October 17, 2012

Heading South


This may seem like deja vu, but a month from now, Tammi and I are going back to South America. This trip, like our trip last year, starts in Peru, then takes us to Argentina.

We start in Lima, continue to Argentinian wine country in Mendoza, then finish with a week in Buenos Aires. It may seem like a bit of a rerun, but last year was so great that waiting another five years for a return visit seemed foolish.

I'm in ful on obsessive mode planning and researching places to visit, eat and drink, so stay tuned for links and reminiscing from last year's trip.

May 21, 2012

The Narrative Process - My Tech Munch Presentation

Last Friday, I took part in a panel for the TechMunch Conference, a food blogger gathering, to discuss the narrative process. In it, Tricia Okin led a discussion with me, Liza de Guia of Food. Curated. And Kasey Hickey of Evernote Food about how each of us comes to the stories we publish.

Time limitations (and nerves) prevented me from hitting all my points, so I thought I'd post my whole planned talk here, after the jump.

Continue reading "The Narrative Process - My Tech Munch Presentation" »

April 25, 2012



Next week, Tammi and I are heading to Tulum, Mexico for the wedding of some good friends of ours. I'm not one to get excited about spending time in beach towns, but I had a great eating experience in Mexico City years ago and I've been hearing people talk about Tulum for a little while now. Of course, I don't have much in the way of specifics about where to go or what to eat while there, so let me know if you have any tips!

April 2, 2012

Self-Promotion: How To Knead, Top and Toss it

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The How to... series presented by Edible Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Brewery has returned this year and I've been out shooting it. Back in February, "How to Slice it" brought meat mavens together to learn the best way to make sausage, truss a roast and debone a chicken. More recently, the theme was pizza and it packed the house. Check out a couple highlights after the jump and see a slideshow and details on the speakers on the Edible Brooklyn recap.

Continue reading "Self-Promotion: How To Knead, Top and Toss it" »

March 20, 2012

Self-Promotion: The BrunchCritic Tour

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Last month, Andrea of BrunchCritic hired me to shoot some places for her site. I spent the afternoon bouncing around half a dozen New York neighborhoods shooting some pretty cool looking brunch spots.

The adventure started with The Cupping Room in SoHo, above. After the jump, see where else I ended up - and check out for reviews and a spiffy brunch search tool.

Continue reading "Self-Promotion: The BrunchCritic Tour" »

February 17, 2012

Analog Returns: Terminal 5


Last week, I was chatting with a friend and he referred to a time when I "used to shoot film." It took me aback for a moment. My analog experiments have slowed down considerably, but, I never really thought of myself as not shooting film anymore. In fact, the five rolls of film in my coat pocket for the last couple months will testify that I at least shoot film occasionally.

What I haven't been doing is posting any of those film photos. So, here goes. This week, I've started posting again on my analog tumblr. I'm starting with some photos from an Open House New York tour I took last year of the old TWA Terminal Five at JFK.


February 1, 2012

This Weekend: Bed-Stuy Crawl

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There's so much going on in Bed-Stuy these days. It seems like a month doesn't go by that a new bar or restaurant isn't opening up to much interest and curiosity of its neighbors.

My friends Alisha and Nicole and I are hosting a crawl of some of the neighborhood's new(ish) watering holes this weekend and I'd love for you to join us. For $25 you get discounts, deals and tastings as we make our way around the neighborhood.

Find out more information and buy tickets at the Bed-Stuy Crawl eventbrite page and keep up on the news on twitter by following #bedstuycrawl.

January 31, 2012

Self-Promotion: In The New York Times

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This is hardly news to anyone who follows me on Facebook, Twitter or even Pinterest, but I'm still excited two weeks later.

The above photo is my first to be published in The New York Times. It's of black truffle soup dumplings at Red Farm and, just in time for Chinese New Year, it got a fair amount of attention, getting reposted on Zagat and Gothamist.

It's a great milestone and helped me push through as I did five more shoots the following week. Onward.

November 16, 2011

Self-Promotion: An Edible Events recap

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I've kept busy since returning from South America in part by running around photographing events. Among the events that I've been shooting like Midnight Brunch, New York Tech Meetup and the Fleisher's Opening, I've also been brought on a number of times to shoot events for Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan.

Check out some of the highlights after the jump.

Continue reading "Self-Promotion: An Edible Events recap" »

November 9, 2011

Self-Promotion: ScoutMob and the New York City Marathon

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When I started talking to the fine folks at Scout Mob about being a local scout for them, I think we all assumed that I'd be pitching stories about food. I certainly didn't expect it to be about a sporting event. Then I remembered the annual tradition Tammi and I have had for eight years now and it just sort of made sense.

Check out Today's Culture Hunter and see my photos from the 2011 New York City Marathon and a bit on how it turned into the ritual it has for us.

November 2, 2011

A walk through the cemetery. Recalling Recoleta for Halloween.


Yes, Halloween is over and everyone's looking to either Thanksgiving or just going straight to Christmas, I've decided to linger a bit and look back. Two months ago, I was wandering the aisles of Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires enjoying a tranquility that is almost unheard of in my life or my city. The days and weeks and months since I've returned have been anything but calm - its been great and I hope to take some time to write about it - but it certainly hasn't been tranquil.

As the spiral into the holidays approaches, this week seemed like a good time to appreciate a moment of stillness. I'll be posting photos from Recoleta today on Twitter and for the rest of the week on Analog UltraClay.


October 21, 2011

My take on The Chew

The audience at The Chew.

If you pay attention to food television, you've probably already heard about The Chew, the new ABC Daytime show that ostensibly covers 'all angles of food.' Last month, through the kindness of Nichelle of Cupcakes Take The Cake, I scored a ticket to one of the first tapings of the show.

You can read my reaction to the show on at guest post I did on Mouth of the Border.

October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs


I don't know where to begin and I have no idea where I would end in thanking Steve Jobs. For everything I know about computers. For a dozen year career in technology. For Tammi, who I met at a Macworld Keynote.

More than most, I can't begin to imagine where my life would be without the contributions Steve Jobs made to the world.

Thanks Steve.

August 23, 2011

Self-Promotion: David Kinch cooking demo on

David Kinch in the Bon Appetit test kitchen

Among all the work I did back in May, I got to do some work for Bon Appetit magazine, doing a little photographing for their website. The work included a photo shoot of Michelin-starred chef David Kinch demonstrating how to make the savory beignets he serves at his restaurant Manresa, in California.

It was a great shoot and I was very excited to see them published last week. See the slideshow here.

August 12, 2011

Self-Promotion: My SLR Food Photography Guide on Foodspotting

Foodspotting Guide

I'm using my transit time to finally catch up on various posts and self-promotion that I have been too tied up to keep up to date on the blog. First up is this guide I put together last month for Foodspotting.

It's all about SLR food photography and offers a number of tips and tricks for capturing interesting images of food in restaurants.

The guide is an overview, but I do plan to follow it up here with a few more in-depth posts. First up, will be about white balance - it's one of those things that seems to throw everyone off. If you've got any particular photography questions you'd like me to cover, let me know in the comments or write me on twitter @ultraclay.

August 10, 2011

Early Lunch at M Wells

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Last week, in my post-corporate afterglow, I took the opportunity to return to M Wells, the site of my amazing birthday dinner. I'd heard great things about the brunch menu and had to see what it was all about. The timing turned out to be perfect as, just the day before, the eccentric Long Island City diner announced that it would be closing up shop due to a rent hike.

I met up with my friend Emily, one of the many awesome people I met at the Foodspotting events this spring. She has also recently left the land of the day job and is pursuing her own projects.

We didn't gorge ourselves the way that Eric and I did back in June, but we ate pretty well. See the courses after the jump.

Continue reading "Early Lunch at M Wells" »

August 9, 2011

And we're off!

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The first big consequence of my new job situation is that I suddenly have a schedule that isn't restricted to corporate vacation policies. For years, I've grumbled about never having enough time to really know a place while traveling. So, I've decided to correct that. On Tuesday, I leave New York for a six week trip to South America. The general plan is to visit Peru with Tammi and then I'll head off to Argentina and Brazil with the possibility of making some stops in the area along the way.

Clearly, there will be more to come...

August 8, 2011

So far, so good...

The party's over! Or just begun.

Over the last several months, I've alluded to big things coming up and being busy with projects, but for whatever reason, I've been loathe to write out what's happening in my life. Maybe I've been afraid of jinxing it and that it would all fall apart as soon as I've articulated it.

In any case, the big news is that, after seven years, I've left my corporate job with intentions of exploring new career options. I've spent a lot of time over that last few years becoming a better photographer, this is my chance to take that somewhere. I plan to take at least a couple months to see what I can do with it.

What I've found so far is that the more I walk down this path, the more opportunities make themselves known. Each step is more frightening than the last, but I've been incredibly fortunate enough to find the ground was still beneath me every time. I'll stop before I get too squishy, but suffice it to say 'so far, so good.'

June 7, 2011

Recently on Midtown Lunch: Eating (& drinking) outdoors

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First and foremost in Midtown Lunch news, the whole ML crew, along with friends and fans, will be gathering to celebrate five years since the site's launch. The event is Saturday at City Winery and is going to be amazing. Tickets are still on sale, so pick one up and come out.

As for me, I've been subbing for our resident boozehound, who has been out of town and covering a few outdoor drinking spots including BeerParc, the new beergarden in the back of FoodParc. I sampled a few of the beer and snacks they've got, including the Kasenkrainer sausage, which, much like the rapture dog I had at Smorgasburg a couple weeks ago, is stuffed with cheese. I don't know where this marvelous idea has been all my life, but I'm all about it.

Also on the agenda recently, rooftop drinking at Bar Metro, free happy hour snacks at Keen's and browsing all the outdoor eating options at Madison Square Eats and Calexico near Madison Square Park.

June 6, 2011

The Month of May - A Recap

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Whew, what a month! In my long trek toward full-time professional photography, May covered a lot of ground. Forgive the radio silence on the blog, but over the last several weeks, I've photographed events for Esquire, EdibleBrooklyn and a new site called RevJam, I also shot a couple parties and shows for Examiner, took portrait and service photos at Cornerstone Baptist Church for their upcoming website revamp and met more than a few awesome people at events sponsored by Foodspotting. On top of that, I managed to get in a couple shoots for a client that I'm not quite ready to announce yet. In short, things are coming along.

With just a couple days until my birthday, I look at all that has kept me busy over the last month and hope to press even harder in the upcoming year. There is huge opportunity ahead and I plan to make the most out of it. For everyone who's been following along, thanks so much for your support. Stay tuned.

May 26, 2011

Instagram and other Digital Dalliances

#subway #musician at Canal Street Station

This week, through the grace of my lovely wife, I've upgraded my phone from a marginally functional iPhone 3G to an iPhone 4. So far, the best part of having it is that i can finally use the camera again. My previous phone ran so slowly that the camera was more or less useless.

The return to cameraphone photography has introduced me to the wonders of instagram. Many of the photographer friends I respect have been on it for ages, but i wasn't able to play along.

If you follow my twitter feed at all, you'll know that this has changed. In the day or so since i started playing with the app, I've posted dozens of pics. I've been using it so much that it seems like a good way to use my other Tumblr page. Now called Digital Dalliances, it'll mostly focus on the random photos I take with the phone along with some other digital images I find interesting at any given minute.

This may include some of the themes that have been such a hit on Analog UltraClay, like the food series and the current Black and White Bars set. Stay tuned!

April 26, 2011

Self-Promotion: Time Out New York's Lunch Issue


I'm very happy, if slightly belated, in announcing that I contributed to the current issue of Time Out New York. It's the Lunch Issue, so the Time Out folks came to Midtown Lunch to provide recommendations for Midtown and the Financial District. My recommendations for lower Midtown East and West included Ai Fiori and Artisanal, above, for business lunches as well as some of my old favorites, like Mondello.

Independent of the text, I was contacted by the photo editor to take pictures at The Bailey near Wall Street and Perry Street in the West Village.

The Lunch issue of Time Out New York is still on stands for another day, so if you're dying to see my name in print you can still grab a copy.

April 19, 2011

Analog Subways


After a bit of a hiatus, I've started posts up on Analog UltraClay again. This week's theme is the subway, featuring film photos from New York's transit system.

Just going through the photos to select which I want to post got me thinking of other stations and compositions I want to try. I picked up a couple rolls of faster film than my go-to Ektar last week, so expect a sequel, possibly as soon as next month. Enjoy!

March 15, 2011

Barcelona: Agua Con Gas

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I took a liking to sparkling water back on our honeymoon in Paris. There, as in Barcelona, every meal begins with an offer of water with or without 'gas.' Tammi prefers her water flat, but I found that I really enjoyed the sharp bubbles and, in the case of the Vichy Catalan water that I had nearly everywhere, a slightly salty flavor.

February 18, 2011

SF: Stopover

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On my way back home from Aspen, I ended up with an unscheduled 18 hour layover in San Francisco. I'm happy with any time I get to spend in the Bay Area, so it was welcome. Most especially since between the snow storm I had just come from and the ice storm that had covered pretty much the rest of the country had left California blissfully alone.

I credit those few hours in SF for planting the seed in my head that I absolutely needed to get the hell out of dodge and that convinced me to go for tomorrow's trip to Barcelona. I'm so sick of being cold. Four days in the 60's without the spectre of another cold snap and any moment will be like heaven.

February 11, 2011

Recently on Examiner: Jazz & Donuts

Gregory Porter celebrates Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocalist

It's been a minute since I've posted anything on Examiner. There were many technical difficulties on the site that were making it less and less worth my time. Still, I don't want to let it fade away, so I recently got out to shoot a couple events.

Earlier this week, I shot a show by Gregory Porter at East Village club, Drom. Gregory and I know each other from the neighborhood and his brother Lloyd, the owner of Bread Stuy let us know about it. Gregory was nominated for the Best Jazz Vocalist Grammy and wanted to celebrate with a performance for friends and neighbors.

Continue reading "Recently on Examiner: Jazz & Donuts" »

January 31, 2011

Aspen: Homeward...hopefully

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After nearly a week without snow, the skies over Aspen have opened up and let loose. It's not unspeakable, but along with the eastward storms in the Midwest, there are probably going to be a couple obstacles between here and home. Here's hoping it all works out.

January 18, 2011

Vietnamese Coffee

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One of the delicacies I read about before heading to Vietnam was the local style of coffee brewing. It's sweet and milky and usually served on ice. I don't really drink coffee, but I do like to at least experience distinctive foods and drinks of a place, so I tried it a few times.

Most often we got it served already 'brewed,' but when we went to Pho 24, we received this brewing contraption that filtered the coffee out at the table into a cup with condensed milk.

Continue reading "Vietnamese Coffee" »

January 10, 2011

Cambodia: Angkor Wat


Ten years ago, before I caught the travel bug, before I'd ever booked a flight on my own or gone further than New England unaccompanied, I worked in an office in Times Square. In the entryway to my department was a large print of a photo from Angkor Wat. I passed it several times a day and wondered where the hell Cambodia was and honestly never really thought I'd be there in person. A decade later, here I was in Siem Reap walking through the ruins and seeing the real thing up close. Without intending to, I'd accomplished a travel goal.

Continue reading "Cambodia: Angkor Wat" »

December 29, 2010

In the Kitchen: The best way to render lard at home

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The star of my Christmas haul this year has to be the meat grinder Tammi bought for me. After I read about the Alfa MC5 on Michael Ruhlman's holiday gift guide, it immediately made it to the top of my wishlist.

Once I opened it up, my first task was clear: grinding up some fatback to render lard. See the hows and wherefores after the jump.

Continue reading "In the Kitchen: The best way to render lard at home" »

December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!


Having spent most of the holiday season in Asia, it hasn't felt a lot like Christmas to me this year. While folks have been going to holiday parties and catching up with friends, I've mostly been catching up on my Midtown Lunch beats, scrambling to stop in at some of my favorite places before they close up for good and hunting down Vietnamese Sandwiches like the ones I had from the banh mi carts Saigon.

But here we are, with a day left until Christmas. I've got family in town that Tammi and I are hosting with some seasonal touristy sightseeing and then I'll be cooking dinner tomorrow night. With all that in mind, I'll take my leave for the weekend and come back next week with some more observations, food and stories from Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong and The Philippines.

In the meantime, please enjoy your holidays with good food and good company.

December 3, 2010

And on to the next one

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It's 5am and Tammi and I are getting ready for a flight to Cambodia for the weekend. Vietnam has been quick, but fascinating. We'll have another evening here before we head back to Hong Kong and then The Philippines, so I hope to get a chance to gorge myself further on pho and street banh mi.

I can't promise updates for another couple days, so follow me on Twitter for more up to the minute posts (12 hours ahead).

November 22, 2010

Self-Promotion: I'm profiled in today's NY Post @Work

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If you look on page 38 of today's New York Post, you'll find me looking back at you. I was profiled as part of their @work column in a piece about workers around town who have 'unusual' lunch habits, mine being seeking out new foods and restaurants for Midtown Lunch. Sadly, my photo didn't make the web edition. I'll try to scan it in some time today and post it.

I have to say, it was interesting being on the other side of a photoshoot. Lorenzo the photographer and I wandered back and forth through Koreatown looking for proper backdrops.

Update: See the scan of the printed version after the jump!

Continue reading "Self-Promotion: I'm profiled in today's NY Post @Work" »

November 19, 2010

Montreal: 7 years later

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Montreal has a special place in my memory. Before this recent trip, I was last there seven years ago. The trip had been booked for two when I was seeing someone else, but we broke up and the reservations were still in place. That trip turned out to be my first time traveling alone. I was still recovering from the breakup and for the first time in my adult life thinking of myself as an individual.

I walked and explored and did whatever the hell I wanted. I drank great local beer and I wandered and walked and met people and enjoyed the hell out of myself.

There wasn't a lot of time for such things this trip, but where I could, I did a bit of retracing my steps. Heading up to Mount Royal was one of those exercises. When I got up to the Chalet, I made a point of capturing more or less the same shot I took years before. See the precursor after the jump.

Continue reading "Montreal: 7 years later" »

November 7, 2010

Marathon Day

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It's marathon day in New York again. I'm about to head to our usual spot in Fort Greene on Lafayette in front of Moe's to watch the runners.

Tammi doesn't feel like being out in the cold, so I'm going solo. It's funny to think that I had never paid any attention to the marathon before Tammi and I started dating. She got me hooked though, now I can't imagine not being in the middle of all of it, even without her.

November 4, 2010

Photography: For Love of Money? Can't I have both?


As challenging as the technical aspects of photography can be, the business side is the part I hear most people have the most difficulty with. I totally understand that. Putting a price tag on something you enjoy doing is hard enough, but how do you make a living when everyone wants you to do it for free?

Recently, I've been approached by no less than a half dozen people, friends, strangers, organizations asking for copies of my photos to use on websites, newspapers, and books with no offer of compensation other than being credited for the use of the photograph. Given that credit seems to be the legal minimum anyone can offer, I'll stick with the analogy I've heard before of it being like offering an athlete the chance to play on a major league team strictly for the honor of getting a jersey with his name on it.

If you've spent any time contemplating the viability of life as a photographer, you have almost certainly heard the above lead into a diatribe about why amateurs are ruining the field, why photographers should always be paid for any work done and how working 'for credit' is a violent act against the entirety of the photographic community.

I've got nothing nearly so dramatic or black and white. In fact, more than using this post to state an opinion, I'd really like to hear from people in and around the field about how they feel.

Continue reading "Photography: For Love of Money? Can't I have both?" »

It's Cooking Weather

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With apologies to Ruhlman for blatantly ripping off his old logo, I was inspired to take this photo as I've been spending a lot more time in the kitchen lately. The cooling weather has my nesting instincts. As I've been in the house more working on portfolios and plotting my entry into the photography business, I've also been cooking more. There's been braising, roasting, making stocks and I even made my first risotto. (Lesson learned, cook hotter, stir more, but definitely use the cheese rind stock again.)


When in North Carolina last month, I cooked for a dozen or so people, the biggest audience I've had maybe all year. The big challenge was that I had to feed vegetarians and people with gluten allergies, hence the veggie stock prep above. It was a ton of fun and has only encouraged me to want to cook more. Hopefully one day I'm figure out how to cook and shoot at the same time and I could then actually blog about that from time to time. Here's hoping.

November 1, 2010

Arms Drawn Recap

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Last week Wednesday night at Madame X, the Arms Drawn party went off without a hitch. A great crowd came out to support and enjoy the art and have fun. Mademoiselle Lena, above came in and posed for artists and audience alike in the drink & draw. In the end, the party-goers voted decisively for the team of photographers to win the prize of the evening. See the whole set of photos from the show, including some that may be NSFW.

The show will be up at Madame X for for another week, so stop through and check out my work there. And of course, my Seasonal Brooklyn show is still up at Peaches in Bed-Stuy. See all the pieces in the show at

Madame X, 94 W. Houston Street, Greenwich Village, NYC.

October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

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I'm not one to dress up for Halloween, but as a photographer, I've certainly enjoyed watching everyone else do their thing. In fact, I had big plans to run around this weekend shooting all the costumes and parties and drunken festivities. Yet, Friday night, I was at the office and last night we spent the evening at home watching movies and drinking wine.

Tonight, I do hope to make it out to the Halloween parade in the village and maybe to a couple parties as well as catching my awesome godchild Asher dressed up as a giraffe.

These days I'm trying to balance my hustle with thinking ahead and putting in groundwork. There's no use going out every night shooting if I'm not taking the time to get the business side of things right.

I spent the last couple days going to the Photo Plus Expo looking through printing houses and equipment suppliers and many, many wedding-related vendors that I hope to offer to clients in the next year.

October 20, 2010

Self Promotion: Arms Drawn at Madame X

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Well, there certainly a lot happening on the self-promotion front lately. In addition to my big show at Peaches, Seasonal Brooklyn, I also have three photos up at Madame X as a part of Arms Drawn.

The show is split between photographers and illustrators in a sort of competition. A week from today, the night of Wednesday, October 27th, we'll be throwing a party at Madame X and inviting all to join in on the fun. There will be a raffle and we'll ask everyone to vote for their favorite 'team.' A model will be there posing for illustrators and anyone else to join in on the fun.

For more information, check out the event page on Facebook.

Madame X, 94 W. Houston Street, Greenwich Village, NYC.

October 18, 2010

Self-Promotion: DKNY Follow up


You may recall that one of my analog photos may it to the finals of DKNY's photo contest late in the summer. While I narrowly missed first place in the contest, the DKNY folks profiled each of the finalists, are using our photos on their entry page as part of their redesign and gave me a gift card as compensation for the use of my images.

You can see my profile and the others at The main page rotates between our images, so you may need to refresh a couple times to catch mine.

October 15, 2010

Self-Promotion: Seasonal Brooklyn

Seasonal Brooklyn 3

So, one of the various things that's been keeping me busy and not blogging is that I've been working on a new show. I'm happy to announce that Seasonal Brooklyn is now up at Peaches here in Bed-Stuy.

The work on display is all Brooklyn, mostly within a couple blocks of the restaurant and highlights the area through the seasons. Over the course of next week, I'll be posting the film photos from the show on Analog UltraClay along with a few others that didn't make it up.

The prints this time around are much bigger than at the Habana Outpost show and I'm loving how they look. If you are in the neighborhood this weekend, stop in at Peaches, grab a snack and take a look.

All photos are for sale. Contact me directly at photog at ultraclay dotcom or via my portfolio site.

October 6, 2010

Self-Promotion: Times Square, Baby!

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If you find yourself in Times Square some time in the next week, fight the urge to keep your head down and run the hell out of there for a moment and check for my photo from the Kodak contest that I placed in as part of my analog project.

Self-Promotion: Analog UltraClay

Analog UltraClay Under Construction

With all the analog photos I've been working on lately, I've found myself in the situation of either cramming way more images into a blog post than really fits or holding back a ton of images that I'm really proud of. I phased out the POTD on the blog a couple years ago because I felt that solo photos tended to distract from the other content on the site.

So, now I'm launching a Tumblr site called, imaginatively enough "Analog UltraClay" to regularly post my film photography. My plan is to use the new blog to integrate with the subjects I've been covering here in a way that takes advantage of both platforms.

In particular, I'm hoping that using Tumblr will facilitate more discussion and feedback about the images, while I'll be writing about photography more in depth here, discussing technology, techniques and my observations and projects. If you're on Tumblr, I'd love it if you followed the new blog and let me know what you think of it.

As the photo indicates, it's all still 'Under Construction,' so feel free to let me know what you think I should do with it.

October 5, 2010

Weddings: Lais & Abe

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As I prepare for another friend's wedding this weekend, I realize I never posted about the Wedding of Lais & Abe's wedding in August.

It was particularly special to me for a couple reasons, fret and foremost because the two of them met at a party Tammi and I threw a couple years ago. What better way to bring people together than over a roasted pig carcass? Tammi and I got a shout out in the program, which was pretty excellent.

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Another reason I was particularly excited about their wedding was the location. I went to school across from the Brooklyn Historical Society for nearly a decade and had never once step foot in that gorgeous old building.

The light there was dim, but I think I pulled off some good shots. Check them out after the jump.

Continue reading "Weddings: Lais & Abe" »

September 16, 2010



Tomorrow, I'm heading out to Montreal for the weekend for a friend's bachelor party. Expect posts on smoked meat, poutine and awesome beer when I get back.

It's been seven years since I've been, but I've been dying to go back every since. I don't expect a weekend - especially one with a dozen other guys to coordinate with - will give me the time to see, eat and drink all I want to, but I plan to pack as much in as I can.

September 13, 2010

Self-Promotion: Lonely Planet NYC


I'm very excited to announce that the photo above from Harefield Road in Williamsburg was used in the new edition of the New York City Guide from Lonely Planet.

This will go up on my bookshelf alongside Everyman's Joyce, Off The Chain, New York: A Photographic Album, Untitled: Street Art in the Counter Culture, and last year's Queens International 4.


September 8, 2010

The Brooklyn Flea brings back memories


I'm behind the times in wholeheartedly embracing the Brooklyn Flea. I've been a fan since its inception, but somehow never quite made it over there very often. Lately though, I've found myself there weekly and loving the experience for all the new and old sensations they evoke.


First, the history. Back before the development boom put giant condos on every block, the strip of 6th Avenue between 23rd Street and, say, 30th Street was home to what seemed like a dozen parking lots that all turned into big open air markets on the weekends. Vendors hawked old comic books, toys, antiques, camera, radio and electronic equipment and all sorts of other hidden gems just waiting to be discovered.


Second, there's all the food. The food vendors of the flea have banded together and besides being a destination on the weekends at the two Flea locations, they also sold food at Central Park Summerstage shows all summer. More on that to come.

I was going to try to do one post about the Flea and I realized that I couldn't really do it. Since I've been shooting analog on the weekends, I have accrued quite a few photos of the Flea on film. Over the next month or so, I'll post Analog Flea pics every couple days as part of my Ektar 300 series. some will include commentary, so will speak for themselves.

Stay tuned.

September 7, 2010

Self-Promotion: Butchery in AM New York

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Butchery Alert: This morning AM New York, one of the local free dailies bought one of my photos from this spring's From Pig to Pork event at Fleisher's. The story is a travel feature on trips to "sharpen your chef skills."

Thanks to Jessica Applestone for putting me in touch with the piece's writer, Kristen Brown.

You can download the pdf of the issue or just grab a copy this morning if you're in town.

September 1, 2010

Gone Fishin'


Actually, I haven't gone anywhere, I've just been tied up with a few things, so I'm calling it a hiatus.

I'll be back post-Labor Day with some news about upcoming trips, more analog antics and a bit of self-promotion here and there.

For the curious, I did not win the DKNY contest last week, which was a real downer, but I appreciate all the support from my friends and fans. On to the next one...

August 24, 2010

Self-Promotion: Subway Dreamer

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This photo, one of my analog pics from the winter on the platform at Union Square, has made it as a finalist for DKNY's New York photo contest. The prize is a shiny new camera that I would very much like to have.

So, if you are on facebook, which you probably are, please please please vote for me and post it to your profile.


July 31, 2010

Self-Promotion: Promoted!

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Those keeping track of these self-promotion posts will remember that I won an honorary mention for this photo earlier in the spring for this photo from last year's Winter Market.

For my trouble, I received 20 rolls of Kodak Ektar film and the warm, fuzzy feeling of having my work appreciated. It was plenty and I was happy.

Then, I got a note from Kodak saying that one of the winners was disqualified, so I've been promoted to to Third place!

Oh, and how would I like my remaining 280 rolls of film.

Two Hundred and Eighty.

More. Rolls of film.
With 300 rolls to go through, expect more analog photos in your near future.

Update: Follow my progress and exploration going through The Ektar 300...

July 9, 2010

World Cup Fever

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I've totally gotten caught up in the world cup. This is particularly odd since I haven't followed sports since I was 10 and even more so given that I've spent the last 6 years surrounded by sports enthusiasts with seemingly no effect.

The secret is that what's really excited me about the games has been the window it's provided into so many countries and cultures that I've wanted to visit and experience for so long. It's brought out my wanderlust and I can't stop thinking of all the traveling I'd like to do.

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Last weekend, we went to Philly for the Fourth of July and these two Argentinians beat their drums and sang and chanted for hours. Even after their team lost, they were rooting for the other South American teams to make it.

It's every accent and national anthem and flag waving that makes me imagine sitting in some plaza or beer hall or pub surrounded by supporters.

Clearly, I'm craving a trip out of the country. Somewhere far away where I can eat and drink and enjoy and shoot something different from our everyday world.

We're starting to look at vacation plans for this fall. Italy is high up, but so are A few places in Asia or elsewhere in Europe or South America. We'll just have to see what materializes between now and November.

July 7, 2010

Los Angeles-less

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The powers that be have decreed that I won't be making my annual pilgrimage to Los Angeles this year.

What's funny is that, I dreaded going to LA my first couple times out there, but after getting my bearings - and a ton of recommendations from friends - I really came to enjoy it out there.

Sadly, I suspect the most work travel the job will be sending me on will be to the mothership in the depths of Office Park Land.

June 28, 2010

SF: Incanto

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My first meal in SF was an early birthday dinner at Incanto, Chris Cosentino's Italian offal house in Noe Valley has long been on my wishlist of places to eat, but was never convenient when I was in town. This trip, I made time for it.

The food after the jump.

Continue reading "SF: Incanto" »

June 22, 2010

Quick Drink: French 75


You may have noticed by now that my drinking habits tend toward the beer and wine. I typically steer clear of cocktails, but when my waiter at Incanto recommended Heaven's Dog in San Francisco's SOMA Grand hotel as a great cocktail bar, I wasn't going to walk in and ask for their wine list.

Instead, I asked the bartender to come up with a concoction friendly to someone who liked the bubbles of beer or a sparkling and wasn't so into a strong liquor flavor.

He came up with the French 75, a classic drink he said was mentioned in Casablanca.

The drink mixes cognac, simple syrup and lemon juice in crushed ice, strains it in chilled champagne glass, then gets topped off with champagne. The citrus cut through the liquor flavor, although by the end the pucker was a little intense. Even so, I'd definitely order it again if I walked into a cocktail bar and wanted something refreshing that wasn't going to knock me down.

June 21, 2010

Photo-Geekery: The Canon 5D Mark II

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After nearly a year of drooling and and wishing and pining after it, I finally bought a new camera. The Canon 5D Mark II is my first digital full frame camera and it is glorious.

I know that photography is not about the tools but about the person using them. I know this. A skilled photographer can compose excellent images with a cameraphone or a pinhole camera and an amateur can spend thousands on equipment and consistently come up with crap.

That said, this thing is amazing to use, a leap forward from the Canon 30D I've been using for the last two and a half years. With nearly triple the resolution and an astronomical ISO sensitivity, it's already making my most common photography subjects a breeze to capture. It's also significantly faster, with much less of the lag in shooting.

The good news is that my posts will be prettier, the bad news is that I've been spending so much time shooting that I haven't been posting. Apologies. Stay tuned, I'll be back pretty soon with some new posts on San Francisco and the birthday meals I was treated to last week.

June 8, 2010

Another Year Gone


The last year has been intense. I turned 32 in the middle of my big push to really dedicate myself to pursuing photography seriously. A year later, I've worked my ass off, gone out shooting when I'd much prefer to be at home in bed with Tammi and spent a huge amount of money on classes, equipment, film and lab fees.

It's been a busy year, but one of the most fulfilling I've had to date. My efforts have yielded a column on Examiner, a regular blogging gig for Midtown Lunch, photos in three different books and magazines, I placed in a contest - I was even on TV! And finally, a photo show all of my own. My new camera, that I've been ogling for a year, is a part of the harvest, largely paid for with blogging and photography funds.

Now it's time to go further, to push harder to make things happen on purpose instead of by happy accident. This is where it becomes for real. It's the hard part: pitching, cold calling, making contacts all the while continuing what I've been doing. It wont be easy, but given the success this last year has brought - with the incredible support from my friends and family, especially Tammi, I know that the work will pay off. It'll happen so long as I keep pushing forward.

So, with that thought I mark 33 years under my belt and welcome the next.


June 3, 2010

City Seen: Now on display

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It's been a busy, busy couple of weeks and it's just keeps coming. Last night, several dozen of my friends came out to celebrate the opening of City Seen at Habana Outpost and my impending birthday. With momentum like this, I don't know how 33 couldn't be my best year yet.

Thanks to all the family and friends who came out and special thanks to Jon Oliver, who provided some chill beats for us to enjoy. Most of all, I owe more than I can begin to describe to my wonderful wife, Tammi for helping me through the entire process. There's no way the show could have come off as well as it did without her eye for precision.

The photos will be up through June 14th, if you've enjoyed all the photos on this blog and my other sites through the years, please come out and take a look. If you can't make it out, all the photos in the show are online and available for purchase at Clay Williams Photo, my photo site. All purchases are printed new by Adorama, where I got the prints done for the show.

May 25, 2010


One of the many photo-related tasks that has been keeping me too busy to post here has been updating my photography portfolio site, Clay Williams Photo.

It has been in the works for over a year now, but in anticipation of my upcoming show, I've finally gone all in on it. The site, hosted by Photoshelter, displays my primary portfolio along with several galleries highlighting my photos by themes. There's Music and Nightlife, Restaurants, Butchery, of course, and also Travel and Street Photography.

I'm still doing a lot of work on it, but please check it out. I'm look for as much feed back as I can get.

The next week will be a bit hectic, but I hope to get a post or two out through it all.

May 18, 2010

Self Promotion: City Seen at Habana Outpost


I'm very excited to announce that Habana Outpost has invited me to put up a show of my photography next month. It will run for the first half of June, with photos up on Tuesday, June 1st through Monday, June, 14th.

The show, which I'm calling "City Seen" will center on my street photography, with some photos that should be familiar to those who have followed the blog for a while including a couple of my all-time favorites.

For updates and further details, rsvp to the City Seen event page on Facebook.

May 11, 2010

Bed-Stuy's Blowin' up


I moved to Bed-Stuy in 1986. Over the nearly 25 years since then, my relationship with the neighborhood has had its ups and downs. As a kid commuting to Brookln Heights every day, It bugged me that we didn't have bookstore and ice cream shops like on Montague Street. When I was a teenager, I was deeply embarrassed when hosting a visiting exchange student to have to walk him through a bloody crime scene on his first morning with us.

After college, my perspective changed, I still wished for amenities found elsewhere in New York, but I certainly appreciated living in Brownstone and paying the same price as friends in Fort Greene for twice the space - with a backyard, no less. Bars, restaurants, ice cream shops were all things I'd have to commute for, but the alternative was gentrification.

That subject, especially in Brooklyn can lead to some heated debates. While I'm certainly enjoying many of the perks gentrification provides in other neighborhoods, i understand that it can also leave an area unrecognizable and worse, unaffordable. That said, everything changes over time and there's no predicting how things will go.

New places are popping up all over the neighborhood and a few concerns aside, I'm very much enjoying it. There are restaurants, a book store, a wine bar and an art gallery. There are places for community to come together besides churches and places to imbibe besides the street corner. I'm pretty excited about it, truth be told.

This is all my wordy way of introducing a series I'll be doing over the next couple weeks highlighting places, new and old around Bed-Stuy that I haven't given a lot of attention to on the blog.

April 20, 2010

Self-Promotion: Honorable Mention in Kodak Ektar Contest

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Back in December, while I was still in full-tilt analog shooting, I submitted the above photo of cranberries at the New Amsterdam Wintermarket to a contest on Flickr for images shot with Kodak's low-grain Ektar film.

Recently, I was notified that I made the honorable mention list! For placing, I get my photo posted on the big Kodak screen in Times Square and 20 more rolls of Ektar film.

The film is wonderfully smooth and I enjoy using it when lighting situations allow. It'll be great to get it for the summer time, when I hope to be spending more time outside shooting.

The official news release hasn't gone out yet, but it was announced to the contest's group on Flickr.

When I started posting all this Self-Promotion jazz a couple weeks ago, I hadn't actually expected it to become a weekly thing. Here's hoping it keeps coming!

April 12, 2010

Self-Promotion: Everyman's Joyce


More belated self-promotion:
About a month ago, I received my copy of Everyman's Joyce in the mail. One of my photos was included in the book. I'm starting to accumulate a nice little library of my published works.

April 6, 2010

Self-Promotion: Off The Chain


Excuse the delayed bit of self-promotion: Last year, this photo from Winter X Games was used in the book Off The Chain. The book is a history of snowboarding written by Ross Rebagliati, the first Olympic gold medalist in the sport.

March 30, 2010

Self-Promotion: NYU SCPS Show

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Last fall, I took at class at NYU on Night Photography. Last week, I was invited by the school to show some of my work as a part of the 75th Anniversary celebration of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS).

This weekend, as part of the Literary and Visual Arts Festival, my photos will be on display along with visual art pieces from many other current and former students at the Silver Center at NYU.

I'm honored to have my work shown here and look forward to seeing it.

March 15, 2010

Cruising: Sea Legs


Before the cruise, I was mildly concerned about adjusting to being on the water. The only boats I've been on for the most part have been riverboats. I wasn't sure how different the motion would be or how sensitive I'd be to it.

Turns out I didn't have much trouble at all. Every now and again, I'd suddenly be aware of a wobbly feeling, not unlike the earthquake I felt in Los Angeles a couple years ago. It typically subsided quickly and didn't usually really bother me.

What's weird is that for hours after leaving the ship, I was still getting that 'wobbly' feeling. I'm sure there's plenty of inner ear science that explains this, but I have no idea.

Again, it makes me wonder what it's like for someone who spends months at sea to return to solid ground.

March 13, 2010

Cruising: At Sea


Pardon the obvious observation, but being at sea means being in the middle of nowhere. Look in every direction and there's nothing on the horizon in any direction. It's a first for me. As a city-dweller, the idea of being surrounded by essentially nothingness is fascinating. Particularly, it makes me think about sailors through history surrounded by a blue void for days or weeks or months at a time.

There's a weird cognitive dissonance being so isolated from the rest of the world, yet still surrounded by a thousand people.


March 10, 2010

Recently on Midtown Lunch: Pizzacones

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This is a pizzacone. It's an odd little invention that captured the fascination (and for some, disgust) of the blogosphere last week.

This pizza in a cone concept was introduced to the Manhattan eating audience for the first time when K! Pizzacone opened up to much attention last Monday. I had a front row seat covering it for Midtown Lunch.

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I'm not a stodgy traditionalist in pizza or much else, but giving a balanced report on something so weird was a struggle. While I did appreciate the opportunity to eat a wad of melted cheese, I think I'll stick with those boring flat pizzas I've known so well over the years.

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My report last week on Izakaya Moku, on the other hand, was no trouble at all. The latest in a trend of Korean-run Japanese restaurants offers a pretty good lunch deal and I made a point of doing as much -ahem- research as I could. Strictly for research purposes, I assure you.

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It may not be the best Japanese food in the city, but Moku and the other new places in Koreatown offer some very good options within walking distance of my office. If nothing else, I'm psyched to finally have a nice bowl of pork ramen available nearby.

What I'm really interested in is checking out the after work menu, which is far expanded and includes yakitori and various other izakaya fare. I think an Examiner post is in order.

Stay tuned.


February 25, 2010

Adventures in Travel, Snowstorm Edition


Tammi and I are supposed to be going to a wedding this weekend. This involves us being in Miami tomorrow to catch a ship to take us to Nassau.

Besides my friends wedding, I'm also curious about this whole cruise thing. I've never thought highly of them, but from what I hear it might be a good time.

Of course, this all assuming that we can get through yet another snowstorm to hit the Northeast.

So far, we've got canceled flights, downed check-in servers and scrambling to pack for a flight a day earlier than planned. Not to mention skipping out on a photo shoot and a class I was supposed to do tonight.

So, yeah. I'm bitching. But if I make it to Miami before the night's over, I'll be fine. If not, I'll have dumped quite a bit of money into the travel industry for absolutely nothing in return.

Wish me luck!

February 22, 2010

Vancouver: On The Water

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New Yorkers take the water for granted. We're a city of islands, but we rarely set foot in the water. Even at our great waterfront views and sightseeing locales, we are looking past beyond it to see our skyscrapers and bridges.

Yes, there is the pollution issue, but that's more a symptom than a cause. Our busy city culture tends to focus getting over, under or through the waters surrounding us.

In Vancouver, I was surprised at how many people were out on the water. Besides those who were fishing or landing planes, there were people rowing crew and kayaking. Instead of the big water taxis and giant circle line boats we have in New York, tiny boats that would fit now more than a dozen people traffic passengers from port to port.


We sat at water level and waved as this lady passed us by. Yes, this totally freaked me out. Don't mistake this for pining. I won't be kayaking around Manhattan any time soon. It's just an observation of something that is seemingly entirely different to me.

February 19, 2010

Vancouver: Feeding Time


Walking down the waterfront in Vancouver after lunch at Kitaro, I had one 'city-boy' moment after another.

We saw this guy gutting a fish down by the marina. I was annoyed that he was just chucking the bits he didn't want back into the water. With this gorgeous view around me, it ticked me off a bit that this guy was littering like that.

Then I jumped a little when I saw a blur under the water.

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He wasn't littering, he was feeding the local wildlife. Apparently, there are tons (literally) of sea lions that live in the area and share the water with all the boats and planes that use it daily.

A crowd had gathered to watch and one of the other tourists tried to get in on the action. That was all well and good until the sea lion got a bit friendlier than expected:


Vancouver: Distance


I'm not so great with the metric system, but I'm pretty sure Vancouver was the closest I've ever been to the North Pole (on the ground).

February 15, 2010

Travel Observations: Mountains

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Growing up in New York, my idea of mountains has always been giant triangles sticking out of the ground. Even spending 4 years living in a valley didn't really properly convey the concept of what a mountain was in my head. It wasn't until going out to Aspen and actually being in the mountains that I really began to comprehend the size and shape of real mountains.

To this day, I'm still a little shocked looking at them. Flying over them, they're shapes are weird, almost violent.

February 11, 2010

The Man on the Street - was me!

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Just a quick mention that I had a quick interview on the local NBC news yesterday morning. I was shooting the snowstorm in midtown on the way to work and I got stopped by this reported from Channel 4 who was looking for 'man on the street' interviews. I took the opportunity to plug the blog and Midtown Lunch.

I've heard from more people than I expected who have seen it, but haven't managed to find it anywhere online. If you saw it, let me know!

February 9, 2010

Photography: Egg Tower


I didn't actually eat any of these eggs on the bar at Wild Fig in Aspen, but they caught my eye.

Looking back at some recent posts, I realize that eggs have been a recurring meme. Both visually and as a food choice, it's been coming up more and more.

Generally, they've been fried and the bright yellow yolks have drawn me into them, whether spilling out of the b.e.l.t. at Swift Half, on top of the Croque Madame at Rouge or in the Bacon and Eggs appetizer at Lulu Wilson that I lit up with my iPhone.

But these eggs, still in their shell brought me back to my High School Photography class. One of our first assignments to photograph eggs, composed in whatever way we'd like. I don't remember what I came up with and I doubt I really 'got' the potential compositions that can be done with the shapes and curves aesthetically.

Every now and then I think about going back to some of those old assignments (that I can remember) as exercises or practice. I make no promises, but if I do, I'll be sure to post them.


February 7, 2010

Flying Food: Delta's Asian Shrimp Salad

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No one has great things to say about airplane food. It's rarely good. I know this. But, when I saw "Todd English Selection" on the menu, I figured I ought to give the Olive's chef a second chance after the abysmal hot dog I had at his Bonfire at JFK.

I'm not a salad eater, but the collection of shrimp, noodles and an Asian dressing seemed like it could be worth it.

What I found was completely subjective.

I'm sure many people would have enjoyed this salad. I know Tammi would have. The shrimp was cooked properly, as were the noodles. Both could be messed up pretty easily, but they weren't. It was also topped with crisp slices of bell peppers and red onion which were fresh and crunchy.

Yet, I didn't enjoy it at all. First, it was cold. Outside of ice cream, I'm not so into cold foods. It's a personal quirk, I suppose, but whether it's a sandwich or a salad, I want my food warmed up or at least at room temperature. But this came straight out of the fridge and each crunch of veggies or slurping of noodles reminded me of that fact.

Along the same lines, I like bell peppers and red onions, I just think they'd be much better sauteed and maybe added to a stir fry of those noodles and shrimp. Instead, I was left with the sharp onion flavor for the rest of the trip.

So, if cold salads are your thing, this is definitely one of your better airplane options. But for me, I think I might have preferred some of the microwaved dinner options you used to get in flight. Not very good, but at least it was warm.

February 4, 2010

Analog: Developing film while traveling


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.


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.

February 3, 2010

Three Years on the Blog


Last week makes three years that I've been doing this blog thing. I've bounced from topic to topic, but I hope that over time, a general identity has come together through all my ramblings and pictures.

Looking back at the nearly 1600 posts I've put together over three years, I certainly see where my interests have ebbed and flowed, but I also see an underlying concept that I've had a hard time articulating but hope to express clearly here.

This blog is largely about the urban experience. That's food, drinks, events and arts. Travel is that experience transported both to other cities and to the rural and suburban hinterlands. Urbanites all have to spend time outside of our chosen environment from time to time, but we don't check our values and interests at the city limits.

In the last year, I've begun doing much online both blog related and not. There's my photography, the Examiner column and my other contributions online. With so much going on, it would be easy to let the blog drop off, like so many others. But, to me all of them are interconnected. My photos have always been a prominent part of the site. Nearly every one of those 1600 posts have at least one of my photos in it. Bars and nightlife have always been a part of what this blog has been about. So has food. And travel, clearly.

There's always more to tell and in cases where I'm telling the primary stories elsewhere, there will still be a place here for me to expound upon them.

I have a number of plans for how I want to do that and it will entirely be a matter of trial and error in seeing how it all works out.

So, as I always say, stay tuned.

February 2, 2010

Travel Day: NY Bound

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I'll be in the air most of the day today, finally heading home after a week and a half in the mountains. I've got plenty of posts to catch up on and a little bit of news coming, too.

Stay tuned.

February 1, 2010

This Week on Examiner: Bar Guides!

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Being in Aspen, I haven't had the opportunity to cover all the cool events going on this week. It's been killing me to read about everything going on on Gothamist and Brooklyn Based and the food sites, but alas.

Instead, I went with slightly less timely reports, posting about particular bars around New York that I'm pretty fond of. Head to Examiner to find descriptions and slideshows of Another Room in Tribeca, Bar Henry on Houston and an old favorite of mine, Deity.

I hope to get a couple more out there before I head back home. Then I'll have some reports coming in of all the stuff going on back in the Bright Center of the Universe.

On Saturday, I'll be covering Donuts are Forever 4 at The Bell House, hosted by Rare Form in annual tribute to the late, legendary producer J Dilla. The show will be featuring a number of great DJs including my friend DJ Tara and ?uestlove of the Roots.

So, check back on Examiner often to see what's up and where to go back in the Big City.

January 19, 2010

Aspen Awaits


At the end of the week, I make my fifth and potentially final trip to Aspen for the Winter X Games. While the weather isn't really my thing, I can't say I haven't managed to enjoy myself sampling the cuisines offered out there.

This week is going to be a bit hectic with packing and errands and pre-trip minutiae, so pardon a slight delay posts this week. I hope to get some Philadelphia posts up when I can manage the time.

January 14, 2010

Philly: Dinner at Osteria

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Perhaps I just hope to keep Osteria as my personal Philadelphia secret. That's the only reason I can think of why I somehow have neglected to post about it for the last two years. It's been a must go place for me since before Tammi ran the Philadelphia Marathon in 2007. Yet, whenever it comes to writing a post about it, I always manage to put it off.

The meal is a multi-course fantasy of interesting Italian cooking ranging from porchetta with tuna sauce to octopus on pizza to rabbit sausage to pig's feet that even Tammi likes. It's all over the place in the best possible way and the courses are small enough that you can graze your way through the experience.

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Yesterday, I made our reservation for dinner at Osteria Friday night, shortly after we get into town. I've been looking back at some of my notes posted on Twitter over the summer when we were there last and it's got me all excited again.

Some highlights:

* polpo totally different than last night. Meat shreds in mouth. Milder fish flvr. Tender, not as firm as most. Char less strong.

* porchetta served cold sliced, like cold cuts. Topped with a mayo laced tuna sauce and greens.

* wow! Tammi's eating pig's feet "and liking it"

* tortellini stuffed with braised, ground, shredded pigs feet. Burrata stuffed delicate pasta pillows with sprinkled olives, pasley.

* we got the last plate of suckling pig. Moist, tender, transcendant.

* "course for course, perfection." says Tammi. I can't argue.

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Seriously, it's a wonderful experience made even better by sitting at the chef's counter and watching the team make their magic in the kitchen. I have my request in for the same spot this weekend. Here's hoping.

640 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130

January 8, 2010

Beaten by the hordes

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This was the scene at The Metropolitan Museum last weekend when I attempted to go catch the Robert Frank exhibit. With New York seemingly empty of locals, I didn't expect to see the tourists numbered quite so highly here. It was very disappointing since I had really wanted to make it to that show, but there was just no way I was going to make it through this mob.

December 31, 2009

That's a Wrap: A Personal Reflection on the 00's


This is it folks.

Not technically the end of a decade, but that's not a fight I'm going to pick. The naughts, the aughts, the double O's, I just made that last one up, but it doesn't matter. No one ever called this decade either of the others. In fact, I heard the terms again for the first time in 10 years just a couple weeks ago. It's a silly label, but everything needs a name.

Whatever it's called, it's not been the easiest ten years, that's for sure. It's certainly been the most eventful on a worldwide scale in my lifetime. All I've been hearing over the last few days has been how terrible both the year and the decade have been. It's been rough, that's true, but I can't complain.

The 00's was an essential period in my life. I came into the decade as a kid. I was 22 and just out of college. I hadn't begun to cook or travel or do much, if any of the things that define my life these days. My career in Technology was only five months old. I went into the field as something to do until I figured out what I wanted to do with my life, but had no idea what that would be. Along the same vein, photography was something from my past, a hobby from high school that I enjoyed but didn't plan to pick up again, not this craft that I try to pursue and improve upon every day.

Ten years ago I was also very lonely. My life in college had gotten me accustomed to being surrounded by friends at all times. I was never more than a few minutes away from someone to drink with, talk to or watch TV with. For all the confusion and growing and pressure that college brings, after four years things start to make sense. By this time in 1999, I had no idea what the 'real world' was about. My friends had either scattered to the four winds or were still in school, the working world had borders and barriers that I just didn't get.

Over the ensuing decade, I experienced a lot and hopefully learned from it, I met great people, eaten amazing food and set foot on four continents. I discovered a life I wouldn't have dreamed of as a 22 year old and I met a beautiful, passionate and intelligent woman to share that life with me.

Without being either saccharine or gloomy, I can say that the decade has been an important one in my life and, while a lot of it could have gone better, I'm grateful for what it's brought.

Happy New Year.

December 8, 2009


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Bobst Library, NYU. Greenwich Village, NYC. 2009.

Ten years out of school, it's easy for me to forget that it's also finals time for students all over the country. Outside of the occasional dream, this is something I happily have forgotten all about. I just had a conversation with my aunt, a college professor and she was telling me about all the reading and grading she's doing.

Periodically, we all have wistful thoughts of school days. I can't say I've ever missed this particular part though...

December 7, 2009

The Tree Starts the Season

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The end of the year is sort of a whirlwind. Starting with the build-up to Thanksgiving, the meme-storm of holidays and music and events is enough to sweep you up or knock you down.

I find it a bit disorienting this year. I love the season, but I haven't -felt- it yet. The weather has certainly cooled down appropriately and the holiday music is being blared in more places than I'd like. But the season doesn't quite feel there yet for me.

I think tomorrow is when it'll happen. Tammi and I are getting our Christmas Tree after work tomorrow night. We'll follow the long time holiday tradition and decorate it while listening to the sounds of Nat, Ella and A Charlie Brown Christmas.

December 1, 2009

Hawai'i: Shooting Stars on The Big Island


While in Kona, I took advantage of the total desolation of our remote location and played with some night photography techniques I learned in a class I've been taking this fall.

Tammi trudged out with me to the beach and assisted while I tried my hand at capturing star trails.


We sat out for an hour or so watching the stars and planets sink into the horizon. I had wanted to try to get the swirls around Polaris, like I've seen in many photos before, but accidentally discovering something cooler. We were far enough south that I got the edges of both the southern and northern swirls leaving this effect.

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November 27, 2009

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


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 26, 2009

Homeward Bound


By the time this goes up, Tammi and I will be in the air again, heading for a quick stopover at O'Hare, then on back to the Better Borough. We're giving ourselves a little more time at home this time around to relax and re-acclimate to being at home, catch up on things and maybe to get some cooking done after a couple of weeks out of the kitchen.

Expect some posts in the next week or so about Hawai'i, followed up by various catch up posts from the last few months.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2009

One Year Married!

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Tammi and I got married a year ago today. It's a little jarring to think about it. Sometimes it seems like it was just the other day, sometimes it seems like we've been together forever. Today, we celebrate in Kauai.

Happy Anniversary, baby!

November 16, 2009

Hawai'i: First few days


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 15, 2009

Quick Bite: Italian Sausage


When I was in High School and College, I loved wandering the street fairs every summer. I didn't care that, except The Antic, they were all the same and rarely represented any aspect of the block of the neighborhood they were in. I wasn't particular.

I liked the gathering of people and, of course, I loved the food. The highlight for me was always the Italian Sausage stands. I could have Hot or Sweet, but always covered in a mountain of peppers and onions. For the life of me, I can never find one nearly as good in a store. Most pizza shops that sell sausage heroes, just don't have the flavor or the nice char from the griddle.

Last week, I passed by one of these fairs, probably one of the last of the season, and right on the corner was a sausage stand. I had to have one for old-time sake.

I just have to add a note of photo-geekery here. The pic is one of my analog shots, that I took on a roll of Fuji Velvia slide film. Check out the way the colors just glow out of the shot. I can practically smell the onions just by looking at it.

Recently on the Examiner: Shooting Music

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It's funny how things work out. Months ago, at the beginning of the summer, I hoped to spend the summer taking photos of street musicians around the city. But between all the rain and a hectic schedule, I didn't get much opportunity for all that.

Now, over the last couple months I've found myself in the front row of show after show shooting musical performances for The Examiner. From hip hop acts I've known since I was a kid to indie bands I've never heard of. It's pretty amazing and I'm just getting started.

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It's not so recent anymore, but the week before leaving for Hawaii, I saw the Dirty Dozen Brass Band play Brooklyn Bowl in a fun, festive show opened by the band Turkauz, which I'm going to keep my eye out for in the future.

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Then, that weekend, the Brooklyn Museum celebrated it's new rock photography exhibit with performances by some Indie Bands, which I got to photograph.

The photo show itself is amazing and inspiring. As a developing (heh) photographer, seeing how both the musicians and the photographers started out before creating the iconic works that have shaped our understanding of an intrinsic part of our culture.

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On a technical level, shooting in the dynamic and frenetic environment is educational every time. Different lights, different personalities, different settings add to the challenge of capturing the moment as I want it.

I hope to spend more time shooting concerts and performances going forward.

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November 12, 2009

The Annual Trip: Hawai'i


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.

Chef Michael Psilakis at The Astor Center


This week for the Examiner, I visited a cooking demo at the Astor Center by Chef Michael Psilakis of Kefi and Anthos. I was just there to shoot and thankfully didn't drool on anything, but the smells and sounds of all the food he prepared were amazing.

My Examiner post went up this morning with a slideshow of images I took that night and a brief write-up.


In addition to the many digital shots I took while there, I also shot a few rolls of film, which I'm really happy with. This whole 'analog' thing has been fun and I'm falling further down the rabbit hole.


After my old model broke a little over a week ago, I ran out immediately and bought a used Canon, which uses most of the same lenses that my digital uses. Ever since, I've been shooting even more film and redoubling my experimenting. I've even gone back to playing with Black and White, which I haven't done since I was in High School.

I think the results have been pretty good, what do you think?


November 10, 2009

Shameless Self-Promotion: The Local


A moment of self-promotion: A couple of weeks ago, The Local, the Fort Greene/Clinton Hill Blog by The New York Times use one of my photos of Bar Olivino.

Maybe one day I'll get in the print edition.

November 2, 2009

A Busy Weekend of Revelry

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It's a good thing that we had an extra hour thrown in this weekend, because there was so much going on this weekend, we needed it. I certainly did. With Halloween and the New York City Marathon both happening in the same weekend, there was plenty of celebrating to do.

Friday night, Tammi and I walked DUMBO as a part of the ArtCrawl, which included many of the neighborhood's galleries. Saturday evening, we hit the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade Saturday evening with our friend Saun. I hadn't gone out to see that spectacle since I was a kid, so it was a lot of fun to be in the middle of it again.

After that, it was an evening of party-hopping from Boerum Hill out to Fort Greene until late into the night.


The next day we were up bright and early to get out to our usual Marathon viewing spot in Fort Greene. We got a group together to cheer on the runners and watched from the elites through to the back of the pack.

Of course, Halloween and Marathon photos are posted on Flickr. Read about all that and more on my Examiner column.

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October 27, 2009

Vancouver: SeaPlanes

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I have to admit that one of the most exciting things in the Pacific Northwest to me was seeing seaplanes for the first time. I've seen them on TV and in movies and such, but had never seen a plane land on water before. It was really rather cool to watch.

I can't imagine a row of these little planes flying out from under the Brooklyn Bridge. In fact, given the poor track record small planes flying around New York, I'm pretty glad about that. Either way, more than the gorgeous scenery off in the distance, just seeing these things in action really impressed me.

October 4, 2009

Examiner: The Roots play Brooklyn Bowl

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Thursday night, I covered The Ten Dollar Coolhunter Jam hosted by the Roots at Brooklyn Bowl for It was a great show and all the more exciting to me because, even though I've been a fan of The Roots for 13 years, I haven't seen them live since 2001.

I was right up front and got a bunch of up close shots of the band, the other groups performing and Talib Kweli, who was a surprise guest.

It was also pretty awesome because I hadn't heard of nearly any of the other groups performing and they were all really interesting, playing music that I'd definitely like to hear more of. Personally, I was really blown away by Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew from Sierra Leone. The music brought in influences from all over the place and they just had so much energy on stage that it was palpable.

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Check out the post on the Examiner for links, a slideshow and more details. Even more photos posted on Flickr.

September 28, 2009

Self-Promotion: I'm an Examiner

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One of the many factors impinging on my blog update time lately has been my new gig on, a website made up of locals reviewing and reporting on various beats in their area. I'm now their New York nightlife photographer and have been posting on events for the week or so.

So far, I've covered an art opening at Madame X, the anniversary party at Sweet Revenge, and last weekend's I Love Vinyl Party.

If you've got a party, opening or anything else generally nightlife-y going on, let me know and I'll try to come through to cover it.

Stop by the site early and often, as I'm trying to put together posts several times a week. If you want to get it in your feed reader, you can also subscribe.

That said, I do hope to get posting here as well over the next couple days. I've got photos and stories from Seattle, Vancouver and a few leftover from Philly and Los Angeles.

September 15, 2009

Seattle: Not Eating in an Eating Town

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Apologies for the radio silence of late. I haven't managed a single dispatch from the Pacific Northwest, in part, due to some of the difficulties I had while out there. I suspect that starting off the trip with a brunch of a seafood buffet and raw bar probably had a good deal to do with my troubles. Suffice it to say that I spent most of the time I was on the road without much of an appetite and the rest of the time downing Pepto to keep myself in one piece.

That said, I did manage to have some great meals despite everything and I saw a lot of both Seattle and Vancouver.

I've got a great many updates to put out and I hope to have many of them out over the next couple weeks.

Stay tuned...

August 23, 2009

The Cloisters


As with most New Yorkers, there are a million sights, attractions and cultural institutions that I rarely if ever take advantage of. It's not that I don't want to, but life gets in the way most of the time and tourists get in the way the rest.

The Cloisters has been high on my list of places I wanted to visit for the better part of a decade. I visited it once, in sixth grade, 20 years ago(!).

This weekend, we're watching our niece and I thought it would be a good thing to take her to. My mom came along, too, with her neighbor's 10 year old in tow.

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I could have chosen a better day, given that this weekend Hurricane Bill brushed up against the Northeast, dumping even more water on us via some -freaky- storms.

Even so, I really enjoyed walking through the space. It's really an amazing thing, when you think about it. Rockefeller bought and moved brick by brick cloisters from five different churches around Europe here to New York. From a contemporary perspective, an exercise of wealth that massive is at once repellent and awe-inspiring.

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This summer has been ridiculously busy, and the fall is already starting to get booked up, but I hope that to be able to return before too long.

Going Analog

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A week ago, I discovered my old film SLR in the back of my closet. It's been a whirlwind of shooting ever since.

There's a softness in the edges and the hues in images on film that I find really interesting. I'm still learning about the effects and how to work with them. And of course the arcane nature of the whole enterprise appeals to my geekiness. I've been relearning film speeds and adjusting to manual focus.

As I've gotten into photography more over the last couple of years, I've avoided film for a number of reasons. High among them was that I ultimately like the instant gratification of digital.

I like the trial and error and still really feel that it's easier to learn the right settings when you can see what you do right or wrong right away. That's especially true compared to a medium that can take days to weeks to months or years to finally get developed.

I don't see myself giving up digital. It's just too useful and practical. So, in my own particular brand of obsession, I've taken to carrying around -both- my digital slr and my film slr. And the Holga that Tammi got me 2 years ago that I never got the film developed from until last week. After seeing the photos from the Holga, including the one above, I'm hooked on that too.

As usual, photos are posted on Flickr.

Further down the rabbit hole I go...

August 12, 2009

Lunch: Shut Out of the Outdoors

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My favorite (read: only convenient) outdoor space near my office has been locked up and fenced off for the better part of a month. It's doubly disappointing as it seemed to coincide exactly with the arrival of seasonal weather.

There's no sign or readily apparent explanation as to why it's locked up, but it is certainly a disappointment for the many local workers, like myself, starved for daylight and seeking a mere 15 minute respite from the office to soak up a little sun. Being on a side street, the space benefited from being just out of the way enough to avoid the throngs of tourists that shuffle around the base of the Empire State Building.

But now there's nothing. We either have to wade through the crowds to get to Herald Square, the heart of the swarm, where aimless tourists and shoppers meander or the benches in front of the old B. Altman's building where you can vie for spaces with the homeless.

Or, it's back to shoveling food into your mouth at your desk before someone says, "I don't want to interrupt your lunch but..."

August 5, 2009

LA: Poolside


Really, after a long day on site, there's little more relaxing that hanging out by the pool. I never actually went in, but just sitting along the side, having a drink and feeling the evening breeze is one of the most relaxing things in the world.

August 3, 2009

LA: Homeward Bound

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Heading home tonight. Back in a bit.

Butchery At Home: The Fourth of July


That's right, I cut up another pig. It's late for me to post this, but, hey, I actually have a little time for once.

All my talk of butchery got me interested in doing a bit of my own. For our July 4th shindig, I bought a 37 pound pig and cut it up myself. This was the biggest pig I've tackled to date, but after a 16 and a 20 pounder, I had the anatomy down.

Like my first porchetta attempt last year, I deboned the mid-section and seasoned it with fennel pollen, rosemary, garlic and this time, lemon juice instead of full slices.

I rubbed the ribs with a cajun seasoning, which would have been great if there had been any meat to speak of there.

The shoulders and front legs were marinated in a Cuban citrus mixture, what's been a fixture of mine for years. Orange, Lime and Grapefruit juice mixed with vinegar, cumin, onions and garlic.

One back leg was rubbed in an achiote paste and slow roasted on the grill. The other, I have frozen and plan to cure as a ham. I may wait until the humidity goes down so I can avoid the trouble I ran into last time...

And of course, there's the head. Appleman made the wonderful suggestion of braising and then roasting it. It sounded like a great idea, but then I was perplexed by what to braise it in.

I found inspiration looking in the freezer. There were a number of containers full of porchetta stock from the bones of the Christmas party porchetta that I had no idea what I was going to do with. This was the answer.

I slow cooked the head half-covered in the stock and a mixture of the leftover seasonings from the new batch of porchetta, then I put the head on a cast iron and threw it on the grill for a bit to get some smoke and to crisp up.

It worked out really well. I shredded the meat from the cheeks and the ears and snout and chopped it up. it became an unctuous, mass of pulled pork that everyone who tasted it loved. The flavors of fennel and rosemary permeated every bite without dominating and the texture was transcendental in its tenderness.

The pig was definitely a win all around (except for the ribs, which had no meat on them). I don't know the next time I'll be able to do something like this again, but I've certainly eager to braise/roast another head and make wonderful things out of it.

Continue reading "Butchery At Home: The Fourth of July" »

August 2, 2009

Self Promotion: Adbusters

Hipster Girls

Just a quick note that I got another photo in print.

The current issue of Adbusters, a Canadian magazine that critiques consumer culture, features my "Hipster Girls" photo.

You can find the story on their website. I'm not connected to the article at all, although at first it sort of seems that way when reading it.

July 26, 2009

William Eggleston at The Corcoran Gallery

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The reason we went down to DC last weekend was to see the William Eggleston exhibit at The Corcoran Gallery. The event is part of a traveling show sponsored by The Whitney. I missed it in New York last year, largely because I'd never heard of him before I started taking classes at ICP.

Once I had, I realized that Eggleston has deeply influenced everything I've ever tried to do as a photographer without me even knowing it. His focus on everyday details and objects, the 'democratizing' effect that this exhibit was named after is the basis of everything that has inspired me to shoot. But I had no idea. At least not until I heard about him in class.

The work was amazing. Beyond the subjects, which I still cling to when making and viewing photographs, his composition did things I barely understand.

After we walked out of the exhibit, there was a performance art piece, above, in the lobby. These people were singing and screaming and falling down -and up- the stairs. I had no idea of it's 'meaning,' I'm entirely unfamiliar with such things. But it sort of captured how I felt after seeing Eggleston's work: Devastated.

It left me suddenly aware of the 'unknown unknowns' that Donald Rumsfeld spoke of. That is, it made me aware of not just how much I had to learn, but how much I had to learn that I didn't know I had to learn.

To my discredit, I let these things intimidate me. I've barely shot any thing since seeing this exhibit. Admittedly, it's been a hectic, pre-trip week, so it's not all nerves. But I hope to spend some time shooting during my off time while out here and getting over my self-confidence issues.

July 25, 2009

LA: On the Road Again


Last weekend's trip to DC was the start of travel season for me. I just arrived in LA an hour or so ago. This afternoon I'm getting settled in at the hotel and unwinding before the work begins.

I'll, of course, be doing my best to sample the good food around town as time allows. I'll be posting here throughtout the trip, but if you just. Can't. Wait. I have joined the Twitternets and you can find my up to the minute, possibly drunken impressions of every bite of food I take on my feed. Enjoy!

July 12, 2009

A Farmers Market Grows in Bed-Stuy

Malcolm X Blvd. Community Farmers Market

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Yesterday morning, Tammi and I put our time where our mouths are and volunteered at the first market of the season of the Malcolm X Blvd. Community Farmers Market here in Bed-Stuy.

My initial fears of just about anything done in the neighborhood is that it'll be half-assed. I've seen it over and over, people have big ideas but nothing to back it up. But my worries were unfounded. While a little disorganized, the market brought a great turnout of volunteers and what I hope is just the beginning of neighborhood denizens taking advantage of the only farm fresh fruits and vegetables on offer for miles.

The Reverends Jackson, who run this farmers market as a part of the Brooklyn Rescue Mission (more on that later) have managed to bring in some farmers from the Greenmarket circuit this year. Yesterday, folks from Migliorelli Farm offered some great vegetables, including baby fennel, bok choy, various braising greens, Japanese turnips and good selection of fresh fruits.

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Later in the morning, there was a cooking demo where this woman, who I didn't get to meet showed folks how to prepare many of the ingredients on hand.

Another farmer supplied 100 lbs of organic beans to the mission to repackage and sell per pound. Tammi, along with some other volunteers and summer youth workers divvied them out into one pound packs. When I saw the rich, deep colors of the black and the dark red beans, I had to buy some for myself.

In fact, I had to run back home to get a bag to haul back all the veggies that I bought.

Next week more farmers tables will be up as well as someone selling fresh baked bread and artisanal honey, among other things.

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If I'm gushing here, it's because I'm very excited to have something like this in the neighborhood. I've lived in Bed-Stuy for a long time and there has been a dearth of markets offering anything fresh for the last decade. It's about half a mile from my house to any place offering any vegetables that aren't shriveled and moldy. Having this mere blocks away will alter the quality of life in this area for tons of us who have been trekking to Fort Greene or Park Slope or Union Square to get food that has been well cared for.

I'm going to be out of town for a fair portion of the rest of the summer weekends, so I want to do my part to make the market a success by spreading the word as much as I can. I hope to post regularly about which sellers will be coming in and what food will be available.

Stay tuned.

Malcolm X Blvd. Community Farmers Market
Jackie Robinson Park, Malcolm X Blvd and Marion Street
Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn
Saturdays, 8am - 1pm through the summer.

July 10, 2009

New York: A Photographic Album


If I end up a big name photographer 10 years from now, it certainly
won't be based on my skills as a self-promoter.

I've been sitting on some exciting news for a while now and basically
just not getting around to posting about it.

Just a week or so after receiving my copy of the Queens International
, I got my copy of New York: A Photographic Album, which has
about a dozen of my photos in it!

The editor, Gabriela Kogan, contacted me for permission a while ago and I forgot about it.

This is the third book that has used my work. I can't begin to describe how gratifying it is to see my images in print. Even more exciting is when I come across the books in stores. Saint Mark's Books stocks both This New York book and
Untitled.: Street Art in the Counter Culture
, my first publication.

This makes it my favorite book store ever.

June 24, 2009

Butchery With Bryan

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Yesterday, I had the privilege of going behind the counter of Provisions in Fort Greene to photograph some butchery in action. Bryan has shown up here before in his experiments, curing lamb and trying to bring kid goat to the masses. I stop in from time to time just to see what he's been working on.

The other day, I asked if I could come in one day when he was taking something apart and he was awesome enough to allow me to watching dismantle a whole beef leg. It was quite impressive to see.

I'm generally working on a photo project about people working with food, particularly meat. I have no idea where I'm going with it, but this shoot should help me develop it further.

To see the photos, in all their gory details, see the set on Flickr.

June 4, 2009

Amherst: 10th Reunion


Somehow, ten years have passed since I graduated from college. Last weekend I returned to Amherst College for my class reunion. It was my first time on campus since the last reunion, five years ago.

For all my travels, I've only ever lived in two areas in my thirty-odd years. As such, I find myself very tightly bonded to this small town that is so contrary to everywhere else I'm ever drawn to. Returning was comforting, yet jarring.

As a New Yorker, I should be more than a little familiar with the change and progress that transforms the world around us all the time. But seeing it in Amherst fwas slightly traumatic. Dorms were gutted and renovated and the old, decaying bits we thought of as character were replaced with more practical features.

Regardless of the other differences around campus, it was reassuring to take in the same view from the top of Memorial Hill that blew me away as a prospective student 15 years ago.

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May 11, 2009

Published: Queens Museum International

Back of the 7 Train

Self-Promotion: I just received a copy of the catalogue from Queens International 4, the exhibit the QMA hosted earlier this year. In it is the above photo, credited to yours truly. My first paid print image.


March 31, 2009

NC: A Walk in the Woods

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Sunday Morning we wandered down my Aunt's favorite trail out in the woods of Chapel Hill. I took the opportunity to try my hand at nature photography, something I'm not so familiar with. I stuck to the random little details I tend towards, like these mushrooms creeping up the sides of a tree:

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The walk was fun, if terribly muddy after weeks of rain. My sneakers have seen better days...
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March 20, 2009

DUMBO: Night Photography Workshop

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Sunday I attended a workshop sponsored by Adorama on Night Photography. After a couple hours of discussing techniques and settings demonstrated in a gallery show, we went into Brooklyn Bridge Park and shot for a few hours.

I love shooting in DUMBO for the graffiti and the glimpses of old Brooklyn: cobblestones and trolley tracks peeking through cracked pavement. Sadly, most of the rest of the folks in the class were fascinated by the view of the skyline, the river traffic and the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. The bridges are great, but entirely overdone, so I sought out other subjects, like this couple that was sat taking in the view while surrounded by a mob of tripodded camera-slingers.

It was a good experience and I learned a fair amount about shooting in the dark, both technically and stylistically. My photos from the shoot are posted on Flickr.

March 4, 2009

My New Toy


Last week, after my iPod emergency, I finally gave in and bought an iPhone. Expect more cameraphone pics, as I've been playing with it obsessively since I got it. The relevant benefit here is that I'm able to get more restaurant photos now, without the hassle of taking out the SLR every time. See the photos from Pinche Taqueria last week for a few examples.

February 28, 2009

The Travel Bug


31 days. That's the number of days I can tolerate before absolutely
need to get out of town or at least start planning another trip.

Yesterday I booked a flight down to North Carolina to see my aunt. It's all
I can do not to also plan another trip while I'm at it.

I've been thinking of a return to Philly after seeing all the graffiti pieces last weekend at going postal. Seeing the interesting work on display from UWP, Maalic and Morg, I'm really interested in seeing what's gone up since I was there last. Not to mention the food, particularly, Marc Vetri's restaurants Vetri and Osteria, which I always meant to write up, but never did. And of course, a trip to Reading Terminal Market would be wonderful.

Along the topic of graffiti, there's Toronto which has a great Graf scene that I've been wanting to explore again since my first visit there in 2005.

On the other hand, I've hoped to try to explore new places this year and Quebec City has been high on my list of new cities to explore for some time.

That said, the weather in Canada this time of year is worse than it is here in New York, so neither is particularly attractive right now.

Last weekend's trip to DC left Tammi wanting for more, so she's been interested in a return visit pretty soon. And with Shepard Fairey's show in Boston, both of us have been thinking of going up there.

Our March is all booked up before it's even begun, but April is wide open.... Let's see how long will power can hold out.

January 28, 2009

Photo of the Day: Brownstone Blizzard

Brownstone Blizzard
Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. 2003

I've returned to the Better Borough from Aspen just to find snow, sleet and freezing rain in the forecast, just hours away.

I'm so sick of Winter.

January 26, 2009

Photo of the Day: Hearth

The Wine Spot, Aspen. 2009.

I will say this about Aspen, they have plenty of fireplaces available. It's one of those things I don't come by very often, but enjoy a great deal. There are few things more comforting on a cold night than sitting by a fire and drinking a glass of wine.

January 19, 2009

The Red Eye

IMG_7829, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

In a major case of poor timing, I got food poisoning just before my flights out to Aspen. Without going into any graphic details, this meant spending more time in airport bathrooms than Larry Craig. The visible aftermath, above, are the popped blood vessels in my eyes that leave me looking like 'The Killer' as my sister says.

The upshot is that I'll be taking it easy on the food and drink for a day or two, but will have some Aspen posts up later in the week.

January 5, 2009

Season's End


Yesterday, I hauled out our Christmas Tree, marking the end of another holiday season. Usually a pretty hectic season, this one was more so, being preceded by months of Wedding activity, paralleled by numerous work projects and, now, followed by a month on the road between a conference in San Francisco and another sojourn to Aspen in a few weeks.

That said, I had a fantastic December doing exactly what I wanted to do: cooking for and reveling with those most important to me. In the process, I also began working some of the many new projects I promised myself I would dedicate myself to after the wedding was all done. I spent time learning more about meat and butchering and curing and much of the arcane that I'm perpetually attracted to. Better yet, I took the opportunity to practice some of these new talents.

I don't do resolutions, but if pressed to make one, mine would be to continue what I've been doing over the last few weeks: shooting more, writing more, cooking more, reading more, learning more and applying it as much as possible so I can keep improving what I do.

December 24, 2008

Published: Untitled

IMG_9454, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

In all the hubbub over the last few months, I never got a chance to mention that some of my graffiti photos have been published. The book is called Untitled. Street Art in the Counter Culture. Most of my shots are from the 11 Spring Street project,, which I have posted in my Grand Closing set.

November 30, 2008

We're Married!

IMG_6155, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

It's been over a week and I still don't know what to say. Last Saturday, Tammi and I gathered our closest friends and family to declare our commitment to each other and have the best party we've ever hosted.

Seriously, it was awesome.

More on that as time goes on. Right now, I'm sitting in our apartment in Paris unable to sleep at 2am and finally getting around to doing what I should have a while ago.

Stay tuned for Wedding, Honeymoon and Paris Travel posts.

October 15, 2008

Wedding: Licensed!


Last Friday Morning, Tammi and I braved the bureaucracy of the City of New York, pale flourescent lights and surly city workers to obtain our Marriage License. We're nearly there, which feels great and terrifying at the same time. Terrifying only because there's quite a bit left to do and mere weeks to get it completed.

September 9, 2008

The Upside of Fall

IMG00014.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I can't say I'm particularly happy that summer just blew by this year. With so much going on, I didn't get nearly enough time to relax outside and enjoy the season. But with September here, there are some benefits to cooling weather.

I took advantage of today's dank and rainy weather to tuck into a nice bowl of Pho from Pho 32 in Koreatown. I came across it late in the spring and couldn't bring myself to have soup when it was upwards of 80 degrees out. So, this was my first opportunity to return.

This bowl, the number 4, I believe, has thin slices of beef brisket, flank, tendons and tripe along with noodles. All the different textures of meat and the rich broth were incredibly gratifying. If nothing else, I now know how I will survive the winter ahead.

Continue reading "The Upside of Fall" »

September 2, 2008

San Francisco Photos Posted

IMG_1672, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I'm back from San Francisco and getting settled in back home in Brooklyn. Over the next week or so I'll be posting photos, stories and links about my trip.

In the meantime, I've posted a set on Flickr of SF Photos and as usual, a separate Graffiti set.


August 28, 2008

SF Dispatch: Atari Graffiti

IMG_1348, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Yesterday I saw this piece again for the first time in 6 years. It's a huge wall piece of Atari characters. It's also what I remember as being the first graffiti wall that really caught my interest. Growing up in New York, I've seen graffiti all my life. But seeing this on my first (grown-up) trip to San Francisco, it was the first time I really noticed it.

On all my trips out here since then, I haven't managed to see it again, but this time, I made a point of seeking it out. It's more or less the same as the first time, with some patched up points here. It's a longevity that I generally think of as unusual for graffiti, an aft form that is typically transient. I'm glad it's still there.

July 15, 2008

UltraClay's Summer Vacation

The powers that be have unexpectedly blessed me with an extra week of vacation this year. Given that I've been hoarding my time for the honeymoon (more on that to come), I was a little shocked to find myself suddenly have more time than I know what to do with. It will definitely be the last week of August, but other than that I'm not so sure.

I just spoke to Guyvera, who has some time as well and we've come up with a few options. Clearly food is a priority, but I'm hoping to do a 'road trip' without spending 90% of the time on the road. Maybe that's antithetical to the concept, but as a non-driver, I really want to see more than the inside of a car.

Here's what we've got so far...

•Mid-Atlantic: Philly-Baltimore-DC-NC
•The South: DC-NC-SC-Memphis-New Orleans
•Canadia: Quebec City-Montreal-Toronto
•San Francisco
•Pac NW: Seattle-Vancouver

Keep reading for the run down on each option.

ATL: Robbed Part 2

It's been a month since our room at the Atlanta Marriott Downtown was robbed.

When we discovered it, security came to our room, took our statement and directed us to discuss the issue with management. The manager on site told us not to bother filing a police report and that we should check with the general manager when we got back home. The general manager directed us to their risk management department. The risk management department returned my call once, didn't have the file on hand and said they'd call back. They never did.

Finally, after calling again three or four times, Tom Sislo from Columbia Sussex, the franchise owner told me that, even though he hadn't even seen the report yet, the Innkeeper's Statute absolved them of all responsibility of the theft.

Literally a month after the theft, after speaking to 7 different people on this subject and a number of unreturned calls, I was told that no matter what, the hotel would not accept fault and that apparently it's not in the hotel's interest to investigate this case significantly.

So, there you go. Apparently we should all expect that anything we don't leave in a safe (which isn't provided in the room) will be rummaged through and potentially stolen. Good luck!

June 26, 2008

Today's Brian Lehrer Show

Here's a little last minute self-promotion: I'm going to be on the today's Brian Lehrer Show to discuss the photos I posted in the show's Flickr Group about food and our connection to food.

Brian's show is one of my favorite's on WNYC and I'm honored to be chosen as a guest again.

This morning I spoke with Andrea Bernstein, in for Brian, about a various shots of raw meat I've taken in my travels. These were Photos of the Day, Pollos, Raw, and Meat-Packing - which is why there's no photo in this post...

You can hear the segment here.

June 23, 2008

Another Map: Where I've been

Since I've been posting a bunch of maps lately, what's one more? Here's my Trip Advisor map...

June 16, 2008

SF: California Dreaming

IMG_4639, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Wherever I travel, I consider on some level whether I could live there. I think everyone does to some degree. In some cases, that consideration is as simple as "I hate this place, I could never live there." That's how I feel whenever I head up to the 'burbs in Connecticut. In the case of Paris or London or Tokyo, the question is more wistful. I would love to live there but it's so unlikely and complicated by language and policy that it's more of a dream than anything else.

But San Francisco has a pull for me that's unlike anywhere else. it's different, more realistic, more familiar.
I'm probably just feeling the afterglow from my visit to the Farmers Market this morning. And the bottles of local wine I picked up in the ferry building. Eating and drinking local, sustainable and most importantly quality products doesn't seem to be the luxury it is in New York.

The culture of the area just seems so custom-suited to my interests. I've gone on about the food already, and obviously I'd love to be right in the middle of the biggest craft brewing and wine-growing region in the country. It's also the urban center of the tech industry, which is what has brought me out there for the last several years.

Of course, the ugly is pretty inescapable as well. Junkies camp out on the streets leaving crack and weed smoke wafting through the air. I grew up in New York of the 80's, I have no glamorous visions of such things. It's ugly and dangerous. Nothing good can come of it.

In the end, the chances of me ditching Brooklyn anytime soon are slim. It is my home after all. Even so, as I fly across the country back to New York, I can't help but wish I had more time to get to know San Francisco better.

June 11, 2008

Birthday Dinner at Yoshi's

IMG_3004, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

On Sunday, I turned 31. Like my previous birthday, much of it was spent in the air. Last year we spent most of the day flying to Japan, a trip I blogged pretty extensively.

To celebrate the big day, Tammi and I had dinner at Yoshi's on Fillmore. We had a fantastic meal there, possibly the best I've had all year. After days of delicious, heavy southern foods, we both welcomed a lighter fare.

That said, the dish that sticks with me the most was still fried: Unagi Tempura, a whole eel fillet fried in tempura batter. It was a little difficult to handle with my poor chopstick skills, but it was fantastic.

I also had some uni that had an incredibly complex flavor. I love uni. Your mileage may vary, depending on your tolerance for odd textures. I've lovingly compared it to a wad of snot in the past. it doesn't slide down your throat like an oyster, it sticks to the roof of your mouth, lingering long enough to release every bit of flavor it's got. Tammi's not fond of the stuff, but I love it.

As we shared a selection of fish from Tsukiji Fish Market, I realized that it was already Monday in Tokyo, exactly a year since we blindly wandered the aisles at Tsukiji, trying to avoid being hit by the 'careening' turrets.

After dinner we saw Ahmad Jamal and his band perform at Yoshi's Jazz club. It was a great show.

June 8, 2008

In The Club

IMG_0956, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Last weekend Tammi joined me at the Blind Tiger as I completed my 'entry' into their Connoisseur's Club. I'm very proud. No t-shirt was available just yet, but I'm hoping my plaque will be up by my next visit.

May 28, 2008

The Blind Tiger Connoisseur's Club

IMG_8891, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

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...

April 28, 2008

My First Brooklyn Bike Ride

Yesterday, after buying my new bike out in Red Hook, Tammi and I rode around Brooklyn and then back home. Tammi was my 'wingman,' following behind me on her rollerblades. I was really nervous at first, but managed to get home without incident. I wasn't sure that I'd be riding much when I first decided to get the bike, now I'm planning my next ride for later this week.

I'm heavily resisting joining the bike cult. I will be locking up my bike outside occasionally, I won't be going to any critical mass rallies any time soon.

April 26, 2008

Hair Raising

IMG_0800, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

It's been about 6 months since I cut my hair. I guess that coincided with winter hibernation, because I'm suddenly seeing a bunch of people who haven't seen me since then who are _shocked_ at how short my hair is.

Conversely, I'm amazed at how much it's grown since the cut. I'm psyched to have my mini-fro back. It hasn't looked like this since I was 24.

Photo of the Day: Breeze

Bicycles, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I may be getting a bike tomorrow. This will make Tammi very happy. I'm just hoping to avoid injury. Wish me luck.

January 31, 2008

The Wedding: Venue Booked

IMG_0771, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This morning we signed the contract and booked Gary's Loft for the Wedding in November. This is where it all starts...

See shots of the venue in my Flickr Set.

January 30, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Welcome, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I managed to get back to New York yesterday afternoon without any problems to speak of. I am really happy to be home. I'll be even happier when the week is over and I can finally take some downtime. ::c::

January 27, 2008

Self Promotion: NYE Photos

IMG_6957, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This bit of news is way behind the times, but why not?

New York Magazine used a few of my New Year's Eve photos a few weeks ago in the "Countdown" collage.

Mine are the Cellist (above), the kids posing that I posted on the first, and of course, Tammi.


December 16, 2007

Trimming the Tree

IMG_1485.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Yesterday afternoon Tammi and I bought our first tree for our home together. Instead of trudging out to Fort Greene and going to Gardel's, we discovered that Bread Stuy is selling trees just down the block.

This afternoon, we decorated in our traditional way, to the sounds of Ella, The Jackson 5 and Charlie Brown among others. We dug up the ornaments we've collected from our various travels and a new set of lights and got to it.

I think I'll post a few of these souvenir ornaments, to remember along the line. Every year at least one shatters, and I would love to have a record of them before they go.

December 15, 2007

Drive Failure

Busted Traffic Light, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Just when I was getting ready to start posting some more I run into more technological difficulties.

I am trying very much to avoid freaking out about the fact that my laptop just crashed with at least a year's worth of unbacked up photos. Not to mention email, documents, yadda yadda.

I leave it in the capable hands of the fine folks at Tekserve and hope the irony gods aren't targeting and IT guy who doesn't back up his data...


December 14, 2007

New Hardware

IMG_0877.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Christmas came a couple weeks early this year.

Yesterday I bought a new camera, the Canon 30D. It's my first SLR, which means that everything I shoot is going ot crap for a while. The learning curve is considerable.

I figured I'd start out with some familiar subject matter and there's precious little I've shot more than the Empire State Building.

November 22, 2007

On Our Way

IMG00032.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

After a full day of hearing about traffic and travel nightmares, Tammi and I managed to get to the airport, check in and go through security quickly and smoothly. There's something to be said for traveling late at night to a country that isn't celebrating thanksgiving.

Seriously, of all the record-breaking numbers of travelers moving around the country this weekend, few are actually leaving the country. And that is why this has become a tradition for us.

My laptop is up and running - knock wood- thanks to the fine folks at Tekserve. So hopefully I'll be posting photos and blogs posts along the way. I also plan to get some of the Philly stuff written down soon too.

Happy Thanksgiving.

November 21, 2007

Murphy's Law

IMG00001.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

As is so often the case, technology has chosen the exact worst time to completely collapse on me. With about 24 hours until my flight to Mexico, my laptop has gone haywire on me.

Consequently, there will be a bit of a hiatus until we get back from Mexico City if I can't get this resolved in the next few hours.

November 8, 2007

Eating Good in the Neighborhood?

IMG00205.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I knew it was coming, so eating at Houligan's for the last couple days has been fine. Tonight we're getting taken out for Steak, so I'm hopeful for better fare.

October 27, 2007

How to Lose a Pound and a Half in 10 Minutes

IMG_9434, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

After I got home from Nashville, I did something I hadn't done in 8 years:

I cut my hair.

I've been getting sick of the long hair for a while. It was just getting in the way. I could have trimmed it, but I went a slightly more drastic route. It still needs work. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet, but here it is...

October 23, 2007

Accidental Art

IMG_8714, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I shoot in bars a fair amount. The low light leads to many a blurry shot. Usually it's a total mess and I have to go through 20 shots before I find a shot that's even close to what I intended.

Every now and again I get a shot like this that I love even though it is nothing like I intended.

October 22, 2007

Open For Business

This weekend Tammi and I hosted our first guests at the Apartment. After nearly 7 months, we finally have the place presentable, albeit with some boxes and laundry bags hidden away in corners and crevices.

Saturday night, Robert and Mary allowed us to repay all the wonderful hospitality they've shown us over the years. I came up with a remarkably stress-free meal, which was the biggest surprise. Typically my menus have me sweating away in the kitchen for days before and then throughout the evening.

This time is was mostly a matter of chopping, tossing and sauteing. The most exotic part of the meal was the centerpiece, pork confit that I prepared a week before (more on that later), and all that took was reheating them sticking in the broiler.

The laidback pace was perfect. It left me time to spend relaxing in great company.

Of course there was plenty of food left, so the next day Eric, Marni and Anna came through and hung out over the last of the pork - I saved a batch just for the occasion. Eric picked up some charcuterie from a place in Chelsea I'm definitely going to have to check out.

It was so much fun to spend the weekend at home with friends. I missed that a lot and I'm glad to have the opportunity again.

October 17, 2007

The Digital Shoebox


A couple days ago, I went rummaging through my pre-flickr photos, realizing that I don't really go back to any of my non-posted images very often. I decided to pick some of my better images and post them.

I found quite a few blasts from the past, including shots from festivals, my college reunion and the RNC protests back in 2004. Of course there's a ton of travel photos as well. I finally posted more photos from my trip to Europe with my sister.

I'll break them up into smaller sets as I go through them and deal with proper tagging, for now, check the all out here.

October 3, 2007

Heading Down to Country Town

IMG_6905, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Even though I'll be missing out on Barcelona, I do have a couple trips in the next month or so. In fact, I just heard that I'm going down to Nashville in a few weeks. I've heard that the bbq isn't nearly what it is in Memphis, but I'll see what I can find.

If anyone has suggestions, let me know.

September 23, 2007

The World's Gone Mad


I woke up this morning to find the talking heads on TV discussing Rudy Giuliani's speech to the NRA.

I just don't understand.

I mean, seriously. Strip down all the things that make him one of the most terrible people in the world and it still doesn't make sense. Ignore the fact that he was arguably the most divisive mayor in the city's history. Ignore the fact that before being elected, he led the police union in a riot on the steps of city hall, then made a point of barring any and all protests on the same steps when he was elected.

Ignore the fact that he married his cousin.

Ignore his callous disregard of abuses on the part of the NYPD toward the black community. Ignore that this 'hero' released the irrelevant juvie record of a man murdered by police officers. Ignore that much of the carnage happened on September 11th 2001 because he outfitted his Fire Department with shoddy equipment and because he chose to create an emergency operations base in the only building in the entire city to ever be the target of terrorism.

Ignore every terrible thing that he has done and said in and out of office. Forget all of it.

If I had never stepped foot in New York and all I knew about the man was that he was mayor the day that the towers were attacked and that he carried a bullhorn and soothed many in the city and the country, I would think that he deserves a medal. Maybe even a statue.

I can't fathom thinking that these actions on one day would merit the leadership of the United States of America. Those actions on one day did not make him competent or qualified to lead the free world. It does not mean that suddenly he has an understanding of international politics, domestic issues or the federal tax laws.

It doesn't make any sense to me that this man is really, genuinely considered by anyone to be someone that might deserve a single vote for the presidency.

My faith in American common sense diminishes every day that Giuliani is considered a 'frontrunner,' even this ridiculously early in the primary race.

September 20, 2007

Bye Bye Barcelona

Sagrada Familia 1.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

For the time being, Barcelona will have to remain a memory. Last week I canceled our thanksgiving trip.

While I like to say that this vacation was sacrificed to the Wedding Gods, in truth it was to the much more frightening Responsible Adulthood Gods. These Gods don't leave you alone after the big day. They stalk you for the rest of your life making demands.

For the first time in a while, I have no destination to plan for. There's no lonely planet I need to go out and buy, no place for me to research in the dozens of travel magazines or newspapers I hold onto for just such projects.

I've said for a long time that the only way I make it through the daily routine is by looking to my next destination. Planning my travel has been the counterweight to work and other such nonsense. I guess I'd better find something else to keep everything together before everything falls apart.

August 10, 2007

Deja Vu

Due to a glitch in the matrix that is the the corporate world, I'm going back to LA in a week and a half. This trip is much shorter, only a couple days, but I hope to use the time to catch some of the things I missed last week.

I'll be staying in Glendale, which I'm told is a bit more convenient to the places I might want to go.

If anyone has ideas for where I might want to go, let me know.


August 5, 2007

I Lost My Cellie in El Segundo

Originally uploaded by ultraclay!
With Apologies to A Tribe Called Quest, I did lose my cell phone in the hotel, which is actually in El Segundo.

Thankfully someone turned it in to the Lost and Found. There's something to be said for having a phone no one wants to steal. I had just managed to finally get all my numbers synched across all my devices, I'd have been pissed if I had to do that all over again.

I also discovered how to use my own MP3s as ring tones on the SLVR, which I wondered for ages. I found it on the Interweb posted by someone named UVADaniel. I've reposted it after the jump.

Continue reading "I Lost My Cellie in El Segundo" »

August 4, 2007

Centrally located across from the airport

IMG_8904, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Or something like that. My hotel is really pretty good. It's got a steakhouse as its only restaurant, so I really don't have much alternative to eating steak whenever I feel like it. It's tragic. Really.

The only drawback is that it's directly across from the airport. Like, right there. The pic above was taken from my room. And that's not really an issue for the expected reasons. The windows are thick enough that you barely hear the planes at all.

The problem with being near the airport is that there's nothing worth doing near the airport. As good as the restaurant and bar are at the hotel, I'd really like to hang out somewhere else for a bit.

So far, I haven't gotten to see much of LA this time around. With the exception of a fantastic meal at Musha and a couple hours in Santa Monica the first night I haven't gotten out at all. It's making me a little antsy. The biggest problem is that I just don't know this place well enough to be able to get in the car and go somewhere. The fact that I can't drive is a close second, given that getting in the car requires a second person who's up for whatever I feel like.

Typically, by the time we get back to the hotel, I can't even fathom the idea of considering where to go. I don't know where anything is and unlike most travel, there's little in the way of a central area to go wander around. I may make another trip to Santa Monica just for that, really.

July 19, 2007

We're Getting Married!

We're Getting Married!, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

On Tuesday, July 17, five years after we met, I took Tammi to Gramercy Tavern for an incredible meal. Then I asked her to marry me.

She said yes!

We have few details so far, the tentative plan is to do it next year, early in the summer, preferably in Brooklyn. No idea where or more importantly, what food and what music we'll have there.

Clearly, this will be an adventure. More to come...

June 18, 2007

Return of the JetLag

Well, it's 4:30 in the morning and I'm wide awake again. The only difference is that I actually have work this morning. I'm still pretty tired, but my mind is suddenly active and I figured I might as well get up rather than wake Tammi. So, I'll take the opportunity to put up some of the posts I worked on on the plane.

June 17, 2007

Time Warp

We got on the plane at 5:30pm, Sunday afternoon. We've been in the air for five and a half hours and it's 10am, Sunday morning. New York time, that is. We're probably somewhere over Alaska at this point, I expect.

I'm trying to pass the time without sleeping too much, to cut down on my jet lag. In my perpetual effort to squeeze every last minute of my vacation time, I'm working tomorrow, whenever that is.

I've got another seven and a half hours in the air. I think this may be a losing battle. In the meantime, at least I can catch up on my posts...

June 12, 2007

Harajuku Girls


On multiple recommendations, Tammi and I headed out to Tokyo's Harajuku on Sunday to see the show at Yoyogi Park. Every weekend teenagers into 'cosplay' show up dressed in elaborate outfits, wearing layers of make up and freaky custom contact lenses. They sit out at the entrance to the Meiji shrine and hang out. This has become a tourist attraction and when we got there, at least half the people out there were taking pictures of these kids.

I was very apprehensive about the whole thing at first. My photos of people tend toward the candid. I feel like there's a sort of purity in catching people unaware. Seeing subjects as they are, without the pretense of a pose or a primp, is equal parts honesty and voyeurism. It's real.

Further, I've known more than a few angsty teens in my time who view their outrageous styles as expressions of their true beings and, regardless of how disingenuous as it may have seemed to everyone else, insisted that they did not want everyone's attention.

So the idea of walking up to someone and sticking a camera in their face seemed inappropriate.

I hung back for a bit, shooting from afar, watching the tourists pose with these kids. Then I noticed that all of the cos-play kids were eager to pose. They held up signs, in English to attract attention, they sat through photo after photo as Americans and Italians and everyone else pointed and shot. They loved it and were actually there for the attention.

Out of everything I saw there, that was probably the weirdest thing about the entire experience for me.

June 8, 2007

Wow, Jet-Lag

It's around 4am on our second morning here and we're both up and awake. Neither of us can get back to sleep. Yesterday we got up early on purpose to go out to Tsukiji (more on that later) then napped for a bit and spent the rest of the day on our feet. By 9pm I was nodding off at Brick, a bar in Ginza (more on that later too). Yes, I was nodding off - in a bar. Obviously something was wrong.

We were passed out by 10pm. As tired as I was, I knew I'd sleep the night through. So, much for that. I guess I'll take the time to download the photos I've taken so far.


A couple hours ago we crossed the date line, which means I'm officially 30 years old. We've got just over an hour left until we land and I'm a little too excited to sleep. It's a few minutes to midnight at home, but I can't keep my eyes closed.

I've been passing the time with a little immersion. I went through some Japanese lessons, trying to get a handle on grammatical structure and such. I've also been watching a bunch of anime I haven't seen in years to get used to hearing it spoken. Every now and again I'll hear a word I recognize, but mostly it's outside my reach. I'll just have to get by as best I can.

I've come across an interesting obstacle. Whenever I try to put together a sentence, I find myself thinking Spanish words in the place of Japanese words I don't know. It's an odd thing. Spanish is the only language, besides English that I have more than a passing knowledge of. I've studied it on and off for over 15 years, so it's my default 'other' language.

June 7, 2007

And We're Off...


Today's the day.

We're doing our last minute packing before we head out. I'm adding movies to the ipod so we have entertainment for the long long flight. I got up a little after 6am to start getting ready, call the family and tie up the last few loose ends. We're both really excited to finally be going.

Last night we went out with many friends at ReBar. I had a great time, thanks to everyone who showed up. ReBar was a great space too, I'll be sure to write it up when I come back.

In the meantime, I'll be posting erratically and at totally random hours for the next 10 days or so. Keep an eye out for photos on the flickr stream too!

May 24, 2007

The Birthday Festivities


I make a big deal about my birthday. I always have. The fact that I'm turning 30 this year makes it that much bigger a deal. With two weeks left, I'm still working out the various events marking the end of my 20's. I plan to be out on the town every night for the last week before my birthday.

Tammi's birthday is next week, so her festivities include dinner at Esca and then a joint party in the meat-packing district on Thursday.

Friday evening I'm working. But Todd is having a party I plan to hit up afterwards.

Saturday I'm going to The Brand New Heavies concert with Will at the new Highline Ballroom. He's seen them 3 times in the last year and has had great things to say about them. I'm really looking forward to it.

Sunday is a late night at the office, so no party then.

On Monday, My mom is taking us to Peter Luger. we've got an early reservation, so I'm hoping to go out somewhere afterwards.

Tuesday Eric and I go to CraftSteak, with maybe a post dinner drink at Del Posto.

Finally Wednesday, the day before we head to Tokyo, is the party. I had been thinking about the Pegu Club for a while now. But having gone there recently, it's not so great a fit. Now I'm thinking ReBar, but I haven't been there yet. I think I may swing by there tonight to check it out. Has anyone been there? Let me know what you think in the comments

Thursday morning we fly to Tokyo. I think after a week of parties I shouldn't have too much trouble resting for 14 hours. When we land, I'll be 30 years old.

May 13, 2007

In the Works

I was just talking to Gallo Loco the other day and he mentioned, for the umpteenth time that we should collaborate on a food blog. I decided to start playing with MT and setting up a multi-author blog. It was pretty straightforward.

Now comes the hard part, figuring out the content. It's in the early stages, so who knows what the final product is, but I'll be sure to keep you posted.


May 11, 2007

Habana Outpost Re-Opening Party

LEE, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

If you're looking for me, tomorrow, look no further than Habana Outpost. I plan to spend as much of the afternoon as I can there. I can't wait to sit out and relax over several beers, a cubano and mexican corn.


May 10, 2007

You can't go home again

After putting it off for almost a month, I finally went back to my old place a couple weeks ago to pick up the last few things left. My old landlord, Patrick had been calling me about it. I needed to just get it done. Honestly, I'd been a little apprehensive about going back, in part because of how strange it was to see it emptied out. The orange walls were bare and every sound echoed back at me.

That apartment was my home for 8 years.

When I got there, Patrick and his wife, Gloria were there talking to the guy they brought in to fix up the place. I could hear the same creepy echo from the hall, then I walked in. They had re-painted the apartment a bland off-white. The warm orange glow was gone.

It was so disturbing, it was all I could do to grab the last of my stuff and get out of there.

Patrick and Gloria gave me a ride to the new apartment and in the end it reminded me of the day I was dropped off at college.

May 7, 2007

Europe Trip '02, Part 1


The day after Christmas 2002, I took my sister on a 4 city trip to Europe in an attempt to convince her to spend a semester abroad. It's shocking to anyone who knows me now, but I didn't really travel much before I got out of school. It's pretty much my only regret. In hindsight, I should have seen the world and ditched town every chance I could. I've been making up for lost time ever since. That was motivation number one.

At the time, there were some big upheavals happening at the company where I worked. There were layoffs and reorganizations and no job was secure. In May, we were told that they would let us know whether we would be laid off by the day after Columbus Day, 5 month away. We were also told how much money we would receive if we were to be let go. The only way I could deal with the uncertainty was to consider what I would have done if I got that severance. There was no question. I would have traveled. I mentally planned out 3 months wandering around Western Europe. I hadn't been to Europe since my high school Spanish trip almost a decade before.

As the day approached, it was all I could think about. Every time a user did something stupid or I had to deal with dumb software or I sat through a useless meeting, it popped in my mind. Looking back, that was really when I lost my commitment to that job. When I was told that I would be keeping my job, I resented it for taking my trip away. I resented being put in a position where I was hoping to get the ax. The weekend before we were told, I decided to take matters into my own hands and I booked this trip.

The trip took us to Lisbon, Barcelona, Paris and Madrid. While there, I tasted port for the first time, practiced my Spanish, fell in love with Paris and ate extremely well. I'm digging through my notebooks and photos from the trip. I'll post about it as I track them down.

May 6, 2007

Archival Footage

Spain 6 - Fountain.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Looking through the scans posted Mike and Marni flickr streams, I was inspired to do a little scanning myself. I found what was left of my old portfolio from HS during the move and took them to work months ago. I'm stuck in the office tonight, so I decided to finally get around to it.

This shot is from my high school Spanish trip in 1994. It was my first time to Europe. I think back to how much I enjoyed it and wonder why it took me so long to go back. . . .

I hope to find more of my old photos and get them scanned in, too. Looking back at my old photos, I see some of the same themes that I'm attracted to now: repetition, reflections, shadows, textures. . . . It will be interesting to see what else I've held on to.


April 30, 2007


IMG_5623, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Gothamist picked up this shot for their story on the 2 transit workers killed in the last week. I took it when we were heading out to the Brooklyn Half Marathon a couple weeks back.

April 26, 2007


On Tuesday, I had a wisdom tooth removed. I wasn't too concerned about it beforehand because the last wisdom teeth I had removed came out fine. I didn't even need to take the painkillers they prescribed me.

What I hadn't really thought about was that it was almost 11 years ago when I had the two back right teeth taken out. I was 19 and apparently too dumb to feel pain. That's no longer a problem.

Continue reading "Ouch" »

April 4, 2007

Common Grounds on BR

After a bit of a hiatus, I'm writing again for the Brooklyn Record. In addition to my usual beer stories, I'll be doing the Bed-Stuy beat, as I explore the neighborhood more.

Yesterday, my piece on Common Grounds went up. I'm working on some more restaurant and bar reviews as well.

Also see my post on the weekend service changes on the A Train.

March 22, 2007

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.

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March 12, 2007

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.

March 10, 2007

The Move: wading through the past

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...

March 6, 2007


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.


February 28, 2007

The Apartment Hunt: Accepted!


This afternoon we were notified that our application, which included references from our bosses, our landlords, 2 months of bank statements and credit checks was accepted. This weekend we'll meet, sign the lease and pay our fee and rent.

I'm sort of totally shocked that this happened so quickly. I'm typically the skeptical, conservative one. I couldn't imagine going with the second place we saw. But here we are. After the paperwork is signed, we get to the big part: The Move.

I need to buy a shredder. I've probably got 8 year old mail sitting in my closets somewhere. I'm going to have to call in the Salvation Army to pick up all the stuff I'll be donating.

And then there's the apartment. Since it's empty, we'll have the opportunity to get in there before April 1st to clean up, to paint the rooms and to set things up before we start moving our stuff in. We have to figure out how we're going to pay rent, how we're going to set up the entertainment system, how we're going to set up our network, which washer and dryer we're going to get... everything.

It also means that we'll be able to start moving in before the first. We'll need to figure out how we're moving too. A company or a man with a van.

This is going to be the real challenge. I hate moving. There's a reason I've lived in the same place for nearly 8 years.

Stay tuned...


Continue reading "The Apartment Hunt: Accepted!" »

February 26, 2007

The Apartment Hunt: The hard sell


We're both pretty convinced about this now. This evening Tammi went back to get a better look at the place. She shot some more photos of it and looked at the basement. She's sold. I'm sold. So why is the real estate agent still shoving it down our throats?

This is the first time I've dealt with corcoran and I have to say it's not something I hope to do again. The apartment is all we could have asked for, we're ready to move along with the process, we're filling out the applications. Yet every interaction we have with the broker, we're reminded of how desirable the apartment is and that other people are still seeing it.

Never mind the 12% broker fee(!), that's irritating enough. So are all the references and extra information that we're required to provide. But the incessant scare tactics and bullying piss me off. You don't get to work at the biggest brokerages in the city by being passive, but this is too aggressive. Now that Tammi's sold on the place, she's afraid that someone is going to jump in and scoop it out from under us, because that's what our broker has been not-so-subtly hinting.

(rant continues after the jump)

Continue reading "The Apartment Hunt: The hard sell" »

Death in the Family

Death freaks me out.

That's hardly unusual, I suppose, not many people are really comfortable about it. But I've never really been able to deal with death, really. I don't know how to be there for people who have lost loved ones largely because I never figured out what I'd want.

Thankfully, I haven't had much need to deal with death. The major loss in my life was when my grandmother died, back in 1995. I was 18 and had just gone away to college a month or so earlier. To this day I don't think I've really dealt with it. Occasionally I'll look at myself and see how much I got from her. She was a teacher and instilled a curiosity in me that is at the root of all of my obsessions. I wonder what I could have learned from her if I'd known her as an adult.

Two weeks ago my grandmother's sister Hyacinth died. She had a heart attack and died in her sleep Valentine's day morning lying with her husband of 50 years. She was 78.

(more after the jump)

Continue reading "Death in the Family" »

February 25, 2007

The Move: The Apartment Hunt begins


This weekend Tammi and I began our apartment hunt. After 3 years together, we're going to move in together. We're looking to move in the next few months, so we had planned on seeing dozens of places in the next few weeks. We have pretty particular requirements, since we both want to stay in a brownstone and we want a backyard and we want 2 bedrooms.

Despite what people say about New York, the backyard isn't so hard. Pretty much every brownstone has a garden floor with backyard access. Given about 100 houses to a block in the relatively large area of Bed-Stuy, odds are some of those are going to be for rent.

The problem is, I already live in a garden apartment. I love it. I've been there for more than 7 years. It's just not big enough. We need a second bedroom. That makes things more complicated.

Most brownstones fall within the same specs. They usually have the same or similar layouts, so finding an apartment with a second bedroom is usually going to mean one of three things: small rooms, an extension on the house or a duplex.

Continue reading "The Move: The Apartment Hunt begins" »

February 10, 2007

Seasonally Affected


I can’t take this cold anymore. It’s driving me crazy. Gothamist says that yesterday made a week that we’ve had temperatures below normal. Before that I was 8,000 feet up where this is normal weather. I don’t know how people live like this. I wear layers and layers of clothing. I'm carrying 20 extra lbs of clothing on me at any given time.

I hate it. I have feathers all over everything I wear because of my new down coat. I'm getting stir crazy from spending all my time indoors.

I'm ready for spring.

February 6, 2007

My Maps so far...

create your own visited countries map or vertaling Duits Nederlands

create your own visited states map or check out these Google Hacks.

February 3, 2007

The Birthday Trip: Eating Japan

First and foremost, there's the food. So far, this is what I have my eye on...

Sushi. I used to east sushi a lot. Not so much these days. It's not that I don't like it anymore, it's just that it gets repetitive after a while. Whether it's Nobu or Terriyaki Boy, fish on rice, fish in a roll, or just plain fish starts to bore me. I will of course, be eating sushi while in Japan, but I expect to eat a lot more than that.

Izakaya: I love bar food. Wherever you go, you find some of the tastiest (and most economical) food in casual bar settings. In New York we have some great izakaya around St. Mark's place in the East Village. I'm what you might call an adventurous eater, so anyplace I can get skewers of grilled chicken hearts or raw wasabi octopus appeals to me. I'll be hitting up the local spots a lot in the next few months to start preparing my palate.

Natto: I've heard that in Kyoto I can find Natto, a dish made of fermented soy beans. I don't know why this intrigues me, but I want to try it at least once. Apparently it's very stinky.

I've heard that the Tsukiji Fish Market is a must see. I'm not sure if I can manage to get up quite so early, but we'll see.

Continue reading "The Birthday Trip: Eating Japan" »

The Birthday Trip: Turning 30 Abroad

I turned 26 on an airplane. I was going to Paris and changed planes in Amsterdam. I still haven't seen any more of Holland than the airport, but the experience of waking up in a new country at a new age was amazing. We had an hour or two between flights, I spent it wandering around Schipol, listening to the announcements. "Flight 123 to Tehran is boarding at Gate 23." and "Flight 987 to Dar Es Salaam, boarding at Gate 89."

It's one of those birthdays I still remember clearly to this day. This summer I turn 30 and would like to have a similarly new experience.

Here's the short-ish list of places I was considering:

•Thailand & Singapore
•BeNeLux (Belgium/Netherlands/Luxumbourg)
•Morocco & Spain

I think I've settled on Japan, a country I've wanted to see since I went through my anime phase around when I got out of college, 7-8 years ago. Nothing is set in stone, but that's the plan, tentatively.
I have about a week set aside, so I'm hoping to spend most of the time in Tokyo with a couple days to see Kyoto.

I'll be posting regularly about what I want to see, where I want to go and what I want to eat while I'm out there.

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