Monday, June 26, 2006

Listicle 15.ŝĮ

√√√ Wow. a great collection of photos of strange statues from around the world.

√√√ People are always suprised when I say San Franciscans aren't as nice as New Yorkers.

√√√ Warren Buffet gives most of his money to charity.. Bush drools while wringing his hands greedily. Quote Buffet: "I'm not an enthusiast for dynastic wealth, particularly when 6 billion others have much poorer hands than we do in life." ...I've always said I wanna grow up to be a philanthropist.

√√√ Jeffrey Toobin's New Yorker piece may explain why the American team did so poorly in the World Cup:
Every kid in the American suburbs, it seems, owns a pair of shin guards. Soccer accords nicely with baby-boomer parents' notions about sports: every kid gets to play, no one stands out too much, there's plenty of running and trophies for all. If [John Robert's] children are typical, they will play neighborhood soccer for a few years, with enthusiastic but inexperienced parent coaches, and then wander away from the game by adolescence. Great high-school athletes tend to migrate to football and basketball, where they can play in front of big crowds and perhaps qualify for college scholarships. Soccer in the suburbs serves mostly as a bridge between Barney and Nintendo; it's a pleasant diversion, not a means of developing brutes like Jan Koller, to say nothing of the magicians who stock the Brazilian team.

√√√ Etch-a-sketches more detailed than most by-hand drawings. take a quick look


Whenever one of my two daily email-list sources tells me about something I want to check out, I know I should stay away for a week to let the crowds die down. Whenever two of them tell me about it? "Squirrel please" ... stay away for a month, at least.

And yet.. when it comes to hungry girlfriends on a mission holy crusade, blessed by the right hand of her once a month get-out-of-diet-free-card day, such common sense lines are sometimes crossed. Or... waited in.

If you know me, you'll know that one of my most hated things on earth that... no the one that isn't mimes, is waiting in lines. I could do a whole post about how much and why and with what kind of bezerker intensity I hate lines and maybe I will (don't tempt me) but for now, let's all just know that I hate lines a lot. A whole whole lot. And my most favorite types of line to hate are the ones made up of trend-slave hipsters and yuppie scene-chasers who live for the next kitschy restaurant or club to define their name-dropping lives. Sorry, what? me full of judgment? Surely you jest.

Anymooo.... Faced with such a line, the trade off was this: "baby? here's some money. I will lose my mind if I have to go in there. Get whatever you want on the menu. I'll be waiting right here on this stoop. Love you! bye!! see you!!". - Praise the gods of hunger and happenstance, Esra doesn't mind those... what're they called again? oh yeah - "people".. and was cool with waiting in line for what - I readily admit - turned out to be pretty good food at only moderately stupid prices. ($7 for "gourmet" mac & cheese? yeaaahh... ok.. fine.)

Are you realizing that I'm not actually gonna review the food or the restaurant? good job.

The best part of the S'mac experience, for me, was all the Trash Talking (a sport I spell with a capital T.T.). Passer-by's repeatedly validating my bitterness and spite - it was delicious. And absolutely hilaaaaarious, sitting outside, listening to pretty much every single person who walked by talk crazy amounts of (s)'mac(K) about.. and I quote: "what's this? oh. the next friggin' east village food phenomenon. great" and "[shocked look at the length of the line] for MACARONI AND CHEESE????!!!" and "hipsters will wait in line for anything!" and on and on. Of course.. I saw myself as them, speaking for me.. and yet there I was waiting in line.. but I wasn't. I got to wallow, from a surreally detached state, in some good natured self-loathing while listening to what could have been my inner voice talkin' (s)'mac(K) about me, a line-waiter (who wasn't a line-waiter). In case you're confused, I believe it was Sartre who first philosophized on this very moral dilemma, the hating-yourself-for-waiting-in-line-for-overpriced-macaroni-and-cheese-but-not-really-'cause-you-sent-your-girlfriend-in-'cause-you-hate-lines-so-much.

Just before Esra came out with the food, I overheard a guy sum it all up; talking to his girlfriend, he said: "shit, fuckin' east village and the kitschy food phenomenon bullshit... first it was fucking hot dogs (crif dogs & the other copycats) ... then it was dumplings (dumpling man and the copycats) then... shit i forgot what the others were [he thinks it over for a bit] damn, i cant remember but i know there's like 3 others! now it's gonna be mac & cheese! is anything sacred?"

Silly man.. in a city where restaurants turn over like cheap whores with bad hearing, restaurants with a gimmick are sacred. In New York, sacred still means "unique until people find the next unique thing", right?

All that said... check out S'mac. just wait a little bit for the lines to die down.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

in Amsterdam .......

Amsterdam was amaaaaaa¹²zing (that's "a" to the 12th power - pretty amazing, I know. I'm not even exagerating, that's how amazing it was). It was everything and more and a bag of chips and all that and a side of pancakes. Actually, make that 'a side of panca¹²kes'. - delicious delicious pancakes.
I dont even know where to start sooo.... maybe I'll just jump right into pictures and hope I describe even 1/10th of the super-awesome-rific-ness of our 9 days in my favorite city on earth. .... make that... ea¹²rth. The below pics are just three rolls I took with disposable cameras. Esra took 6 rolls of great pics with a real camera - we have yet to develop the film. I'll do up another post when we do.
( formats the pages kinda weird, I recommend using your PAGE DOWN button to scroll through the pics)


Museumplein, the Rijksmuseum in the background - these new-tourism-campaign letters were being installed as we arrived. Kind of surreal seeing what would be a permanent installation being set up... Ohh the pictures that will be taken there... Ohh the bird poop that will be pooped upon them.

At the entrance to the Rijksmuseum. purrrty shrubbery and purty pleynts and flowersSss. I wish I had a panorama camera to show ya the 360 view of being right there. God, I'd trade your left arm to be there right now.

Look at these happy people taking... one armed .. photos? no way. What's that in the background? the ..? Rijks... OH .. the Rijksmuseum. You'll soon see this was one of the better one-armed-photo's I took.
I seem to only be capable of one of the following, never both: a) I perfectly capture people in the photo b) I perfectly capture the background I am trying to get, decapitating at least one of the people in the photo.

At the Van Gogh (pronounced Ven Gohcghgc ggcgg hgchk - you'll know you pronounced it right if your throat hurts after you're done). The museum was freakin' amazing, of course. It's housing a lot of pieces from the nearby Rijksmuseum, currently under renovation. The guy in this photo would not move, no matter how long we waited. After this photo was taken, I pushed him over the edge. Most of our photos in fact, end in the murder of some unsuspecting tourist. Hey, I dont judge you when you kill people, dont you judge me.

My spidey-sense (and the ground brick pattern) tells me this is the Rijksmuseum / Van Gogh plaza area. Smiley smiley! Oh.. notice the jacket and sweatshirt and hat I'm wearing? beneath the jacket and sweatshirt were 4 more layers. F'n cold, for a week straight. Brrrr.

Ahh. this picture would be out of order then. Note the I amsterdam letters on the semi truck, being off-loaded by the yellow crane thingy.

Kissy Kissy. god only knows what I was trying to get in the picture background there.

And again. I'm sure there was something awesome in the background. We only went places where there was something awesome. Luckily, that included all of Amsterdam.

Near the Ann Frank hou... ok, fine Haus. While I didn't get a picture of the House/Haus, a lot of too-cheery, too-excited-for-a-photo-op tourists did. One in particular hurt our brains. The scene: us, standing outside of the Ann Frank house, looking up somberly at the door, the apartment, imagining the reality of hiding from German soldiers for two solid years, feeling the weight of history. Enter chipper-cheery-tourist-girl and her friends. Girl looks at the Ann Frank Haus plaque, turns around and throws up the Ta-Daa!! hands to point at the plaque while donning the most happy HEYYY!-look-at-me! smile I've seen in a long time. Mocking her irreverance, our favorite joke for the rest of the trip became "Ann Frank Haus, WOOOO!!! Ann Frank in the Haus!! You Tell It, Girrrrl! Hollaaannnd!!" ("Hollaaand" being pronounced like how all the kids these days say: "Holla!!")

Duckies! and baby duckies. Lots of duckies... Allll over the damn place.
Wait, that makes it sound like they were annoying. they weren't. Pigeons are annoying... ducks are the f'n coolest. Get some ducks for your town today! Call Now!

This picture is for you Marco... Yes, that's a Killing Joke poster in Dutch behind me. Also, Goldfrapp was playing while we were they, but they were sold out.

Umm.. Rembrandtplein (Park/Plaza). Not that you'd know by seeing the feet of the statues standing in front of the big statue of Rembrandt. Really - it was a very cool small park with a great set of buildings surrounding the park... Not.. that.. you'd know. Still.. we look wicked hot, huh? Really, you should probably come to terms with our hotness lest you melt going forward.

The 1921 built, Art Deco Tuschinski Theater check out the link for cool pictures of the inside.

Oude Kirk? Neuwe Kirk? old / new - who cares. what's important here is we look hot. again.

This cigarette/cigar store was one of about 10 things I saw on my last trip to Amsterdam that I ran across again randomly, on this trip. In my hand is a 25 pack of Camel Lights (American packs have 20 cigarettes only) It's the little things in life that impress me.

this is me not peeing in a public peeing station. Not peeing for your benefit, so that I could later tell you all that I was not peeing in this picture.
Interestingly enough, 5 minutes after taking this picture, I had to pee.
They provide these around the city so people wont pee in the streets or in the canals - which people invariably do anyway, prompting a $50 ticket. With all these stations around, you'd wonder why anyone would risk a $50 ticket. Until you have to pee and there's no station around.

Me at a canal / bridge / lock. Looking very serious. Or concentrating on getting the background in the photo... which.... I almost did.

In the background is The Doors, another of the 10 places we saw / stopped at last time I was in Amsterdam. How did I manage to get myself and something I wanted to photograph in the same photo??? I have no idea.

Esra looks like a manequin. A hot manequin.

Smoochy smooch. Yessss... back to my what-the-hell-were-you-trying-to-photograph ways...

Heeeeee. happy happy.

Not sure what I was trying to photograph here. The houseboats? I think? or possibly the cool bridge in the background? The leaning houses across the canal? does it matter? it's Amsterdam. point and click.

Damn van - who knows, I mighta actually captured something I intended to capture in a photo. Rest assured, Esra and that camera in her hand snapped much better photos than this.

Look! it's a fire breathing dragon being ridden by a naked Dick Cheney having sex with a donut! Quick, Kory! Take a picture!
Me: Owkee doke! [click]

Just to the left of us, the earth caught fire, apparently.


5 days in, we took an overnight trip to Texel, an island off the North (Sea) coast of Holland. Why Texel? it's a long story that I dont even think I got an answer to... the short answer is that Esra really really wanted to. We had planned our trip intending to spin the roulette wheel of randomness and let fate (and maybe a travel agent) pick a nearby city for us to visit cheaply for an overnight excursion but uhh.. somehow the wheel kept getting stuck on "Texel" (Esra! get your finger off the wheel!). There was a wee bit of tension over where we were gonna go but we both had an absolutely great trip there so in hindsight, it was perfect. Bruje, Copenhagen, Delft, Utrecht, Paris and on and on... they'll all still be there [for overnight excursions] on future trip to Europe [to Amsterdam].
The ferry boat to the island was Hee-uuuuge (see above - actually, see the last of the Texel pictures). the train ride to Den Helder was 2 hours, the ferry ride to Texel 20 minutes, a train ride into town (Den Burg), 30. Not sure why you need to know that but now that you do, you will be tested later.

Ahh. said "conexxion" bus from ferry to town. The old man across the street in the white jacket got chased off from that pond behind the bench by two very territorial swans - it was awesome.
Also, an all white kitty came and sat on my lap at the bus stop - that was maybe twice as awesome... Until (and I can pretty much know for a fact that this will be the only time in my life this will happen) .. a duck came along and scared off the cat on my lap.

The beach, the North Sea, the clouds, the WIND. ok, you cant see the wind. If you can, I worry for you.

the (obviously) closed little beach shacks for changing clothes, storing stuff, etc. At the top left is one of many dune bar / restaraunt / shacks that lined the top of the dunes.

One angle down the beach. yes, my jacket hood looks stupid. Looking stupid easily won out over freezing the skin on my skull solid.

The other angle down the beach. I wasn't gonna include this photo but Esra just looks so damned cute. And despite my looking stupid, I still manage to look hot. I know, looking stupid and looking hot seem mutually exclusive, huh? Obviously, I prove that they are not.

The bar / restaraunt / shack we ate at. It was awe-freakin-some. Minus the slight bit of attitude we got from the Dutchies inside. more on Dutch attitude towards Americans later.

we stayed for hours and watched the sun set.

From the inside. 3 kite surfers raced all up and down the shallow waters of the beach as we ate and sat.

Ahh bike riding. This was actually our only bike riding we did in Holland. it was perfect - no traffic of a billion bikes to deal with, hardly any cars and the island was small enough that we saw a big chunk of the western coast within... hmm.. 3-4 hours?

Me. and desolation. and sheep (not pictured) and cows (not pictured) and horses (not pictured) and houses (not pictured) and (also not pictured are) farms and farmhouses and any sort of major detail that might set this setting apart from .. oh.. say... Kansas.

There are just two things wrong with this one armed photo: a) nothing b) all of the above

Good job, one armed bandit.

At the Slufter (the largest bird sanctuary in the Netherlands). just out of frame to the right (I swear) are a mama and baby sheep grazing on the hillside. Also, Dick Cheney.... grazing.

The Slufter. (great pics from the web here)

"and this is where I buried the family of gypsies. I told them.. do NOT look at my woman! they didn't listen, obviously... or understand English, for that matter"

Esra scouts out a location to build a McDonalds.

What the.... people? background? sheep IN the background? trees? sky?? good proportions?? why Scarlett, I do believe you've done it!!

This sign says: If You Can Read This Sign, You Are An Incredibly Manly Individual With Enormous Cajones.

Luckily, I spoke just enough Dutch to translate.

strange that a sign would say that, out in the middle of a bird sanctuary, but who am I to argue with what it said?

biking back into the town of De Koog (pronounced duh koh-g. ya - take out the O O if you dont want Americans pronouncing it koo-g!)

I was very sad that we didn't make it up to the down of De Cocksdorp - is it possible to not love a town with a name like that? say it. go on... say it out loud, it's fun.

Let the artsy-fartsy photo-ness begin! annnd ACTION! actually, I love this photo muchly.

And this one. motion! look at that tree blurring! look at my face eclipsed, totally in shadow... wait, that is me, right?

The same bus ride as above.. on our way outta town.

Waiting for the ferry to load, Esra points at the North Sea. Esra stands on a bench for emphasis.

I pose for a picture in front of the massive ferry. Unbeknownst to us at the time, taking this picture made us miss the connecting bus service back to Den Helder and resulted in a one hour wait for the next bus.
This photo was not worth a one hour wait.

-----------back in Amsterdam

Action photo time! Me, Esra, Dylan annnnd... Marisa, turn around! ok, fine, dont. The Haag in the background.. No, not that The Hague, the Haag.

Bridge, bikes, canal, Niewe Kirk. [big sigh] I'd give your other leg to be there right now.

Oude Kirk? Niewe Kirk? something Kirk? Esra is really happy with how this photo turned out. She told me so. She's going to use it for her acting headshots.
Sorry babe, life is too short to worry about how you look in photos. Besides, I look awesome.

Someone called this my "George Clooney photo". I just call it yet another goddamn sexy photo of myself. Oh and there's some canals & stuff in the background.. I think.

Statue of Mutatuli over the Singel canal. One of the larger bridges and site of great 4 minute exposure photo Dylan took one night as we stood around guarding him, like good Americans do.

I dragged Esra around with me on one of our last days in Amsterdam to find a certain t-shirt I had been looking for (but only saw in one place, Grrr) We walked and walked to get across town while Esra just wanted to sit in the sun and write a few postcards. I kept promising her sun while the clouds kept threatening to ensure my ass-kicking-by-girlfriend by blocking the sun. We finally made it to this bridge and got a great chunk of sitting-in-the-sun time, drinkin' a beer by the river (I rarely drink midday, but what are ya gonna do sitting next to a canal in Amsterdam on one of your last days?? c'mon). The Ann Frank Haus is approximately at the very left most portion of this photo. Hollllaaaaannnnd!!!

Same bridge and drinking spot, farther back. See how I'm standing on the sidewalk? It's so I dont take a bicycle handlebar to the kidney or have a wheel roll up over my achilles tendon, ruining a perfectly good vacation. More on bicycle safety and the difficulties of keeping safe later.

Ahh, the houseboat photos. This is from the living room. These photos are still almost too painful for me to look at -I want to be there so bad right now I can taste it. At least, I hope it's the longing-to-be-there I'm tasting. Otherwise... oh wait, it's that jolly rancher I ate.
Seriously.. I miss that view somethin' fierce.

Out the front of the boat, looking at a fireboat passing under Rozengracht @ Nassaukade. You might think, as I did for the first two days in Amsterdam, that "gracht" means road. You'd think wrong - it means "canal" - Rozengracht happens to be one of many canals that were filled in to become roads - all of which kept the suffix "gracht".

From the front of the houseboat. (Exterior .. and more photos of the houseboat here - and more (and better ones) when Esra and Dylan develop their film)

More duckies.. or mallards? or.. who knows (no, you dont need to tell me, I'm fine calling them ducks) - these black ones would take any food we gave them and high tail it across the canal to their nest and give it to their babies while the more duck looking ones would try to steal it away.

Cute lil' mofos.

I have no idea what or whom I was trying to get here. It's the inside of the houseboat, that much I can tell. Needless to say, when you're in a store, you dont really need to speak Dutch to see that a camera doesn't have a flash on it. But apparently, it might have helped me.

This will forever be one of my favorite photos. Esra and I noticed, at the same time, two swans bathing in a sprinkler fountain someone had set up outside their houseboat. We both knew we had to get a picture of it so we jokingly jockeyed for position on the side of the canal to get the best shot from the best angle. Feeling totally victorious that I had taken my picture first, I stood as Esra was setting up her zoom and focus and such for her picture ... As I looked across at the swans ... I sighed ... shook my head ... and muttered "aww fuggin' hell" - "What?" she asked. "they're not real... they're plastic." [pause] "see the seam around their necks?". Later, talking to Marisa and her mom, they had gone through a similiar thing, taking pictures and talking at length about the "swans".

On the walk back from the Vondelpark. Not a particularly interesting photo until you realize that the church spire in the background is probably twice as old as the United States.

Esra took a photo of a door. She liked the door. A lot. Y'know why? Y'know who lived there? Neither do I. Cool door tho...

I... umm... took a picture of a tree. 'cause..... uhhh....

Our beauty is ... too... beautiful... must.. squint.... cannot look ... into the future vision of .. loveliness that is ..this photo... Aaaaaah!!

Again... where are the ducks and trees and water and anything else that'd make this photo more than just another shot of Esra and I???
- conveniently out of frame! that's where!!

A purty picture of clouds reflected in a pond at Vondelpark. Also pictured? the cuff of my jacket!!! YESSS!!!!

Hey, who took that photo? you're not even looking at the camera, Kory? Who could it be? Who did it?!?! Gee, I wonder.

Me in Vondelpark looking rather red. Which is quite possible - I think the entire time we were there I was permanently slightly sunburnt.

Getting artsy at Vondelpark. I had to pay that bike two euros for taking it's picture.

Back at meseum plein.. I think Marisa and.. ya, Marisa and Esra are having a picture taken by Marisa's mom on the right. Meanwhile, I try to take a photo of a guy trying to kick a soccer ball through the hole in the "d". He missed and killed a small child in a stroller instead. Dont worry, killing children is legal in Amsterdam. What? it's... ....'re sure? Pfffft. now you tell me.

Vondelpark. god I love disposable cameras. they take the best pictures ever!!!

And this? you call it a ... "pole"??? Man, you Dutch are weeeeiiiird!!

Hey look - it's Esra and Marisa's mom. Hi Esra and Marisa's mom! Oh, she has a name, by the way - Sandy. or as she was known in the Netherlands ... Sandsterdam. Shout out to Esra for makin' up that name! I got all giddy proud of her when she did.

Seriously. I'm gonna cry now. Why am I not still there? I'm not even looking while typing thsi, I'm jst staring at te photo...

oh. oops.

Are you really gonna be suprised when I move there someday or will you say you saw it coming? Will you visit?
Ok, ... more later... Als t' blift!!!