Archive for the 'personal' Category

European Vacation ’09

…or, what I’ve been up to this summer…

I’ve been neglecting the blog lately, though I am tentatively sketching out big plans for its future… some day, (probably in the fall), I’ll get back to this.

But, in way of an update, Lisa finally posted all of her photos from our little European adventure a couple of weeks ago, see below. 10 days with Jason and Cristen in Paris, Amsterdam, the Rhineland, Bavaria and Berlin.

Berlin is an amazingly weird place — I feel like we only scratched the surface, I must go back.

My iPhone-only photos are on flickr »

Beehive vs. Chompers: V.P. Debate Party

V.P. Debate Party

Invitation design for our party, Thursday night.

I couldn’t resist – Lisa and I are hosting a V.P. Debate party this Thursday night, so I whipped this invite up. The idea was to play up two of the more striking elements of the candidates’ appearance: Sarah Palin’s beehive and eyewear, and Joe Biden’s abnormally large teeth.

The result is kind of awkward but fun. It looks like an elongated John Kerry-sized head, but it’s not worth fussing with the proportions at this point. Just go with it… I did.

UPDATE: The always charming Emily pointed out a rather obvious spelling mistake in the design above. Can you find it?

What Could Possibly Make Someone Want to Leave New York and Move to Buffalo?

Buffalo #1
Lisa’s tattoo confirms that Buffalo is indeed #1.

New York magazine has an interesting feature on New Yorkers moving to Buffalo, NY, the very city that Lisa and I were raised in and subsequently couldn’t wait to leave from after high school.

Some people will read this as a story of defeat. They will look at Herbeck and Cloyd and think, They came; they couldn’t cut it; good riddance. That’s also a familiar New York narrative, one that’s especially comforting to those of us who stay and stick it out. Because, sure, stained glass and spare bedrooms are nice and all, but no one moves to New York because they think they’re going to get a great bargain on an apartment. You move here because you want to live in New York City.

The writer then goes on to say that this is not a story of defeat, but rather an opportunity:

But New York, for all its mythology, is no longer a frontier. Buffalo is a frontier. And when you think of the actual frontier, you’ll recall that no one ever packed up and moved West to a gold-rush town because they heard it had really good local theater.

Um, okay… Truth is, I know more former 716 area coders that are now in 212 or 718. But, it’s a provoking premise for a city famous for little more than snow and four consecutive failed Superbowl bids.

1 Year in New York City

Brooklyn Bridge 5

Lisa and I on the Brooklyn Bridge, taken some time in 2004. (I realize that it was not taken in the past year, but it’s a great photo!)

I can’t let this pass without a mention – last Friday was the 1-year anniversary of our move from Cambridge to Brooklyn. Since then, we’ve started new jobs, reconnected with old friends and made new ones, and had an all-around great time.

I miss Boston from time to time, but couldn’t be happier living and working in New York City. Why would anybody live anywhere else?

Infographics

I completed a three-day intensive newsroom orientation last week, in which the new faces at the Times are trained on policies, practices, and quirks of the paper. It’s an onboarding procedure the likes of which I’ve never gone through in my career, and I think it’s a credit to the organization that they care so much about its traditions and culture to invest so much time and energy welcoming new people.

In addition to the seminars on sourcing, ethics and background, it was especially interesting to meet all of the Desk Editors and learn how they run their teams both online and in print. One-by-one, they filed in from National, Style, Travel, Foreign, the Magazines… it was a whirlwind 3 days.

infographic
Deadly Rampage at Virginia Tech, updated April 23, 2007

One of the most interesting half-hours was presented by Archie Tse, a Graphics editor. Archie explained how the Times Graphics Desk is really unique among news organizations, in that they go out and do reporting before sitting down at their computer.

When you consider that newspapers are cutting back on coverage of everything these days, this is remarkable.

Continue reading ‘Infographics’

Pukka: Simple. Delicious.

Despite recent criticism, I use and love del.icio.us almost every day. Frequently, I’ll quickly bookmark a page that I want write a longer post about later, when I have the time. (A little shortcut tool helps to streamline this.)

Pukka: Simple. Delicious.Del.icio.us provides a few ways to expedite the bookmarking process – there are extensions, buttons, and bookmarklets – but, I prefer Justin Miller’s Pukka, a native OS X app that greatly speeds up the posting of bookmarks.

With Pukka, you don’t have to wait for anything to load – just highlight some text on a page, and click its bookmarklet. Up pops the application with the URL and highlighted text already inserted. Type a few tags (auto-completes from existing tags), hit return, and you’re done. Pukka recedes to the background to do its thing, and you’re back in your browser, and on your way.

Continue reading ‘Pukka: Simple. Delicious.’

New York to Boston for $1?

Yesterday, the Times took a look at a few new entrants into the East Coast discount bus travel business:

We’re frequent riders on the discount Chinatown bus lines, despite their tendency toward breakdowns and shenanigans. And, a while back I was excited about Vamoose Bus, which was supposed to begin NYC–Boston service with free wi-fi and a guaranteed seat. This seems to have fallen through, as there is now no mention of Boston on the their web site.

But it’s interesting to note the emergence of BoltBus and MegaBus – because both are owned by traditional bussing companies, not scrappy Chinatown startups. Greyhound owns Boltbus, and Megabus is run by Coach USA, parent of Gray Line sightseeing bus line.

Both are taking a “Southwest Airlines” approach by offering cheaper fares to those who book early, but last-minute bookings will cost about as much as Greyhound. $1 fares are nice, but I’m most interested in the free wi-fi, power outlets, and entertainment options. Those features are worth paying a little extra.

Ari Up and the Slits

The Slits

The Slits, Mercury Lounge, Wednesday March 5, 2008 – NYC

It’s not 1976 any more, but it was great to see Ari Up perform Slits songs. She’s so full of energy, still sporting those crazy dreadlocks, and was wearing a fantastically terrible American-Apparel-gone-wrong hand crafted space outfit. At one point she complained about the tights, and encouraged everyone to shoplift from AA.

Cut is still a classic record from the post-punk period, and I especially love their cover of I Heard it Through the Grapevine. See them at SXSW, or on tour this spring – see Myspace for details.

Lunch with The Destroyer

In the paper

This morning, Lisa and I had lunch with her Grandma and Grandpa, who visiting this weekend from Buffalo. Grandpa Dick is a retired professional wrestler, who used to be quite big in Japan. In addition to winning numerous wrestling titles, the masked “Destroyer” was a star on the most watched comedy show in Japan’s television history, along with Wada Akiko. But he also was famous in the West – Debbie Harry of Blondie sported some camel-toe in a t-shirt from Dick’s bad guy alter-ego, Dr. X… Hott.

So, we ate a ton of Japanese food while Dick entertained the chefs and waitstaff with his antics and Japanese linguistic skills. The shot above is of a Japanese newspaper.

More photos, and a video of The Destroyer wrestling a bear, after the fold.

Continue reading ‘Lunch with The Destroyer’

On Video

I didn’t make any exciting resolutions this New Year, except to get back to my fighting weight, and land a more permanent design job. Looking back on 2007, one thing that stands out is that my Flickr photostream finally became a more real-time photo reflection of my life, with the convenience of my iPhone and its unlimited data plan. Sure, the quality of my photography might have deteriorated, but I’ve always preferred to shoot from the hip anyway. The iPhone suits what I want to do with Flickr.

But for 2008, I’d like to make one small resolution: do more with video. I bought a new point-and-shoot camera that does OK VGA video, (Canon Digital Elph SD750), so I want to put it to use. It’s output is a little grainy, especially in low light, but I think it suits what I want to do with it.

Here is a little idea that I got while walking around the Meatpacking district this past weekend: the Theory store on Gansevoort street has these amazing pulsating colored lights in the window – so I shot them, and then looped them in iMovie, set to The Knife’s live arrangement of “Heartbeats”:

Continue reading ‘On Video’

Roast & Toast NYE

We spent New Year’s Eve this year co-hosting a potluck dinner at Jason and Liz’s place in Park Slope. Here is a little video that I put together:

We served roast beef to twenty people, drank champale, and made some resolutions that we probably won’t keep. More below the fold, including some of my and Lisa’s photos.

Continue reading ‘Roast & Toast NYE’

On Turning 30


Happy Birthday, John! from Pirata718 on Vimeo.

December 22 came and went, and now I’m 30 years old. I can’t even comprehend that statistic. Growing up, I figured that I would have accomplished so much by that age – it seemed so far away. Today, 40 seems ridiculously far away. There is probably some kind of lesson in that.

Continue reading ‘On Turning 30’

Google Maps: Boston Street View

It was announced yesterday that Google Maps’ Street View comes to more cities, including Boston. So naturally, I looked up our previous apartment in Cambridge, MA. The weird thing is that myself, and our friends/upstairs neighbors Tyler and Sarah are pictured!

Creepier!

We’re having our moving sale, and that’s my Saab in the foreground. I can probably peg the date taken to August 11th or 12th, 2007 – the weekend before we moved.

Click the photo to see notes, look at it big, or check it out on Google Maps yourself. I am a little creeped out.

Continue reading ‘Google Maps: Boston Street View’

Thanksgiving 2007

This is why I love thanksgiving – invite some family and friends over, cook a ridiculous amount of food, crack open 7-8 bottles of wine, and go to town. Lisa has the right idea here:
Drumstick

For our first Brooklyn Thanksgiving, we invited Lisa’s sister Kelly, Rohit, Shane, and Megan, and it was amazingly fun. I am thankful that everyone could join us in our new home. I’m also thankful that Lisa is such a good cook, because it was so tasty.

More photos below the fold. [from iPhone]

Continue reading ‘Thanksgiving 2007’

Village Academies/Esquire Event

We attended a fundraiser for Lisa’s work last night, honoring Bill Cosby and others. It was held in Esquire’s swank Esquire North penthouse on Central Park North, and the magazine is also featuring Village Academies founder Deborah Kenny in this month’s issue:

In six years, Kenny’s vision has grown into a trio of charter schools under the rubric of Village Academies, located in New York precincts where a muscular poverty has thrived for generations. The numbers alone tell a compelling story. Locally, passing rates for seventh-grade math hover around 30 percent. At HVA, the rate is a stunning 96 percent.

Cast members from Gossip Girl showed up, and Tyler Hilton played a few songs, (who played Elvis in Walk the Line Johnny Cash movie).

midtown office + loved ones

At least the ladies look good – Matt and I have taken better pictures.

More photos below the fold.

Continue reading ‘Village Academies/Esquire Event’

Brooklyn Neighborhood Poster, by Ork Posters

Brooklyn Neighborhood Poster, by Ork PostersI love this typographical poster of Brooklyn neighborhoods, by Ork Posters of Chicago.

It won’t help me figure out the “official” boundaries of Carroll Gardens, but it sure is pretty.

[via swissmiss]

Apple Picking

Stickball

We went Apple Picking upstate, in Warwick, NY. Jason and I discovered something more challenging than chucking apples at each other – spearing them with a stick, and then attempting to fling them at each other. The one pictured above is bouncing violently towards me.

It’s been 3 years since we last went apple picking.

More below the fold. [from iPhone]

Continue reading ‘Apple Picking’

Alma Mater

Lisa and I still keep in touch with a lot of friends from high school, some of which we’ve known since grade school. We were all trying to remember today if there was an alma mater anthem for our High School. As none of us were particularly rah-rah back then, we couldn’t remember.

Three of us, however, could remember the words to our grade school anthem – which is a bit shocking, considering the last time I heard it was sometime in 1988, in the fifth grade. I think they forced us to sing this thing during assemblies, throughout the school years:

Country Parkway is our school,
where we learn to obey the rules.
We do our best and take great pride,
with our Country’s flag flying high.

Here we work and here we play
Learning new things everyday.
From north to south and east to west,
Our Country Parkway is the best.

Creepy, in its emphasis on conformity – especially for a fairly progressive public school district.

First Week in Carroll Gardens

We arrived last Wednesday, and unpacking is an ongoing project. We sold, gave away, or threw out most of our “big stuff”, so this move is not only about a new space, but also a lot of new purchases. A lot of the stuff we got rid of was from our college days, and had also already made it through our fire.

Room & Board sofaI’m most excited about our new sofa, which Lisa bought from Room & Board in SoHo. Thanks to Jason and Liz for tipping us off to this place – we loved everything we saw there. Their furniture manages to be very modern without looking uncomfortable or annoying. (Of course, we realized later that we chose the same sofa as the Yovanoff-De Mase home… but hey, good taste is good taste, right?

Continue reading ‘First Week in Carroll Gardens’

Good Deed of the Day

I’m doing some coding (and drinking iced coffee) today at Darwin’s, near Harvard Square – and I did the unthinkable. I found a Nikon D80 (with a nice lens) left behind by another customer, and I turned it in to the staff.

Yea, I surprise myself sometimes.

(Un)Happy Planet Index

The (Un)Happy Planet Index is a fascinating examination of countries’ economic and ecological footprints. Like much of social science, I’m not convinced that it shows anything concretely useful at all, but it does satiate my need for rank-order and self-examination. Here is how they designed the study:

The Index doesn’t reveal the “happiest” country in the world. It shows the relative efficiency with which nations convert the planet’s natural resources into long and happy lives for their citizens. The nations that top the Index aren’t the happiest places in the world, but the nations that score well show that achieving, long, happy lives without over-stretching the planet’s resources is possible.

And of course, I decided to take their survey and determine my own HPI score (PDF):

Your personal Happy Planet Index (HPI) is 26, which is similar to that of Zambia, Central African Republic or Belarus. Sorry to say that this is below the world average of 46.

Christ. Apparently my ecological footprint wrecks my score, but then again that was the point of the study – the American lifestyle is f*cking up the world.

[via]

Time

From Tabea:

Today at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06.

For Europeans, it will happen on the 4th of May…

You’ll have to wait another 100 years to see that again. Watch the clock.

Jenna’s Visit

We hate each other

God, it’s good when Jenna visits… Flickr Set »

9 years

cardThe years are just flying by, I can’t believe it… on monday, the girl and I celebrated 9 years together, in the best way we know how: sharing a tasty meal.

And what better place to have a nice dinner, than a 4-star restaurant in a converted Burger King? Seriously.

Rendezvous just opened up in Central Square, in the old Burger King, and it is really really good. The Phoenix loves it. So does the Globe. And we do, too.

Saabs Don’t Age Well

One of the smartest things I’ve ever done, was to pay a little extra for Certified Pre-Owned status on my used 9-3, which more or less just extends the warranty. For an extra $1500 or so, I’ve received more than double that amount in parts and labor over the past 2 years.

So, on thursday, I dropped the 9-3 off in Framingham so they could replace the Water Pump, which was going bad. Look at the piece of crap they gave me as a loaner:

chevy aveo

Later that afternoon, I received a call from the service department, saying that I also had a blown head gasket… great. That’s not good. So, they keep it overnight, and I don’t hear anything all day friday… so, I call them up, and they ask to keep it until monday, because they hadn’t finished up the job. All the while, I’m riding around in a tin-can american car, with no power-windows, no Fast-Lane, and it’s bright-cherry-fucking-red.

So, today (monday), I call them up, and they tell me that they can’t get good oil pressure. WTF? And they want to replace the engine’s short block… which is a huge job. I can’t figure out what the hell happened, but I’m getting to the point where I can’t wait until the day when I don’t have to rely on a car every day of my life.

Mr. Yovanoff sold his 9-3 on eBay this week… but, he now gets to walk to work.