me a copy the next day, two days later I'd heard it a dozen times.

This week on his website, Jon wrote about the original version performed by Stevie Wonder, who wrote the song. I am woefully ignorant of stevie wonder's work, older or more recent. His version is much more subtle than either of the others.

Where i imagine Michael running around tearing out his afro begging and pleading, I picture Stevie sitting in a cafe trying to have a civil conversation. He gets more animated over the course of the song. By the time he loses it and raises his voice the song is nearly over.

N'dea uses the Michael Jackson rendition as a starting point and goes on from there. What she lacks in MJ's youthful energy, she compensates for with a wail from the depths

All three are now entrenched in my heavy rotation playlist and will be for a while, given the individual talents of each singer. And clearly I need to know more Stevie.

::c::

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The Move: The Lease is Signed

It's official.

Today we went downtown to the Corcoran office and signed the lease for our new apartment.

And so the process begins...
Yesterday I started clearing out my closets and, as predicted, found a piece of mail from 1998. We bought a heavy duty shredder for the paper purge that I'm going to have to do. I have piles of bills and mail and junk that needs to be destroyed.

The good news is that we will have no shortage of packing material. And we'll be prepared should a ticker tape parade spontaneously erupt on my block.

We don't know how soon we'll be able to ge into the apartment, but we're hoping for sooner rather than later. We want to paint the place before moving our stuff in. I don't think it'll be a big deal since the apartment is empty right now.

More to come...

::c::

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Graffiti of the Day: SWIV


IMG_2786, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

SWIV sticker, Chicago, 2006

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Photo of the Day: UN Flags


IMG_7984, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

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March 3, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Mundo Bizarro


IMG_0895, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Mundo Bizarro, by Pum Pum.
Men's Room, Mundo Bizarro, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Flicks: The Apartment

Forgive me for being surprised that Shirley Maclaine was once a hotty. I had no idea. By the time I heard of her, she was a punch line. It’s always interesting to see how New York is portrayed in Movies. Yiddish is strewn about left and right. He’s called a shlub and told to be a mensch.

Lemmon plays the pathetic sap pretty well. The inspiration for Old Gil from The Simpsons apparently has more history than ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ – which I still haven’t seen. He goes along to get along, doing whatever his bosses want him to do. Speaking of his bosses, nearly all of them were in one television show or another. My Favorite Martian, My Three Sons, and Bewitched were all represented in them managerial staff. Fred McMurray played a real prick very well.

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Photo of the Day: Tourists


Tourists, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

March 2, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Bush Monkey


Bush Monkey, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Wooster on Spring, 11 Spring Street, New York City, 2006
::c::
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Photo of the Day: Bottle Collector


Bottle Collector, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

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Losing Lost

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Ok, so TV bugs me. I spent a good few years not watching TV at all. I really enjoyed it. But, in the last couple years, I've been sucked in by a handful of shows that were my 'gateway drug' back into the world of television. Lost was one of those shows. I rented the first disc of season one from Netflix and bought the entire boxed set the next day. Tammi and I were engrossed. We watched the entire first season in 3 days.

Before I had even seen Lost I was impressed by the fact that it could juggle so many characters. Lost amazed me with its ability to juggle such a large cast without marginalizing any of them. Nearly every episode managed to include most of the cast even while delving into the backstory of one in particular. Characters developed individually, but the show never lost track of the rest of the cast.

That was then.

These days the show has so many dangling plot threads that no one can keep track of them. It's made worse by the fact that this season months have gone by without central characters appearing. Where every show used to bounce between plot lines, advancing them all even a little bit, now it plods through single plot lines for weeks, occasionally reminding the viewer of others that were left hanging months before. Two weeks ago, at the beginning of the Desmond episode, Sayid and Locke were giving the news about Eko. They were just getting back to a plot from an episode that aired in October! And then it was forgotten all over again.

In the meantime, after killing off great characters who seemed deeply intertwined with the larger story, they keep packing in new random people who we're allegedly supposed to care about.

And none of that even gets to the fact that they have not resolved a single thing. Ever.

Well, I'm done. I'm tired of wasting my time. I deleted every episode from my DVR and took it off of my scheduled recording list. If I ever catch the urge to watch it, I'll go back to season 1 and maybe some of season 2. As of right now, though, I don't care about Jack or Sawyer or Kate or cursed little Charlie. I'm sick of it.

::c::

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March 1, 2007

Escape from the Land of the Office Parks

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I've survived my trip up north. Right now I'm waiting for my train back home. Few things make me appreciate the comforts of home more than a visit to the 'burbs. One of the most unsettling aspects of life out here is the phenomenon of the office park. I can't speak of all office parks, as I've only been to a few. I only know one fairly well.

It's nearly as big as my college campus and locked down like a fort. IDs must be worn at all time and cameras are on you at all times. The campus is out in the middle of nowhere, so we are all sequestered from the world. You can't walk out for 5 minutes to grab a snack or run an errand or go to the ATM. You have to drive if you want to get off campus. There's a shuttle bus that takes you to the cafeteria if you want lunch.

This is all particularly uncomfortable for a New Yorker like me who doesn't drive. I could go on, but you get the idea. It's isolated from the outside world and there's no privacy within.

What amazes me are the people who are in their 20's and early 30's who are there for the job. I can't imagine a job important enough for me that I would voluntarily live like that. I just don't understand it.

::c::

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Graffiti of the Day: Smith Street Swoon


IMG_6084, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Smith Street, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, NY

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Photo of the Day: Old Astor Wines


Neon, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

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