February 19, 2011

Hong Kong: Darlie

_MG_7224 - Version 2

With all the flights between Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong and The Philippines, we ended up needing to replace toiletries during an overnight stopover. Tammi found a Darlie toothbrush, the descendant of the Darkie brand and just had to get it. I had never heard the story before, but she had. Apparently, back in the day, this brand had a top hat sporting Al Jolson-style logo, seen here. After the obvious uproar, they changed it to Darlie and adjusted the logo, although apparently in Chinese, the name of the brand is still "Black Person."

January 8, 2010

Beaten by the hordes

IMG_3748 - Version 2

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.

Seattle: Fog

_MG_3369 - Version 2

Nearly every morning I was in Seattle, the fog enveloped the waterfront. I waded through it one day and took the ferry out to West Seattle. As we pulled out of the dock, I got to see if from afar. It looked like a band across the lower section of downtown, with everything above perfectly clear.


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 29, 2009

Train Locator Console


There are (rightly) many complaints about the MTA these days, particularly with draconian cuts in service looming. My neighborhood in particular is about to be totally screwed by some of the cuts in bus routes.

That said, this is pretty awesome : The Train Locator Console lets you know where all the trains are along the entire line. No more peering into the abyss of train tunnel, squinting for a glimmer of light reflecting off the tracks. Of course, this is just on the L Train and the price its riders paid for these spiffy new features was several years of service interruptions and weekend shuttle buses.

Hopefully one day the MTA will be managed and funded properly enough to have these kinds of features throughout the system. As of right now, that sort of wide-scale infrastructure investment seems unlikely to happen any time soon.

December 8, 2009


_MG_7165 - Version 3

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...

October 30, 2009

Feeling Autumnal


I can't say I've ever been fond of Fall. The days are shorter, the weather is colder and historically, it was the time to go back to school and spend less time playing. These days, there isn't a ton of time for play one way or the other, but work (day job and otherwise) does seem to intensify around this time or year. Everything seems busier and busier by the day, with very little time to figure out what's been done.

I'm trying to stop to take a breath from time to time to appreciate the beauty that the season has to offer and remember that all this work is an investment in future payoffs.

September 29, 2009

Seattle: The Gum Wall


On Post Alley, down below Pike Market, is this particularly odd (and sort of gross) spectacle: The Gum Wall.

I'm not sure that more needs to be said about it. It's pretty fascinating to look at though. People put some real effort into 'sculpting' shapes, words and designs out of chewed gum. It's a fairly amazing sight.

July 28, 2009

LA Observations: Power Lines

_MG_5343 - Version 2

Most power and phone lines in New York have been underground for well over a decade. So long that I tend to forget that the entire world hasn't done the same. In LA, these towers are everywhere, cutting through the landscape for miles.

April 26, 2009

That New Train Smell


Good signs from the MTA are few and far between, so I'm going to hope that this is one of them. A couple weeks ago, while standing on the platform at Jay Street, this brand-spanking new train parked at the Manhattan-bound A/C track for a few minutes.

It was pristine. The bench seats were still covered in plastic and the cars looked unsullied by the hazings of rush hour.

Now, this was the only sign I've seen of such a thing on my line, but here's hoping...

March 12, 2009

The MTA's March Madness


I don't think I'm going to lose any friends by calling the MTA a bunch of bastards. I'm not the first and I won't be the last to speak ill of the folks running Transit, so I'll minimize my invective.

For the entire month of March, the A Train is being replaced by shuttle service for over 3 miles of its route in Brooklyn. From Jay Street to Utica Avenue. Practically, this means that trying to get anywhere downtown or into Manhattan is going to be a clusterfuck for another 4 weekends. They've done this before and it has been profoundly unpleasant.

The upshot of this for me is that these are 'Williamsburg' weekends, as heading in that direction by bus or bike is a far better experience than even attempting to navigate the foolishness on Fulton Street.

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...

April 28, 2008

Flawed Filter?

IMG_9249, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I've found an issue with the filter on my 35mm lens where bright lights in dark places reflect elsewhere in the shot. The obvious first step is to replace the filter, but I have no reason to believe it's flawed (other than images like this). Has anyone seen this before? ::c::

February 22, 2008

Winter Storm

IMG00667.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Oy. More snow. This time I was on the road this time out in CT. It wasn't a lot of fun, but ultimately I managed to get home without too much of a hassle. ::c::

February 8, 2008

Flickr Stats

Flickr Stats, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I just found a new Flickr feature called Flickr Stats. Basically it provides analytics data for your flickr stream including which photos got the most views yesterday and what sites refer to you images. It's a pretty cool toy that I'll be wasting my time with for a while, so I thought I'd share.

You can find it under the 'You' menu, right below Your Favorites.

January 29, 2008

Words of Wisdom...

"Monday's just like a Friday, except we got to work tomorrow."

-The (very drunk) Hillbillies down the bar at Little Annie's

December 20, 2007

Photo of the Day: Toothbrush Holders

IMG_2527.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Union Square Holiday Market, NYC.

November 6, 2007

'Tis the Season?

IMG_9507, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I really can't believe that the holiday shopping season is starting already. Last week I heard a story about Walmart starting their Christmas sales with the first weekend of November, I didn't realize that everyone else would be following suit. How ridiculous.

October 30, 2007

Shooting in the City

IMG_9470, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I went for a short walk with the camera during my lunch break and stumbled upon a giant crowd in front of the NYPL Main Branch. I was across the street when about 100 people with cameras darted downtown after a woman in a wedding dress. I thought about crossing the street to get a better look, but decided I really didn't care enough to deal with the crowd. I guess I'll never make it as a paparazzo.

I gather that it was more filming for the Sex in the City movie...

October 29, 2007

What is This?

IMG_8389, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Ok, someone please answer this for me. I have no idea what this is but I've noticed them out on the top of poles on the street. I was talking to some folks the other day and we were trying to figure out what it was. Someone suggested asking the internet, so here we are...

Anyone? Anyone?

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 16, 2007

Riding The Rails

I love the internet because no matter how obsessed you are with something, there's someone out there who has you beat. I have a thing for subways. The trains, the logos, the maps, everything. I find it all pretty interesting. I just found a site through a group on Flickr that let's you collect the logos of all the subway systems you've been on. Above are my 21, which I find to be a respectable number, certainly more than I expected...

October 9, 2007

Fall Has Returned

IMG_6867, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

And like -that- it's Autumn again.

Yesterday Tammi, Dorla and I spent all afternoon sitting outside hanging out and drinking at The Red Lion, today, I'm wishing I had brought my jacket up to Connecticut. Seemingly this is it, I can't imagine it's really going to go back up to the 80's again before the end of the year. We'll see.

October 8, 2007

84 Degrees in October

IMG_7649, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

There are Halloween decorations out and it's 84 degrees. I've never been a fan of fall, so I'm not complaining, but it is a bit surreal.

October 2, 2007

Showing Some Skin

Jolie's Roast Pork, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This post is entirely gratuitous. I just love crispy, crackly pork skin.

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.

August 22, 2007

Moo Cards

IMG_3470 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I got these narrow business cards printed up through Flickr and I've been showing these off to everyone I can. I first heard of them a few months ago when I met some Flickr folks at Luna Park's show in Brooklyn Heights. Both Luna and C-Monster had cards of their own printed up. As soon as I had a chance I had to get some of my own cards done.

The company that does it is called Moo and their prices are incredibly economical, priced at $20 for 100 cards. The cardstock is great quality and the images come out perfectly crisp. The only problem I had was with the shipping, mine got lost in the mail, which meant I had to wait two weeks before being able to report them as having not arrived before they'd send out another set. The second set got there very quickly, even though it was coming from the UK.

I've been going through my shots and cropping them for the cards. I plan to put these cropped shots to other uses here on the blog as well.

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" »

June 28, 2007

Tagger Bag

IMG_4769, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

For my birthday, Tammi got me this this totally kick-ass bag we found at Tokyu Hands on our last day in Japan.

Tagger Bags are sold in pieces, with the straps, the bags and the flaps completely interchangeable.

Besides the preset designs, like the stylized Imperial flag design, they also have plain flaps open to be tagged up as much as you want.

A few years ago Tammi managed to get one of my graffiti pics put on a messenger bag she gave me for Christmas. It was brilliant and I'm psyched that someone else had a similar idea. I may have to order some more flaps at some point.

June 23, 2007

Japanese Ear Cleaner

Japanese Ear Cleaner, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Did you know there are two types of earwax?

From Wikipedia:
"There are two distinct genetically determined types of earwax: the wet type, which is dominant, and the dry type, which is recessive. Asians and Native Americans are more likely to have the dry type of cerumen (grey and flaky), whereas Caucasians and Africans are more likely to have the wet type (honey-brown to dark-brown and moist). Cerumen type has been used by anthropologists to track human migratory patterns, such as those of the Inuit."

I heard about this on The World a while back and was fascinated by the concept.

I had no idea that there was more than one type of earwax before hearing that story. It's one of those things I think most people presume is the same in everyone else.

The reporter talks about a childhood ritual common in Chinese families at least, where her mother scraped the hard, crunchy earwax out of her ear with a tiny spoon.

I decided I had to track down one of these ear cleaners myself while we were in Japan. I got this from a rather large selection in the hygiene section at Tokyu Hands in Shinjuku, Tokyo. I didn't see any shaped like a spoon, but there was a pretty large variety, many much more ornate than this little one.

June 18, 2007

Kyoto: ATMs

All throughout Japan, we found that there weren't as many banks as we see at home. There certainly are not so many that accept American bank cards.

Well, Kyoto has even fewer. In fact, I only found one. After walking in the rain for nearly an hour. With a bar tab waiting to get paid.

Lesson learned: stock up on your yen.

June 11, 2007

Random Observations, Part 2

I can't get to from here, only, which is in Japanese.

April 24, 2007

Photo of the Day: Feeling the Music

IMG_2528, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

dba, Frenchman Street, New Orleans. 2005.

February 8, 2007

Toronto: The Sunday Lime

iflute?, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Summer 2005: Tammi and I took a long weekend out to Toronto. The timing was perfect. The weather was gorgeous and there just happened to be a graffiti festival on Queen Street. We wandered about and I shot some of the fresh art up on the walls.
Sunday afternoon, we headed back to Queen to catch the last of the festival. We could hear music from a block away. It was coming from a bar called Big Papa's Bordello. In the fenced off garden space, we could see musicians playing as the DJ spun beats.

This was the bar's Sunday ritual, the Sunday Lime. Musicians from a group called The iDrum Collective played percussion over what Tammi called 'soulful house.' I don't know from House music, but this wasn't like any I'd heard before. It was a mix of funk and soul and the songs just flowed into each other. What drew me in the most was the musicians. There wasn't much structure to the group, The flowed in and out just like the music. They came and walked off periodically. They switched instruments from time to time, one guy drummed for a while, then took out a trumpet and played that.

A little before we left, an older man came in and hung out for a few minutes. He chat with the others for a bit, then he took out his flute. He hooked up his mic and caught the beat. As he played, he meandered through the garden passing us by, bending and moving with his lilting tune.

When he was ready for his solo, he waved his arm with a flair.
"Just like that." The band held the beat and the old man took over.

He finished, packed up his flute, said his goodbyes and left.

Continue reading "Toronto: The Sunday Lime" »

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