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May 31, 2008

Adventures in Signage: If You Nee the Kes...


IMG00903.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Reading Is Fundamental ::c::

Photo of the Day: Yellow Swings


IMG_0181, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Buenos Aires, Argentina. 2006.

May 30, 2008

The Birthday Girl


The Birthday Girl, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Today is Tammi's birthday. We're out at Stonehome, a long time favorite, enjoying ourselves. More later.

Happy Friday!

::c::

Graffiti of the Day: Listen


Listen, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Jenkintown, PA. 2007.

Photo of the Day: Xochimilco's Waters


IMG_3796, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Xochimilco, Mexico City. 2007.

Factory Fresh


IMG_9349.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This year I've been trying to make it to more Graffiti Art Gallery shows with moderate success. Mostly, I've missed them or passed through late, well after the opening. Here's one I know I'm going to miss, but wanted to let everyone know about.

Skewville has a 2 day show called Factory Fresh and it's to take place in an old bodega, which sounds really cool.

Check it out.

Factory Fresh
1053 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn.
June 6th, 6-10pm
June 7th, 1-9pm.

May 29, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Bombed


IMG_4695, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Hell's Kitchen, NYC. 2007.

Photo of the Day: IDEAL


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Buenos Aires, Argentina. 2006.

DJ Dhundee at the Renaissance Times Square


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Last night I stopped in for a couple rounds at the bar at the Renaissance Hotel Times Square. Typically, I'd avoid lingering in Times Square, but my friend Mike, a.k.a. DJ Dhundee DJs there every Wednesday night.

As soon as I got out of the elevator into the lobby, I heard "Feel Like Makin' Love" by D'Angelo and knew I was in the right place. There weren't a ton of folks out last night, which Fiona, the organizer attributed to the long weekend. I'll be sure to stop in again to see what a regular night is like. Crowds or not, it's nice to find a place to to hear some good music and have a beer in that part of the city.

Renaissance Hotel New York
714 Seventh Ave
New York, NY 10036

May 28, 2008

Supermarket Finds: Lean, Juicy Pork?


IMG_9370, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Brooklyn, 2008.

What's Old is New Again on the A Train


IMG_8754, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

For the uninitiated, please excuse the subway geekery, for the subway geeks, please excuse the lack of precision. I'm into subways enough to notice when the MTA changes hardware, but not enough to memorize model numbers.

In the last few weeks, I've been seeing this relic circulating around the A line, my local train. The first time ,I thought it was a part of a movie shoot at Hoyt & Schermerhorn, where I believe they have been shooting parts of the Taking of Pelham 123. But then I started seeing it again and again to the point that I'm seeing them almost everyday now.

i mei on Flickr posted some shots of one and we've discussed this sudden mystery, but neither of us has any clue to it's reappearance.

It's an odd thing, because I haven't really seen this model around in years, yet suddenly it's back in rotation. I have to wonder if this is a money-saving attempt on the MTA's part. I'm all for it if it means more trains in the schedule, but somehow I expect the answer to be less in the interest of the riders than that.

The Blind Tiger Connoisseur's Club


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After 3 years, I am finally only 3 beers away from completing my membership in the Blind Tiger's Connoisseur Club. The challenge is to sample 51 different brews. Whoever accomplishes that, gets their name etched into the plaque on the wall and a T-Shirt, which is really all any good bar fly wants at their local.

I started in back in 2005, before the closing of the original Tiger, but was interrupted by the upheaval. It's a tribute to the management that they kept the box full of cards for all the old regulars who don't even get in there as much these days, since it's perpetually packed.

This weekend, I found a nice window of relative calm where I got to sit at the bar by the window and watch Bleeker street go by. I will say this about the new location, it's got more action passing by at any given moment, for good or ill. Of the many passersby, I noticed the horrendous double decker tour buses passing by every 10 minutes.

So it goes...

May 27, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Have Fun


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West Side Highway, NYC. 2008.

The Tour: Bushwick Tacos


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The break at the halfway point of the Tour de Brooklyn was at Maria Fernandez Park in Bushwick. It's was zoo. Thousands of bikers converged there for snacks and water and ended up bottlenecked in the entryway. The tour itself stopped for the duration of the break, meaning that those who wanted to just keep going, couldn't and had nothing else to do but take up space in the cluster.

A bunch of us opted out of trying to get into the park and just went to the taco spot across the street. It took a while as well, I'm sure no one warned them that they'd be getting all that business on a Sunday morning, but it was worth it.

I was hyper aware of the idiocy that leads me to discover restaurants a mile or two from home through a tour like this. Bushwick is right next door to my corner of Bed-Stuy, but I never go there for more than groceries. I have gone from Mexico City to San Juan to Red Hook to Buenos Aires to get authentic latin food, but I haven't once sampled the chuletas on Broadway just down the road.

That should be rectified. More ot Come

Photo of the Day: Who Watches the Watcher?


IMG_9232, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

A minute or two after I took this picture, the kid came up to me and showed me a picture of myself that he took while I was shooting. Street Photography starts early. Nurture it.

WNYC's Street Shots Challenge


IMG_1975, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

WNYC, the local Public Radio station has launched a project celebrating street photography called Street Shots. Each week they are highlighting noted street photographers, discussing techniques and style as well as issues dealing with first amendment rights. I've only heard parts of it, but plan to go back and listen to the parts I've missed.

I've been a huge public radio fan for years and was honored a few years back when I was a guest on the Brian Lehrer Show discussing some of the photos I had submitted to a previous project on immigration. The 20 photos I've submitted for this project in a Flickr set here. Those looking to submit need to join the Street Shots group.

There are nearly 2600 photos already posted, many by Flickr members whose work I've admired for a long time. I'm gradually wading through them myself. I highly recommend checking it out.
::c::

May 26, 2008

The Tour: The Navy Yard


IMG_9365, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

As mentioned, the Tour de Brooklyn took us through the 'exclusive' Navy Yard. TransAlt managed to get us in to ride through the facility, which is generally closed to the public.

Loving giant dilapidated monstrosities, I was pretty psyched, but shortly after taking this shot, was told that photography wasn't allowed, so I couldn't get into the good stuff.

::c::

Graffiti of the Day: Give Me Your Tired...


Give Me Your Tired..., originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

SoMa, San Francisco. 2007.

The Tour de Brooklyn 2008


IMG_9304, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Yesterday, Tammi, her nephew Glenn and I rode in the Tour de Brooklyn, a 18 mile ride starting in DUMBO and running through Brooklyn Heights, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Bushwick, Williamsburg, down the waterfront through the Navy Yards (more on that in a bit) and back to DUMBO, ending in Walt Whitman Park near the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Between the ride to and from the event and the tour itself, we rode nearly 30 miles. Shockingly, I'm not too sore from the whole thing. The ride was great for the most part. I got to see neighborhoods I'd never really been to before and make geographical connections between areas, which is one of my favorite things about riding.

My main complaint is with the organization of the event and the dissemination of information. The only experience I have with such events is from Tammi's races, which are run by the New York Road Runners Club, so the bar is sort of high. At their races, the line up is straightforward and signs are posted everywhere, the PA system is set up so that everyone can hear what's going on and all the volunteers can answer your questions. There wasn't so much of any of that yesterday.

During our lineup, we weren't even sure which way we were supposed to be pointed. The map, which no one was allowed to see until that morning was posted at the entry way to the waiting area, so anyone who stopped to look at it was blocking traffic. We were half way down the block from the stage at the starting point, so we didn't hear anything about how soon we would be starting or any of the speechifying or announcements made before the events. All we heard was muffled talking and the occasional horn sounding that we hoped meant we'd be starting soon.

Others bitched about the periodic pauses for car traffic, rubbernecking and hills, but those weren't such a big deal to me. There were somewhere between two and three thousand riders out there, so that's all to be expected.

Regardless of the complaints, I had a great time out there and am glad to have learned some new routes that I hope to use this summer.
::c::

Photo of the Day: In the Yard


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East New York Train yard, Brooklyn. 2007.

May 25, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Taco Fever


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More an advertisement than graffiti, but I'll cut it some slack because it's about tacos. mmm....tacos.

Broadway, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2007.

May 24, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: PerOne


IMG_8391, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2007.

May 23, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Nois


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San Juan, Puerto Rico. 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Billie


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Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2008.

May 22, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Boom Box


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Spring and Bowery, Nolita, NYC. 2008.

Photo of the Day: Maui Hills


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Lahaina, Maui. 2005.

May 21, 2008

Supermarket Finds: Marbled Beef


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Naka-Meguro, Tokyo. 2007.

Graffiti of the Day: Drunk Punk


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Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2008.

Photo of the Day: Mt Hood


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Oregon, 2004.

May 20, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Plasma Board


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East Village, NYC. 2008.

San Juan: The Parrot Club's Chuletas


IMG_7724, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

The Parrot Club is one of many flashy, new style restaurants on Calle Fortaleza in Old San Juan. We had lunch there the last time we went to Puerto Rico and had some of the best Cuban sandwiches I had ever had. This time we wanted to try out dinner. It was great.

The pork chops I had, above, were much thicker than traditional chuletas, which are usually either pounded flat or just cut very thin. These, as you can see were grilled, instead of fried and gigantic. Tammi and I were amazed that they gave me two, but fear not, I managed to polish it off.

Photo of the Day: Keep Off


IMG_5534, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Governor's Island, New York. 2007

May 19, 2008

Hartford: Cheap Drinks


Hartford: Cheap Drinks, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

The benefit having a Business district that completely shuts down at 5pm nearly every weeknight is great deals.

I'm sitting at this bar with the $2 drafts, the Pour House right now. The space is huge. It's a double wide storefront that goes all the way through the building.

It's just around the corner from the big convention center and stadium, so it probably packs them in on game days. Today though, I'm the only customer here.

It's awesome.

::c::

Graffiti of the Day: Flying Fortress


IMG_4110, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Shibuya, Tokyo. 2007.

Artist: Flying Fortress

Update: I got everything a little mixed up today, so this is a bonus GOTD. Enjoy.

Photo of the Day: I know Kung Fu


IMG_8602, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Greenpoint, Brooklyn. 2007.

Graffiti of the Day: Never Forget


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Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2008.

May 18, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Dunk


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Alphabet City, NYC. 2008.

Photo of the Day: Fork in the Road


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San Juan, Puerto Rico. 2008.

May 17, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Prey


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Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2008.

Shuttered: My Kielbasa Connection

It's with great sadness that I write this recession update. The Polish meat market on Bedford in Williamsburg looks like it has gone out of business.

According to the bartender at Spike Hill, they lost their lease like all the old-timers in the area. The gentrification train rolls on...

Now I need to find somewhere else to get Kielbasa. Damn it.

::c::

Photo of the Day: Branch


IMG_7932, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

San Juan, Puerto Rico. 2008

May 16, 2008

Puerto Rico: Shuttered


IMG_8030, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I found more than a few additions to my Recession series down in Puerto Rico. Even in Old San Juan, the tourist and shopping center of the city, there were around a dozen closed down storefronts that we came across.


Graffiti of the Day: Tiny Fairy


IMG_6074 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I found this miniature piece down the block from the Guggenheim. It was about the size of a thumbnail.

UES, NYC. 2008.

Photo of the Day: Flock


IMG_6858, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Plaza de Armas, San Juan, Puerto Rico. 2008.

May 15, 2008

Puerto Rico: The Small Indian Mongoose


IMG_7375, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This was the first sign I saw when we got to El Yunque National Forest, the rainforest up in the mountains of Puerto Rico. If I was just slightly concerned about hiking through the woods 3500 feet up, I was considerably more alarmed by this warning. Posted on the Men's room door. Ew.


Graffiti of the Day: I'm Keith Hernandez


IMG_8067, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Bowery & Spring, Nolita, NYC. 2008.


The Resort Life


IMG_7173, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Typically, I abhor resorts. I didn't fly thousands of miles just so I could sit in a hotel all day. It's not my thing. I travel to explore, to discover new places, foods, booze and so on. I learn a place through osmosis, by wandering it's streets and getting lost, matching up landmarks with the streets on the map. Or something like that.

In any case, this trip wasn't for all that. Tammi and I both needed a time out, not an adventure. We stayed at the Caribe Hilton, a resort stationed across the lagoon from Condado and about a mile away from Old San Juan. The location is sort of in the middle of nowhere, but conversely, closer to more things.

Clearly we didn't spend the whole trip within the confines of the resort the whole time, but we both found our proper perches, Tammi in the hammock and me at the pool bar. I have to admit, that if any single thing justifies the existence of the resort, it is the pool bar. Sitting in the pool or jacuzzi taking in the sun with a beer is the good life, it can't be denied.

Photo of the Day: Men of the Cloth


IMG_6914 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. 2008.

May 14, 2008

Supermarket Finds: Southern Beauty


IMG_8037, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

San Juan, Puerto Rico. 2008.

Puerto Rico: Generalissima Clinton


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These posters were plastered all over the windows in an office across the street from our hotel, along with the giant words "HILLARY 2008." What struck me about it is the pose. When I pointed it out to Tammi, she said it reminded her of the work of Shepard Fairey in his Obey Giant campaign. It's true, the profile and the flowing flag in the background are very reminiscent of the authoritarian posters that Fairey references.

Honestly, I haven't seen that many Hillary posters in Brooklyn, so maybe these things are all over the place on the mainland, but it seemed unusual to me.

If it is targeted to PR, is the design a cultural thing? God knows the Caribbean and South America have a penchant for authoritarian regimes, but Puerto Rico hasn't ever had one as far as I know.

Graffiti of the Day: Ana Peru


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Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2008

Artist: Ana Peru

Photo of the Day: Pelicans on the Hunt


IMG_6993 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

San Juan, Puerto Rico. 2008.

May 13, 2008

Back from Puerto Rico

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Tammi and I got back from San Juan last night. It was exactly the relaxing break we needed from a fair amount of stress we've both been under lately. It wasn't a busy, run around everywhere sort of trip, but we managed to eat pretty well and bar hop a bit.

I'll have some posts up in the next few days, including tomorrow's Supermarket Find.

(Btw: If you've noticed a bunch of random test posts in the last couple of days it's the result of much back and forth with my host's helpdesk. I think most of the issues I was running into over the last several months are resolved. This should mean a smoother, more regular posting schedule.)

Graffiti of the Day: Untitled


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Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2008. ::c::

Photo of the Day: Ring Around the Fountain


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Conservatory Garden, Central Park, NYC. 2007.

May 12, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: ESPO!


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Tribeca, NYC. 2008.

Artist: Espo

Photo of the Day: Skeptical


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Rani tends bar at Madame X when Jon DJs there. She often puts up with my incessant shooting at the bar, which I appreciate greatly.


May 11, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Freestyle Family


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Greenwich Village, NYC. 2008.

Artist: Freestyle Family

Photo of the Day: Fixated


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Macari Estate Vineyards, North Fork, Long Island. 2008.

May 10, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Society Isn't Reality


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New Haven, CT. 2008.

Photo of the Day: Feeling the Music


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This is Sauniel, a friend of Jon's from high school. I met her at Madame X a few weeks back.

May 9, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: JFK


IMG_5194, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2008.

Pig Parts: Leaf


IMG_4582, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I'm not a baker. As soon as I hear dough is involved, I lose interest. It just always seems like too much trouble and way too messy. I'm sure Tammi will laugh at that - she's typically pretty horrified by the mess left in my aftermath after a day of cooking. In any case, the most complicated thing I'm likely to bake is a batch of cookies baked from the recipe on the bag of chips.

So, I can only attribute my fascination with leaf lard to my love of the arcane and the porcine. I suppose I just like being reassured of my fundamental belief that everything is improved with the addition of pork.

The leaf, seen above, is a fatty cushioning around the kidneys and loin. When actually inside the animal, it's compressed around the organs, removed and unfolded, it has this odd, leaf-like shape from which it gets its name.

Bakers I've talked to describe the richness this particular lard adds to pie crusts as transcendental. When the pork parts were being split up, I briefly considered going for the leaf, but I decided it's benefits would be lost on me. Pearls before swine, you might say.

Photo of the Day: Extreme Proselytizing


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Winter X Games, Aspen, CO. 2008.

May 8, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Open Your Eyes


IMG_1058, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Alphabet City, NYC. 2008.

Artist: Open Your Eyes

Radegast


IMG_6468, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

mmmm....sausage....mmmm...beer. That's pretty much the best way to sum up Radegast. It's a huge Beer Hall in Williamsburg that opened up a few months ago. I'm told it's similar to the Bohemia Beer Garden out in Astoria, but the number of times I go to Queens for leisure you can count on one hand. I've been meaning ot go forever, but never really motivated myself to go. Now I don't have to. heh.

One bit of advice, the good stuff is in the back room. I wish someone had mentioned that to me the first 3 times I went there. The kitchen menu is wildly mediocre. It all sounds pretty good, but never quite hits the spot, particularly since the whole place is filled with the smoky aroma of grilling meat in the next room.

The grill, on the other hand, offers only goodness. The list is short: Kielbasa, Bratwurst, Weisswurst and Incredibly juicy Pork Chops, along with fries and burgers that I've never bothered with because, really, they have kielbasa and pork chops.

The kielbasa, pictured here, is all that it should be. The guy at the grill keeps it on the fire for a while - longer than you think he should when you're standing there dying to bite into it. But, trust the man. He knows what he's doing. When you finally get the sausage, it has exactly the right amount of crisp char to complement its smoky sweet insides. The casing has just the right amount of resistance to make each bite satisfying.

Radegast's bratwurst is a revelation. I've always found brat's to be a little on the bland side, not nearly worth all the fuss tat people make over them. I mean, it's meat stuffed into a casing, I'l eat it and like it, but it's never appealed to me the way a smoky kielbasa or a spicy italian would. Not so at Radegast. The brat's stand up as an equal in the pantheon of juicy, flavorful sausages.

Even the sauerkraut is amazing. It's unlike any I've ever had. It's softly crunchy and tangy and nothing like the crap I've had on my hot dogs from the papaya stand.

I'd go on and on about the pork chops, but they're pork chops. You know they're good.

As for the reason I kept coming back those first few times, before I knew about the grill, that would be the beer. They have a rather large selection of German, Polish and Austrian beers, many of styles you aren't likely to find in too many places. I'm fond of the schwarzbier, a malty black lager and usually go with one of those. Last time though, I had a nice, light kolsh, which was perfect for a sunny spring afternoon.

As with all great things in New York, the word has spread and it can get stupid crowded there, but persistence pays off in the end.

Resto's Tete de Cochon Sandwiches


IMG00837.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Apologies for the low budget food porn, my cameraphone was all I had on hand.

I first heard about Resto and their Pig's head sandwiches when Eric passed me a link to a Grub Street post about it. The story goes that the chef started making this for the 'family meal' the crew shares before the dinner rush. It was so popular that they added it as a regular dish for customers. In fact, it's been the only thing I've ever seen on their specials board in either of the visits I've made to Resto.

The sandwich is served with pickled vegetables and crisply charred bread. Both offer a complexity that might otherwise be lacking, but can occasionally be overpowering. The char on the bread in particular can be a little more bitter than I really want. The pork is wonderful. Depending on which parts are included, you may experience the gummy chewiness of the skin or shreds of meltingly tender cheek meat.

It's a good thing this place is just outside of the 2-3 blocks I'm typically willing to walk for lunch. Otherwise, I'd be eating this a couple times a week.

Photo of the Day: Dorla, Eclipsed


IMG_9307, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Barcade, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2008. ::c::

May 7, 2008

Supermarket Finds: Que Suave!


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Condesa, Mexico City. 2007.

Graffiti of the Day: BoroKrusty


IMG_1020, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Buenos Aires, Argentina. 2006.

San Diego: Yard House


IMG_3887, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I didn't hear about the Yard House until my last night in San Diego. It's unfortunate, because I didn't have time to linger and sample their huge variety of draft beers they offer. With 100 taps, I'd have needed a few trips just to cover the beers I'd never heard of.

Looking at their website, I discovered that it's actually a pretty large chain with 11 locations in California alone and more in seven other states. That doesn't surprise me given it's "Flashy Generic" decor. The site boasts "Great Food, Classic Rock and The World's Largest Selection of Draft Beer."

Ambiance, it doesn't need, it's got tons of beer.

Yard House
1023 4th Ave. , San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 233-YARD |

Photo of the Day: Fill 'er Up


IMG_1835, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Sheila kicks ass. She's studying photojournalism at ICP, but has already gotten her work published in The New Yorker and the New York Times.


The Dove, Greenwich Village, NYC. 2008.

May 6, 2008

The Brooklyn Half 2008


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Saturday Morning Tammi ran the Brooklyn Half Marathon. She didn't beat her personal best this time, but did far better than I could do. I wouldn't have made it off the boardwalk. Especially not after eating the chili dog, I have to have whenever at Coney.

Typical for NY in the 'Outdoor Months,' I ran into a bunch of people at the race. Guyvera ran it with Guyvera Sr. and Mami Guyvera. I'm not really sure how Guy's parents managed to get Guy out there. I never saw any barbecued pork suspended in front of him, but that's the only thing I could imagine would motivate him to run that far or that fast.

I also saw the man in the photo above. I've seen him at a few races now. According to Tammi, he's 70 years old and still at it. His time was 2:21, which impresses the hell out of me.

::c::

Decoys


IMG00848.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

On a recent trip up to my company's headquarters, I discovered these decoy foxes around campus. Apparently, there's a bit of a goose problem up there. They've gone and nested near the parking lot and wild, defensive father geese have been going after anyone they perceive to be a threat to their newborns.

So, my company, in its infinite wisdom, decided to post decoy predators everywhere to scare off the geese. Clearly this isn't a problem we run into in New York.

Graffiti of the Day: Post No Bills


IMG_8143, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

C215, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2008.

C215 is another newcomer to NYC. Early this year these have popped up around the city. I've only come across a couple, but Luna Park has a whole set, complete with a bunch of links.

Photo of the Day: FUBAR


IMG_1863, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I've known Henrietta since she was a bartender at Black Star, years ago. Now she is one of the folks running the show at Dove. I took this shot of her a month or two ago. I was rather drunk and stopped in after coming from a party. I love shots where people are in the dark lit by a single electronic screen. This shot in particular, is great because of her expression. I had no idea at the time, but apparently, she got called in in late saturda night while she was out at a party in Brooklyn because suddenly _all_ of the computers went down. I'd be pretty pissed too...


Dove, Greenwich Vilage, NYC. 2008.

Down the Rabbit Hole


IMG_6570, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Just a week ago, I went on about how I wasn't going to be one of the bike cultists. Since then, I've ridden around Brooklyn a few times, railed against drivers who block the bike lane, planned out future rides, traded notes with other bike riders on routes, gear and websites and spent an afternoon wishing I was riding instead of walking.

It's really amazing how it all happens. Last week, I mentioned to a co-worker that I had just gotten my bike and he told me that he also got a bike in the last week. The next day I'm getting, "So, I hear you got a bike..." It creeped me out at first, but I find myself really enjoying having people to trade notes and maybe ride with some time.

So, I've started to give in to it. I've been hitting folks up for advice and doing my best to learn my way around. I've definitely gotten more comfortable riding in traffic than I thought I would have by now. I'm not sure how soon I think I'll be ready to deal with taxis in midtown - that still scares the hell out of me - but the idea of riding in Manhattan is no longer the scariest thing I can imagine.

Weirder for me is actively thinking on a summer day, "what I really would like to do is get on the bike and ride to xyz." I'm not so sure how to deal with that yet.

More to come...

May 5, 2008

Murakami @ The Brooklyn Museum


IMG_5551 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I finally got a chance to see the Murakami exhibit the other day. It pretty much epitomized everything I expect from Japanese pop culture: weird, cutesy creatures, giant, scary creatures (sometimes, the same creatures) and periodic burst of wildly inappropriate sexuality. There were also a fair number of poop and fart references. What more do you need?

Art criticism isn't my strong suit, so I'll just say I enjoyed the show a lot and hope to check it out again before it wraps up.
::c::

Graffiti of the Day: The WB


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Williamsburg Bridge, NYC. 2008.

Photo of the Day: Up Close


IMG_3006, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Anthropology Museum, Chapultapec Park, Mexico City. 2007.

May 4, 2008

Love Child


IMG_5679, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Friday night, I saw Love Child a band headed up by some friends from college, Ethan and Nicole, who I hadn't seen in years.

The show was great, mixing Rock, Soul and Hip-hop influences. I totally geeked out at the setup Ethan had. He mixed beats that the band had pre-recorded using a game controller to interface with Pro Tools on his MacBook. It was pretty awesome.

Update: See photos from the show here.

Graffiti of the Day: Jimi Was a Rock Star


IMG_3935, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Greenwich Village, NYC. 2008. ::c::

The Spicy Lamb Burger at Chez Oskar


IMG_4070, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I've been going to Chez Oskar for years. The service is lacking more often than not, but I keep going back for 2 reasons: the fact that they don't care if you linger for hours and the Spicy Lamb Burger.

It's always great. juicy, picant and perfectly complemented by a thick pat of goat cheese.
::c::

Photo of the Day: Coney Island Demon


IMG_2206, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Coney Island, Brooklyn. 2007.

May 3, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Boxhed Board


IMG_8010, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Chinatown, NYC. 2008.

Artist: Boxhed


Boxhed started popping up around the city a couple months ago too. Not sure if this is a visitor or someone new to the scene. I guess we have to wait and see. I love the style though.

Photo of the Day: Brooklyn EIPA


IMG_0713, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Madame X, Greenwich Village, NYC. 2008.

May 2, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Luna


IMG_8514, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

DUMBO, Brooklyn. 2008.

Artist: ElbowToe.
Subject: Luna Park.

Yet another behind the times post:

Luna Park, whose photos I've been following since I started on Flickr, years ago, was 'immortalized' in a paste up by ElbowToe. I found this one in DUMBO, back in January.

::c::

This Weekend: The Brooklyn Half


IMG_5949, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This weekend Tammi's running the Brooklyn Half-Marathon. My family and some friends are meeting up at Prospect Park to cheer her on.

I'm looking forward to shooting the start in Coney Island with the SLR - also having hot dogs for breakfast...

::c::

Photo of the Day: Owls


IMG_3029, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Kyoto, Japan. 2007.

May 1, 2008

Mexico: Climbing the Pyramid of the Sun


IMG_5307, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

The photo above shows just about how far up the Pyramid of the Sun I managed to climb. The 246 foot tall Pyramid at Teotihuacan outside of Mexico City, pretty much goes straight up. Besides being amazingly steep, each step was about 6 inches deep, far too small for me to fit my feet. It reminded me how much bigger I am than the indigenous folks out there.

Among my other excuses: the heat, the elevation, and being a chickenshit.

Graffiti of the Day: Mission Accomplished


IMG_0189.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Gothamist reminds us that 5 years ago today, we were told that "Major Combat Operations" in Iraq were at an end. I wonder what the rest of this has been then...


Greenwich Village, NYC. 2005.

San Diego: Anti-Scientology Protest


IMG_2970, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

It seems like every time I go to California, I see something related to Scientology, either for or against. This time the anti-cultists were dressed up in costumes and Guy Fawkes masks. I have no idea. Their fliers and placards referenced a site that lists members who have died over the years.

In New York, they have the cult recruiters in the subway here and there, but there isn't nearly so big a following to warrant this sort of protest, as far as I know.

Photo of the Day: A Culture of Violence


IMG_6899 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Atlantic Antic, Brooklyn. 2007. ::c::