Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wintersleep :: Welcome to the Night Sky

Has anyone noticed that the Halifax music scene is kickin' right now? Actually what has probably has happened is that I've pulled my head out of my metaphorical Toronto/Montreal-centric ass. That and having visited Halifax first hand and seeing that city really for what it is (i.e. not the "east coast's poor attempt at a metropolis", but rather an up-and-coming town of hip and alternative culture).

I was attracted to the concert at Terminal 5 because of the headliners, Wolf Parade. But I left enthralled with the opener, Wintersleep. Their CD safely stowed in my pack pocket, I went home with their rich harmonies ringing in my ears. And then over the next few weeks, I consumed their new album with such vigour I would have burned new grooves into the CD had it not been for my iPod. Now over four months since that concert and I still find myself gravitating towards that album when I don't know what else to put on. And though I think I should give other new music a chance, why deny guaranteed satisfaction?

CONSUMED: Terminal 5; Manhattan

And thus ends my posts for NaBloPoMo. Back to weekends off, folks.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

mustard tasting

EAT MORE MUSTARD. That's what the sticker on their kiosk said. And though I am not a mustard connoisseur, the variety that was presented by Kozlik's Canadian Mustard definitely made me think that I could be. Ranging from sweet to triple-X spicy, you could basically find a mustard for every occasion, depending on whether you were planning to snack on pretzels or use it to baste a roast. I didn't have the energy (or time) to try and choose a mustard on the spot, but the next time I return, I think I may have to become better acquainted with this multifaceted condiment.

CONSUMED: Kozlik's Canadian Mustard; St Lawrence Market, 92 Front St, Toronto

Friday, November 28, 2008

Kirin beer tap handle

I never noticed that Kirin's handle for their beer tap was the hilt of a katana blade. Brilliant! Sapporo is probably killing themselves for not having thought of this first.

CONSUMED: Bao; 391 2nd Ave, Gramercy (Manhattan)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

we hold these truths to be self evident

Call me a romantic, but these signs seem to mean more when they're posted in poorer neighbourhoods.

CONSUMED: Dyckman/200th St A-train subway station; Dyckman and Broadway, Inwood (Manhattan)

P.S. Happy American Thanksgiving, everyone.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Auberge du Pommier

Good friends of mine got married at this restaurant in North York, Toronto. (What? Get off at York Mills subway station? That's basically out in the boonies!) I really was perplexed as to why the choice of such a "remote" location. But then the food arrived and realised exactly why. Why pay $X a head to have crappy catered fare when you could use the same money and provide heaven on a plate?

The menu highlights: the parmesan wafer that topped the caesar salad, the kobe beef that cut like butter with your fork, the pan-seared scallops that tasted like butter, and then the tarte tatin with the caramelised apples that melted in your mouth. Is it wrong to wish that they would get married all over again?

CONSUMED: Auberge du Pommier; 4150 Yonge Street, North York (Toronto)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

sunrise in Jackson Heights

Very rarely do I wake up earlier than the sun. Hey, it's a competition I'm happy to lose. But on those few occasions when I do win, such as in order to get to the airport on time for an early flight, you get to catch glimpses of what makes urban mornings so goddamn beautiful.

CONSUMED: 82nd St/Jackson Heights 7-train subway station; 82nd St and Roosevelt Ave, Jackson Heights (Queens)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Harmony Organic milk

Ever since I starting shopping at the greenmarket here in New York, I've become obsessed with local foods. In particular, I've grown attached to buying milk from the local dairy, Ronnybrook, even though it's not organic. Something about the wistful (but environmental) use of glass bottles, knowing the milkmaid, and buying into the "local is better than organic" mantra.

But Toronto has a one-up on New York: it has Harmony Organic, a dairy farm within 200 miles (beats the Stonyfield coming from Vermont) that is also organic. Good to know for that time when I move back, whenever that will be.

CONSUMED: St Lawrence Market; 92 Front St, Toronto

Sunday, November 23, 2008

shuffleboard at The Diamond

My work's bowling night migrated-slash-degenerated to another bar where a game of a similar-but-different sort happened. The teams were Brooklyn vs. Not Brooklyn. And sadly, Not Brooklyn won (I would like to blame our loss on the fact that Brooklyn just drank more than Not Brooklyn).

CONSUMED: The Diamond; 43 Franklin St, Greenpoint (Brooklyn)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

robot mural

This vibrant mural (the work of R. Nick Kuszyk) is up on the wall of the 24 hour laundromat somewhat near to my place. It's very graphic, just how I like it.

CONSUMED: N 3rd, between Metropolitan and Bedford; Williamsburg (Brooklyn)

Friday, November 21, 2008


Calgary is a glacial mess during the winter. So much so that the city has connected numerous of its downtown office towers and buildings with a network of skywalks, called the Plus 15.

The Beth Israel Medical Centre on the edge of Gramercy also has a skywalk stretching between two of its buildings on East 17th Street. And though it's just the one skywalk, every time I see it (which is often enough to stir memories) I can't but help feel a little nostalgic about the Plus 15 from my birthtown.

CONSUMED: East 17th St, between 1st and 2nd; Gramercy (Manhattan)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

public bathrooms on Delancey?

There is what appears to be the remains of a public restroom sitting in the median of Allen at Delancey. Apparently a relic from when 2nd Avenue had an elevated train (!!? why did they ever get rid of that?), I can imagine its boarded-up doors taunt all the tourists schlepping between the Lower East Side and Chinatown. (Luckily, there's a Starbucks right across the street — the only one in the LES — that will surely let you use their facilities for the measly price of a latte.)

CONSUMED: Allen and Delancey; Lower East Side (Manhattan)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fth floor

It usually takes a while for visitors to understand the numbering system in my apartment building. For reasons unknown to me, the floors are labelled according to letters where A is the first floor, B the second and so on. The problem is further confused by the use of numerical floor signs on the landings. Except for my floor. And who knows if it was intentional; it's still brilliant.

CONSUMED: my apartment; Brooklyn

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Canon Powershot G9

My trusty Powershot A95 started to fail when I was on the Amazon River on my trip to Peru. The symptoms: purple, streaky pictures, and a flickering viewscreen. I panicked, because it was only the first day of our weekend excursion; what was I going to do for the rest of the trip? After a few desperate moments, of which all I did was restart the camera several times, full functionality returned. But I knew my camera's days were numbered.

So when it came time for The Great Wedding Circuit trip that I was taking at the end of September, I refused to be subject to the whims of a temperamental piece of equipment. Instead I recruited my mother's new Powershot G9 as my sidekick. And how glad I was for that! Not only did it save me from post-vacation amnesia, it also sliced and diced my dinner (and did my laundry too)! It also took pretty decent pictures.

Now all I can think is: I can't wait for my very own G10 to arrive!

CONSUMED: Salt Lake City, Vancouver and Calgary

Monday, November 17, 2008

brunch party

Consider an excerpt from the carnage that was the brunch party that Dory and I hosted on Sunday:
  • 4 dozen eggs
  • 1 pound of coffee (maybe six or seven 12-cup pots?)
  • 2 litres of milk
  • 30 waffles (one-third of which contained squash... mmmm!)
  • 4 litres of juice
  • 1 packet of bacon
  • 1 packet of tofurky sausages
  • 6 bananas
  • 15 mushrooms
  • 1 loaf of braided rosemary bread, baked by Dory
Sincere apologies to anyone who is reading this and wasn't invited. Know that we were limited solely by the size of our apartment, and not for lack of wanting you there. Because we did.

CONSUMED: my apartment; Brooklyn

Sunday, November 16, 2008

fallen leaves in McCarren Park

Despite the recent spell of warm weather New York has received over the past few weeks (which made for good street partying post-election, mind you), the trees in McCarren Park are not fooled. It's autumn. And as such, leaves must fall.

You can barely make out in the background of the picture (and you wouldn't be able to see it if you didn't know it was there) is the largest leaf pile I have ever seen. I went to the farmers market early that morning, and so the paths had yet to be cleared. There was something beautiful about riding over a carpet of leaves.

CONSUMED: McCarren Park (the side west of Driggs); Greenpoint (Brooklyn)

Saturday, November 15, 2008


The B39 is a gift sent from the MTA (and the MTA sends very few gifts indeed). If the traffic conditions are right, it can shuttle you across the Williamsburg Bridge in one-quarter of the time it would take the subway. And if traffic conditions are bad (say in the morning), by riding the outside lane of the bridge, it bestows you an unparalleled view of the city that can make you fall back in love with New York.

CONSUMED: the Williamsburg Bridge; Manhattan/Brooklyn

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Stolen Minks (at Don Pedro)

The Stolen Minks are a kick-ass punk-rockabilly foursome (touring as a three-piece) from Halifax that finally made it across the border to do a Stateside tour. They are also friends of mine. So I was doubly stoked to discover that they were making a stop in New York (and Brooklyn specifically), so that I could see them play live. Apparently, the saturated music scene here made New York difficult to book, but they were able to score a gig at Don Pedro, a music bar located in that purgatorial limbo known as East Williamsburg/Bushwick.

I was a bit worried, as none of the kids I invited were able to make it to the show. And the act before them didn't really draw a crowd. I thought that maybe I would get a private show. But once they let loose their no nonsense rock, they pulled everyone from the front of the bar to the stage. They played all the faves including my request, "Boys on the Floor," to which I was the lone clapper during the bridge. I didn't care. I was just so proud to see my friends playing in the city that never sleeps.

CONSUMED: Don Pedro; 90 Manhattan Ave, Bushwick (Brooklyn)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

bowling at The Gutter Bar

Bowling. That great American pastime where even the first-timers can get a strike. And my department had a pretty good go at our first departmental bowling night. Pitchers were passed around, gutters were christened, and work was not mentioned once.

CONSUMED: The Gutter Bar; 200 N 14th St, Greenpoint (Brooklyn)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pulse Park

I love the outdoor art curated by the Madison Square Park Conservancy. On right now until the 17th of November: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's PULSE PARK, where lights in the central circle are programmed by two spectator heart beat monitors found on the edge of the park. It was absolutely beautiful. I want return so I can linger and relish in child-like wonder of the spectators.

CONSUMED: Madison Square Park; Gramercy (Manhattan)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

80th birthday symposium

Over 30 years ago, Ruth and Victor Nussenzweig discovered that if you irradiated sporozoites (the infectious form of the malaria parasite) and administered them as a vaccine, you could provide mice with sterile, long-lasting protection from malaria.

Thirty years later, over a hundred scientists from around the globe (all of whom had worked in some shape or form under one of the Nussenzweigs) would descend on New York University to pay tribute to that discovery (as well as the 80th birthdays of both Nussenzweigs). Indeed it was that revelation, in particular, that launched an entire field of malaria vaccine research.

I myself am a great-grandchild in that ever-expanding scientific family tree. And I can only aspire to have a sliver of the real world impact that these two Brazilian scientists have borne from their careers.

CONSUMED: New York University Medical Center; Manhattan

Monday, November 10, 2008

beached seals

I was in town for only one day, two nights. And I wasn't there for the sights. Not that La Jolla has much to offer in those respects; I imagine being one of the wealthiest communities of San Diego County would somehow downplay any need for tourism. The sole exception was made for the seals. It seems they were local celebrities. So much so that the town had built a viewing wharf along which one could ramble and chatter and ogle without needing to disturb the sun-bathing pinnipeds. And so I paid my respects to the seals, musing (while inscribing their lassitude to digital eternity) that I might be seeing them again soon in the not-so-distant future.

CONSUMED: Children's Pool Beach; La Jolla, California

I'm posting this San Diego-related post only so that I can mark my decision to move to San Diego/La Jolla for the next stage of my career. I'm stoked.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Crystal Castles :: Crystal Castles

I don't really have enough knowledge about music styles to accurately ascribe a genre or musical qualities to Crystal Castles. All I know is that on their most recent self-titled album, they combine the right amount of 8-bit instrumentals, screeching vocals, and drum machine beats that make me almost (involuntarily) dance on subway platforms.

Sadly I missed these Toronto kids when they recently came through and played at Webster Hall, and I fear they'll be relegated to Terminal 5 the next time they're in town.

CONSUMED: on subway platforms around New York

Saturday, November 8, 2008

screenprinting class

Last Sunday, I learned how to screenprint. My first stencil was a moose. Here is my new hipster-plaid fall jacket that I printed with my moose, in hunter orange of course.

Plans are in the works to print cards for the holidays.

CONSUMED: Etsy Labs; 325 Gold St, Downtown Brooklyn

Friday, November 7, 2008

edible ink cupcakes

So I can eat a Plasmodium vivax hypnozoite? And have it be rife with vanilla frosting goodness? Yes please! (And thank goodness for parasite genome projects.)

CONSUMED: my work; Manhattan

Thursday, November 6, 2008

americano walk-up window

"You guys really need coffee at the farmers market." I was talking to my friend over bread loaves stacked high at his bakery stand at the Greenpoint greenmarket.

"Well at least there's Five Leaves now."


"It's that new place on the corner. They have a walk-up window that only does americanos."


I was aghast. I mean, it wasn't farmers market coffee (under the rules of being local, coffee doesn't qualify), but it was the next best thing (choose the closest storefront to the park and sell coffee there). And so we went for americanos, served to us from a window on to the street. And all of a sudden, the market became THAT much more amazing.

CONSUMED: Five Leaves; 18 Bedford Ave, Greenpoint (Brooklyn)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


New York celebrated last night. With parades of clanging pots. With high fives and honking horns. With spontaneous amalgamations of people singing the Star Spangled Banner in the middle of street intersections.

Yesterday the world changed. And New York knew it.

CONSUMED: all over the East Village and Williamsburg

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


When traversing the Williamsburg Bridge at night, especially using the foot bridge, it's impossible to miss the red tube lights glaring through the darkness. Lining the side of a building north of the bridge, they typically read "SAVE DOMINO" supposedly voicing the building residents' fear of the razing of the Domino sugar plant in favour of waterfront high rise condo developments.

But recently, the sign changed to read something very different.

It continues to amaze me that the building residents hold such solidarity that either of these messages were even possible.

CONSUMED: Brooklyn/Queens-bound J Train; Williamsburg Bridge, Brooklyn

SIDEBAR: Get out and vote today!

Monday, November 3, 2008

bike lanes! in SoHo!

I attended a Transportation Alternatives ("Brooklyn Chapter") meeting in Prospect Heights last week during which bike lanes along Grand St in Manhattan were mentioned a few times. But I didn't really believe in their application. I thought that, considering the high traffic of SoHo, maybe they were paltry attempts not unlike those found on Franklin Ave in Greenpoint. Until I saw them in person. Beautiful columns of green with posts to separate bikes from cars. Now if only the Department of Transportation would be so forward thinking on 1st Avenue...

CONSUMED: Grand St near Broadway; SoHo (Manhattan)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

New York City Marathon

New York: today I watched thousands of people, natives and foreigners alike, run through your streets. Last year, I anxiously waited for friends at Mile 19 somewhere between 110th and 120th on 1st Avenue, jumping up and down and forgetting any sense of modesty when they arrived. I was so proud of their achievement.

This year, it was in Mile 10 in Brooklyn that I stood, and clapped, and cried encouragements to strangers, and marvelled at this wonder that is a marathon. And again, I was so proud. Proud of these thousands of strangers and their race. Proud of the spectators and their anonymous and unlimited support for the runners. Proud of you, New York, for letting people take over your streets, for opening your 5 boroughs, for providing an opportunity for people to celebrate people — all in this single feat of inhuman endurance.

CONSUMED: S 5th and Bedford; Williamsburg (Brooklyn)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

apple pie

I used to bake a bunch. I don't really remember why (it's not like I was cooking for an especially appreciative crowd), but I did. Cookies, cakes, loafs. Then somehow, I stopped. More recently I've picked up a signature dish: zucchini bread. And that's all I make.

So when an out-of-town friend suggested that we make pie for an impromptu stay-in Hallowe'en dinner (using apples from the Union Square farmers market... oh stuffwhitepeoplelike, eat your heart out), complete with ginger whipped cream (whipped by hand, thanks to my stubborn insistence), I think I've found a new favourite dessert.

CONSUMED: my apartment; Brooklyn

Today marks the first day of NaBloPoMo. I pinky-swore with Emily and Dory this past week to adhere to the simple rule of daily blogging during the month of November. I think I have a one-up on them because I already blog daily during the week.