hasn’t changed since 1983

• Astoria’s own Noguchi Museum proved to be one of those zen garden places with essentially a bunch of slightly carved rocks (mounted at weird angles) on display. Oh well – I should have figured that the name sounded Japanese.

• Roosevelt Island kinda has weird vibes: this place where you get that feeling that everyone is looking at you, thinking: “what the f*ck is he doing waving a camera around,” and you’re sitting there thinking: “what the f*ck are people doing living on this island that has small grocery stores that haven’t changed since 1983?”

axe about me

• The turnout at the opening for the AIGA: NY 50 Books / 50 Covers seemed pretty large. It was definitely packed in their space, and they ran out of wine fairly quickly. Some interesting Russian children’s books from the 1920s-1940s were included as a side exhibit.

• While heading over to Chat ‘n Chew near Union Square, they were filming a movie on the sidewalk, not allowing people to walk in certain areas. It was the same place that Matt saw Heather Graham a day or two earlier – according to IMDB, she’s in production or post-production with at least two projects…

introduction to the cemetery district

• Price of unleaded, regular gasoline in Queens: $2.99

How much the price of gas affects me: $none

• Ate at a really great authentic Greek place over near the Ditmars Station here in Astoria. Luckily they had some English translations on the menu – its tough to master the Greek alphabet in less than two weeks. Pretty good place – open windows out onto the street. I had Lamb Souvlaki in a pita – and they give you some interesting dessert thing with all meals, it seems – kinda this “spice cake means the consistency of grits” stuff, that is in small triangles, similar in size to baklava.

• There’s this industrial section of Queens down near the border with Brooklyn (where the Queens UPS hub is located, just south of that kinda Indian area), where trucks passing each other honk their horns in odd patterns, kinda like morse code. Kinda weird. [PS: thanks to the SportsEndeavors crew for sending those catalogs!]

indie rock in brooklyn

• Checked out the Brooklyn Responds show down near Prospect Park at a venue called Southpaw in Brooklyn with Laura – good times: some bands that stuck out “Harlem Shakes” (with a track called “Sickos”), and “They Might be Giants.” I didn’t heard “Istanbul” by them, but they did play some other good stuff. The host guy was kinda tearin’ it up between sets with an effects machine – where he’d beatbox into the mic, record it, then have it loop, while he sung/rapped over it, and incorporated other sounds… it was pretty funny stuff as well.

• Food-related comment of the day: I highly recommend “The Original Yonah Schimmel Knishery” over on East Houston (137 E. Houston, between 1st and 2nd Avenues, to be exact). It was recommended to me by a former coworker (thanks, Dennis), and it’s the first authentic Jewish restaurant I’ve been to. I didn’t even know what a knish was, but they are pretty decent (and super cheap). I understand they’ve been serving up kosher food since 1910 or so…

• Keep on keepin’ on.

you’ve got some pretty lips, boy

• Met some fellow designers during the AIGA trip over to Coney Island – a girl who lives in Jersey, a guy that just moved from Ohio, an AIGA: NY staff member, and one of the AIGA: NY board members. We met one of the people associated with the hand-painted sign revitalization projects going on down there, over the past few years – saw many of the signs, as well as viewed the ridiculously detailed mural by the subway station, which was created by a group of South American street artists.

• At a bar (called Ruby’s) on the boardwalk out that way, a bunch of white bikers with tons of tattoos were getting pretty belligerant. They were shoving each other (this is broad daylight, 4PM or so), and picking up barstools. The bartenders yelled at them a few times, but it didn’t seem to stop them much. At one point, one chased another out onto the boardwalk in a heated confrontation, but surprisingly, an actual punch wasn’t thrown. I found out from one of them that he had just gotten married earlier in the day, and they were celebrating. I don’t think I’ve been in a bar that questionable before.

• True, the Coney Island freak show isn’t what it was in the Roaring Twenties, but it does still exist. And now, I can say I’ve seen it. People standing on nails and swords, extremely tattooed people, snake handlers, people with electrical powers, sword swallowers…

animated skeletons

• Tim Burton’s The Corpse Bride was pretty decent. Interesting that the “land of the dead” was more alive (and colorful) than the “land of the living.” Plus – look out for the skeletons with mustaches – a sure hit with the kids.

• Also, happy birthday, Pop! Sorry I couldn’t be down in NC this year – we’ll have to catch up in a few weeks.

dave eggers might be the man

• So, all those 2A batteries you see in the tracks at each stop (well, the underground stations), yah, you know the ones I’m talking about. “Why are they down there, and in such numbers, ZiP?” Well, I’m glad you asked. My hypothesis is that since batteries are supposed to be disposed of in a special manner, when they clean up the trash around there, it would cost more money and/or be illegal to toss all the batteries in with the normal garbage, therefore, they have to just kinda lie in the exhaust-ridden filth that provides the home to many a subway rodent.

• So the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company actually lives up to its name – it sells superhero supplies – such as grappling hooks, wall-climbing suction cups, capes, masks… yah, I know, sounds ridiculous, but its just the pseudo-storefront for the Dave Eggers 826NYC nonprofit project that helps kids read and write (the San Fran location is a pirate supply store). The kids go into a secret door by moving a large shelf, and then they’re in the back area where they learn and stuff.

• Also: checked out the Arts and Design Museum near MoMa, (on “Pay-What-You-Want” day) with Ginny – and was rejected from the Jewish Museum (on account of it closing early). Good times though, over in the city.

• Also: went to lunch at a British restaurant called “Chip Shop” (with authentic British waitstaff) down in Park Slope, Brooklyn with Ray. Good times – Stilton cheese, though, is a bit strong.

• Now, I think there’s something significant about being able to hear a Peruvian flute player (he may or may not have been Peruvian, but the instrument he was playing is that flute thing that most people associate with Peru) on the N train. I mean, this guy, who had a Peruvian flute plus some other string instrument was playing like some freakin’ “welcome to the outskirts of Lima” joint – ya know what I’m sayin’? The ubiquitous Gypsies in the London Tube system that roam from traincar to traincar playing worn-out accordions don’t have anything on this guy. Good stuff.

• Overheard on the F Train, by a tired, older black guy with a ponytail: “She might as well walk around in just a pair of panties – its the same thing!”

• And, for some reason I love the fact that I’ve only gotta walk a few blocks before seeing some joints on DVD that haven’t even hit theatres yet – on the sidewalk. Quality.