a beachy kick in the pants

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Clay.

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Hillary.

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Little family amusement parks come and go in tourist-driven areas.  This highly-visible corner spot has been on sale for a while, with a rusty roller coaster, overgrown go-kart race tracks, some small pavilions, dried-up fountains, and empty ticket booths.

• I’ve been spending the week down at the Outer Banks, off the coast of North Carolina, in a rental cottage with my family and significant others.  Fantastic cooking, and the attractions are largely bikeable (within a few miles, and all flat terrain).  I should add that my brother brought 5 bikes: a Raleigh tandem, a Takara road bike, a Schwinn cruiser, a Gary Fisher mountain bike, and a Bianchi track bike.  Combined with a Schwinn cruiser already at the cottage, the whole gang has been able to ride at the same time.  Practically critical mass style.

• Thus far there’s been one hospital visit (for a possible Lyme disease tick bite looking pretty rough), a trip to a dead-animal ridden, deserted beach (near Bodie Island), a visit to Jockey’s Ridge, and a lot of ocean time.

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Beach cottage architecture in North Carolina is definitely different than New England and the northeast.

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Wrestling glasses can hold quite large mixed drinks.

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$86 buys two dozen blue crabs (only male are eaten by law, and they’re referred to as “Jimmy #1”) and several pounds of snow crab legs, including spices (a local blend, similar to Old Bay) and steaming.

dinner party season

Winter hit last week in South Slope, or SoSlo.  I’m always drawn to burning oil drums, especially in snow.

My siblings were kind enough to fly into town for some holiday cheer.  Clay, from Atlanta, via Charlotte, NC, and Hillary from Bangkok via Hong Kong.


Inside the Brooklyn Museum. I hadn’t seen a large portion of their permanent collection, as it turns out.  I think I always ended up finding my way to the cat mummies and then running out of time, previously.


My brother took my bike out for a spin.  I rode my backup bike (the Christmas tree one from the other week), and we rode down through the industrial parks of Sunset Park near the waterfront to Bay Ridge, and practiced riding on ice at the pier near Owl’s Head Park.

Hot tea over at Zaytoons in Prospect Park (which seems superior to the Carroll Gardens and Murder Ave. locations) on Saturday for lunch.

•Winter in New York does seem to be a time for parties, comfort food, hot drinks, and even catching up on some reading during the few spare moments.  I just started reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and, just 60 pages into it, the book’s sparse landscapes filled with approachable philosophical discussions are definitely compelling.


Leonard Street in Greenpoint.  Shot from the roof of D.Lish & B.Davis’ apartment, during their Christmas/Hanukkah party.   A good turnout, including Hans, Bethany, Gene (in from Barcelona), Yoost, Erin, Sylvia, Moses, Ellen, and some others.  Excellent homemade beef stew (with horseradish sour cream) and potato leek soup.  Later, we moved things to Europa a few blocks away.  If you haven’t been, it’s completely Euro-trashed out upstairs.  Mullets all around, really terrible, loud dance music.  I can’t really recommend it to anyone, however there are lots of super thin Polish and Russian girls there.

Cory and Holly also threw a great dinner party, the following day, at their place down in the Kensington area.  Jenn, Clay, and I joined Moses, Hans, and a few others for some incredible homemade shepherd’s pie and some great salad, and an assortment of meads.

• Additionally, while my siblings were still in town, Jenn and I took them to a few other bars and restaurants: Chip Shop, Otto’s Shrunken Head (for Danish Folk night), Pianos, Lil Pig, Bar Toto, and some others.  It’s great to be with family over the holidays.

kingdom of thailand (part 2)

• There are portraits of the king and queen everywhere in the country.  The king looks kind and smart, the queen on the other hand, well, nevermind, let’s change the subject.

• I thought I had felt heat that 4th of July a few years ago playing basketball on hot asphalt in Atlanta, but Bangkok, even in October, is in the 90s.  And it’s super humid.

• Thailand felt safe the entire time.  No pickpocket attempts, no weird late-night run-ins, nothing but smiles for the most part.  The two issues with relocating permanently might be the language barrier and the job availabilities in the creative realm.  But that’s certainly not a completely prohibitive scenario.

• In terms of the world economy, surprisingly the dollar has been sharply getting stronger against British Sterling (£) and the Euro (€), but not making any headway against the Japanese Yen.  The Thai Baht stayed at about 34:1 against the dollar during our trip.


Wat Jedee Luang in Chiang Mai.


Fishing in the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok.


My sister in Chiang Mai.  Sometimes when we went places, her mohawk/fauxhawk was a conversation starter.


Bangkok.  I really like the way some things are sorta left to decay seemingly because there’s just not a lot of effort and energy put into fixing things that don’t really require use.  Also, it seems like you could leave a bicycle against a tree somewhere and come back in a few weeks to retrieve it.  It’s a far cry from the need to throw a bodega lock on anything for even a 20 second bathroom stop in a park in NYC.


Sometimes you have to eat like a king.  That’s lobster on the left.  That’s my sister and Jenn in the top of the frame.  Chinatown in Bangkok.


There’s probably a healthy and unhealthy number of dead animal photos one can possess.


Dogs like this one were everywhere.  Some were in pretty rough shape.  It was sad at times.  But there were also many dogs that were cared for as pets.  People didn’t seem to neglect these guys completely, but it did look like they lived a tough life.


No derailleurs allowed in Thailand, it seems.

• In addition, here are a few more shots.  If you’d like larger versions of anything, as usual, drop me a line and we’ll see what we can do.

kingdom of thailand (part 1)


Outside a car repair shop in Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

So I just got in from ten days over in Thailand.  Jenn and I decided to visit my sister who’s been over there since March, and my parents also decided to schedule a trip and have it partially overlap.  Here are some initial general thoughts:

1. Contrary to my previous opinion, just because food is served on an airplane, it’s not automatically “magical.”  Something about being served three different meals while crammed into the same seat starts to lose its charm fast.  I took a picture of nearly every meal I ate during the 10 days, but at the moment it sorta sickens me to look at them, haha.

2. A taxi travelling about 84 miles per hour through dense Bangkok traffic creating it’s own lanes when neccesary is even scarier than it sounds.

3. 7/11s (the convenience store) and motor scooters rule Thailand.  I challenge you to travel anywhere and not see either one every five minutes.  At stoplights in the cities, a large mob of bikes always forms in front of all lanes.

4. Having to negotiate prices with absolutely everything is cute the first twenty times.  Bargaining is exhausting.

5. Spending a year in Thailand is definitely causing my sister to mature fast, she keeps getting smarter and more professional.  Thanks to her for orchestrating everything, and the negotiations for things in Thai, I could barely learn a handful of words.

6. Reconsider street meat.  Back home in NYC, I tend to only trust a handful of Salvadorian and Mexican trucks, but street side food in Thailand is making me reconsider some of my local options.

7. While not Thai, the Mandarin word for “I don’t want any” is incredibly fun to say, especially with the suggested intonation.

8. The woman Dustin Hoffman hooks up with in The Graduate (1967) is super attractive.

9. Hat’s warnings turned out to be very true: far too many middle-aged white guys with hired, super young Thai girls.  Creepy.

10. Don’t use your two year old children to beg naked out on the sidewalk.  It’s 93 degrees in October, and that’s not cool.

Now, let me add though that it’s an amazing place, and is a lot of fun.  I’m not sure why those initial thoughts sound more negative than positive: it was a blast.  Tropical flora and fauna is underrated.

• I’ll upload some more shots soon, a few more from Bangkok, and some from Chiang Mai.  In the meantime, these are from the first few days of the trip: Bangkok and Kanchanaburi.


Bangkok, with two tuk-tuks on the street.


Kanchanaburi.


This kid at a roadside restaurant in the middle of nowhere kept wanting to play with my camera.


Kanchanaburi has some hot springs, with a cold river (in the foreground) to cool off.


Walking some tracks near the River Kwai.


My sister lives in fairly modest quarters: she shares an apartment with 5 other people without air conditioning, hot water, phone, internet, or beds.


Ants make quick order of things.  I had never seen ants move as fast as they did.


En route to Bangkok.

family wheels


We left the room, and Clay had removed the rear brake in a matter of minutes. Purchased at Pearl River Market on Broadway in SoHo.


Jenn and I flew down to North Carolina this past weekend. There were some bicycles involved. Top left: Hillary tries out a petite converted single-speed Spalding Blade. Top right: I admire the threadless fork on Clay’s Bianchi Pista. Bottom left: the lineup. Bottom right: the Pista rides like butter, top notch.


I’m not sure if I’m becoming too much of a New Yorker, but down south felt ridiculously green. I mean, I was stunned with the magical lushness all over.


After the party it’s the after party. My good friend Mitchell’s wedding is what brought Jenn and I to North Carolina.


It happens.


Safely back in New York, though this seems outside the boroughs.