Sunday, February 27, 2011

Photography school

I started a photography class today. We'll be meeting every Sunday for two hours for a total of nine weeks. And at the end of the nine-week period we'll have a photo exhibition! Very exciting.

My teacher kinda looks like Tim Lincecum (a pitcher for the Giants). He acts pretty goofy, but is also very knowledgeable, so it works.  His name is Laccone'. He's cool.

Laccone taught us about the "iso" and "shutter speed" and "F-stop." We're only allowed to shoot pics in black and white and not allowed to use the automatic mode EVER. Every picture from now on has to be taken in "Manual Mode." No more snap and shoot for me. Now I gotta actually calculate and do math and shit every time I take a pic. It's actually really fun. It feels great to be much more involved in the picture-taking process. He says, "When you're in automatic mode, you're telling your camera that you don't know what the hell you're doing and asking it to take over." Oh and, we're also not allowed to use a flash. He said, "The flash is for losers. Photography is all about manipulating the light that already exists." He's no joke, Yo.  We'll have weekly assignments (pics) to hand in to make sure we understood the lecture, but we don't get graded or anything, it's all for fun. But I'm still taking it very seriously.

After I left the class, I started playing around with the different settings.

Here are a few of my amateur pics:

Manhattan looks gorgeous in black and white, yes?

I still haven't learned about composition or anything. I'm just learning to manipulate light right now. Can't wait to see what my pics look like at the end of the nine-week period!

That's what's up.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sassy Saturday

Rediscovered my love of ginger this week...

(You gotta click on the ginger photo! It's like the ginger is right there with you...)

That's about it about that.


I met up with Njeri today at that vegan restaurant that we went to last week called Bonobo's (remember?), but this time she brought her friend, Dan, to join us in our vegan extravaganza.

When I first got to the place, it was completely empty:

I saw a man pop his head in and then quickly leave as if he was frightened by what he saw. Njeri was 15 minutes late and I was starting to think I'd arrived on the wrong day. I texted Njeri, but no response. Ohboy. Finally she showed up. She had a good excuse, though, she was coming from work and got held up.

When Njeri took off her coat I was loving the skirt she had on, so I had to get a shot of it. (It's leather-free vegan, BTW!):

So remember that "random" guy that popped his head in a few minutes earlier (I just mentioned him like two sentences ago, so if you forgot him already, that'd be sad)? Well he turned out to be Njeri's friend, Dan! Dan works for a domestic violence organization...working to rehabilitate the *abusers*. Very cool.

Here are Dan and Njeri with their nutmeat entrees:

And here they are checking their Facebook profiles:


(Haha. Pot calling the kettle black, perhaps?)

I mentioned to Dan and Njeri that I started mediation classes at the Shambhala Center on and they informed me that they've been going there for years and that Dan actually organizes a bunch of the events there. Small world. I highly recommend checking this place out. The "public sitting" is free. It's much easier for me to meditate with other people around. You (that means *you*) should check it out. We all need to train our monkey minds to focus on the present.

Tomorrow? Taking a photography class in the morning and then watching the Oscars with some friends in the eve.

(Whoops. I guess I'm not focusing on the present by telling you what I'm gonna be doing tomorrow, huh? Shh.)

Stay tuned...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thumping Thursday

My wonderful friend, Dorkys, came over tonight and watched a Jersey Shore marathon with me. She doesn't have cable, so she has to get her guido/guidette fix at my place. I'm sure she's got other friends that have cable, but no one would appreciate this show as much me. NO ONE!

Anyway, before we started the show, Dorkys tried to order her Indian meal online 'cause the *four* numbers that were listed on the Curry in a Hurry menu were busy. We couldn't figure out why a restaurant which seats only 20 people needs FOUR phone lines and why ALL of them were busy.


Ten minutes later she got through and ordered her chicken ticka masala. Bastards!

Here she is laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation (uh oh, we have a "situation"):

And then we put on the Shore...

Here's Dorkys getting INTO it (hell yeah!):

We couldn't believe he did that. And then...


: D

J.S. is great, but Dorkys is better.

Peace out!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wacky Wednesday

I went to Home depot this afternoon and exchanged my sickly tree for a healthy one. This is my third attempt at having a tree in my apartment. I'm trying to stay hopeful. Not gonna jinx it, though, by getting too hopeful or even negative. You know what, let's just drop it. Anyway, look who I bumped into on my way to the garden department:

(You *MUST* click on the photo and zoom in on that dog's face to get the full effect.)

As soon as I saw this pooch coming toward me, I had to stop the owner and ask to take a photo. This dog made my week. I could *not* stop smiling after this moment. For the rest of the day I kept seeing his little hooded jacket in my mind's eye. 

Went back to my place to clean up a bit in preparation for the tree delivery. Also took a couple of random photos as I waited for my organic beef with veggies and brown rice to cook:

And then the ladies (Kiley and Ashley) came over.

We walked over to a nearby Indian restaurant (that seems to be the only type of food I eat lately, huh?) and...ate (duh):

Then we came back to my pad to chat it up and act a we always do.

Here's Kiley hiding behind my luscious new tree and Ashley caught red handed with my Hindu God:

"I got my eye on you, Ashley."

Lovely evening with two wonderful creative funny smart beautiful and talented women.

Tomorrow night? Hanging with my friend, Dorkys.

Nothing like girlfriends...and puppies in hooded jackets.

Good night.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

True Grit Tuesday

I met up with my friend, Raquel, for dinner and a movie. We ate mediocre Indian food and then saw a *really* mediocre film called True Grit which is surprisingly nominated for a bunch of awards. I really feel like I'm missing something most of the time when people rave about movies. This flick was like something your grandmother watches on a Saturday afternoon on the Lifetime Channel. Okay, fine, Jeff Bridges did a good job, I guess, 'cause...well...I couldn't understand what the hell he was saying most of the time, so good job mumbling from behind that beard. Bravo! I don't know. Maybe I just expect more from a project that cost millions of dollars to make and many many many months to produce?!

My top five movies of all time?


Annie Hall:



Hannah and Her Sisters:

Anyway, even though the food was kinda lame and the movie was lame-er, it was wonderful hanging out with Raquel. She has a inner calm that's wonderful to be around. I adore her.

Here's Raquel in the Indian restaurant:

: )

Tomorrow? Dinner and fun with the fabulous Kiley and Ashley.

Stay tuned...

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Monday

I woke up at 10 am, got dressed and quickly headed over to the yoga studio for a little Asthanga time. Two hours later I was at the Home Depot on 23rd Street replacing the three plants that died while I was on my month(ish)-long trip to London and Florida. Then I did a disgustingly large load of laundry and vacuumed my floors to prepare for my two friends coming to visit: Kiley and HIlary. My awesome pal Kiley came over for about an hour to shoot the poop and then my other fabulous friend Hilary came over and we ordered Indian food from a great vegetarian Indian place near me called Bhojan. (They have a lot of yummy vegan options.) She ordered the Vegetable Biryani (veggies, basmati rice and spices) and I ordered Kala Chana (spicy black chickpeas) and brown rice and we sat on the floor in front of the TV and masticated. (Well, obviously we weren't gonna eat curry on my white couch. I mean, hello.) We were planning on picking a new flick from Movies On Demand, but for some strange reason that function wasn't working on my television, so (plan B)we chose a movie from my extensive (not really) DVD collection: Edward Scissorhands. She hadn't seen it before and since the very sexy Johnny Depp is in it,  it seemed like the best possible choice.

Here's Hilary enjoying Johnny now:

And here's Johnny:

I feel like such a friend hoe. I'm hanging out with a different girlfriend every evening this week! Tomorrow I'm seeing True Grit with the lovely Raquel...

 Yay for friends. : )

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Vegan food with a friend and a movie with a sweet old man

I hung out with my friend, Njeri, today. We went to high school together and just recently reconnected about a year ago. We used to choreograph (and star in!) pieces for the student dance concert every year. It's been great hanging with her again. We have a lot in common: We're both obsessed with healthy eating and staying fit, not drinking alcohol, and being giggly and smiley, so it works. She's a veterinarian and works part-time at the Petco at Union Square. She told me she had a lunch-break at noon, so we decided to meet at a fabulous vegan raw food place place called Bonobos which is only six blocks from her job. She's been vegan since high school. We used to shop at the health food store near Brooklyn Friends School (our high school) ALL the time. We are complete health food nerds. 

Anyway, without further ado, here's Njeri (holding up a yummy coconut chai drink that is the bomb diggity):

And here she is showing off her tattoo:

And here's a closeup of the tattoo:

In case you don't already know, that's the Hindu God, Genesha.

And here's a closeup of her shirt:

Haha. Passersby kept reading it, but were kinda disappointed when they realized that it wasn't actually sexual.

After we finished up our lovely vegan meals, we decided to meet here every gosh darned Saturday. We even joked about starting up our own video health blog and hiring a cameraman to document the fascinating jewels of wisdom that delicately cascades from our unpolluted mouths. We'll see.

We said our goodbyes and then I rushed over to my place to meetup with my 82-year-old friend, Al. He comes over to my house once a week and we order take-out and watch a movie. Today we watched Sunset Boulevard starring William Holden and Gloria Swanson. It was cool to finally see this classic, but honestly it didn't thrill me. I mean, it's cool 'cause it's old and I know I'm supposed to love it because it's a classic, but...I didn't. What I *did* love, however, is making Al happy. He's always watching my silly crappy movies and never complains, so when he brought over this DVD, I thought to myself, "Ugh" but then said, "Sure, Al, let's watch it!" He looked thrilled. He sat on my couch completely mesmerized and loving every minute of it. He loved seeing all the old cars and old-time actors doing their thing. It was a pretty sweet way to spend two hours.

Oh and I asked him to pose with the t-shirt I bought him in London. Here's the stud now:


: )

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Florida: Movie with Emmet

This was the second time seeing my half-brother Emmet, so we decided to do something fun and see a movie. We hadn't decided on a flick beforehand, so when we arrived at the theater, we had absolutely no idea what was playing or when anything started. We arrived at the cinema around 5:20pm and most of the movies had already begun. The only two movies that were beginning in less than an hour were Gnomio and Juliet and The Roommate, so we decided on the latter. Bad choice. I knew this was a scary-ish movie, so I wasn't expecting to love it (I don't really care for violent movies), but I thought, "How bad can it be?" Emmet didn't seem too thrilled either, but we decided to take a chance. Well, the acting, the script, the sex scenes, the the the...whole thing was just awful. I should have suspected something when we walked into an empty theater. At the end of the longest hour and fifty minutes of my life, we sat in silence as the credits crept up the screen. I don't know Emmet that well yet, so I wasn't that sure whether he was gonna say he liked it or not. He's a HUGE James Bond fan. So much so, that he ONLY goes to James Bond movies, but I wasn't sure how that Bond love would transfer to other types of films. There was something kind of thriller-ee/action-ee about this movie, so it could have gone either way. He might have enjoyed it. So I looked over at his face and waited for a response. As soon as the lights came up he said, "Wow." I thought to myself, "Is that a good wow or a bad one?" And then I just took a chance and said, "That was pretty awful." Luckily within seconds he agreed. : ) I told Emmet that I'd never seen a Bond movie and he was horrified. HORRIFIED. He instructed me to watch Goldfinger as soon as I get home. "Fine, Emmet! Fine." We left the theater still numb from the assault.

Emmet has to get up at 4am EVERY morning for work and needs to be in bed by 8:30pm, so we made a quick jaunt to a nearby Starbucks to sit and talk a bit more before he had to get home. We talked about random stuff. What was said wasn't that important, it was just nice to hang out with him. Every five minutes or so I kept reminding myself, "This is my brother!" And "We have the same dad!" It's so strange. I just can't get over it. All this new family. It's great.

We threw out our environmentally friendly cups and made our way back to the car. We walked passed a Mini Copper in the parking lot and I made some comment about how much I love 'em. I told him if I win the Lotto I'm buying one in hot pink and he laughed. Anyway... we got in the car and I proceeded to drive him home, but...there was a slight...bump in the road. There was literally a bump. I ran over a dead cat. I didn't know what it was until the very last moment. From a distance I thought it was a car part or something or a black t-shirt or a clear plastic bag filled with black fur. There was a car to my left and I couldn't move any further right because I was already in the right lane and there wasn't a shoulder. Anyway, the entire car jumped up in the air and my heart sank. I felt like I ran over a dead baby. I still feel bad about it. I'll survive, though. Can't say that about the poor kitty.

We made it back to his place a few minutes later.

We said our goodbyes and gave each other a big hug.

I've met three half-brothers so far. Now I just need to meet my half-sister, Teresa and I'll be all connected. I hope to make that happen soon...

I'm back in NYC now. I've really enjoyed connecting with family in the past month, but it does feel really good to be home. : )

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Florida: My 92-year-old grandmother buys herself an iPad!

I can't believe it. I mean, I *really* can't believe it. My grandmother is now a part of the WiFi/internet/emailing world. She's connected, Yo!  I've been trying to get my grandmother to buy a computer for the longest time, but she always said, "It's not for me." But all of a sudden, when I mentioned the computer this time, she was intrigued. I explained all the benefits of having a computer, so she agreed to go to the Apple store and check it out.  I figured since she learned how to use a cellphone (pretty easily) that a computer wouldn't be that much more difficult for her. She's a smart cookie, so I knew if she kept an open mind, she'd be emailing and googling in no time. The guys at the Apple store could not get over how quickly she picked everything up. I mean, it was pretty remarkable. She learned how to email in less than 30 minutes!

My camera was about to die,  but I got a very quick (five second) video of grams composing her first email.

Check it out:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Florida: Meet another half-bro for the first time

Emmet and I have been emailing one another for months now trying to set up a time and place to meet. He's been hard to pin down, though 'cause he's constantly on-the-go for work. Emmet's a horse trainer, so he has to travel quite a bit. A few months ago he was living in Kentucky and now he's in Florida and a couple of months from now he'll be in Baltimore. Up until last week, I thought he lived wayyyy out in Miami, but discovered (after playing around with Mapquest) that he's only 20 minutes from my grandmother's house. So when I decided to visit the grams I figured it would only be right to finally meet my other brother!

In 30 minutes, I was face-to-face with my half-brother, Emmet:

Oh and when I went into his place for the first time, look what greeted me at the door:

He's sticking his tongue out at me! Bastard.

Emmet and I chatted it up a bit and then he had to go over to the training facility to feed the horses. Once we got there he gave me a little tour of the place.

Here's the track:

Here's the barn where all the beautiful horses eat, sleep, and chill:

I petted all forty horses on the head. They were all so sturdy and sweet.

Here are some close ups of the beauties:

And here's a horse worth TEN MILLION DOLLARS:

Most of the horses are worth between one and two million dollars, but this one is the most valuable...'cause I guess he's the fastest.

Then I asked Emmet to take some photos of me with a horse:

That horse was tickling my neck with his huge nostrils!

Emmet is very comfortable with the horsies:

Regular (slacker) non-racing horses eat only hay, but these horses are athletes, so they need more nutrients and protein for energy and building muscle. So in addition to the hay, they also get fed a high protein concoction twice a day. This concoction is all veggie based, thank you.  I think it's interesting to note that these strong athletic animals are all vegetarian. Take THAT, Fool.

Here's Emmet and the veggie feed:

It smelled yummy, kinda like dried fruit. Emmet said I was smelling the molasses. I wanted to take a taste, but...don't worry, I didn't.

And then Emmet wheeled the stuff into the barn to divvy it out:

About 45 minutes later, we headed over to a Chinese restaurant to get some grub:

We look so serious! We were having a great time, I swear, it's just that the waiter caught us in between smiles.

Then Emmet had the nerve to order cheesecake!

I didn't have any. : (

It was soooo nice to meet Emmet. He's warm and friendly and sweet and it was just a pleasure spending time with him. We're gonna meet again in a few days and see a movie. Don't know which one yet. Emmet's gonna break his I-only-see-James-Bond-movies rule to go to a non-James Bond flick with me. Yay!

Great day. : )