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.