Friday, July 18, 2008

Just a reminder.

The way he sampled the high-hat... as good an argument as any that Jay Dee was the best.

Watercolors Into the Ocean

This show at Yossi Milo has been blogged about quite a bit already, but I'm really psyched about it, so here it is. Photographer Asako Narahashi takes pictures with her camera close to the water or half-submerged, and what results—aside from beautiful images with really amazing colors—is that unique combination of relaxation and fright that comes with swimming in open water.

I am a terrible swimmer, always have been, but that hasn't stopped me from spending as much time as possible on or near the water. I used to guide kayak trips in the San Juan Islands and there is nothing more calming than gliding silently through the waves. I'm looking forward to doing some more of that soon.

Asako Narahashi's Half Awake and Half Asleep In the Water is up through August 22nd at Yossi Milo Gallery (525 West 25th Street, NYC). See more of her work here.

Bonus. Chris Watson, formerly of Cabaret Voltaire, now a specialist in recording wildlife and nautre, contributed this field recording of water to the Visionaire Sound issue. Telegraph Cove is at the North end of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Chris Watson Telegraph Cove At Night MP3
from Visionaire 53: Sound, available at

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Space Between People

I'm looking forward to reading this book. This coming Sunday's New York Times Magazine will preview it, and David Carr's website has some interesting video interviews with the people who figure into his story.

Stay-cation, bro.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Trash Talk

Last Saturday we went up to Harriman State Park, the second largest state park in New York, named for the politician, businessman, horse racer, and rich dude of yore Averell Harriman. There are 31 lakes in Harriman State Park.

It's only 30 miles North of the city but parts of it may as well be 300 miles away.

During the Revolutionary War, the Americans put a bunch of chains across the Hudson to stop British boats from coming up the river. It didn't work very well—the British captured the two forts you can sort of see in this picture, and terrorized the Hudson valley with their guns and funny talk and pretty red jackets.

Evidence of beavers.

Evidence of jerks.

"When I was a kid...." No, but seriously, when I was a kid, it was not cool to litter. Kids would actually tell other kids not to do it. I remember this one dude actually caught kind of a severe beat down on the playground for throwing his corndog stick on the ground—and it was made of wood. This manner of cleanliness and stewardship of the land (or...playground) was clearly not observed by many in the Northeast, as it often seems the city and the countryside around it are like a gigantic spread-out landfill. I once saw a family in Park Slope—a mom, a dad, and two boys—walking along the sidewalk, all drinking Big Gulps. When they got near their car, the dad said "Everyone get rid of your drinks, no drinks in the car." All four people in this dirty dirty family threw their Big Gulps on the ground, got in the car, and left. That is gross and it's just bad manners.

That's all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Take Off

The New York Times has an article today on the North Cascades Highway, and videos to go with it on their website. William Yardley and photographer Stuart Issett took a trip across SR20, comparing and contrasting their experience with the North Cascades described in this Works Progress Administration guide book from the 1930s:

The WPA's Federal Writers' Project sent photographers and writers (including people such as Eudora Welty, Zora Neale Hurston, and Saul Bellow) around the country to experience and describe the states, and published books on each. Inspired by that, the Times is doing its own roadtrip series this summer. Wyoming is next.

Click here to check out the North Cascades.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I see your vision mama,
I put my money on the long shots

On Friday afternoon my brother and my dad and I took the LIRR deep into Queens for a day at Belmont, with refreshments and 6-foot subs courtesy of the FDNY Engine 3, Ladder 12.

I came close a few times but in the end I didn't win anything. After playing it safe for the first two races and coming away with nothing, I decided to go for the longest of the long shots the rest of the time, just because, why not. That didn't pay off either. No matter, it was fun as heck.

The guys from my brother's firehouse brought these huge coolers full of beer and staked a place out in the backyard, where the recreational race fans all hang out between races.

The people-watching is amazing. This group of fans was particularly fun to talk to—they were having a grand old time hanging out in the yard and speculating on the ponies.

The super hardcore bettors often stay inside, studying their racing forms like their lives depend on it. They don't even watch the races half the time. You can bet as little as a dime so things get a little dire.

This was the most interesting race. One of the horses scratched before the race, because as he was walking onto the track he went nuts, bucked his rider and took off. If you click to enlarge, you can see that another horse lost its jockey on the other side of the track, and finished second.

The facilities are super old school—no fancy remodeling needed, thank you.

There are posters of all the great horses and trainers lining the walls.

I liked watching the people who work there. I bet these three groundskeepers have an interesting time, walking around filling divots and shooting the shit. I'm sure it doesn't pay well or anything but there are worse jobs out there, for sure.

When we left, we climbed up on the roof of the train station and walked around.

Even having done it many times, riding the train is always exciting to me. Improving and expanding the railways should be a top priority right now, but is unfortunately, and predictably, running into all kinds of complications.

We had our own complications leaving the track, when we realized we were about three hours early for the next train—so we bussed it to the very end of the F line in Jamaica, and rode the subway all the way back.

Being that far out in any of the boroughs makes you realize how gigantic New York City is. It still blows me away—the size and the density.

I'll be back at Belmont as soon as possible.