January 30, 2012

Simple Things

The perfect snack, breakfast or addition to a meal. A wonderful friend recently (re)introduced me to the simplicity and perfection of taking a ripe avocado sliced with a fresh lime squeezed over the top and dash of sea salt... Perfect. I'm hooked.Walking along the Boat Pond recently, the sky turned a beautiful fiery red. I never get tired of Central Park.

January 27, 2012

Needle in a Haystack

Last night my friend Laura and I experienced another evening of bad art. Hitting Chelsea galleries is a hoot, but rarely results in an inspiring night. Finding good art is like finding a needle in a haystack.

The first gallery offered tents that were scented. One smelled like grass, another like exotic spices and another like an overly perfumed old lady from Sarasota. Nothing inside the tents, just aroma. "Scent sculptures", this made us laugh. Here's an idea: For a LOT less money, go to Costco, buy a simple outdoor party tent ($100, tops) and put a scented candle in it. There, you made art.

Another gallery. Tiny clay sculptures mounted on flimsy wire sticking out of the wall. Amateurish and childlike. Such bullshit.

Laura focuses in on a brilliant piece

Now here's pure genius. This piece was entitled "Brick Girl". Made of two bricks, wool and ponytail holders. Yours for only $1800. Seriously?

We both agreed that we are going to have t-shirts made up with the word "Really?" silk screened on the front in big letters. When we go to such a show, we'll introduce ourselves to the artist and without saying a word, point to our shirts. Mouth "Really?" silently.

The highlight of the evening was great Thai food and good conversation around the corner afterward.

January 25, 2012

The Worthwhile Journey

I hopped on the A train yesterday, transferring to the L train, venturing out to Bushwick into an industrial area deep in Brooklyn. Normally I wouldn't put forth so much effort (sad to say) but I felt compelled to create something. I didn't want to just shoot someone for the sake of shooting. Besides, I was promised that if I made the long hike, a reward of great images was guaranteed. The train took well over and hour, followed by a 10-minute walk carrying 35lbs of cameras, lights and stands. I mumbled to myself "this better be worth it" as I trekked through the rain.
Walking into the stark, sparsely furnished apartment I had serious reservations. What was I to do in a bare apartment? After the makeup was applied and the bits of clothing decided on, we began to shoot. Within the first 20 frames I knew the journey was worth the effort. Kori never disappoints. Ever. She never gets tired and has boundless energy. I'm so appreciative. And, as a bonus, we went to a nearby spot afterwards for my favorite tacos. A perfect afternoon.

January 23, 2012

Cat & Dog

West Village Cat

Happy dog

I received no positive feedback on my last "sports" post. I did however receive some grief via phone calls and emails. Seems that a lot of people really enjoy sports. Who knew? Even though a blog is often used to express one's thoughts, I suppose I should keep certain opinions to myself.

I'm sorry if I offended anyone. I'm also sorry to all those creatively challenged people who don't have anything more interesting to do than stare at a box for 4 hours watching grown men chase each other around. But hey, to each his own.

Hey, that didn't sound like a sincere apology.... Really? Sorry.

January 21, 2012

Sports vs Models

Lovely Sophie. Photographed during a football game.

Today my friend Kristi called and asked (jokingly) where I was going to watch the big Giants game Sunday night. I told her (sarcastically) that I had already purchased a helmet and matching jersey for the event and was researching the best sports bars with giant screen TVs to watch the game.

The other night while on my way to have dinner with friends, I happened to walk by a large sports bar on 33rd Street. Hearing screaming, I paused in front of the window, peering in as if I were watching some fraternal ritual. Everyone was pointing and yelling at six large screen TVs hanging from the ceiling. These were mostly grown men, between the ages of 25 and 60, most appeared drunk and nearly all of them wore blue jerseys or hats with emblems on them. I suddenly felt a rush of euphoric superiority. Who are these goons? Is it really that fun to sit and watch 22 guys in tight pants chase around a piece of inflated leather for four+ hours? Do these men have lives? Families? Wives? Do they have a single creative bone in their bodies? Obviously not. How could anyone enjoy this weird testosterone-fueled clusterfuck? None of my friends watch this crap. Then again, they're all smart, creative types. I'm truly baffled. On the news after the last game I saw interviews from local bars. Most of the people they spoke with had very thick New Jersey accents and sounded like they had the IQ of a mildly retarded person. "Yeah...I'd give my whole friggin week's paycheck to get a ticket to the next game," one woman screamed. Then, "Go Giants!" Thrusting her fist into the air. All the other jersey-clad retards cheered in unison.

I've tried to watch a game maybe twice. I got about 17 minutes in each time and had to run out of the room.

Here's a test: For all the artistically challenged bozos who actually like watching football, basketball, baseball or any other sport, do this: Find a pretty girl, a model, maybe even your wife or girlfriend, borrow a digital camera from a friend and get a hotel room. Now, for way LESS than a ticket to a game (including those 10 beers and travel) you can pay her modeling fee, pay for the room and still have enough money left over to eat dinner. Now, aim the camera at her and take some nice photos. It's fun, really. And, I bet if you ever actually do this, you'll NEVER toss your money down the toilet on some douchebag football game again. I promise you, it's FAR more fun than hanging around with 200 drunk assholes screaming at a TV.

Or, if that doesn't work, try this, go to a gallery, see a great movie, go see a band.... shit, for that matter, read a classic book. I promise there are many more cool and fun things to do than watching a bunch of men slam their heads together chasing around a stupid ball.

Lastly, long ago a friend who loved sports called me a "homo" for not liking football. I laughed and said he was the one watching a bunch of guys in tight pants grabbing each other for 4 hours, so who's calling who the homo?

If I'm watching sports, I'm watching women's gymnastics.

January 19, 2012

More City Snaps

I think I posted this awhile ago. Most people just make little posters for lost animals.

Hazy morning on the West Side.

There was a store on 7th Ave. with this most inappropriate sign: "30%-70% Off Most Shit"? I think it's gone now. At least the sign is anyway.

January 17, 2012

Various Wonders and Curiosities

I really love Fuji apples. When I can drag myself out of my apartment early enough on Saturday mornings, I go to the local farmers market and stock up on them, buying 10 lbs or so. Incredibly sweet and crisp, better than candy.

Stepping onto the subway I nearly stepped on this origami bird lying on the floor. I Googled "origami birds" and discovered this is the most common shape, the crane.

Did someone in the above apartment leave his shoes there on purpose? Are these an offering for whomever might want them? Curious sight.

The "low pants" thing is getting out of control.

January 15, 2012


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did.” ~ Mark Twain

Nice stenciling job in the Village.

Curious passenger on 8th Ave.

She smiled as if she knew me.

New window treatment in progress, 6th Ave.

January 13, 2012

The Doodle

Today a friend and I went to the Ihop in "Da Bronx." It wasn't crowded but we quickly made the observation that we were the only white people in the place, including all customers and staff. Not that we cared, it was just an observation. We waited an unusually long time for service and finally a waiter helped us with our order. As we sat there in comfortable silence I began to doodle on the upside down placemat. As I did, I remembered how much I loved to draw one summer as a kid and how I never took it past the most basic, amateurish point. Most everything I've tried to master, such as wire bending, playing piano, painting, playing tablas (Indian drums), whittling wood, some European flute thing I bought once, the yo-yo, playing harmonica and even golf (twice, maybe), all faded away quickly due to frustration. I thought all of these things would be somewhat easy and I fully expected to master each of them very quickly. I obviously didn't. With some, such as guitar playing, I got to the point where I could play a tune to a friend without them wincing... or perhaps they did but were good at hiding it.

Doodling on the place mat made me extremely aware of my past lack of commitment. My inability to put forth the effort it takes to overcome the frustrations and diligence of practice and the perseverance it takes to be good at anything. I gave up soon enough on these interests for my ego to be saved thinking I would be lousy at them soon after the first stroke of the pencil or toot of that flute. Not giving it long enough to be considered a failure.

In my defense, I did pursue photography and stuck with it with the zeal and passion like nothing else I've ever even come close to sticking with. I guess that's something. I can't imagine life without taking photographs.

Maybe you only get one thing you can do well. Another thing would take away from that singular talent and would ultimately compromise it. So, maybe it is best that I sucked at all those other things. Perhaps that's it, you only get to do one thing well.

As we were getting ready to leave the waiter looked down and said, "I'm gonna keep that when you leave." I was embarrassed and put it in my bag.

January 11, 2012

New Yorkers Agree!

While home over the holidays I stopped by the cemetery to see my mother's gravestone, which I hadn't seen yet. My father picked it out and helped with the design. The stone carving people did a great job. It's simple, tasteful and mom would be proud.

I still can't wrap my head around the fact that she's not here anymore.

I was expecting a semi-shit storm from my last post regarding friends and family, mumbling about my negative attitude. I heard nothing from anyone. Then, friends from here in the city started calling me saying they had the EXACT same experience. They also moved here from some boring place and nobody came to visit them either. Are we all unwanted runaways that people are glad to be rid of and regret our visits? Or, are our loved ones back home just uncaring, phobic people too scared or too lazy to make the trek? Unanimously we all think the latter. My best friend since high school has never set foot in the city since I've lived here. How is that possible?

January 5, 2012

My Holiday Joy

I'm back from my journey(s). First I went to Virginia to spend some time with my family and friends. A bit stressful for many reasons. It's very hard (and annoying) to try to coordinate around other people's schedules. When they work, when they can fit me in for a visit, when they prefer to eat and sleep, what restaurants they like. On top of that, I cracked a tooth eating a chocolate chip cookie of all things. Went to a dentist who took an X-ray, frowned and said, "You need a root canal and a crown. It'll be $2991.00." Lovely. Or, I can have it yanked out of my head for around $100. Either way, he let me know it's going to start hurting soon. I've weighed my options and I'm thinking I might have it pulled. Then I'll go to Home Depot, buy a small piece of wood, carve a small bicuspid out of it and paint it white... Like George Washington. Really? They can't fix a small molar for under 3 grand?

Anyway, it's very apparent that I annoy a few people on my visits home so I'll try to work on that this year (good luck with that). Or, perhaps those who mumble under their breath about my "attitude" should consider that for the past 17+ years it's always me that comes to see them. I don't see any of my friends or family dragging 100lbs of crap 300 miles to visit me. Very few have ever even attempted a trip to "big and scary" New York City. Come to think of it, no one has ever come solely for a visit except my friend Amber from Vancouver. The few that have come, incorporated seeing me into another reason to be here, such as work or seeing a Broadway show.
And then they scratch their heads and wonder about my "negative" attitude and annoyed disposition. It's easy to point fingers when you're sitting in your own comfy house with your thumb up your ass doing things on your own schedule. Try living out of a suitcase for a week waiting on people to make time for you. And, who make very little effort comparatively.

Here's a challenge to all: Get off your fat, lazy, boring, mundane, suburban asses, pack a bag, drag it up to NYC on a bus, train or plane, followed by an hour long subway ride up to the Dominican ghetto and 7+ hours later show me your cheery attitude when someone can't fit you into their demanding schedule.
Assholes! Yes, that means you....

On a brighter note. On the 29th I flew down to Atlanta where I met with some non-boring adventuresome friends and drove up through Kentucky and Tennessee. We made plans to go to a few churches way off the beaten path. My friend Kim did a spectacular job coordinating the whole thing. The first two services we watched were like nothing I'd ever seen before. Within 5 minutes the music was blaring, feet were stomping, tamborines pounded and people were wailing in tongues. Soon, the snakes were out of their boxes. Some services were very warm and inviting. Others were more ritualistic and dark. From a photojournalism standpoint all of it was amazing.

I already feel the need to go back.