Archive for April, 2008


music review: simian mobile disco

You know what I’m tired of? I’m tired of mentioning techno music and having people automatically assume I’m talking about trance-a-holic, glow-stick wielding zombies, enslaved by the same tired, coma-enducing loops that have been pumped out by auto-pilot artists like Paul Oakenfold and Tiesto since 1997.

Thankfully, the signs are becoming more and more clear that the days of “uplifting” yet sorely castrated dance music are finally coming to a close. Artists such as LCD Soundsystem, The Presets and Hot Chip have been rolling a tank across the over-produced, over-polished, over-layered ad nauseum sounds of prance-trance and giving techno what it’s needed for some time now: balls. 

(Click below for more and an MP3…)

Continue reading ‘music review: simian mobile disco’


best buy strikes back!

Mere hours after I had written off the boys in blue & yellow based on their featherweight 23rd street store, they throw themselves back into the ring, this time ready to punch your teeth out with the heavyweight known as the Columbus Circle location (62nd & Bway). Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes upon this three-story contender:

I almost wanted to take my shoes off before coming inside!

Continue reading ‘best buy strikes back!’


dark knight…

Don’t have time for a big post tonight, but I wanted to share this awesomely spooky shot I grabbed as the clouds rolled in, no doubt in preparation for tomorrow’s ritualistic “watering of the city,” also known as rain.  When I look at this picture, all I can think of is that this city truly is Batman’s town – the rest of us just live in it.  A shiver runs down my spine; The Dark Knight better be good.


a few random bits from NYC

It rained tonight unexpectedly and this is how I dealt with it.  When I say unexpectedly, I mean the forecast called for rain but when I looked outside this morning (i.e. 1pm), it was nice and sunny so I decided to ignore the advice of the people who went to meteorological school for four years because I didn’t want to carry an umbrella.  Let this picture be a cautionary tale to those who contemplate being equally lazy on a potentially rainy day.  Speaking of weather, it’s going to be a balmy 90 degrees in LA on Saturday but a far more spring-like 72 here in Manhattan.   I don’t know what gods were so angered they made NY weather better than LA’s, but whatever you guys are up to, keep it going!

Pardon my California French, but what the fuck is this?  People come from all over the world to feast upon the nirvana known as New York Pizza.  Why would any New Yorker in their right mind want to turn their stomachs over to the West Coast’s pale imitation?  Attention NY: if you really want to try California pizza, here’s what you do:

  • Scrape all the cheese and sauce off two slices of NY heaven and slap them together.  This will approximate the crust thickness of the Angelino slice.
  • Dip a paint brush in a bottle of old, moldy Ragu and very gently trace a super thin layer of sauce on top of the slice.  If you can taste it, you’ve used too much.
  • Go to the 99 cent store, grab a can of spray cheese and unload the whole thing as the top layer.
  • Microwave on high for 90 seconds.
  • Let sit under a heat lamp for six hours.
  • “Enjoy.”

Seriously, if anyone in NY is even contemplating a slice of California Pizza, Wired put it best when they said: It costs $482.79 to get a decent pizza in San Francisco — $17 for the pie, $85 for cab fare, and $378.80 for the flight to New York.  Read the full story here (thanks to Shane for sending in the link!).

I saw this guy near Times Square last night.  Gotta love the sense of humor of NY’s homeless.  If they ever got together and did standup they’d kill.  And yes, I gave the guy a dollar to take his picture (and some cookies, because Starbuck’s wouldn’t give me change of a $20 unless I bought something).  Fascists.

Went to MOMA today to check out Take your time: Olafur Eliasson, a new exhibition of immersive environments constructed from light and color.  This unretouched photo is just one example of the cool stuff you’ll be able to see if you go between now and June 30 (and you should).  If you have any clue how to use your camera you’ll be able to get some incredible images… here are just a few of the ones I got:

Continue reading ‘a few random bits from NYC’


al-qaeda: a target suggestion

Dear Al-Qaeda operatives,

If you’re planning another terrorist attack in New York, please consider this building for your next target:

This is one ugly building

It’s the new hotel on Rivington street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  It’s absolutely hideous and stands out like a giant, black and blue sore thumb, marring a landscape otherwise unadulterated by oddly shaped, tall buildings.  It destroys the “simple, local neighborhood” feel of the Lower East Side and really needs to go away.  Think of what an easy target it would be!  A pilot with no experience at all could hit this thing with one eye closed.  I hear they have copies of “The Satanic Verses” in every room and some educated women working there.  Go get ’em!


We’ll be here all week folks

Some people accuse NY of being too serious and that it needs to “lighten up.”  To that, your average New Yorker would reply “go fuck yourself,” but I have decided to let these pictures do the talking.  All you have to do is keep your eyes open and NY provides a bounty of comic relief!

I shall indeed (click below for more amusing images)

Continue reading ‘We’ll be here all week folks’


new york: day three (part 2)

On the way home from J&R we saw this ad for the upcoming Spike TV airing of all three Star Wars movies (plus the prequels).  I don’t know exactly when they’re airing because WHO CARES??  I have to guess a recent meeting inside Spike TV went something like this:

SPIKE TV PRESIDENT: Let’s call Lucas and pay a lot of money so we can air all the Star Wars movie.

SPIKE TV PROGRAMMING GUY: But everyone has seen those movies a million times.


SPIKE TV PROGRAMMING GUY: Dude, everyone who even watches our channel already has them all on DVD.  If they want to watch Star Wars they just pop one on.  And it looks and sounds better.


SPIKE TV PROGRAMMING GUY: Who’s going to watch them on Spike TV full of commercials when they can just watch it on DVD?

SPIKE TV PRESIDENT: People who don’t have DVD players.

SPIKE TV PROGRAMMING GUY:  Yeah but we specifically target the demographic that has DVD players, flat screens and all that stuff.


At least it most likely went something like that because I’m a giant, Star Wars-loving nerd and all my friends are giant, Star Wars-loving nerds and no one I know is planning to watch it.  Our DVD players could explode tomorrow and STILL we wouldn’t watch Star Wars on cable TV with an assload of commercials.  What are they thinking?  At least the ads are funny, maybe when Lucas comes after them for the license fee they can’t afford to pay because no one watched they can sell posters of the ads.  Anyway, back to NY and my skateboarder story…

Walking home from J&R, we passed the courts again.  Across the street is this sculpture park (the sculpture is on the left) where a small group of skateboard rats were doing what skateboard rats do: nothing.  You know the drill – they skate maybe five or six feet at a time and then jump up and flip the skateboard, attempting to land on it again after it’s been flipped.  They usually miss.  It’s boring and noisy and makes them all look like pussies.  Where’s the excitement?  Where’s the “living on the edge and skirting death” attitude they want us to think they have?  Because all I ever see these losers do is try to flip their board and miss.  I want some YouTube video action!  So, after watching all these skaterats sail back and forth past an obvious ramp-cum-accident-waiting-to-happen (the black marbled thing with hand rails above), I loudly suggested how much they were boring me and one of them should attempt to skate down the “ramp.”  The kid in the blue & white striped shirt said “I’ll do it if you give me ten bucks.”  All I had was a twenty and a one and I wasn’t going to waste a twenty this so I said, “oh well, never mind, all I have is a buck.”  He responded “ok, I work cheap.”

So he takes the buck and mounts up!  I couldn’t believe it!  He stood on top of the ramp and took his time, staring down at the 10 foot drop in front of him (probably also thinking about YouTube videos).  After a minute of his friends egging him on, he hopped on the board, flew down and landed the pavement – upright and still on the board!  Success!  It actually looked pretty easy and he did it again.  A few of the other guys got on top of the ramp to try it themselves but they chickened out at the moment of truth.  Still, it didn’t matter, the group’s energy and excitement went through the roof and suddenly another boring day hanging out at the park was thrown off the tracks and transformed into something fun.  And the kid in the blue?  He was walking on air, stoaked and proud that he had the courage to take on a random challenge and prove to me – and himself- that he had the right stuff.   Did I mention what that sculpture is called?  Here’s the plaque:


I bet that kid has no idea.


new york: day three (part 1)

Ah, nothing like a piping hot slice of pizza for breakfast to fuel the start of another fine NY adventure!  As I polished off the slice while walking to my brother’s place, I suddenly experienced an oddly familiar sensation – but it had been so long, for a brief moment I didn’t know what it was!  What the hell is up with my hand?!   I wondered… but before I even had a chance to look, I knew.  It was the pizza grease!

It ain’t a true NY pizza experience until you feel that hot, moist, tasty goodness drip down your hand.  It may sound disgusting but disgusting is an indelible part of New York charm!  I mean forget the grease, look at the wall and general state of the city behind me!  Downtown LA tries it’s best but it can’t quite capture the Je ne sais qua of Manhattan filth.  Speaking of which…

Here’s my brother, displaying all the style and elegance New Yorkers are known for.  I call this photo Carefree panache on the M14 to Lower Manhattan.  Wow, I just noticed my brother’s chin looks exactly like Peter Griffin’s on Family Guy.  Uncanny! 

They don’t build ’em like that anymore, huh?  This is down in what I suppose you’d call the financial district, but it’s part of the Lower Manhattan District Court.  We passed by on the way to our final destination and I was compelled for obvious reasons to grab this shot; as far as I’m concerned, it’s the perfect nameplate for this great city, displaying a timeless strength and beauty.  Can you imagine what our world would look like today if Christianity hadn’t toppled the Roman empire?  Carl Sagan theorized that the Industrial Revolution might have occurred over a thousand years earlier if Rome hadn’t fallen (bringing science and progress to a grinding halt).  We could have launched the space shuttle in 1000 AD!  The Pope is in town this week, remind me to thank him.  Here’s an image of the Supreme Court house, as seen on Law & Order!

Despite all this breathtaking architecture and morality, my brother and I had to move onward, giddily anticipating our rendezvous with the only building in New York even more awesome than the one you see above…


J&R Music World!  Forget the Supreme Court, leave Times Square behind and just keep driving past the Empire State Building, for this is the only essential destination for any nerd visiting Manhattan.  J&R isn’t just a website with tons of cool stuff and great prices – it’s a real place you can shop at!  You can wander up and down the aisles and geek out as you drool over all the bounty under one roof; or, I should say, many roofs, as J&R basically owns an entire block of Manhattan.  First there’s the digital photography building (yes, I said building, not floor or section), then the closeouts building, the music & DVD building and, finally, the computer & other high tech goodies building – four stories of silicon heaven, topped off by the “Apple Store on Four.”  Here’s the view of the monitor area:

… and winning the prize for the most interesting and surprising item was this – the tube amp iPod dock:

The one you see here is the Fatman iTube.  Are tube amps for the iPod worth it or just analog purist hype?  Here’s a look at them from the New York Times (in keeping with our NY theme, of course).  After an eternity in J&R, my bro and I reluctantly parted ways with the electronics superstore, knowing that we would forever be too spoiled to step foot in a Best Buy again (unless it was for comic relief).  On the way home, however, an unexpected drama was to unfold, but more on that tomorrow in part 2 (since it’s 4am right now and I want to down some papaya juice and hit the sack). 



April 18th was, by all accounts, the most beautiful day possible in NYC – 80 degrees, sunny, almost no humidity and it was Friday!  Yes, I live in LA now, where this weather is “just another day,” but in NY, a day like this is rare gem, almost magical; you don’t just see the sunshine in the sky, you see it in people’s faces!  Everyone had spring fever – they were smiling, laughing, taking extra-long outdoor lunches – the energy walking through Manhattan felt like an all-day recess.  Here was the crowd at Union Square late in the afternoon:

All anyone wanted to do was hang out in the sun and just veg.  Of course, this is NY, where no one really knows how to just sit around and do nothing.  Little did I know, a much more spectacular “awesome Friday” celebration was in the works… but more on that later.  I was 3,000 miles from home and it was time for me to wander the city and soak up some of the unique atmosphere and culture that makes a vacation worthwhile!

Yes, I am a nerd.  But this was Best Buy in NEW YORK!  And just look how classy that sign is, I knew all manner of unique, east-coast-electronics goodness awaited me inside.  How would the store be different?  What would the salespeople be like?  Am I joking?  Sadly, no.  Even sadder, upon entering the front door, I felt like I had just walked through a wormhole into the brand-new Sherman Oaks Best Buy; it was identical.  From the two-story layout to the complete and utter failure of the employees to explain the difference between DLP and LCD, I felt like I had never left home.  Ladies and gentlemen, if you ever find yourself out of town and feeling homesick, just walk into a Best Buy and wipe those tears away!  Before long you’ll be annoyed and frustrated just like you were at home, desperately feeling like you need a vacation – except now all you’ll have to do is walk out and you’ll soon remember that you’re already on one.

Whoa, what’s this?  Looks like New York’s got an HD channel with my name written all over it!  I’m glad it’s 100% HD, I’d hate to be associated with one of those cheap HD channels that only broadcasts in 620p.  What’s it all about?  I’m looking at the website now… they’ve got a show called “THE CIRCUIT: A new weekly web series highlighting the interesting and absurd in the world of technology.”  Wait, a web series?  WTF does a web series have to do with being an HDTV channel?  Ok let’s click.  Oh dear, this description of the pilot episode doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence: Apple laptops, drugged monkeys and glowing pigs fill this week’s episode of MOJO’s The Circuit. You’ll meet our ruggedly-handsome and geekily-chic host, Deepak Ananthapadmanabha, and be introduced to the flashy style and witty writing you’ll come to expect every Tuesday at noon, right here at MOJO HD.  Flashy style and witty writing?  Me thinks they could use some of that Mojo they claim to be touting.  And a host named Deepak Ananthapadmanabha??  Huh?  Do Indians have a thing against changing their names for show business?  Deepak’s last name sounds like an entire phrase in Huttese.  Oh, wait a sec… ok, I understand now – here is the show’s slogan: Word to your motherboard.  Eeesh.  Oh well, I guess it’s unfair to expect much from a channel that advertises on the awning of a hot dog stand.  Onward.

Here is one of my favorite NYC street games: Trashcan Jenga!  Rather than find another trash can, you carefully place your refuse on top of the growing pile, keeping your fingers crossed the whole thing doesn’t topple over.  If it does, you look like an ass – if it doesn’t, you can walk away with a smile on your face and the knowledge that you’ve done your part to help keep the city clean.  Oh, and it’s 10 points for every inch above the fill line; I once racked up 350 points for placing an empty Coke can on top of a nearly three foot pile!  Homeless guys hate that.

I don’t even know what that is supposed to mean!  It’s not barbecue, it’s BBQ?  I did see it in the Japanese part of town, so that might be all the explanation anyone needs.  If I get a chance I’ll go back and ask them.  In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment with your best guess!  Speaking of guessing…

Here is an interesting and mysterious display over the Virgin Megastore on 14th street… can you guess what it’s referring to?  Actually, it’s hard enough to figure it out when you see it in action, but without seeing the numbers changing in their particular fashion, it’s probably impossible.  So I’ll tell you!  From left to right, the first half of digits tell us the time, 19 hundred hours, 18 minutes, 37 seconds and 168 milliseconds.  From right to left, we’re counting down the time until midnight: 4 hours, 41 minutes and 22 seconds.  At midnight, all the numbers change to zero and the count starts again, probably making the nature of this clock far more obvious.  If see if I can get a video of this nerd-tastic moment before I leave.  Meanwhile, across the street in Union Square, something was brewing…

A huge dance party!  But this wasn’t your ordinary “hundreds of people spontaneously start a dance club in Union Square” type event, no no… this was a silent dance club; everyone had headphones on, grooving out to their own particular brand of booty-shaking move-music.  I’d read about these things before, so I had an idea what was going on pretty quickly, but seeing it in action was a lot more fun – a huge, seething mass of party goers tearing it up – to total silence.  I didn’t have any headphones with me, but since my cell phone can play MP3s through the built in speaker, I cued up Basement Jaxx Where’s Your Head At, pressed the phone to my ear and boogied down with the rest of the crowd.  We jumped up and down, laughed, waved our hands in the air like we just don’t care and celebrated with huge smiles what had been the perfect NY day.  Here’s a few more pics of the party:

Tomorrow I’ll tell you all about how I offered a skateboard punk $1 to risk his life – and he took it!


NEW YORK: day one

I’m back in my home town of NYC for a week and rather than email everyone with dazzling tidbits of my adventures, I decided to finally do what people have been screaming at me for years: START A BLOG.

So, here I am, in New York Fucking City.  It’s 3am and outside everyone is still awake, roaming the streets and enjoying the bars and restaurants that are all still open.  And what am I doing?  Screwing around on a computer and starting a blog.  Oh, and thanks to my buddy PJ for lending me a Macbook Pro to keep me company on this trip.  Without you, I’d surely be outside right now doing something stupid and/or fun [Yes, I do have my own laptop, and should again as soon as my psycho ex-girlfriend gives it back.]

Anyway, let’s set the wayback machine for 24 hours ago and see how this crazy adventure got started…

Continue reading ‘NEW YORK: day one’

April 2008