April 7, 2005

I stepped outside this morning for a short walk and had the strangest sensation... couldn't put my finger on it... and then about halfway down the block I realized, for the first time in months I'm outside in a t-shirt without a coat on. Trees were budding. Birds singing. All the cliches. After years in LA, a city without weather, I was experiencing spring and it felt almost too good to be true.


April 7, 2005

need I say more...

flickr favorites

April 6, 2005

I noticed a couple of weeks ago that flickr was rotating in my favorites on their homepage (favorites are images from other photographers that I have marked). My guess was that they rotated in people's favs at random, but someone emailed me today (asking if I had done anything to be featured. [answer = no]) and I was surprised to see my favs still up. Apparently there are about 6 versions of the homepage which they rotate each time you click. My picks are on one of the 6. The current set of pages has been up about a month. Pretty cool. So check out some of my favorite photographers. You won't be sad.

Frederick Barbarosa

April 6, 2005

For some reason all this talk of the conclave electing a new pope has reminded me of a book I read in high school. Set in the time of Frederick Barbarosa the Holy Roman Emperor when there were rival popes, it follows a group of Robber Knights (unlanded German knights, who preyed on merchant travelers) on an adventure north where they encounter a group of Asian barbarians. The thing about the book that struck me is that these Robber Knights all thought of themselves as ruthless characters (they would often leave merchants nude and penniless by the side of the road), but the barbarians were infinitely more cruel. They would castrate their enemies and leave them nailed to a tree by their tongues. There is this great shift in the book as the hunters become the hunted. Anyway I don't remember the title, so it's neither here nor there.

As an aside, I always found it amusing that Frederick Barbarosa managed to unite the German tribes, captured Rome, and brokered the peace of Constance but drown in a river after he fell off his horse while wearing full armor.

google maps

April 5, 2005

Just when you thought google maps was almost perfect, they went and added something else totally cool: Satellite photography. And of course google being google, you can drag the sat images just like you can the maps. Unlike Microsoft owned Terraserver which is arcane/buggy/ugly, this just works.

Super super cool. And it was all done using good old DHTML and not some proprietary MS garbage. Blogger Joel Webber did an excellent job figuring out how they did it.

This is image of our old house in LA (the dot is actually on the corner, the house and pool are behind it). The detail is fantastic. Nice to see the old pool again and the shadow of the palm tree across the road. Gosh what I would give to have one of Jenn's organic meals made from vegetables from our garden.... Or a plum from our wonderful old tree... but I digress.

homeland security

April 3, 2005

Michael Chertoff scares me.

Also why does a military jet keep flying in circles over Brooklyn.

new directors festival mini-reviews of this week's films

April 2, 2005

Le Grand Voyage- A spectacular film the kind you wish they made in Hollywood and never do. Deeply funny and moving (so moving an audience member died. No really, he was quite dead).

Junebug-Southern, sexy & mildly funny.

The Devil and Daniel Johnston- top notch documentary, also really moving (I got choked up), but I'm biased, I love Daniel Johnston and the director is a cool guy.

South of the Clouds- WTF? Maybe I'm too dumb to understand but this film seemed like a meaningless mish-mosh. Couldn't wait for it to finish.

Starlit High Noon- This film obviously influenced by Wong Kar Wai is slow and beautiful . 3 people in love with the wrong person.

. . .

1978 Yankees

March 31, 2005

The year was 1978. The Yankees were the league champions and entire 1977 team was returning so the coaches only had two draft picks, last round. The picks: Yours truly and a kid named Alec who would pee his pants when he got really excited (he got excited lots).

A year or two younger than everyone else, uncoordinated, and of course the only kid with glasses, I spent practices in mortal terror. There was the coach who would hold a hand missing two fingers in front of my face and say "How come I can throw better than you with this?" There was the chubby kid, now a cop, who punched my arm black and blue every time I stood too close to him. There were the older kids dipping snuff, sending tight streams of dark wintergreen scented spit at my feet. And how could I forget Joshua, the kid with the soft spot in his skull. I was always scared of throwing a ball wide, beaning Joshua and killing him, something he constantly warned was a possibility. "Right here," he would glare and point behind his ear, "get me here and I am dead. D-E-A-D dead. Understand?"

I didn't play much, but it was required I sit in for at least one inning. Because my fielding was terrible I felt I had to make up for it at the plate, and the easiest way to get on base was to simply lean into the pitch and get nailed. One of the coaches would silently encourage me from the bench if I had two strikes. He would lean his head over and give me a thumbs up and wink. I knew that the best strategy was to make it look good, so when I got myself pegged I would always fall to the ground for dramatic effect.

Out in left field there was little I could do right. Being vaguely dyslexic and massively nearsighted didn't help. I had a tendency to daydream and would spend my time in the out on the damp night grass busy trying to identify constellations and would forget to focus on the game. I dropped countless fly balls, had a weak arm, and was generally feckless. But all those little failures contributed to my greatest accomplishment: Big championship game. My inning was up. Two outs and bases loaded. The kid at the plate was a slugger who went on to spend a few years in the minor leagues. I remember praying: "Don't hit it to me. Don't hit it to me. Don't hit it to me..." But of course on the first pitch came the crack of the bat and the ball arced up straight at me. I could see the dismayed faces of my teammates and the people in the stands jumping to their feet. For a moment I was frozen. Then cursing I ran, jumped and stretched and channeled Willie Mays.

The game was won and I had won it.
I was carried around the field a hero. The kid who spit on me was chanting my name, my coaches were jumping up and down hugging each other, my parents were beaming. I knew it would all vanish quickly and I would be runt again in a few days, but it didn't matter because that moment was perfect, so I closed my eyes and just let it wash over me because even then I knew perfection is the rarest of all things.

of note:

March 30, 2005


Other cool stuff:
http://davidbyrne.com/radio/index.php (on your itunes radio under eclectic)


two years ago today

March 29, 2005

we were married in the amazing town of Parras De La Fuente in Mexico.

One year ago today we were celebrating our anniversary in Belize and discovered Jenn was pregnant.

Today I think will be considerably less dramatic.

World view

March 28, 2005

Ever wonder why people around the world think of the US? I do and because of that I read lots of foreign newspapers online. My friend Tbone pointed me to a site that collects translated foreign newspaper articles in one place. WatchingAmerica.com


March 28, 2005

Since my recent posting of some Vietnam photos online, I've been getting a fair number of emails asking about travel there. Americans especially have distorted opionions of the country.

My advice is simple. The war was a long time ago. The majority of the people alive in the country weren't even born until after the war ended. Vietnam is one of the friendliest countries I have visited. There is great grace to the land, the food, and way people live. It's beautiful and you should go.

Staten Island Ferry

March 26, 2005

I generally don't feel old, but looking at this picture from the summer of 1971 or 72 with the towers unbuilt and my mom at 25, 13 years younger than I am now, I feel old.

about bees

March 25, 2005

Little known bee fact. Bees, those members of the genus Bombus, are often held up as models of discipline and order--worker bees (sexually undeveloped females), drones (fertile males), and a queen all working in perfect harmony each in it's caste working productively until the hive gets overcrowded and the old queen flies off with some drones to establish a new one, while the remaining bees raise multiple queens waiting for them to hatch and then fight to the death to establish a new ruler. And generally, generation after generation, that's how it works.

But sometimes, very rarely, something goes awry. A group of workers will surround the queen denying her food. Eventually one will sting her, then the others join in until, inevitably, she succumbs. Workers try to mate drones. The brood is killed off one by one and work on the hive ceases as chaos and fratricide become the order of the day. There are no survivors of this breakdown of social order. It is said other bees will avoid recolonizing the broken hives for years to come.

baby pictures

March 25, 2005

I got 3 emails about baby pictures today...

Here are 2 from a few hours ago.


March 23, 2005

Someone told me the other day that babies don't blink. My unscientific observations confirm the statement. This freaks me out.

North Korean Comics & Chinese Propaganda

March 22, 2005

My brother-in-law Paul who is in Seoul sent me this link to some interesting North Korean comics today.

Browsing around led me to this link with North Korean propaganda posters.

I've long been fascinated with Communist propaganda and have been collecting Chinese posters for years. If you want to kill some time, check out Stefan Landsberger's vast collection of Chinese Propaganda Posters. Stefan wrote the book (literally) on the subject. His collection contains images that will blow your mind.

I used to have this image on my old website with the caption, "fun for you and your lady" it's from a Chinese poster (1980's).

The other must have book on the subject is by photographer Michael Wolf. His book is a bit easier to find than the other: Chinese Propaganda Posters: From the Collection of Michael Wolf

the mood

March 21, 2005

So this was the scene this evening over here in Brooklyn:

Jenn was out at one of her writer's workshops. The baby was fussy, so I went down and held him in the darkened living room until he went to sleep. People always complain about time moving fast, but time can also be deliciously slow. Lying back on the couch, baby as warm as comforter on my belly, soft breathing... I see him going into REM sleep and then his body goes slack and floppy as he moves into deep sleep. No need to move. Just watching the shadows on the ceiling. I click on my ipod, shuffle play. First song. Out of season, but perfect for my mood. And then this. :)

35 years ago

March 18, 2005

This Kodachrome slide was marked "March 18, 1970. It's me and my dad in a park in Houston... my guess is it's the park near the art museum. The bonnet is embarrassing, but give me a break. I was 3.

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