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February 4, 2010

Analog: Developing film while traveling

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A challenge of my exploration into shooting analog is that outside of the New York area, I have no idea where to go to get film developed by real professionals. So, I have to go to the few one hour photo spots left in whatever town I'm in.

The upside is that invariably they are cheaper than the $13-15 I spend per roll for developing and scanning my film. The downside is that the people doing this are almost invariably incompetent.

In Seattle, the guy at the Ritz knew what he was doing for the most part, but the hi-res scans aren't nearly the quality of my typical scans, meaning that I'll have to go back and rescan if I want to use the images for anything in the future.

In Hawai'i, the staff rotated nearly every time I showed up, meaning that I had to re-explain what I wanted every time to a worker who basically had no idea what to do with film.

Most recently, in Aspen, I got little bit of everything at the Wolf Camera, a part of the Ritz Camer chain. Everyone there gave me something different. No one was familiar enough with film to know what their standard procedure was supposed to be. I got charged different rates (all pretty low), scans at different resolutions and worse, one of my negatives got so beat up that I got scans like the image above.

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And on another set of rolls, the scans were all cropped to 4x5 cutting out the edges of the frame.

Oddly, based on resolution, they also split up the images from a roll into as many as 5 discs. Something about the software they use decides that a CD should only be up to 20% full and after that, the data has to go on to another disc. And another. And another. Better yet, they charge you for each disc. Sometimes.

It's a bad scene all around. But, if you've got no other choice, you do what you have to do. Just keep in mind that who handles your photos can be very important.

December 22, 2009

Hawai'i: Waikiki Busker

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The Kalakaua strip, Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawai'i. 2009.

December 21, 2009

Hawai'i: Me Barbecue

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Mé Barbecue is a divey little takeout Korean place off the main strip in Waikiki. We found it on our first night in Hawaii and kept going back as an alternative to the pricey but not so good breakfast buffets at the hotel.

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The menu offers around 40 different dishes that are mostly Korean, but also represent the Hawaiian mosaic. They even had a Loco Moco, which I didn't get a chance to try. My first dish there was the Portuguese Sausage Breakfast. These sausages are a local favorite, another other delicacy introduced with the huge influx of immigrants over the last century. The sausage was nicely spicy but not overpoweringly so and the over easy eggs left a lot of tasty yolk to slather it in.

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The other dish I had there was Bi Bim Bap, a Korean dish I've been eyeing in KoreaTown back at home for a while. It's a scoop of rice topped with veggies, kimchi, shredded kalbi and a sunny side up egg. It's an awesome thing.

December 10, 2009

Hawai'i: Tiki Torches

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Visually, I've always loved the tiki torches that light up every night throughout Hawaii. The rounded triangular shapes anchoring the wildly blowing flames just draws me.

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December 9, 2009

Quick Bite: Bar 35 Pizza

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This may look like a generic bar pizza, but this mini-pie from Bar 35 in Honolulu's Chinatown was topped with Chinese sausage and sweet Thai chili sauce instead of the usual pepperoni and tomato sauce. It was certainly novel and actually pretty good. What I was really curious about was the Gyro pizza they served, but Tammi wasn't hearing it.

December 8, 2009

Hawai'i: Rum Fire

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Duke's and Mai Tai Bar are the two big bar destinations in Waikiki. They are historic and also rather annoying. Duke's is fratty and irritating. Mai Tai bar matches high end cocktails with higher end prices.

At the Sheraton Waikiki, just down the beach from both, you've got Rum Fire. Tammi and I came on it by accident, but found it to be the best place to grab a drink, take in the sights and see the sunset in the whole area.

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I don't even remember how many times we ended up there. This is where we discovered our Japanese bachelors and some great fish tacos, not to mention a wonderful view of the beach, the sunset and Diamondhead.

Here's the funny thing, through my habit of geotagging, I discovered that four years ago, Tammi and I hung out in the same place. Hotel development being what it is, the space was totally different, but when I tagged the bar, I discovered it was the exact same space that we ended up spending most of our last day in Hawaii four years ago as Tammi knit and we relaxed over drinks.

Hawaii: Chibo

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As I mentioned, we took full advantage of the glut of Asian food available in Honolulu. We breakfasted on Korean Bi Bim Bap, slurped down ramen, sampled Yakiniku and Katsu. And at Chibo, we had Okonomiyaki.

In the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, I found the only US branch of President Chibo restaurant we visited a couple years back in Ginza, Tokyo. We had dinner there on the first leg of our trip and stopped in again for lunch a few hours before our flight home.

Both times we sat at the Griddle and watched the magic happen. Of course, I took the opportunity to photograph the cooks doing their work.

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The first time we had the tasting menu, which had several courses and included a steamed egg soup that was really interesting; shrimp and beef fillet that were perfectly charred in the right places with crisped garlic slivers sprinkled on top and of course, the okonomiyaki.

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Chibo
Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center
2201 Kalakaua Avenue, Suite A-305
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Tel: (808) 922-9722

December 7, 2009

Food Finds: Sweet Potato Snacks

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Honolulu, HI. 2009.

December 4, 2009

Quick Bite: Tonkatsu at Bairin

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Back in Waikiki, we had lunch at Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin, a Katsu place on a slightly out of the way block. I had a thick cut pork loin katsu platter.

I've mentioned before that I'm a fan of Katsu, but I was a little dubious about the thick cut. The loin tends to be pretty lean and can dry out a lot unless it's pounded into oblivion a la Schnitzel. But this was meaty and juicy and the exterior had crunchy texture without dominating every bite.

They also sold bottles of their sweet katsu sauce that I meant to buy but I forgot to order one before we left.

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Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin
255 Beach Walk,
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Tel: 808.926.8082

November 27, 2009

Hawai'i on Foot or "I Never Learned to Drive!"

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I'm an unapologetic pedestrian. I can't drive and I can't say I particularly care to learn. Honestly, I prefer places that driving isn't necessary. And the places I might want to get to by driving are places like Napa, Provence or the Italian countryside where I really want to go to sample wine and have 3 hour lunches wouldn't be especially conducive to responsible driving. Tammi can't drive either, although she actually wants to learn and has been taking classes in pursuit of that.

Regardless, neither of us currently have a license. That proved a bit of a limitation in getting around on Hawai'i's more rural islands. Neither The Big Island or Kauai are particularly accommodating for the non-drivers.

The Big Island, being more rural and, well, Big, was the most challenging of the two. Taxis cost about $5 per mile to get around and I ended up dropping $100 just getting to our hotel from the airport. Besides the tour we took of the island, we didn't get beyond the grounds of our resort and it's sister hotel.

Kauai was a bit easier, with towns only a couple miles apart and a bus system that could get us up to the north shore of the island. But it only runs until 6:15pm and doesn't run at all on Sundays, which led to some rearranging of plans. Even with that, we put in more than a mile or two walking while we were there.

Coming from New York, it's funny to see the reactions of locals and hospitality folks when asked about getting around without a car. They initially assume we're being cheap and try to convince us that it's worth it to get a car. When we explain that that's not an option, they just think we're weird.

I'm writing this back in Honolulu, which though touristy and laden with hi-rises and Waikiki Wackos, is more familiar terrain for a city boy like me.

November 23, 2009

Hawai'i: The Loco Moco

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This is the Loco Moco: a thick beef patty, topped with a fried egg and starch-thickened gravy served on a bed of rice. Think Salisbury Steak with rice and egg. For breakfast. Weird right? It's actually pretty good and a really interesting example of how Hawai'i integrated so much of the influences that have flooded the islands since Captain Cook 'discovered' them 200 years ago.

Contemporary Hawai'ian cuisine is notoriously low-budget and ingeniously cobbled together with whatever is on hand. Famously, Spam is more popular here than anywhere else in the country. Without getting too involved in a discussion/monologue on the politics of big business and imperialism at the turn of the last century, suffice it to say that there has been a lot of poverty and plenty of cultural intermingling over years.

The Loco Moco pulls together American burgers, Japanese rice and hangs onto the 50's era aesthetic of TV dinners and powder packet gravy.

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I prefer the egg over easy so the yolk mixes in with the rice. The gravy is thick and goopy and rich and binds it all together. It's a little much for me, but it's been interesting to try out a couple examples of it.

November 21, 2009

Hawai'i: Waikiki Weirdness

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One can only spend so much time in Waikiki before, apparently, your brains fall out of your head and you do something completely outrageous. This is my theory, at least. We've had the good sense to only ever go a few days at a time. But in our few days in Waikiki at the beginning of the trip, we stumbled across quite the oddities there.

Sitting at a hotel bar relaxing, Tammi and I looked up at the group of Japanese guys at the table over from us only to find this guy stripping down to what you see here. I've surmised that this was some Bachelor Party prank or something, but that's a wild guess. All the English we could get out of his friends between guffaws was that he had to wear that for an hour.

He made the best of it, hamming it up and posing with any number of people who wanted pictures of or with him.

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Converse to that guys personal exposure, there were no less than three guys we saw on our first night in Hawai'i walking around with 'inflated' self-worth. They drunkenly wandered the streets and bars and showed off their temporary enhancements to anyone who would look their way.

November 16, 2009

Hawai'i: First few days

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Leg 1 of our Hawai'ian adventure is over. This morning, we're leaving Honolulu for The Big Island. The first couple days have been busy with relaxing, lazing about and taking in the sun. Tammi's been practicing her swimming and we've both been catching up on our reading.

The food situation has been fun. We've been seeking out the little hole in the wall spots instead of the big chains that are everywhere in Waikiki. Mostly we've been attracted to the many Asian outlets to be found everywhere out here.

The next few days, we'll be on The Big Island, living the resort life, checking out the Volcano and touring the local brewery.

More to come.

November 12, 2009

The Annual Trip: Hawai'i

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With the wedding strategically placed just before Thanksgiving, we have now canonized our traditional holiday trip as the Anniversary Trip.

Friday morning, we take off for Hawaii for nearly two weeks of fun in the sun. We'll be island-hopping, hitting Oahu, The Big Island and Kauai while we're out there. No major plans yet, we'll just be playing it by ear. It's been an eventful 12 months and the both of us hope to take advantage of our first real downtime since the big day.

Given the lackadaisical flow of posts lately, it's not really necessary to warn that updates will be sporadic, but I am hoping to take some time to regroup and get more consistent all around the interwebs. Expect some news about the blog, the photo site (which I hadn't gotten around to mentioning), Twitter, and Examiner before the year is up. You've been warned.

May 3, 2007

Hawai'i Guide

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Tammi and I went to Hawai'i for Thanksgiving 2005. We went to Oahu and Maui for 2 weeks. Shortly after that a co-worker told me he was heading out there with his family and wondered if I had any favorites to share. I wrote something up, pointing out a few of the places we went. Paul and Miriam, friends who are getting hitched at the end of the month, are going to Hawai'i for their honeymoon. They'll be going to Honolulu and hope to hit one of the other islands while they're out there.

After the jump, an expanded version of what I wrote up...

Continue reading "Hawai'i Guide" »


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