places Archives

August 29, 2005

Union Square

Our tour guide told us that there's a farmer's market here on the weekends. They are also building a Trader Joe's. On September 18th, there's a bike marathon going up and down Manhattan and Harlem. Maybe we'll see Ex-President Bill.

First Impressions of New York

After a bumpy and overbooked airline flight, I finally made it to New York. I just absolutely love it so far, despite the humid weather. There is so much ENERGY in this city. When I discovered that I lived in Greenwich Village, I was excited. I took a tour around Greenwich Village, Union Square, Washington Square, The Avenue of America, 5th Avenue, and Alphabet City.

I'm learning to be a NEW YORKER by learning to jaywalk. I feel accomplished when I can cross the street without getting hit by a cab (this afternoon, a cab almost hit me). Now, I just have to jaywalk with finese.

So far my first impressions follow the cliche, "I LOVE NY!"

September 3, 2005

Trinity Church and the Sycamore Tree

This church is located in the Financial District of New York. It is a couple of blocks away from Wall Street. Some very famous people have been buried here, Robert Fulton (the inventor of the Steamboat) and Alexander Hamilton. Also, the tourguide mentioned that historians could learn medical statistics in a graveyard. In the 19th Century, most of the women were buried after childbirth, many people died of cholera, and the median ages of men and women who died.

Also, after the World Trade Center attacks, a pool debris (7 to 8 inches) covered the graveyard. They had to call professionals to vaccuum this debris. The infamous sycamore tree that used to be planted in the graveyard at St. Paul's Chapel is on exhibit at Trinity. St. Paul's Chapel is located across the World Trade Center, and this sycamore tree saved the chapel from destruction when the Twin Towers fell. The scraps were taken to an artist, who in turn created a sculpture of the tree. The trunk exhibited at Trinity will go back to its resting place sometime next week.

More on St. Paul's Chapel later...

George Washington and his BLING!

September 4, 2005

1933 Double Eagle Twenty Dollar Gold Coin

I went to the Federal Reserve Bank because I lost my tour group and thought they would be there. They weren't. Luckily, I was able to see a gold coin exhibit. They wouldn't let me take photos in side, and they wouldn't let me take photos outside, but I did anyway (of the outside). York and Sawyer, architects of the Federal Reserve Bank, modeled the bank after the Florentine palaces in Italy (limestone and iron).

Apparently, I read FDR stopped the press on the 1933 Double Eagle Twenty Dollar Gold Coin because he didn't want Americans to depend heavily on gold. So he did, but I think one or two was produced. It disappeared, but was found in the King of Egypts coin collection. He was subpeonaed, and it was back in the American Government's hands. Again, it disappeared for decades until 1996. Somebody found it in a jeweler's shop in New York. He told the Feds that Egyptian King sold it to him. Then the American Government gave it to Sotheby's, and it was auctioned at $7.6 million dollars. I wish I owned that coin. Anyway, it is on exhibit in the basement of the Federal Reserve Bank. There are also rare, beautiful coins from Italy, Greece, and China. The subtlety of design in the coins, bills, and bank notes is displayed graphically and typographically. They even show the process of manufacturing the coins and explain the problems (i.e. counterfeit) in a video. It is definitely worth seeing. I plan to go back and see the other tour. The guard told me the coin, bill, and bank note collection is worth approximately $50 million dollars. The vaults hold approximately $300 billion of gold.

St. Paul's Chapel

St. Paul's Chapel sits across the street from Ground Zero. There was a sycamore tree that protected the chapel from the 9/11 attacks. That tree is in Trinity Church, but is scheduled to be transfered here. George Washington used to sit in that chair.

Shopping in Chelsea

There was a cool store called "West Elm." It's reasonably priced. I have never seen one in Los Angeles. Later, I found out that William Sonoma owns it. Anyway, it's a cool store. I like this one lamp. They should open one in L.A.

Across the street from "West Elm" is "Angel Street Thrift Store." I walked in and found a cool book about Alfred Hitchcock for $3.00, but didn't have cash on me (and I would feel stupid charging $3.00 to my credit card). Anyway, I went back, and it was GONE. Anyway, it's a cool store. There are vintage designer pieces, ranging $25, $70 and $90. There were some lamps that I liked, but they were $400. At least the money goes to a good cause, substance abuse and mental health.

Both are on 17th Street.

East Village and SOHO

I strolled down East Village and SOHO, specifically Mulberry Street, and came across a designer sample sale. I met some NYU Alumni from the Stern School, and they are opening a store, "Pinky Otto," on 9th and 2nd Avenue, 307 E. 9th Street. I got this elephant keychain. They sell one of a kind sweaters, skirts. One of the owner is a designer who graduated from Pratt.

Further down Mulberry Street is Little Italy. There going to have a big festival next weekend I'm told. Anyway, here are some photos.

If I were a Location Scout...

If I were a Location Scout looking for a place to shoot a "coming of age" film, I would do it here. It even looks the studios could shoot "Madeleine" here. Doesn't it look a bit French?

This is a church I keep passing by on 6th

Believe it or Not...

That's the Empire State Building, in Red, White & Blue, taken from Greenwich Village. I tried not moving the camera, but it looks like my camera takes drugs.

Protest at Union Square

These photos are dedicated to my political activist friend Gregory Lowe. He gave me an NRDC (National Resources Defense Council) bag that promotes saving whales. Anyway, I think he would really fit here in New York. Supposedly there's a protest at Union Square every weekend.

September 5, 2005


CBGB's = Country, Bluegrass, and Blues

This club is located between Greenwich Village and Alphabet City (on Bowery). It was founded in 1973. In the 70's, it was a venue for country music, but in the mid-70's, punk rock took over. Some infamous bands that played here are Blondie, Patti Smith Group, Talking Heads, and The Ramones. Anyway, they are recently being evicted and there's even a website trying to save it. Here's the link...

Alphabet City is in the East Village

Cooper Union is an academic institution as well as an exhibition space. They use the money from their exhibits to subsidize their students' education. All students who attend Cooper Union have a FULL SCHOLARSHIP, so you could imagine how competitive that school must be. They offer only three degrees: Bachelor of Architecture, Bachelor of Fine Arts, and Bachelor of Engineering. For more information, log onto: They also have a library, which I have yet to visit. I heard there permanent design collection is extraordinary.

I guess this would be self-explanatory, but the reason why this section is called "Alphabet City" is because most of the streets are one-letter streets (e.g. A Street). St. Mark's Street is a cool street. They have unique shops and restaurants. They have a wood store, but not like Home Depot sells lumber, it's very high-end.

I heard the "2nd Ave Deli" is good. The type they used in their signage looks Hebrew. . .pretty cool.

September 10, 2005

Semi-Permanent Conference

This is a pretty cool conference, and worth every penny. Unfortunately, I was barred from taking any photos, but check out their site, if you're interested in design. The conference encompassed Print, Fashion, Computational, Architectural, Illustration, Graffiti art/design and more. It was held at the Lincoln Center.

Here's there link:

September 12, 2005

September 11, 2005

Twin Towers Light Memorial

October 22, 2005

Red Doors - This is for Justin Cram

Justin Cram got me into red doors. So here it is...the most intriguing red door. Why on a church? Is it a church? Why that intensity (color) and tone? Curious, but it caught my attention.

Louis Vuitton Store - For my Mom

Ever since we went to France, and purchased purses, we've gone into every Louis Vuitton Space, not to mention there web site. Well, here's the one on 5th Avenue. Architecturally original in the sense that there seems to be a glass mask over the over the traditional-Manhattan building. In any case, I believe it fuses the classic and the contemporary seamlessly (Grad School does this to you). And "no" I didn't go shopping, this was an assignment for my Applications class.


Trump Tower:

Gold Bars
The Apprentice Game
Trump Business Card Holders

How much bling is too much BLING?

LOVE Stamp

I always loved this graphic!

Meat Packing District is the Upcoming Chelsea

I went to a cool restaurant, emulating a generic French cafe, called "Pastis." Busy, busy, busy, but worth the wait.

Lost Bird in a Jewelry Store

Cute bird...and it's real. No joke.

January 24, 2006

Steinway Hall New York

Contemporary musicians...

We had lunch at the "Burger Joint" located in Le Parker Meridian on 56th Street, and walked to this gallery on 57th. Pretty Cool.

FAO Schwartz

I love this store. We peeked in because of my toy design class.

The Most Popular Toy of 2005

Brilliant, tough to master though.

The Wave... We spent about 45 minutes trying to ride this gracefully. I burned a lot of calories in just 5 minutes.

January 29, 2006

Soul Food and Sunday Gospel Brunch at the Cotton Club in Harlem

March 13, 2006

152nd Street + Frederick Douglas Blvd.

Real Soul Food

Taken at Charles Southern Style Kitchen. This place is a bargain. It's a buffet and they serve a desert and a choice of iced tea or lemonade (the best I ever had, not too sweet).

April 3, 2006

Adicolor: Guerilla Campaign

I went to this Adidas exhibit, which was to give me the "ultimate" experience of making me feel like I'm one with the "in" crowd. When I first arrived to the address 267 Canal Street, I walked into 2 stores, and asked about the Adidas exhibit. This Chinese man, who couldn't speak English told me to follow him, so I did. He walked through the store to the back, and crossed the street and into another entrance to a basement. I started to feel that this wasn't legit, and was wondering if this was a place where they sold fake Adidas. But then, at the end of the hallway, I saw this colorful videotracking projection and a ultra-contemporary sculpture that had Adidas stamped all over it. The experience was pretty effective in making me feel pretty "cool" that I knew about this event, and "special" that I was part of this covert operation. The tennis shoe line emulate printmaking business model, where some shoes are limited edition, and the same went for the athletic jackets. There were some commercial to underground grafitti artists tagging shoes, and popular artists like "Fafi, a French grafitti lady artist. "Fever 1," a dancer, hired for this 2-week event, pitched a great story/sale.

Brooklyn Barge

The Brooklyn Barge holds classical music concerts.

April 13, 2006

World Financial Center at Sunset

October 29, 2006

6th Avenue and 10th Street, October 20, 2006

What's going on here? I tried to track this story in the news and couldn't find it. It looked like a fire, but I didn't see any smoke.


November 1, 2006

New York City does Halloween well (Part I)...

The famous Trinity Church in the financial district had put these pumpkins on their grave site. Famous people buried here are Alexander Hamilton (on your $20 bill) and Robert Fulton, who designed the "first commercial steamboat (there's a street named after him)."

Anyway, this got me thinking... of combining Knott's Scary Farm with cemetaries. What if the Arlington National Cemetary had a haunted tour? I would be the first to admit my fear, but I would still participate for the experience.

Here's that cheesy laugh in text:

I stand corrected with the Alexander Hamilton fact. My friend, Ben Wilkes, emailed me the corrected information: "Hamilton was never President. Delegate to the Constitutional Convention, Secretary of the Treasury (I knew those). Wikipedia remind us he was lead author of the Federalist Papers, too.

Thanks, Ben.


New York City does Halloween well (Part II)...

Okay, went to a real parade with floats... On the way there, I saw some costumes that didn't make it to my list, but I'm going to give them some credit. Here goes:

The one in Los Angeles is equally fun, but this one has parades. Los Angeles' Halloween parade is structured more like a 2-mile street fair.parade.jpg

How many Freddy type monster masks have I seen? At least his eyes light up.

I'm not quite sure what these costumes are suppose to be, but I give them credit for having the courage to wear them.

At first, I wanted to take this photo because of the absurdity of a cow drinking Jamaican beer, but then his "udder" friend stepped in.

Ceci n'est pas un costume de nuit des sorcières...

This is not a Halloween costume...


He is the "moustache man" that works at the Java Lava Cafe. If you're tired of Starbucks, mosey to Waverly and Mercer Streets (293 Mercer), which is behind the Tisch building. Cheap coffee with NYU discounts.

Important Update for OJ lovers:

A small carton of Tropicana orange juice costs $2.00 at All About Food, but it costs only $1.25...go figure

November 15, 2006

The New York Times Building

I was passing by the Center for Architecture when I decided to pop in. There were three exhibits: New York Times building, WTC, and student's work, which I will cover in later blog posts. I really appreciate the process of designing a building, especially when it's a collaborative effort. I think about the chief architect's role and also all of the team members regard to discipline, and attention to detail.

Here's one page of hundreds in a book the size of half a coffee table:

This series of photos are of four models. I am not sure what the scale for this model is, but keep in mind, all of these were constructed in scale (e.g. ¼ = 1 foot).
The building with the city: nyt0.jpg

Just the building:

The entrance:

Close up of the same entrance:

Floor view:

November 27, 2006

A Second Read

This is for my friend Ronald Valenzuela, who I have known since the early part of this decade. He wrote one of my letters of recommendations and is a mentor of mine. Anyway, I sent him a card with a drawing, which is suppose to match this photograph, a cross the street from Grimaldi's in Brooklyn, facing Manhattan. I was eating a "pie" for him. Anyway, Happy Birthday, Ronald! Maybe I'll publish the drawing later.

November 29, 2006

Coffee Ground Recycled

I thought this was an innovative way to recycle coffee grounds. In this image, it is used as soil, and the plant structure is a pineapple top. I heard from the "Moustache Man," Austin (Java Lava) that the reason why it could be used is because of the acidity. Very interesting...

December 2, 2006

Junior's Cheesecake

Now this cheesecake is better than any I have ever had so far. I like it better than the Cheesecake Factory. I had two slices of it, and it was still a little bit frozen, which tasted kind of like ice cream cake. I wonder if the starters for ice cream cake had the same experience.

They've been around for 50 years. I think they have one at Penn Station.


December 6, 2006

Care Package Story

So my mom sent me a care package, which saids "Mommy loves you more than anything else." I brought the package to ITS, and gave some of the goodies to the people that work there. They help etch the design of my shelf on masonite. I also brought the same package to my work, and one of my co-workers, Angelos, wanted me to take a photo of him enjoying the orange, and to say a "big thanks" to my mom for him. The orange in the photo was part of the care package. She deliberately chose the healthier package that has fruits and nuts, instead of junk food. My mom is a cutie.

December 9, 2006

NYU Dining Hall & Dining with Tim McNerny

My friend Tim recently invided me to dine at the Palladium, one of the many dining halls at NYU. Next semester we plan on buying meal plans, and reviewing the food at different dining halls. It is pretty inexpensive if you get a meal plan ($8 w/o a meal plan), which comes out to be $5 for all-you-can-eat buffet and drinks are free if they are not bottled. That's how much the cheapest salad costs in New York during lunch. Even Trader Joe has pricey salad.

low cost
balanced meals (vegetable, meat, bread, milk/cheese)
variety (entree, main course, dessert, breakfast for dinner like IHOP)
flexible hours
sustainable practices (no paper plates, plastic cups nor utensils used)
you don't have to worry about doing the dishes

friends that don't eat dorm food are the majority
younger crowd (so if you're a grad student, you might feel uncomfortable)
not open past 11 pm

We had three rounds of food. The first two were good for me. If you dine at the Palladium, eat the grilled meats (which are not over seasoned), and if you have salad, I do NOT recommend the balsamic vinegar (it too is overseasoned). I do recommend the vinegar and oil and firm tofu. Leafy greens are fresh, and they constantly stock the salad bar. Tim (who is below) had what he thought was chocolate mousse, but then after taking a bite, realized it was chocolate cake. HA!

First Round:

Tim had some cereal and salad. What an interesting combo! Well, at least it matches in that they are both marketed as healthy (Frosted Mini Wheats and salad). I believe that was a French Vanilla flavored coffee and blueberry pastery.

Tim had to wait for me to get off work to have dinner, so that's why he looks ecstatic.

Let's see, in my salad, there's lots of broccoli and tofu (Tim and I are going on a broccoli diet for a week next year). I will mention this about the broccoli, it was perfectly cooked, barely blanched, moist and green on the outside and crunchy when you take a bite out of it. Tim agrees. That red gloop looks gross, but it's jello and fruit. I was really excited about the strawberry shortcake and I believe I had the French Vanilla flavored coffee as well.

I, too, was starving, but was craving for salad. I finished everything except for the cake, which I left on the table for the second round.

Second Round:

Tim is such a dessert fiend. Let's see, that looks like a cinnamon roll, a chocolate chip cookie, a slice of carrot cake, and an (I don't know what that is). On the other plate, grilled chicken breast, two slices of cheese and onion rings. We loved the onion rings, lightly battered, while remaining crispy.

At this point, we were still hungry, so Tim sports a cute smile.

I could not get enough of the tofu and beets obviously. I remembered, about five years ago, I just bought a new set of pots and pans. I started boiling some beets, and then fell asleep, until I heard a thump. I ran over to the kitchen and a beet exploded, and hit the lid. There were four scars on my pot. Anyway, that's why I appreciate beets. Also, on the same plate, french fries. I just found the olives, and I will tell you, they are not canned. They were really good.

In this photo, to the right, is the cake I left behind. When you go for the second round, you can't use the same tray or plates. You have to put your tray on a conveyer belt, and take a new tray out. I'm sure that's for hygiene purposes.

Third Round:

Tim felt guilty about eating all those desserts. He decided to go healthy again, so salad for dessert and dessert for dessert. I think this is regular coffee. He wasn't really thrilled about the flavored coffee. I, on the other hand, like it, because it's not too sweet.

At this point, he was getting full, and it was his last plate. We were talking about stashing the cake for later, but we didn't have Ziploc bags.

You might be wondering how I can eat. Well, I was really hungry because I just had orange juice and a Red Eye for the day. I really wanted to try the beef stew and mashed potatoes. They were really good. The beef stew over rice tastes like something you get out of a Chinese restaurant. They used red potatoes and left some skin on (really good). Stay away from the baked chicken. Luckily, I just got one wing. I'm having 2 cherry tomatoes (lycopene and antioxidants). I started eating tomatoes again, when I noticed that the prices for vitamins went up, just because they contain "lycopene." On that smaller plate, I have more tofu and beets.

Okay, this is a pretty inaccurate photo. I'm not really full or bloated, but we thought it would be a funny photo. To the right, was still that cake. I was glad that I had left it on the table still because they didn't have anymore of that cake.

Tim and I are going to start a dining hall group next year, which is just around the corner.

December 13, 2006

The Dollar Story

I went to the Java Lava Cafe to buy some orange juice, and paid with a five. Austin gave me this change back, a dollar that saids "BUSH IS THE BEST" in all caps, coming out of George Washington's mouth. Anyway, I ended up putting it in Cliff's birthday gag gift. It's in Barbie's skirt rolled up to show the balloon dialogue "Bush is the best." Cliff, who is not so Republican, and sarcastically funny as hell, appreciated the humor.

If you're wondering about Barbie, the id of the art department wanted to create "Bondage Barbie" with a Ninja theme (Dum-Dum lolipop nunchucks). Also included in this gag art piece, a blown up whoopie cushion, fake eye balls taped to Barbie's breasts, a package of oatmeal wrapped up with stapled bond paper, Japanese restaurant branded hand wipes and a package of raisin.

As a part of the gift, he got to assign anyone in our department to sit on the whoopie cushion, so he chose the elegant Emily. I hope Emily gives me permission to upload that video.

Cliff is going to deconstruct the art piece and re-gift it. Cliff always jokes that "Truth is stranger than fiction."


December 14, 2006

Snowflakes falling down the side of a building

I think this building is on 51st and Avenue of the Americas. You could definitely see this if you're at the Rockefeller Center. The snowflakes fall at a pretty fast rate.

December 17, 2006

New York Stock Exchange, Holiday 2006

Those dudes are stressed out, I guess, taking a break.


December 28, 2006

Calling all Linux/Unix geek and nerds...

Red Hat went public a couple of weeks ago (NYSE) on Wall Street...

December 30, 2006

St. Patrick's Church

Beautiful architecture. These are for the McCoys.

When I was taking a photograph of this church, I kind of tripped, but didn't drop my camera. Thank, God, really.

Anyway, even all the people milling around, it's still peaceful.


December 31, 2006

More Holiday Decoration

At the Rockefeller Center...


January 1, 2007

Vintage/Thrift Stores on 17th Street, NYC

I found these gifts from Housing Works. They have auctions that raise money for people who have HIV/AIDS. I went in yesterday, and saw a nice leather sofa, with the highest bid at around $500.

Angel Street Thrift Store is another store that raises money for causes, such as Substance Abuse, HIV, AIDS and Mental Illness. I found a lot of cool books, and furniture (if I only had room for it). Both of these stores sometimes have a sample sale on items, and they sell a lot of trendy items. I found designer bags, and shoes, rarely worn, HERE, at these stores.

Housing Works Thrift Stores
143 West 17th Street
Phone: 212.366.0820
Hours: Monday-Friday 10AM-7PM, Saturday 10AM-6PM, Sunday Noon-5PM

Angel Street Thrift Store
118 West 17th Street
Chelsea, New York 10011
Phone: 212.229.0546
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10-6, Sunday 12-5.

I found this beautiful Italian perfume bottle at Housing Works for a steal (there were at least a dozen left), and this cute kitten-vase for my sister, who has a collection of kitty figurines.


By the way, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

January 4, 2007

Church Honoring the Service People Who Died In Iraq

I took this photo a month ago, and found it in a folder on my computer.


January 5, 2007

A Real Rainbow

I just visited Jerseyville, Illinois, and saw this incredible rainbow. I've never seen one this big, and strong in intensity. Maybe I'll find a pot of gold at the end of it. I hope you find one too.

Happy New Year EVERYONE again!!!



January 12, 2007

Second Life, Part 01

So I finally visited Second Life. At first I thought it was a lot of hype, but now I see some potential. So far I spent 2 nights trying to experience what hundreds of other avatars find interesting about this site. To me, it mimmicks a 3D version of the SIMS game, except you could build, design, sell or buy anything you desire. You can lease out space and design and build a space. The other difference is that instead of pre-programmed algorithms, you meet people in real-time, and can teleport or fly to over 2,000 locations.
There are set last names, so if you think you could be a celebrity, and claim Tom Cruise's or Lucy Liu's names, you can't because they already have pre-set last names. For membership of $6.00 a month, you receive a $300 Linden allowance (Linden is the currency of Second Life). You can use this money to buy land or cigarettes.
So on the first day of sign up, I spent most of my time designing my outfit, and creating my avatar. As you can see from the photos above, you can choose a generic avatar and modify her later, which is what I did. I chose a long-sleeved black shirt, and A-line skirt that is modest. I don't know where the "city/urban chic" description came from. Some other Second Life member thought I had "cool threads on," which I felt complimented, since I designed my own outfit.

I was trying to get rid of these pigtails for the life of me. I tried deleting templates, and creating new ones. At some point, I wasn't sure if this was a "head tattoo" (description in the SL menu). I asked other people, but nobody really had an answer.

At one time, when I was modifying my identity, some other avatar tackled me, so I ran into the ocean to make changes is my appearance. Some of the settings are very similar to Maya's 3D interface, where you can choose a texture, and then it's color and light settings.

Some of the textures were high resolution like the grass in this image. I assumed it was a plane, with this texture applied to the plane. Everything looks like a polygon versus a nurb. Some of the houses I've seen had walls with one tile of texture applied to the wall, which looked stretched. Some houses or structures looked more professional in that it had maybe they had higher resolution image files of their texture or they tiled the texture well.
When I was first born into my Second Life, I was born on an island. Apparently that is also my so-called "home." There was a row of vending machines/advertisements that sold cigarrette. The illustration below shows an example of what I'm talking about.
I saw this bench, and I wanted to sit in it, but didn't know how.
After fiddling around with gestures, such as clapping and crying, and expressions of shouting, I quickly got bored, and flew around the island.
I got a real kick out of flying, but there's no graceful landing. The button asks if you would like to stand up, even though all your bones look broken.
After flying around on the same island, I found some restricted areas that looked okay from far away, but as you get close, there's an invisible barbed fence that prevents you from going in that direction. Sometimes, my avatar could run into walls, so much for home security.
In any case, flying was liberating.
Some houses take time to render, I think these were beach homes forming. Sometimes, the same thing would happen to people, so they are gray, and then after two or three minutes, they formalize with color. I'm also not sure if it's the amount of RAM I have. I had to take a 1gb out of my laptop, so it only had 512mb, which may have been the reason why it lagged.
Finally, I was tired. If you know anything about how to take the pigtails out, please let me know.

Second Life, Part 02

This was my experience the second day. I think I was at "home," which is this island, and people started showing up. I remember this one dude was dancing (the guy with the white shirt and yellow long sleeves).
I saw a girl with a beautiful hair style. I had the "Pigtail Complex." So I asked her where she got her hair done, and she said I would have to pay for hair.
This image is kind of interesting. Off in the background, there's a guy just wearing either swim trunks or underwear, and to the left, there was a guy holding a teddy bear. He seemed fairly new, but knew enough about the application that he was able to build that teddy bear that is in one of his hands.


Anyhow, I asked everyone how could I see somewhere more urban, and what is there to do out here in SL. So that one woman teleported me to this location, which seemed like just all advertisements of adult content, which I ended up teleporting myself back to the island.
After talking to someone by the name of "Smoky" about where I was from, he suggested I visit NBC, which looks all to familiar to the Rockefeller Center. Here I was able to play hockey, which was free. In order to play, you have to wear all your gear, and then get close to the puck, and press the red dot that says "Slapshot." When you get a puck in, the goalie notifies via text that you scored.
Satisfied that I made some goals, I decided to explore the rest of the space. I thought that the decor and lighting looked much better than some of the homes I've seen that people built.
Smoky also told me about the free hat, scarf and glove free-give-away. Basically you right-click on those presents, and download your color of choice, and then wear them. I'm not sure if you they still stay in your closet until your next visit to SL. I was able to get the red woolens. The hat made my pigtails disappear. What a joy! Some of the elaborate present displays were empty as well.
Then I was able to get teleported to the top of the Rockefeller Center, which looked like this (and was still sponsored by NBC). Smoky told me that they held concerts there. For example, this Saturday, there was going to be a concert up there. He named a couple of bands that I didn't recognize at the top of my head. I will be in Los Angeles this Saturday.
Then I followed these green fairies to a table, and learned to sit. First, I sat on the table, but then I learned to sit with manners. I enjoyed the virtual view of Manhattan. You could see glimpses of Central Park.
At least when I took my hat off, my pigtails didn't come back.
I really started to wonder who all these people were. Were they people who aspire to be like their avatars, and wanted to experiment how what it felt like to have a different color skin? Or were these people trying to make their avatars similar to themselves and fix their flaws that they only see? Some of these people have a vested interest in the social aspect of Second Life, as they build their second homes and spend time making new friends in this world. This world vaguely reminds me of Vanilla Sky and Open Your Eyes.

January 17, 2007

Ceci n'est pas une flight attendant... Ivanka Trump

This is Ivanka Trump at the LAX airport Tuesday, January 16, 2007, waiting in the security line at approximatelt 7:30 am. I am happy to report that she didn't receive any preferential treatment. She's really tall, and took off her 3-inch stilettos, and gracefully tippy-toed through. Very stylish, wearing a camel coat, and violet alligator bag. She noticed us noticing her, and I even joked, "You're FIRED!" A former graduate at Wharton, she helps her dad host The Apprentice in Los Angeles this season. So far, I've watched two episodes, and the tasks were pretty silly. I like that the winning project manager can sit in the board room for the elimination. I also like what Ivanka has to offer to the show. Hopefully, the tasks get more challenging, but so far it makes Los Angeles look like the Diva Drama Queen of Soap Operas.




Donald's probably thankful that Ivanka didn't turn out like Paris Hilton.

The other celebrity I saw when I moved to New York about a year and a half ago was James Cameron, the director of the Titanic.

January 21, 2007

Night Shots

Santa Monica Pier, looks like a string of jewels.
Manhattan from the skies.

March 5, 2007

Don't ask me what happened...

I found this broken street light on Astor place on the way to St. Mark's place. Can you imagine the sound of the crash when the head of this light hit the ground? Maybe someone crashed into it when they tried to parallel park. Anyway, notice the scale of this light. When you see a street lamp, it looks a lot smaller than when the head is at arm's length.


March 12, 2007

A Park in Brooklyn

It's been so cold lately. Being from California, I am getting used to this weather. It snowed on Wednesday briefly, and today, the high was mid-50's.



Pylones is a unique gift shop in SOHO, located on Spring Street, close to the 6 subway stop. I saw a very cute watch that had some carps printed on the band (reasonably priced $12-$14). Floral printed scissors and screen-printed and letterpress-printed cards.


Urban Polo Game

An innovative way of playing polo without horses. In a park near Chinatown on Broome and Forsythe, groups gather to play polo. Pretty cool.


March 15, 2007

More Glamorous Lighting the Maritime Hotel in Chelsea, right across the street from the Chelsea market.


March 25, 2007

Blow Darts & Marshmallow Peeps

I went to this party in Chelsea, and they had the most innovative party game, which was pretty intimidating and addicting simultaneously. So the hosts made these darts with nails and paper cones that you put into this metal rod, and blow. On the target side, they rounded up several yellow marshmallow peeps, which was later replaced by a lit candle (you have to put out the flame), and finally an M&M, to provide challenges for the more advanced player.

At first it seems pretty intimidating because of the "what if you miss?" factor. But after you blow, you and the dart hits the cardboard/particle board area, you start getting the hang of it. After about 5 times, you start getting addicted.

Here's a tip from Rives :
Hold the rod like a cue stick.

Let Veronica distract you with weird sounds, produced from her native Mexican tongue, and you will hit one of those bunnies.






March 29, 2007

Chandelier Store

I always pass by this lighting store that sells a variety of chandeliers when I go to the Dumpling House on Elderidge and Grand. This photo is for Jane, who is designing a modular chandelier that would be affordable for all people.


May 6, 2007


Greg has an interesting thesis project as well, which allows commuters to leave voicemail messages according to the license plate number of the car. I'm not sure if iPLATEu can relieve road ragers or make love connections, it's a hoot. I think Greg should go to Los Angeles with this because of the famed LA traffic (now they won't be bored).

Seriously, save this number on your mobile phones, and try it:
888- iPLATEu
1-888-475-2838 (for Blackberry Pearl owners)
I'm not sure if it's in Beta testing, but I'm going to try it in Los Angeles.

[IMAGE CREDIT: Gregory Beliczynski/ITP/TISCH]


Here's a preview of the ultraORB by James N. Sears and his father Ron Sears. It's a dual-axis rotating display creates color visualizations of models in 3D space, using persistence of vision.


A rotating 320 tri-color LEDs about two axes simultaneously under the control of sixteen microcontrollers, creates a fully volumetric display that can display arbitrary models within the three dimensional volume of an 11" sphere.

It will be at the ITP Spring Show, this Tuesday and Wednesday night at 721 Broadway.


May 20, 2007

Dog with sunglasses?

I saw this dog wearing sunglasses on Wall Street. This is the first time I've ever seen this trend. How decadent...


May 23, 2007

Ever visit the Jewelry District?

I did, yesterday, when I had to replace a watch battery. I saw this guy painstakingly embed diamonds into a watchband with some type of petrol on the back of his hand. In the same basement, you could design your own ring by sketching it, or improvise preselected molds.




This guy is cleaning some gold chains with a very high temperature steamer.

Fadi is the jewelery designer that designed my friend's and his wife's rings.

Dormar Jewelry
55 West 47th Street
New York, NY 10036
Talk to Fadi in lower level booth #550 or Albert in middle level booth #20

It took 5 minutes to change the battery and pretty reasonably priced too.

May 27, 2007

The Revival of Wall Street

First the Mud Truck, then the Hillal Trucks, Juice Truck, a sushi restaurant, the 24 hour diner "Gold Street Cafe" that mimmicks The Standard Hotel's diner in Downtown, Los Angeles, and now this...


I believe that this image is of a Tiffany's store. Slowly, residentials are populating these units with young, hip students, and more places are stay open later. On the corner of the street South of Wall Street, Andre Balazs is also constructing a series of residential lofts, and boy do the ceiling look high and spacious. In the past two years, Wall Street has changed. It no longer looks like a ghost town.

Long live Downtown!

June 2, 2007

Karaoke and No-re-bang

About a couple of weeks, we went to a Karaoke/No-re-bang place in Koreatown on 32nd street. Somewhere, up two flights of stairs after we ate dinner at a Korean B.B.Q. place that uses wood charcoal on their table ovens. It's on the North side of 32nd Street. Some tips: take blk/wht photos so you look like rock stars in Rolling Stones magazine, and have a list of songs ready.

What's a No-re-bang? In Korean, it means "singing room." You can rent a private room, order food and drinks and sing your hearts out. These photos were taken by David Sleight.





The videos sometime tell a different story.

By the way, fans of Cher, we couldn't find any songs by her in their book.

June 4, 2007

South Street Seaport, Downtown NY

Just went to South Street Seaport Saturday night. Lots of shopping during the day, and a couple of museums, plus TKTS is there if you want to buy Broadway tickets. Bodies: The Exhibition is on. On Saturday nights, there is Salsa dancing. I'm not sure if it's every Saturday night (during the summer), but it's definitely free.


June 8, 2007

What's up with these tigers?

...more information tomorrow. This may look like an episode of Jerry Seinfeld, but this place really exists in New York City.


Hint: Kind of like East Egg

June 9, 2007

Vintage Auto Show... Downtown

Of old Police cars including the original BatMobile.

June 10, 2007

Tigers (earlier post) belong...

to the Princeton Club in NY (Midtown). I heard about this place from David Bamford. I went to an NYU party there. The scene looked like an episode from Seinfeld. I was told that inside the men's restroom, there was a jar of combs, but they didn't have these jars in the women's (sigh... maybe it's because we're better groomed). The literature on the coffee table seem conservative with a couple of copies of The New York Post.


June 13, 2007

Facebook Meetup in New York

Facebook Meetup was organized by Amit Gupta, who wrote the Amazin' Wishlist application, and is founder of the startup Photojojo. Also a special guest showed up at the first NY meetup.

Recognize this face?

Mark Zuckerberg showed up in New York because of his sister's graduation.

I saw a couple of ITPers there. A holler out to Jadie and Cat! Two out of 4 females including myself. More about what I thought at this link:

I'm very proud of our Kermit Soufflé.

June 16, 2007

Architecture in Film: Celluloid Skyline: New York & Movies

Grand Central Terminal

Seven decades of films use New York City backdrops. You can watch the movies on the Turner channel. This exhibit is based on the book Celluloid Skyline.



Graffiti and Priority Mail Labels

Angelos told me that a lot of graffiti artists use Priority Mail labels as free stickers to promote their craft. Maybe that's why I have to wait in line at the post office twice.

Photo taken close to Plan B bar in East Village.

July 3, 2007

Los Angeles, Shutters on the Beach

This restaurant is a little pricier, but definitely worth it. Actually, the breakfast prices are similar to that of New York's brunch spots. Parking near the beach is always an issue in Santa Monica, but I recommend parking at the restaurant, and stroll over to the pier afterwards.




Lemon ricotta pancakes with berries:

Poached eggs over corned beef hash:

Mushroom omelette with potatoes:

Ham omelette with potatoes:

By the way, I'm talking about the cafe downstairs because they serve breakfast.

Los Angeles, Santa Monica Beach and Pier

Shutters is 5 minutes away from the pier. There's a mini-amusement park there. The ferris wheel is highly recommended if you like shooting photographs.


Los Angeles, More Santa Monica Beach and Pier

The merry-go-round rides are a buck a piece. A lot kids have parties here.

Then you must get your fortune told by Madam Estrella. Only a quarter, but beware because sometimes she will tell you your misfortunes as well.


Los Angeles, LACMA

LACMA is the acronym for Los Angeles County Museum of Art. After 5pm, the museum is free, and they close at 8pm. On Sunday afternoons, they play live Latin jazz music. Currently on exhibition is Dan Flavin's works with fluorescent lighting. Anyway, Renzo Piano (they also considered Rem Koolhaas) is redesigning this museum.

I like this kinetic sculpture by George Rickey titled Four Lines Oblique Gyratory—Square made out of stainless steel.


Los Angeles, La Brea Tar Pits

A couple of minutes away from LACMA is the tar pit. Scientists have found a lot of fossils (Ice Age Era, 10,000-40,000 years ago) here. The Page Museum exhibits them.



Vegas in a day and a half, part I

Is Vegas possible to do in a day and a half? I say so. We stayed at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino. Mystère by Cirque du Soleil is a MUST! Live music, talented acrobats, interactive and comedic performances, beautiful set and costume design. Need I say more? Also, check out the restaurant Isla and/or Phó (I like bypassing the buffets).


Mystère by Cirque du Soleil

Pork Tamales:

Salmon with some unique slaw:

Medium-cooked pork with pumpkin seed mole:

Seafood (red snapper, crab meat, and shrimp) enchilada:

Vegas in a day and a half, part II

Definitely, ask for a room with a view to the Strip. The higher, the better. Here are some photos of the city that never sleeps (or Sin City).





Vegas in a day and a half, part III

The last time I visited Caesar's Palace was when they were remodeling this portion of the Casino, where all the high end shops are located. Btw, take a tram from Treasure Island to the Mirage, and exit and walk over, 5 minutes.

I have never seen curvy escalators before:

A must see, talking statues and laser show:


Vegas in a day and a half, part IV

They also remodeled the Mirage. I didn't remember the garden and Beatles-themed decor before. There are lots of fake deli's out here derived from New York and Los Angeles (Carnegie Deli, Stage Deli, and Canter's Deli).

NOTE: The Cirque du Soleil is playing at many casinos (Caesars Palace, Mirage, and Treasure Island). All of the shows are slightly different. I HIGHLY recommend the one at Treasure Island!





The tigers still lives there. You can also see dolphins for another $15.

Vegas in a day and a half, part V

Driving back, stop at the Whiskey Pete's, Buffalo Bill's and Primm Valley Casino. You can take the monorail from one casino to the others (crosses the I-15). There is an outlet there, more amusement type rides, and more gambling. These casinos mimic Old Vegas (e.g. getting prime rib for $6.95 or steak and eggs for $3.95). The new Vegas no longer offers deals like this. Also, the Primm exhibits Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow Artifacts.





This is a 12 oz. prime rib, and is served with salad. I would suggest sharing.

July 7, 2007

More L.A. Eats, Part I

It's really tough to do a food tour in L.A. because you have to drive from point to point, whereas in New York, you're a hop, skip, and away from the next eatery.

Anyway, here's a great Greek place I used to go to during my undergrad called Papa Cristos. It's on Normandie and Pico, and there's parking in the back. I recommend the spanakopita, a spinach pie, the grilled baby octopus, and the Greek coffee.



More L.A. Eats, Part II

If you want to eat somewhere scenic and reasonably priced, drive up on Pacific Coast Highway, and just past Pepperdine University, and on the right side is Malibu Seafood. Be careful not to speed there. A lot of cops hide around the bend. Fish tacos (I think they use Mahi Mahi) and fish and chips are highly recommended. Skip the ceviche. The mussels were pretty good. There is outdoor patio seating (informal), and you'll see a lot of surfers eat lunch there.






More L.A. Eats, Part III

Of course, when in L.A., stop in K-Town to get Korean barbecue. The last time we were there, we ate at a place called Tahoe Barbecue, formerly Wilshire Barbecue. We wanted to see if we could beat the deal there ($15, all you can eat beef or chicken). This time we went to Cho San Galbi, located on Olympic and Western. It was pretty good, but pricier than Tahoe Barbecue. The meat tastes about the same, but I actually like Tahoe better. Anyway, they cook your meat on your table (I mean "you" cook your meat).




Hollywood and Highland

On Hollywood and Highland, there is an outdoor mall with high-end stores, but in the patio, they have a free jazz concert. If you pay for the hor'dourves (various cheese slices, dried fruits, and nuts), cost $10, you can get free wine (we got two glasses).




Right next to the patio is the Kodak theater. I really liked these environmental graphic designs that display by year, the Academy Awards Best Picture winners.



Of course, there's always some filming/taping. This looks like an infomercial, but I could be wrong.


And then there is the legendary Mann's Chinese Theater.


You could feel like any movie star, even Steven Segal.


Los Angeles Carnecerias Sells Really Good Mexican Candies

If you like sour and spicey flavors, I would recommend trying authentic Mexican candies. You can get them at any carniceria (meat market). Most of these candies will make you salivate.


1) Saladitos. These are dried plums, usually either salted or spiced with chili powder. They taste good if you squeeze orange juice or lime juice on them.

2) I'm really not sure what this is called, but this is nutty and sweet tasting.

3) I think this is called "pulpita," but I think I may be wrong. There are two versions of this Tamarind-flavored candy. One is more pulpier with dried plums, and then there is the sugar version of this (the texture is more gritty).

4) I've never had these before, but these really blow my mind. They taste like watermelon gum drops rolled in chili, salt and lime. They are chewier them gum drops (texture is similar to Mike and Ike candies).

5) This is lime, chili and salt powder that you sprinkle on other snacks. It kind of reminds me of an extreme sour version of fun dip candy where you get that sweet stick and dip it into various fruit flavored tart powder).

6) These are suckers that remind you of the L.A. street vendors that sell papaya and mango on a stick dipped in lime juice and chili powder. The two flavors are mango and watermelon with chili powder and lime juice flavors. I remember the corn-shaped and mango-shaped version of these candies. These candies are shaped like a foot. I'm really not sure why, but it's funny. Anyway, I recently gave one of my co-workers this, and he kept on drooling on my desk literally.

The next time I go back to L.A. I think I'm going to do a tour of street vendors. In addition to the papaya and mango slices, some vendors sell grilled corn on sticks doused with mayonnaise, lime, chili, sprinkled with Mexican cheese, tamales, and hot dogs wrapped with bacon. You can find most of them on Western Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard.

Engaging Interactive Game for Kids, Los Angeles

Of course I couldn't resist a nerdy observation. These kids seem pretty engaged in this interactive, video-sensing game. There are a couple of lines of instruction, but they seem to get how to earn points. I think this game in particular was sponsored by Outback restaurants, but I could be wrong. I think there is some marketing going on.




Kwik-E-Mart replaces 7-Eleven for a month...

I'm back in New York.

Anyway, I spotted this brilliant marketing campaign, probably for The Simpson's movie coming out this summer. The 7-Eleven store on 42nd Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues) has undergone a transformation for this month. Kwik-E-Mart is the fictional convenience store of The Simpsons. The ads in the store are mostly of fictional products in The Simpson's and the characters look like they're shopping. Needless to say, this store was crowded! So many people buying Slurpees.


They're selling collector type bobble heads and t-shirts, so if you're a fan, run to the store. If not, maybe you could sell them on Ebay.











July 13, 2007

Target ads in NY subways have sound interactivity


So on 49th St. station going downtownI saw this ad for a rap CD (Ludacris, Jay-Z, et. al.) and there is a headphone jack where you can plug in to listen. It's strategically placed on the photo of the CD player. I didn't plug in yet.

July 21, 2007

Declaration of Independence at NYPL

Thomas Jefferson made several copies of the Declaration of Independence, and one of these copies is on exhibition at the New York Public Library. And it's free to see it (I ♥ NY). It will be on exhibition to the 5th of August. I might go today.

About three months ago, I watched a special on PBS about the preservation of the original because it was written on pig skin, which is not archival at all. The government spent approximately $5 million on the design and construction of the vault for this document (the show covers this process). There's even some humor. At one point, someone suggested to put tiny silicon pebbles to in several cavities of the case to secure it from moisture, but that notion was rejected over and over again. Anyway, it's worth watching.

July 29, 2007

Battery Park

Here's a piece of Berlin Wall in Battery Park...


Glimpse of Statue of Liberty...




Scenic Canal Street Entrance to Manhattan Bridge



Great Shanghai restaurant across from this spot if you like spicy hot soup. Sit by the window so you can watch all the people on the tour and Fung Wah buses.


Just saw this notice on an ex-cellphone business. Apparently they duct taped the summons/complaint on the door, so I read some of it. These people were hosting a game of Mahjong and charged the players a fee. Judging by the store's location and signage, most of the players seemed to be Chinese, except for the undercover officer, who seem to be of Latin descent. Just thought it was strange they would be caught, but then again New York isn't Vegas.


August 11, 2007

Sidewalk Art

Beautiful sidewalk art on 5th Avenue and 8th Street in Manhattan, close to Washington Square Park.

Contact information:





And this is why I ♥ NY.

August 14, 2007

VMware Goes Public

EMC's spinoff VMware [VMW] went public today in the NYSE. Said to have opened at $29 and closed at $51.


September 9, 2007

My Sister's Blog...

I started reading my sister's blog, and I really love it. She's so deftly honest. Anyway, good stock tips (except Altria which was formerly "Philip Morris," but they are known to higher dividends, and Ebay) and random minutia that "microwave popcorn" linked to lung cancer. I first heard about this 15 months ago from Nick's parents, but didn't know the chemical that caused it (diacetyl). I can't believe that those popcorn manufacturers (Orville Redenbacher's and Act II brands) are going to remove that chemical by the end of this year. HOW ABOUT RECALL NOW?!? I really think they should get fined for waiting that long.

Anyway, she's from Los Angeles, so some of the advice might be helpful to those that live there.

September 12, 2007

Following the Blue Lights...


to the Ground Zero site. I just watched "Building on Ground Zero" on Nova, and then visited the site. For more photos, please visit my flickr site. If you need higher resolution version of any of the photos, don't hesitate to email me through my flickr account.




September 15, 2007


Only in New York will sell every seat to the movie Helvetica. There was an ITP "designers" reunion at 8:20 pm last night. The movie was great in exhibiting pro-Helvetica and anti-Helvetica sentiments. Liked how the movie presented the historical and cultural contexts of helvetica and graphic design in general. Super designers from the older and current generations gave their two cents. In the end, the director, Gary Hustwit and type designer Tobias Frere-Jones made a special appearance. The director was down-to-earth and honest. He admitted that he was approached to direct a movie on the font Times New Roman. I really liked the movie, and would probably watch it again to see David Carson, who will make a special appearance today. I was a big fan of his work in Ray Gun magazine.

If you go, do pick up an "I hate Helvetica" or "I love Helvetica" pin.

Gary Hustwit and type designer Tobias Frere-Jones
Photo Credit: Lia Bulaong

Jane and Tim in this photo, among other ITPers that went, Pollie, Dmitri, Dan, Ahn (Mang), and Lia. It was really great to see them.

Very USEFUL signage!!!

Well, it's about time. I was looking for the 2 train at the 14th street station and came across these signs via the L. A copy of D.C.'s wonderful subway system, these signs tell you when the train will arrive and in what direction. This is really useful because when you're standing around waiting for a device, be it an elevator or train, 3 seconds can sometimes feel like 3 minutes. I really hate elevators that don't indicate what floor they're on, which is useful information of whether I should stand and wait or just use the stairs. I remember Tom's first pComp assignment (2005), and our group (Matthew Burton and Cory Forsyth, both very cerebral) proposed to improve the subway system. Ahhh, brings back memories of passing surveys around to subway riders at the Union Square station.

Only saw these on the "L" train.




September 30, 2007

The Big Island, Hawaii


I would recommend this place to anyone, even for more adventurous travelers. This place is truly a paradise, and less touristy than most of the other destinations I've been to. I would recommend renting a four-wheel drive instead of taking tours because you can visit a lot of "off-site" historical places. I recommend this book [Hawaii The Big Island Revealed published by Wizard] if you visit, very straightforward and honest about Hawaii's history, and was temporarily banned in the 60's. Also, directions in this book are really specific, perfect for taking the car off the road. The Big Island is totally worth the 10-hour flight. I had the best sushi, mahi mahi, and mangoes I've ever had out there. Now I see why Mark Twain visited this Hawaii. Also, be careful if you go snorkeling. The waves can get pretty choppy.










For more photos, click here.

Mauna Kea Observatories


This was one of my favorite sites in Hawaii. We almost missed it. We only wish we could've stayed to see the stars. It looks a bit futuristic and science fiction-like. If you go up, take a 45 minute break to get acclimated to the climate and pressure. This is suppose to be one of the tallest mountains in the world if you include sea level, 14,000 feet high. This is as close to the clouds as you can get without the window seat in an airplane.







For more photos, click here.

October 6, 2007

Need a parking space in New York?

Well, reserve online. This system is like the Zip car, but for parking spaces instead of cars. Found the ad for this on the subway. Not sure if it's mobile-compatible. The video demonstration is helpful, and be aware of fee for oversized vehicles, which I don't think in included in the initial search results. The subway ad promotes theater parking, $10 for up to 10 hours, so maybe look for parking in midtown around 42nd street.

Here's the link:



For more photos, check out my Flickr account.

Touch screens and credit card machines implemented in New York taxis

Touch screens and credit card machines implemented in New York cabs. This system allows you to see your route, watch the news, and pay the fare with your credit card with pre-calculated options for tip (nice option for people who have to write this expense as a tax-deduction instead of collecting receipts).







For more photos, click here.

October 7, 2007

Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York Exhibition

The Municipal Art Soviet of New York
457 Madison Avenue at 51st Street
September 25, 2007 - January 5, 2008

October 12, 2007

Blade Runner at Ziegfeld

Digitally mastered and playing at the theater. This movie was one of my favorite science fiction films. This theater is super cool. Each stall of the bathroom has it's own sink (Ladies' room). I am tempted to see "Enchanted," the 3D and live action version of Snow White. Okay, maybe not, I just watched the previews.

Theater is packed, if you like complete silence, watch it on a weekday. Pretty awesome in the theater. They probably had to fix this movie to renew their copyright.

October 19, 2007

Mayor Bloomberg, Donald and Ivanka Trump et. al.

Selling hot dogs for charity (not sure what charity). Couldn't really find the line to buy a hot dog, but if you want to go, they're on the corner of 6th Avenue and 48th Street, right in front of the Fox Building. Other celebrities include Gene Simmons, Tito Ortiz, Lennox Lewis, and Vincent Pastore (Sal from The Sopranos).

All photo taken by Andrew Famiano with his iPhone.



October 21, 2007

Rooftop at The Met

Before it gets cold (October 28th was the date they listed on their site), check out the scene on the rooftop at The Met. They have a bar, and some art that make you wonder how they were transported to the rooftop.


They are also having an amazing exhibition on tapestries, Tapestry in the Baroque: Threads of Splendor In some of the pieces, you can see the process of sketch paintings to these enormous tapestries. This exhibition ends on January 6, 2008.





Ingo Maurer

Attention, all ITPers, you must see this exhibit if you like electronics, lighting, and/or physical computing. Ingo Maurer uses some new materials that have been exhibited at the Material Connexion. Two of my favorite pieces are his uses of conductive film to create an LED light table/bench and flexible circuit board to create light patterns on wall paper.


If you like designing or using solderless breadboards, go to this exhibit, it'll give you many ideas on how to layout your electronic components. If you like industrial design, go to this exhibit to be inspired by his use of materials and play with physics (specifically the tornado piece that has a magnet) and optical illusions (love the hologram light bulbs).

The printed and digital materials about this exhibit doesn't even convey the fraction of this experience. If you like magic, go to this exhibit.



October 28, 2007

Hand Dryer

I tried this new hand dryer in the women's restroom at the AMC theaters on 42nd street. The sign read that this was economical (didn't use that much heat) and hygienic (and I'm guessing that you don't have to press the button to turn it on, clearly for people with OCD, but then what do they do when they touch the door handle?)


Willa Cather & Richard Wright

In East Village, close to the West 4th St. stop, I discovered where Willa Cather and Richard Wright wrote their books. The sign reads:

Willa Cather, author of My Antonia, wrote her first novel, Alexander's Bridge, here in 1912. Richard Wright, author of Native Son, wrote his autobiography, Black Boy here in 1945.


Crazy stunts in Washington Square Park

Last year, a performer was turning 40 years old that day was involved in a crazy Evel Kenievel-like stunt. He rode his skateboard and gained momentum to jump over 25 trash barrels (mid-air), and landed on his skateboard. I wish I had my camera back then. Hopefully, I can catch a repeat performance this year.

In the meantime, there were a set of brothers (a guy and his two twin brothers) are performing some fun stunts and comedy routine in Washington Square. They had the most successful act in collecting money, they had almost everyone involved and engaged. They would reward people who offered bigger donations and created a competitive atmosphere rewarding the donors by giving props to their countries (aimed at tourists). Well this year, this guy ran over and jumped over five people and aimed through his brother's arms.






In the spirit of Halloween...


Visit Economy Candy in Lower East Side. One of the oldest candy store, they carry a variety of candies, including salted licorice (located behind the counter). I got hooked on salted licorice when Tom Igoe introduced them to us at the "ITP Arduino Surface Mount Soldering Party." They also sell giant PEZ candies for $18.00 and really cute sophisticated designs of Hello Kitty and My Melody Pez holders (they have clear heads). I was surprised to see old cigarette packaged bubble gum and Lemonheads.

108 Rivington Street
New York, NY 10002

October 29, 2007

Looking for a dry cleaners in New York City?

I was in search of a new dry cleaner because several places were going to charge me $16.00 to just dry clean my coat. I found this site on Citysearch, and just tried Flat Rate Cleaners about a week ago, and they are legit. Everything you want to dryclean is $4.99, except for leather and comforters. But that includes coats, long coats, sweaters, etc. (more details on their site). Shirts laundered just $2.99 for ladies and I think it's cheaper for men. You can specify how much starch (options for light, medium, and heavy). It really does take 24 hours, doesn't matter how many items you submit, and they pick it up and deliver free of charge. They picked my bag up later than I thought, but my items were delivered on Saturday. I was skeptical too, but now I'm going to use them. They were recently on Daily Candy and Daily News.

I had 2 long sweaters, 3 long/heavy coats, 3 blazers, 1 pair of pants dry cleaned, and 2 shirts laundered and pressed for $45.90. CHEAP!!!

November 9, 2007

There You Go Again: Orwell Comes to America


I was able to attend this (part I) forum on Propaganda Then and Now: What Orwell Did and Didn't Know at the New York Public Library. Among the panelists were Konstanty Gerbert, Masha Gessen, Jack Miles and George Soros. Orville Schell was the moderator, who authored What Orwell Didn't Know: Propaganda and the New Face of American Politics (released November 5, 2007). I was a little disappointed that George Soros didn't sign my book. However, I enjoyed his presentation on cognition, perception in periphery versus subconscious, and the danger of "News-speak," a term that Orwell uses, and bringing truth back to the news. There were some interesting questions were asked like "thoughts on strategizing propaganda used in financial markets." I often wonder about that when I read news stories about "the price of oil barrels." Anyway, I wish I went to the other talks forums: "deceiving images, the science of manipulation (part 2)" and "solutions, the future of political landscape (part 3). Will post my notes on my wiki.

Kind of a peculiar note, they were broadcasting this on Second Life.

November 18, 2007

In need of plants?

Looking for nurseries in New York City. Well, I found several on 28th Street. They're pretty reasonably priced and there are a variety of species than the typical ones sold at Home Depot and Gristedes Market. We bought three from Chad (I believe the second nursery from McDonald's). He really knew the species and genus, which species thrive in sunlight and low light, and was informative on care for each plant. We bought a succulent plant, called "Panda," a "Buddha" plant, and a "Peace Lily." The more color a plant has, the more sunlight it needs.



Chad in this photo.

MUJI and CB2 open in SoHO, NYC

The MUJI store opened on Friday, and there were lines outside the store to get into the store, and lines in the store to purchase. There were lots of containers and little knick-knacks, office supplies, furniture and clothes. A lot of the stuff is over my price point. I almost bought this whiteboard, until I found that it cost $40. What I find handy is the plastic case for business cards. I would skip the line, and just go to the MoMA store a block and a half away.

As for the CB2 store, they sell contemporary furniture and house ware for slightly less than parent company Crate and Barrel.

Just in time for the holidays...



Ad technology in physical spaces

On my way to the 4 train on Lexington and 42nd Street, I walked through Helmsley tunnel, and saw these ads. Interesting how they piece together four parts, and it's run on some pulley system. Didn't see it run though (weekend?) but it may not be animate anyway.





November 21, 2007


with interesting forms. These images are for Ron Sears, who is an artist in Jerseyville Illinois, and works with metal. The first sculpture reminds me of David Smith's works.



November 22, 2007

Design Bookstore in NYC

Urban Center Books, The Municipal Art Society of New York


I found this design bookstore that covers just about every design book or magazine, even if you're searching for something so obscure. This reminds me of Hennessy and Ingalls (design/architecture/art/photography bookstore in Los Angeles, located at one of the cross streets of Third Street Promenade). I stumbled upon this bookstore, while I visited the Jane Jacobs exhibition (457 Madison Avenue at 51st Street). Clay Shirky's Network Effects class introduced Jane Jacob's book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. The exhibit is amazing, which I'll probably post later, but to give you a hint, Jane Jacobs is the New York version of Eleanor Roosevelt.

This store has books on different materials (glass, metal, concrete, building structure, lightweight/mobile), typologies (medical, offices, healthcare, restaurants, retail, pools/spas, sports/leisure, high rise), construction (concrete, wood, facades), sustainability, architecture, photography, typography, urban planning, foreign (books from Japan, Germany, etc). I asked if this store is permanent, and it is. They just have longer hours during the Jane Jacobs exhibition.

Here are some sample books:









December 2, 2007

Pillow Talk and Suspicious Reviews

It's THAT difficult to find pillows, believe it or not...

Just recently, I had to shop for pillows, so I bought four from Macy's that were branded Ralph Lauren. I must say these pillows were awful. Every morning I would wake up, and all four were on the floor. I was going to return them, but couldn't find the receipt because I probably threw it away, intending to keep these pillows.

I visited Macy's web site to search for information on their return policy. Low and behold, they have a fabulous one. All you have to do is go to their store, and they scan your credit card and your item to find the transaction. So you, don't need a receipt. The downside of shopping in-store is that they don't have the variety that you see on the web or customer reviews, although when I was reading the reviews, all the products seem to be positive, even for the styrofoam-like pillows from RL, which seem suspect. They were also having a promotion that if you write a review, you win a $1000 gift card:


First there was spin in the news, and now there is spin in reviews
So I decided to login and write a review. First of all, it seems that ANYONE can login or sign up to write a review. The problem is that people who didn't buy a product can review it anyway, which to me seems like, either the brands can hire people to write positive reviews about their own products, or people who want to win that $1000 gift card are trying to increase their chances of winning it. The difference in Amazon reviews is that you can only review a book after you purchase it. Of course there are some authors out there that promote themselves by buying their own book and writing a positive review about themselves under a different screen name. I tried cross-referencing products from Macy's,, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Linens-N-Things, and Costco to Amazon's reviews, but this was extremely difficult because some of the brands sell the same product under different names and change the product just slightly to appease their retailers (e.g. thread count, fill power, "ecodown," feathers, etc.) Some manufacturers trademark their process or design, so you don't even know what they're really selling (e.g. confusing illustrations) or what the product is named at say Macy's versus Linens N Things (e.g. "The Hotel Collection" or "Hotel Down Pillow"), which look similar except for the label on the bottom right corner and the price. Case in point: Kaboodle (a shopping community where people recommend and discover new things), and although I was able to find some pillows, most recommendations seem to be about self-promotion (e.g. Designer recommends their designed pillows) and targeted at the youth market, where sleep is less important.

Early on, I had Googled "nytimes, pillow, review," and wasn't able to find any articles, but when I changed my search from "nytimes, pillow, recommendations," I was lucky enough to find this review by the New York Times (2004). Ms. Joyce Cohen wrote about the same frustrations in shopping for a pillow that I had. I ended up going with because of the owner's knowledge that was stated in the review and that's what Ms. Cohen ended up going with. I will later post if Ms. Cohen's review is current. I checked every link mentioned in her review, and most are current except for this site, (acronym for International Down and Feather Bureau, but is now a parked site).

I was also convinced with DownFactory because their designs were used in a couple of Olympics and because they've been in business since in 1932.

Okay, I just received two pillows, and was kind of worried about them, when I saw it arrive in a small box.

Luckily, they have a warranty that when a pillow is squeezed, it can only be reduced to 20% of their former size.

So far, they are comfy.

December 10, 2007

Penny Harvest at Rockefeller Center

Common Cents


Common Cents Penny Harvest grew from one child’s desire to feed the homeless...

Reminds me of the movie, Pay It Forward. This is probably the most successful installation I've seen, where people collectively donate to the pool. Every person that walked by must have thrown change into this pool of pennies. Since 1991, this organization has raised at least $5.9 million since 1991. 71 million pennies weigh at least 2 tons and is worth at least $711,000.00. There are some prized if you can guess how many pennies are in the pool.


So far Penny Harvests have hit 5 states, including NY, Colorado, Florida, Tennessee, and Washington.

You can even vote on which cause you want the Penny Harvest to donate to:


December 12, 2007

Anthropologie Window

They are so good and designing there windows. I believe part of the reason is because of they integrate a narrative in their display (e.g. santa letters in the pocket of the sweater), and the other reason is their unique (e.g. balls of yarn) and resourceful use of materials (e.g. straws and empty, plastic, water jugs).









Flavia Sparacino, Founding Principal, Sensing Places

I saw a lecture by Ms Sparacino at the Center for Architecture. Her presentation, ‘Interactive Media Environments & Architectural Machines’ uses sensors and camera-tracking to make physical spaces interactive.




She worked with a lot of famous architects, and was responsible for creating the technology infamous in the scene from Minority Report. More about her work on my design conferences wiki/notes and my Flick'r account.

Center for Architecture

Pretty cool fabricated form...




Nice information graphics:

January 2, 2008

Virgin America Geekiness


I just flew on Virgin America, and was pretty impressed with their cool technology. They have a new media system catered to the youth and the hipsters.

1. There safety video is an amusing animation, which is slightly sarcastic in humor, fun to watch, even twice (JFK<>LAX).virginamerica01.jpg

2. While some airlines have customizable screens, what is really refreshing is that you're not limited to the conventional channels like CNN, which is also offered. You can watch some indie shows, like Current TV, clips from Boing Boing or cable shows Dexter and The Tudors.

3. Another option is to buy a movie. You have a choice from the new releases, indie and foreign films. I didn't see a lot of people use this feature because they were either watching a movie on their laptops or iPods. The people sitting next to me brought their own portable DVD player and headphone jack splitter.

4. Not that I'm a parent or anything, but if you are, and you're worried about your kids watching violent or explicitly sexual content (e.g. while watching Top Model, VH1 broadcasted some lengthy ads that may be sexually explicit, Rock of Love), you can control that here.

5. You can order food with your credit card. While some airlines encourage their passengers to bring exact change or have their passengers wait while the flight attendants find change, Virgin America has a system where you can order food and pay with your credit card. This is such a convenience. The other nice thing about this display is that you can watch continue to watch your show, while you select your food. I would say to order early because when I tried to order potato chips during the latter half of the flight, they were all out (dynamic/real-time tracking). I watched a lot of people use this feature.


6. This system records what shows and songs you listen to, so let's say if you dozed, and wanted to continue watching the shows, you can easily find them here.

7. Interesting controller. One side has the controllers, similar to a remote, just in case people are timid with the touch screen interface. The side of the controller has a magnetic scanner for your credit card, and the back is a full key pad to facilitate chatting between seats, and browsing the internet (not yet working). The keypad feels slightly awkward to type on because of it's elongated shape, and you have to hold down the blue button while simultaneously typing the symbol (I wasn't used to this because my BlackBerry shift button stays put).




8. Another cool feature is the chat between seats. At first, I really didn't understand why anyone would use this because one of the journalist on Current TV boast about meeting that cute dude in aisle 8. And actually the journalist tried several times getting people to chat with her. When I tried the chat room, and I was the only one there. On the flight back, I happen to bump into a friend of mine who was sitting in a different row, and we chatted for awhile. I don't think there is a way of chatting while simultaneously watching a show, but anyway it's a novel feature.

9. I'm not sure if this is a feature yet (multi-player), but it would've been cool to be able to play a game with my friend. I tried playing the clown game three times, but then had to reboot it 3x as well (at least they use Linux). The only thing that I thought was awkward about the game controller is the way you have to press the red button to "start" and the green button to "escape." Other than that, it looks pretty slick.


10. Last but not least, Virgin America promoting cool brands like Google, and Method soap (found in the bathroom). Also, their design of icons have that "web 2.0" aesthetic.


For more larger resolution pix, checkout my Flickr site later. Btw, you can only check in one bag, any additional bags cost $10, which is still relatively cheap, even for an oversized weirdly-shape package.

January 6, 2008

Cheap fruit in Los Angeles

All I can say is that if you visit Los Angeles, take advantage of the cheap prices in fruit. Just 89 cents per pound for oranges and grapefruit, and my favorite, the Asian pear, fairly inexpensive, compared to 2 oranges for $1.29 or more in New York. Also, I was able to buy a watermelon and kiwi, fruits out of season in other climates.




Fry's in Los Angeles

If you are a geek, techie or nerd, Fry's is a place to visit. They have branches all over Los Angeles, but the ones that I like to visit is the one in Burbank and Manhattan. Before heading to Fry's, check out the last page of the business section or top news section of the Los Angeles Times, most deals are published there. They sell heat guns, solder tips, capacitors, kits, tv's, computers, cameras, and the list goes on. They partner up with, but their web deals are not as good as visiting the store.


I bought a lot of cables and surge protectors from their this holiday, but Circuit City was more competitive with prices. I was able to purchase an HP PC (360 GB hard drive, 2 GB ram, etc.) and 19 inch monitor for $480 before taxes, which is a steal.

I don't remember seeing a Yahoo! headquarters across from Fry's. Anyway, this is off of the 5 freeway, and very close to the Burbank airport.


January 7, 2008

Holiday in Los Angeles

These two homes always deck their lawns for the holidays. Both in Hancock Park vicinity.




Pinz Bowling Center in Los Angeles, CA

Visit Pinz in Studio City. Jerry's Deli is close-by. Atmosphere is kind of club-like and fun. New technology and video displays.




Barney's Sustainable Display

Aluminum cans, bottle caps, and cardboard are materials that Barney's Department Store used in their display to encourage people to recycle.






Facebook and New Hampshire Debates


I was pretty impressed with how progressive ABC network was with their broadcast of the New Hampshire Debates. In an effort to get the youth involved, they integrated Facebook into their program. At first, I thought it was because Microsoft owned NBC that they were involved with Facebook, but I don't think they own ABC. Nevertheless, I watched both parties address issues. My only criticism was that the moderators should have asked the same questions to all candidates of both parties, even though their intention was to bring up questions that posed weaknesses to each of the parties. Anyway, it was interesting to watch the Facebook polls on television, a convergence with traditional media with the web.



For some reason, I thought Ron Paul presented the strongest arguments, and I thought Mitt Romney appeared superficial. I agreed with Bill Richardson's strong stance on Pakistan, and second Hillary Clinton's views on foreign policy. In any case, my vote will probably go to the candidate who best addresses the national health care issue, and issues that affect aging Baby Boomers. That's because my mom is paying ~$800.00 per month for insurance, which seems pretty excessive.

January 23, 2008

Public Trash to motivate recycling...

Found these in San Francisco, and I wish New York public waste baskets looked like this. This was in a residential neighborhood, so the recycle cavity probably wouldn't overfill as it would in New York. Anyway, I really liked the design of it, function and form.




When I was in San Francisco, I just wanted to do the offbeat and non-conventional tourist activities like visit the fortune cookie factory, the Exploratorium, and Audium (found in Fodor's under off-beat activities).

Audium is a theatre of sound-sculptured space.

I'm going to attempt to describe this experience. You walk into this space and take a seat with 40 other people. And the light dims to complete darkness, and Stan Shaff, who is the composer, plays random sounds of various objects and environment, and electronic sounds that scatter throughout the space through 136 speakers. It reminds me of when you're laying on the beach, and you can hear the sounds of the surroundings around you (i.e. kids playing, conversations, crashing waves, the water guy selling water, etc.)

Anyway, it was a one of a kind experience, and I would recommend it to anyone. Also after, check out the Stan's setup. They look analog with a lot of knobs, which is pretty cool for any electronics guru or techie. Also, after the performance, there's a Q&A session with Stan.

1616 Bush Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
Friday and Saturday, starts at 8:30pm
BUT get there at 8:00pm (there's free coffee in the lounge so you can chat with your friends), they don't take anyone who's late.
Admission: $15

Compositions and Performace by Stan Shaff
Equipment Design by Doug McEachern

January 26, 2008

Classic Sichuan in Lower San Francisco


This is probably one of the best Sichuan restaurants I've tried. The other Sichuan place that I love is in New York, and their specialty is hot pot. It's on Canal Street. Anyway, if you like spicy, then Sichuan restaurants are probably your best bet. Some friends of ours took us to this place (thanks Shumin and Tao), located in Millbrae, one of the last stops on the Bart (Millbrae) in San Francisco. It's in between San Fran and Silicon Valley. They have starters like boiled peanuts and pickled cabbage. My favorite was probably the cold noodles. I've tried them in Sichuan restaurants in New York, but they're missing a flavor. This restaurant (I think) adds sesame oil because it has a slight nutty flavor. The other dishes I loved were the beef and tripe, fish and shrimp. Anyway all of it was really good.

Classic Sichuan
148 El Camino Real
Millbrae, CA 94030
Tel. 650.692.3388


Dolores Park, San Francisco


Dolores Park has an amazing view of the city skyline of San Francisco. Even though it's cold, people still layout in the park. I read that sometimes they call it Dolores Beach because people sunbathe there. I found the Pirate Store (sister store to the Super Hero Supply Store in New York) a couple of blocks from this park. They were closed, but I believe they may have a secret tutoring center as well. Kudos.


Shots of the closed Pirate Store...


Slide as a substitute for stairs?

I took this photo of a house that had a slide. If I were 7, I would want to live there. Actually at the top, to the right of the slide was a wet suit, so maybe it's still being used.


El Castillito, San Francisco


This is probably one of my top 10 burrito places. It was also voted "Citybest," and it's super cheap. This burrito feeds two and costs ~$7.00. I tried to photograph the plastic utensil to give you sense of scale of how big the burrito is. You can look the address on Citysearch, but it's on Mission Street. Take the F, and when you see a Safeway, get off that stop.



January 31, 2008

Another Great Eatery and Dessert Spot in San Francisco

Italian and Brazilian Fusion Cuisine
1548 Stockton Street
San Francisco, CA 94133

I recommend the pumpkin, shrimp and rice dish. Don't eat dessert there because there's a fabulous gelato place right across the street called Probuzione Propria.

Burgermeister in San Francisco

This is a burger chain, so I'm not really sure if they franchise out of the city, but if you're in SF, I highly recommend trying their garlic fries.


February 1, 2008

Goodnight and Goodbye S.F.


I was fortunate to visit this home that has a fabulous view. I love these purple skies.

February 26, 2008

Kshitij, IIT Kharagpur, India, Part III

Also at Kshitij, Nick Sears exhibited UltraOrb, which was his thesis project:




Globe4D exhibited was this globe where you can move through a fourth dimension, time. Makes learning about climate change engaging.





Pyromania is a really amazing Israeli dancing team that uses fire in their acts.




Jimmy Wales (one of the most influential people) of Wikipedia introduced the Wikia.



Magician Jason Latimer performed some unique tricks using laser technology.





Astrophysicist, Professor and Author of The Physics of Star Trek, Lawrence Krauss. Interesting theories that challenge some of Einstein's theories.



Dr. Eric Drexler, an expert in the field of nanotechnology, encourage the use of sensors and computing in materials (i.e. roads that are composed of solar panels).



Robogarage exhibited robots that move almost as smooth as humans.



February 27, 2008

Outsourcing problem goes both ways...

A little irony. This photograph was taken in India.


Designs from India

Textile design in India is pretty beautiful. Most of the pashmina scarves were woven with a loom, and which had a lot of intricate details and complex color schemes. You can also see this in traditional saris. This vendor was gracious enough to wait for us to finish our tour of the museum.




Jewerly design

I was really impressed with this bracelet, which I couldn't zoom in close enough. The bracelets are made of interlocking miniature U-shaped gold rings that have ruby gems embedded on the ends. When looking at it, you're not sure where the designer started. Also, the bracelet looks hand-crafted.


These are pear-shaped, multi-faceted cut, Indian topaz earrings.


Loved the motif on this silver box.



Engraved sculptures made out of precious woods and stones. One of these sculptures had a heavy sandalwood scent because it was carved out of sandalwood. Some are carved crystals, ivory and jade.



This Is The Most Beautiful Hotel I

I've ever stayed at. The Hyatt Hotel in Kolkata/Calcutta offers excellent service, but the interior design and design is beautiful. Integrates many materials and textures in one space, which is so seamless. Everything works. Found out that this hotel was designed by a firm in Florida.

This were elegant lanterns. Light emits through the carved wood.

Ambient lighting changes from day to night. During the day, soft light illuminates to emulate sunlight. At night, the soft light changes color to blue. Recessed blue LED's in the floor.



Also recessed wall lighting...

Texture using layers of glass...

This Is The Most Beautiful Hotel II

I like the stainless steel, transparent bowls holding the colorful fruit, which is used for decorative purposes.

This a display for a bar, which has may wines and books backlit.

Landscape architecture and pools design.

Textured walls with abstract art.

and hotel lobby...


This might be cheesy, but I may take this idea and line the inside walls of my vase with tropical leaves.

March 2, 2008

IXDA Conference in Savannah, GA

I attended this conference because of Bill Buxton and Sigi Moeslinger, and was amazed with their presentations. I was also impressed with Malcolm McCullough, who teaches at the University of Michigan, and spoke of his research with culture and ubiquitous computing.

I also enjoyed a presentation on "fieldwork and sketching" from a Ph.D. candidate, who interned at Intel, Matt Jones who founded Dopplr, Regine DeBatty from "We Make Money Not Art," Alan Cooper ("An Insurgency of Quality") as well as another one of his rep who talked about his processes in design, and Dan Brown, who lectured on Concept Models. I hope to put my notes, but it might take a long time to transcribe. In the meantime, please check out my flickr photos.


March 30, 2008



Go see it, it's probably one of the best Broadway shows. I love the production design and more importantly the story (a prequel to the Wizard of Oz). I only wish I thought of the story first. It's about the good and bad witches, but there is an interesting spin on who is the heroine.

My only caveat is to buy tickets that cost a little more. We sat in the balcony, so I can see the tape and markings of where the actresses/actors have to stand.

April 7, 2008

The Best Cirque Du Soleil Show...

I've seen so far is . One of Nick's clients recommended this show, and it is fantastic. I've seen Mystère, which was impressive, but KÀ is probably the best I've seen so far. The stage rotates, so the dancers look like they are climbing a wall while dancing at the same time. The set design, and tech is amazing (which took approximately 2 years to develop), but what makes KÀ better that some of the other shows is the story. It kind of has a manga look, and it's a story about a brother and sister who are separated. This is the newest of the Cirque Du Soleil shows, and is playing at the MGM Grand. I also recommend getting the documentary, which isn't sol on Amazon. It's about the making and production of this show.

This will probably be the next one I see. I hear it's in water. Btw, we saw poker pros Daniel Negreanu (@ Bellagio) and Phil Ivy (@ The Mirage).


I would skip the Mirage (since they're renovating), and stay at the Flamingo. If you get a gold card, you can bypass the long registration line (probably about a 20-minute wait) and get a free upgrade to their spacious suite on the highest floor, which had a view (approximately ~600 square feet).


We paid $150 for this room, and it came with a king-size bed, and a queen-sized sofa bed. The redesign reminds me of the Standard Hotel in Los Angeles, where you would have a unique experience. For instance, the neon pink lighting in the bathroom. There's even a television embedded in the bathroom mirror, so if you want to take a bath while watching your favorite movie, you can do so here.



There were two flat screen televisions (rarely used) and an empty refrigerator for cake or BYOB (for college students on spring break). Prior to staying here, we stayed at the Mirage, and incurred a $40 charge just for opening and closing the fridge 5 times, and we didn't drink anything. We just used it to store our cake. Anyway, I really like how their rooms are catered for the youth, and how they thought very hard about who would stay there. I can visualize a bachelor party or spring break, f-u-n!

April 8, 2008

Speakeasy Bars in NYC

My friend just took me to a speakeasy bar, which is a term they used during Prohibition.


We went one that was a hot dog joint, where you make reservations for the bar in the telephone booth. Inside is really classy, and the menus are have white leather covers. You can get sophisticated drinks that mix various alcoholic spirits with egg whites.

All the drinks are pretty good. If you order food, there's a selection of tater tots and hot dogs served on plastic plates. We shared a hot dog with a kim chee topping (sounds gross, but it is pretty tasty).


Check out the rules in the glamorous bathroom (mirrored mosaic).


One Stop Framing Shop

is where to get reasonably priced frames in New York...


I was hesitant to try this place that I found on Citysearch, but after reading 15 positive 5-star reviews, I decided to take a chance and try it.


When I first met Mr. Shah, he had a lot of questions about the layout, but I left it in his creative hands. He did a fantastic job, and even when I had a quiver of doubt, he still accommodated my worries by emailing me photos of the comp. We were very satisfied with his works.

269 West 36th Street
New York, NY 10018
Phone: (212) 869-7040

Vending machine for recharging cell phones

For $3.00, you can charge your phone for 30 minutes. Found this kiosk/vending machine at the airport in Vegas. I've seen free chargers at LAX advertised by Samsung or Sony. Owned by the company renting out luggage carts.


New Airport Security via Pneumatics

So eager to not wait in line, we were escorted to the non-traditional security line. The way this machine works is that it blows air at you, and explosive debris/residue is also blown off. Never seen this before, but it's at the Las Vegas airport.




Interactive Musical Installation in 34th Street

At 34th Street where the N train runs, there is an interactive musical installation (green). If you wave your hands over certain parts, it plays music.


Cai Guo-Qiang at the Guggenheim


This is a pretty amazing exhibition, just by sheer scale of each piece was a delight to walk around and experience. My favorite piece(s) were the clay figures of peasants during Communist China. I also liked all the gunpowder drawings. I wonder how long it took to perfect.

April 19, 2008



I just recently watched Spamalot. I think I probably watched a couple of Monty Python movies in my life, and wasn't privvy to the storyline. Anyway, this was okay. Clay Aiken plays Sir Robin, and there were some lines relevant to American Idol and ex-governor Spitzer to make it more current. The set design wasn't as sophisticated as some of the other musicals and Broadway shows I've watched, and the atmosphere was like watching a high-school play because the humor appealed to a grand group of high schoolers (sitting next to us) that were hee-hawing at every boob and camel-toe joke.

But in the end, my overall opinion was that I like it, probably because of the "Find Your Grail" medley, some snarky bits, and it's originality. I would definitely watch this before seeing Wicked, and/or KA. I watched this after, so my expectations were higher.

Comicon, Javitz Center, Part 1


This is the first time I have ever been to Comicon. It was crowded and pretty fun. There are a lot of kids dressed in character, you get to see the latest games, and see how marketers promote these blockbuster movies coming out this summer (will talk about these later). I even saw a Christie's booth (?!?), but most of the exhibitors are from publishing, gaming, toy, and film industries.



Wonder Woman...

merits her own post.


I'm not sure who the artist is of this painting, but it's probably one of my favorite illustrations of her. Found in Comicon at Javitz this year.

She was my favorite character while growing up. I think every girl wanted to be her. They marketed Wonder Woman underoos when I was in grade school, which was the tank and bikini underwear that made you feel like a super hero, or Diana Prince. Anyway, a movie is in production, and slated to be released in 2009, but I wonder, who will play Wonder Woman? Lynda Carter played her in the 70's. Heard through the grapevine that either Catherine Zeta-Jones or Angelina Jolie would play her. I don't think Angelina Jolie should play her, since she's already Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. And Catherine Zeta-Jones should've played Elektra instead of Jennifer Garner. Anyway, we're do for a heroine blockbuster movie soon! Crossing my fingers.

Comicon, Javitz Center, Part 3


So in November, a group of us were playing poker in the lobby of our building. Along came this 16-year old who asked to join us. He was playing very aggressively, and beat out all of us. Later that evening, he claimed that playing Magic was the reason why, since all the "battles" he was involved in forced him to read the state of the opponent with speed. Of course we had no idea what this game was, and what it entailed. It's beyond trading pogs or baseball games. There are a complex set of rules with characters, and you go to these underground places (think Rounders), and play real people with real cards a game similar to the card game "war." So this kid went upstairs to retrieve his duffle bag of card characters, protected in vinyl, organized neatly in a binder. As he gave us a demo and explained the cost of each card, I could make the connection of him playing poker to Magic. Some cards are word $150, and can range into the thousands. When I asked him about the honor system of purchasing some cards online, like Ebay, he said he never bought any counterfeit cards. Some cards, like the older edition which prove to be more valuable, can look Photoshopped, since they don't have a special seal or watermark on it. Interesting... maybe this community believes in integrity, which is what he mentioned several times throughout the night. These cards are made out of paper, but I think the value of the card is determined by the illustrator and character.

Anyway, I saw this game again at Comicon, and other copycats, including Call of Duty and World of Warcraft are following suit.



April 20, 2008

Comicon, Javitz Center, Part 4

There were some people who dressed like their favorite characters. I guess everyone wants to be a super hero/heroine. Anime costumes were more popular. Some of these I know, but some of these I don't know.









A couple of Japanese companies were promoting Victorian fashion.




Comicon, Javitz Center, Part 5

Interesting exhibitors at Comicon...

Record/audition your scream at the Spiderman booth.


Get an autograph by your favorite comic illustrator at DC Comics (though I saw a guy bring in a case of comic books to sign, so the line may take awhile).

Try out My Beating Heart at Android8, which is designed by ITP alum Yury Gitman. It is strangely meditative. I ended up buying one to test. Reminds me of MIT robotic seals. Android8 has other cool toys and characters that are new.


So many people visiting this booth selling LED-lit samurai swords and ninja stars.

Play video games.

Win prizes (there was a really long line for this).

Find a job at TokyoPop. They were interviewing and reviewing portfolios of illustrators and writers.

Watch this guy finish this illustration.

April 27, 2008

Amy Tan on Creativity

June 15, 2008



For jazz lovers, check out Birdland this month. Last night, Saxophone Summit [Ravi Coltrane/Dave Liebman/Joe Lavano/all sax players, Cecil McBee/bass, Phil Markowitz/piano, and Billy Hart/drums] played some songs from their new album Seraphic Light and some work from the late John Coltrane. As a novice to jazz music, I recommend seeing live performances, especially with more of the experimental genre.



Tickets are $40 for orchestra seats and there is a $10 minimum purchase for drinks/dinner. I was impressed with the food too (had the scallops plate and stuffed pepper with mushroom risotto).


Reasons To Be Pretty -- MCC Theater at The Lucille Lortel Theatre


I was fortunate enough to find this indie theater through NYU Ticket Central. I watched Reasons To Be Pretty by Neil LaBute. I've been following his works via film and theater for approximately one decade now (In The Company of Men and Your Friends and Neighbors, The Shape of Things). Most of his works are a little dark, but his new play that just came out actually has a sliver of a silver lining, which is a "coming of age" tale. Love his note in the program, which he expresses that he wishes he was a "braver person," and continues to sympathize and admire the protagonist, Greg. I was impressed with the cast (i.e. Piper Perabo, Thomas Sadoski, Alison Pill, Pablo Schreiber). Subscription prices are reasonable, click here for more information.

MCC Theater at
The Lucille Lortel Theatre
121 Christopher St
New York, NY 10014


Fifty Words
By Michael Weller
Sept 10-Oct 25, 2008

The Break of Noon
by Neil LaBute
Jan 14-Feb 28, 2009

Based on the Novel by Neil Gaiman
May 6-June 20, 2009


Other recommended theater picks from my friends include: Xanadu (within 2 weeks) and 39 Steps (Alfred Hitchcock).

Bodies Exhibition, South Street Seaport

I visited this exhibition today despite the controversy and ethical concerns of the bodies used. The admissions is quite hefty, but it was worth every penny. The most amazing part of the exhibition is the pulmonary room (i.e. arteries/veins). The technique of stripping and injecting the arteries and veins with silicon and preserving them in place with formaldehyde and water is pretty amazing. I was fascinated with the lungs because although they appear symmetrically similar in tissue, they are not. The right lung has more arteries or red vessels than the left one.

Lots of interesting facts that stuck with me...

-there are 16 muscles in the tongue
-babies have 300 bones while adults have 206
-the heart can squirt blood at least 30 feet
-there are about 60k miles of blood vessels
-the body shrinks because the bones dehydrate over years
-the kidney can filter 2 liters of blood in a minute
-one pack of cigarettes takes approximately 3 hours of your life
-eating breakfast helps memory


My goal will be to eliminate soda out of my life and drink water. On the topic of health, New York Magazine, has a great segment on breakfast, and the page layout for cereal has a cool design. I checked the rating for a couple of cereals, and they were right on target (i.e. Whole Foods strawberry rice crispies looks tasty, but is awful--in my mind I thought it would taste like strawberry crunchberries from the Captain Crunch series without the corn puffs, but it doesn't). Love the information visualization and cultural study on what people eat for breakfast. One lady ate organic eggs with Budlight beer. Amazing!

June 18, 2008

Rainbow in Manhattan




July 27, 2008



So after a 2 years of perusing, I've finally become a Yelper. I used to use Citysearch frequently before, but one time I reviewed a restaurant, and it was rejected (and it was a good review too). I think I was trying to upload photo several times, then finally I just gave up.

In a recent trip to Miami, I was looking for a restaurant that served good ceviche, so I checked on Yelp, and found The River Oyster Bar, which met and exceeded my expectations. Instead of blogging about food, I just review them on Yelp. Also, I've been looking for recommendations on hair stylists and acupuncture, and found some very helpful tips (e.g. they don't charge tax if you pay cash, and so forth).

Just recently, a fellow Yelper invited me to an event to meet other New York Yelpers in Red Hook.

July 29, 2008

Restaurant Week in NYC

Restaurant week started yesterday in NYC. Some of the hottest restaurants in the city are offering Prix-Fixe meals at affordable prices. Lunch for $25 and Dinner for $35. You can get wine pairings for an additional $20 to $30 a person.

The best place to book reservations is through They list all the restaurants participating, and which meals. For instance, Morimoto offers only lunch. This a great way to get motivated to try something new. You will feel less anxious, and you'll be surrounded by other newbies. They give 2-3 options for appetizers, entrees and desserts, and if you're a vegetarian, do not worry (there's usually an option for non-meat-eaters). Of course you can cover more ground if you bring more friends (share samples).

So far, I've been to Thalassa (a Greek restaurant), Morimoto (Japanese Iron Chef), and Delmonico's (Steak place), and I haven't been disappointed yet. Luckily, my Greek friend forewarned me that Thalassa's specialty is pairing wines with the meals (so we don't skimp on wine there). Our server at Morimoto told us that the fish is flown from Japan four times a week, the rice they use is special, and you can tell they don't use the green powder to make the wasabi. Delmonico's is classic, and they have a dress code of "business casual," so if you want to dress up and impress your date, Delmonico's is a great excuse.

Below are some pix from Morimoto's and Thalassa. I totally forgot to take photos at Delmonico's :( And of course the cellphone doesn't do the meals justice:


morimoto2_sm.jpg tuna, striped bass, salmon, yellowtail, mackerel, shrimp, red clam, eel and spicy tuna rolls (Chef Morimoto's sushi selection)




Vine ripened tomato salad with feta cheese

Grape leaves Avgolemono stuffed rice and ground veal

Colorado lamb chops with string beans

Fire roasted Lavraki with spinach risotto

Raspberry yogurt cake with Valrhona chocolate sauce

Traditional walnut cake with fresh orange flavored honey syrup



At Delmonico's, I tried the tuna carpaccio, filet mignon, and vanilla custard. All were good... sorry no photos.

August 5, 2008

Whole Foods in Tribeca, NYC

The Whole Foods on Greenwich just opened, and it's bigger than the Whole Foods on 14th Street. They sell oysters, all types of rare eggs (e.g. ostrich eggs are $39.99), and even salts (e.g. Hiwa Kai - Hawaiian Black Sea Salt and Lavendar Salt). If you can't use it on your food, you can probably use it in your bath.





There is a sushi bar as well.

August 6, 2008

Dedicated Director

I took a photo of this aspiring director. Could that be a Super 8 or 16 mm? What was he shooting? Legs? Shoes? Walking? Documentary? Live-Action?


August 8, 2008



Finally... I get to see Radiohead at All Points West, which is a music festival on the East Coast, comparable to Coachella in California. I had an opportunity to go to a Radiohead concert at the Hollywood Bowl 5 years ago (box/front row), but because I had AT&T (and the service was spotty) that I never received the calls (4x) from my friend (it was a last minute thing). Hence, I don't have an iPhone or use AT&T.

Anyway, this should be good because this May at Coachella, Prince reappropriated Radiohead's song "Creep," and some listeners took video of him, and uploaded it on YouTube. And then Prince told them to take the video down. Then Radiohead got involved, and said it was there song, and to leave it up. Well they're playing tonight and tomorrow night. Also Ben Harper is playing there as well.

August 27, 2008

Bag lady

In an effort to be more environmentally conscious, I've been a bag lady at work for the past five months, collecting recyclables, and bringing them home to recycle in my building. I'm skeptical that my office recycles paper and plastic bottles because a couple of times, I saw the custodial people dump the plastic bottles and recycled paper into the trash cart. So far, I've collected several plastic and glass bottles, paper bags, magazines, boxes, documents, brochures, and plastic containers.


(This week's trash)

Jewelry Design, Week 1

I've been working on a project, and came to a plateau in my design process. I just recently enrolled in a jewelry design class to help me solve some of those problems. Anyway, in the first week, we learned about the properties of gold, and made an ingot. The first day was like a high school chemistry class: measuring metal components on a scale, lighting up a Bunsen-Burner-like-torch, learning what alloys are about. Depending on the properties of metals, some are softer, and some are more brittle, but one thing the professors reiterated was to be mindful of purity (we use a charcoal brick to hold the molten metal while it cools). Some jewelry designs require the brittle properties of copper, while some designs prioritize color, which also affect alloys. Some metal properties facilitate conductivity better than others. It's all terribly fascinating.

Here is the ingot I made.


The flux used is Borax, but it looks like silicone at high temperatures, and glass after it cools.


September 25, 2008

Anti-Bailout Rally on Wall Street

It's 11:45pm, and I can still hear people protesting on Wall Street. Earlier today, there was a rally of people not supporting this almost $1 trillion bailout. If you want to see photos, check out my Flickr account. James Nicholas Sears took these photographs. Tim McNerney was also present at this demonstration.



October 13, 2008

The Bolt Bus is a STEAL!!!

Bolt Bus is a new subsidiary of Greyhound bus. For just $20, you can go to Boston, Philly, and DC. It has free wi-fi and power outlets. The power was reliable, and so was the Internet (but I was able to upload about 20 photos onto Flickr—look below for photo), except for a couple of spotty places.


These buses are clean, and the drivers are smooth drivers and courteous. There was a guy running down the block, and our driver, Calvin, stopped for him still, to pick him up. There are a couple of ground rules with noise, but very reasonable. All the buses are new, and after 8 rides (one way trips), you get one for free.



November 4, 2008

Voting, Elections 2008 in New York

Back half of line:

Front half of line:

There was a long line, but it moved fairly quickly. We met some new acquaintances. Lots of press were down on Wall Street interviewing voters (NY TImes/various foreign television networks).

BTW, if you vote, you can get a free tall coffee at Starbucks!

November 21, 2008

Newseum in Washington D.C.

If you're in DC, check out the Newseum. They have some interesting exhibits going on: FBI and G-Men (from gangsters to terrorists) and Pulitzer Prize Photographs. This is a great place to take kids too (i.e. news-anchor simulation of green screen).

World Trade Center:

Berlin Wall (I heard that they had to alter the profanities on these walls for public display):


November 25, 2008

Dexter Ad in Times Square, NYC


This ad is on 49th Street and 7th Avenue. It's one of the series of Dexter ads in the form of popular magazine covers. I thought it was clever. There's also one of him on Rolling Stones and Wired. To see other covers, click here.

November 27, 2008

Wired Store, NYC

Located on 18th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.

I saw this on my way home. Wired Magazine, and displays and demos tech and sustainable gadgets, and is open temporarily until the end of this year. If you wanted to see Pleo (responsive toy/robotic/dinosaur), you can demo it there. I saw this portable printer by Polaroid, the size of a compact camera, that prints business card-sized photos taken with a cellphone.


Banksy was here...


Banksy, the artist/graffiti artist just had an exhibition at a pet store in Greenwich Village, which closed on Halloween. I stumbled upon it with Giana and Joo Yon, ITP Alums, who knew about it. We couldn't get in, but at least we were able to see the window displays.

This looks like a leopard resting with its chest heaving and tail moving, but it's actually a fur coat.

A hen with her chicks, except they were chicken nuggets instead.

A mother surveillance camera, with little ones in the nest.

Rabbit wearing cosmetic products that are typically tested with. The twitching rabbit's movement looked pretty smooth. Check out this video of the monkey, it looks so real.

There was a squirmy hot dog in a bun, but I wasn't close enough to take that photo. To see video, check out this site.

December 29, 2008

Matchstick Dress


This whole dress is made out of matches, and is on exhibition in the Scholastic building in SoHO. What is more remarkable is the designer is only 18-years-old. Her name is Lily Faget. It's really beautiful. Watch out Stella McCartney and Mark Jacobs! Or maybe she'll intern for them.

January 15, 2009

New York City and Heroes...

I <3 FDNY, NYPD, Coast Guards, Paramedics, et. al.


Need I say more? As a NYC-transplant, I love watching everyone pulling together collaboratively to remedy the situation. Photo above was taken by James Nicholas Sears at Battery Park, NYC. And yes, that's the tail.

At first I thought the story about birds sounded ludicrous, but when we went out there, we saw a flock of them flying around the area.

If you want to see more photos, check out my Flickr photos, we took the D700 out for a run with a Nikon 70-300m, 5.6 lens. I'm satisfied the D700 is great with low light. All photos taken by James Nicholas Sears...


Google Maps

Google Earth

January 18, 2009

Washington DC is the place to be...

On my way to the Mayflower, I just saw Joe Biden on his way to the Inaugural Concert. The block before, I saw Bill Clinton, but didn't have time to pull out my camera... Oh well.


To see a bigger version of these photos, visit my Flickr account.

January 22, 2009

Obama Photos at the Inaugural Parade


So my girlfriend, Min Batstone and her husband, Ian, fought their way through the crowds to take these photos. She said she was close to Ann Curry as well, one of my favorite journalists.

All photos were taken by Min Batstone, and can be viewed on Flickr profile. Please contact her if you would like to use them.

He waves to her directly in this photo.




I <3 Ann Curry. This photo is also taken by Min.

January 24, 2009

Beautiful LED light installation in at the National Gallery of Arts in DC

I didn't get to visit this, but plan to on my next trip to DC. This LED installation was designed by Leo Villareal, an ITP Alumni, and is located at the National Gallery of Arts. I'm not sure if it's interactive, but anyway, it's a sight.



Please credit Min Batstone.

Dot Dot Dot, The Urbanist, Part II

A slide from Adam Greenfield's Presentation

Adam Greenfield, who taught at ITP, and wrote the book titled Everyware also spoke at Dot Dot Dot, and now head of design direction at Nokia. He researches many ubiquitous computing systems. I can't cover everything he spoke about, but if you want to see some of his presentation slides, visit my Flickr set. Here are some of the highlights that you can look up or read about in his new book The City Is Here For You To Use:

UNStudio with Arup Engineering: Galleria West, Apgujeongdong in S. Korea

u-Cheonggyecheong: Instead of cleaning the stream, they wrapped it in media.

Tom Armitage, Making Bridges Talk: What if the London Bridge could Twitter?

u-City New Songdo: totally networked, and can track everything down to tagging soda bottles with RFID tags that can automatically credit your account even if you throw it in trash. Every action is recorded and mediated. This project is still a work-in-progress.

Massive simultaneity: The 1K Project

MITsenseable city lab/New York Talk Exchange (NYTE)

Mosaic of Singapore mall: A photo that shows a lady moving through a mall physically, but this mosaic also shows a layer of secondary information--who is on the other end of her mobile phone. We should think about cyberspace (Being on phone is like being in cyberspace) when we think about designing the physical space.

Stamen Design: Oakland Crimespotting
Think about constraints in analysis (e.g. Taxonomy of police department is already a constraint (e.g. categorizing rape).

iPhone/Flickr: Geotagging/Search urbanism, browse urbanism, make urban API. If we check the weather before we go out, we are conditioned to that networked information, hence Adam calls this a "network overlay." Contemplate how this "overlay" reflects every decision we make (i.e. real-time info).

I've also added Adam Greenfield's blog to my RSS Feeds and Google Reader.

Lightwave '09, Part I

I'm in Dublin, Ireland to document some work at the Lightwave Exhibition in the Science Gallery at Trinity College. This exhibition is trying to bridge science and art. Already, there a couple of ITPers showing their works: James N. Sears, Nurit Bar-Shai, and Lori Napolean.

Nick is showing his second design of The Orb, which now plays videos and Processing apps, and still images. Right now, Jonathan Cousin's data visualization is currently on The Orb.

Nurit Bar-Shai collaborated with other artists and MIT to show live video feeds of cellular interactions and the Northern Lights, of course separately.

Lori Napoleon created an interactive sculpture called "Scintillator." The sculpture is composed of tetrahedral shapes, and changes color when you touch it.

Later, I will try to post photos on Flickr. Feel free to ping me if I forget.

Lightwave '09, Part II


I just went to a laser performance by Dmitry Gelfand and Evelina Domnitch. This was pretty amazing, but unfortunately I couldn't take photos. Here's a link to a video...

They have three colored high-powered lasers in red, green and blue, which is refracted and projected over a circular flat tray with soapy solution. When they manipulate the solution, beautiful textures are projected. There was a grainy texture, so I had to ask how they achieved that. They told me that they just densely packed the bubbles together, playing with the surface tension and properties, such as hydrophilic/hydrophobic surfaces of the bubble. What is seen is a visual and elegant light show, sometimes the light bubble film looked like peacock feathers. If you have an opportunity to see this show live, I highly recommend it.

The artists (from left to right) Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand.

January 31, 2009

Lightwave '09, Part III

Lêbonê Project: Lighting Africa with Off-Grid Energy
In partnership with Harvard University/Lêbonê Solutions, Professor David Edwards, Huga Van Vuuren, Ralph Borland & Richard Kirk

They can produce electricity from soil, using microbial fuel cell technology. Overnight, they were able to produce at least 5V.

This project would complement the Kennedy Violich Portable Light Project (more info here).

February 18, 2009

Lightwave '09, Part IV

I'm back from Ireland, but wanted to complete blogging about these other projects:

Cell Phone Disco
By Ursula Lavrencic & Auke Touslager, Netherlands
There's a grid of red LED lights. When you use your cellphone, this grid senses the electromagnetic waves of your phone, which randomly blinks.

Laser Theremin
By Bálint Bolygó, UK
The interactive laser projector acts like a musical theremin.

By Chris O'Shea & Cinimod Studio
Investigates machine surveillance. As you walk through this maze, beacons light up and follow you.

The Magic Torch
By Alberto Garcia Saenz & Julio Obelleiro, Spain
Use a flashlight to play games projected onto a wall.

By Andrew Bucksbarg, USA
Polyphonic "mobispheres" which also light as the user interacts with them.

EOD04: Probing the Intangible Inaudible Invisible

By Frederik De Wilde, Belgium
Using LED lights to tracks the electric waves of a fish.

The Neuron Chamber
By Aan Rorie, Ben Carpenter, Jo Slota & David Shulman
A sculpture that acts like your brain, which shows the process of synapses.

By Tim Redfern, Ireland
Giant kaleidoscope projecting tectonic recordings into fractals.

April 4, 2009

Simultaneously Beautiful and Scary...


Photo Credit: Extreme Ice Survey

I just watched this documentary on NOVA that was pretty effective in convincing me that our source of water is endanger. This group EIS, Extreme Ice Survey is surveying and documenting how fast ice is melting in Greenland, Alaska, the Alps, etc. which is our source of drinkable water. EIS plants cameras to document the ice and glacial activites. They build these shells for cameras that I think operate using power generated from solar panels to power these cameras for one year. The photography is amazing and beautiful, but the video is scary.

Visit this link, and click on "Videos" to see time-lapsed documentation.

April 25, 2009

Village Independent Democrats in NYC

I was lucky enough to see where the Village Independent Democrats work, and I must say it is a pretty cool space... lots of graphic eye candy. My colleague is the Vice President there. They are organizing a fundraiser soon.



April 26, 2009

Best Doughnut EVAR!!!


I'm sure I've blogged about this before, but this specific doughnut deserves its own blog post. Doughnut Plant sells the most amazing doughnuts... seriously. You can get them at Dean & Deluca, but I say visit the plant itself in Lower East Side. Then you really get to sample all the flavors.

My favorite flavor is coconut. And this coconut doughnut is probably my favorite dessert of all time!!! When I visited Doughnut Plant a couple of weeks ago, they were all out of this flavor, so I had to go back. It is divine (texture, taste/flavor). There's a creamy filling in there that is so smooth, yummy!!! I wish they made this in a birthday cake format.

Joe's Shanghai...


I'm wondering why when I uploaded this photo on Flickr on a Saturday night, it received 174 hits in 3 minutes. I mean, I saw a line out that restaurant, but it must be good if there was a line and it got 174 online hits within minutes. In fact, someone commented on my Flickr asking if this is the place that serves famous soup dumplings!

Anyway Joe's Shanghai is on Hell Street in NYC. Such a cool address, lol.

July 16, 2009

Cheonggyecheon has had positive environmental impact

I first heard about Cheonggyecheon from Adam Greenfield's presentation at Dot Dot Dot. I didn't know that this project had an environmental impact. This project was called "Daylight" and costed $384 million to recover and filter streams. Since the completion of this project in 2005, "Daylight" has reduced temperature and air pollution.

Small-particle air pollution dropped to 48 micrograms per cubic meter from 74 along the corridor, and summer temperatures are now often five degrees cooler than those of nearby areas, according to data cited by city officials.

To read more about this, visit NYTimes site here.

October 6, 2009

Laverne and Shirley Nostalgia

After seeing my friend and colleague Matt Chmiel at the ITP 30th Anniversary, I couldn't get this song out of my head. Then I found the lyrics on this site Lyrics on Demand. Who knows? I might just by the ringtone there ;)

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Sclemeel (Chmiel), schlemazel, hasenfeffer incorporated. We're gonna do it!

Give us any chance, we'll take it.
Give us any rule, we'll break it.
We're gonna make our dreams come true.
Doin' it our way.

Nothin's gonna turn us back now,
Straight ahead and on the track now.
We're gonna make our dreams come true,
Doin' it our way.

There is nothing we won't try,
Never heard the word impossible.
This time there's no stopping us.
We're gonna do it.

On your mark, get set, and go now,
Got a dream and we just know now,
We're gonna make our dream come true.
And we'll do it our way, yes our way.
Make all our dreams come true,
And do it our way, yes our way,
Make all our dreams come true
For me and you.

November 27, 2009

Promoting travel within states... Ever considered traveling by train?

This year because of the economy, I am seeing more people travel within the states. Well here are some steals if you don't have a lot of money to travel abroad for the holiday season. Here are some advantages compared to flight (e.g. you don't get pinged if you want to bring another bag, you don't have to go through all the security hassles, they are pretty lenient in canceling or rebooking rides, there are outlets so if you wanted to work you could, you can bring your own wireless card and use it on the train).

Amtrak offers these deals:

Rail pass

15-day pass (8-legs) for $389
They also offer 30-day and 45-day passes, perfect for students to travel together in the summer.

Chinese Senior Citizens practice hip hop on Current TV

October 2, 2010

Bryant Park Concert Series, New York

For most of August and September, Bryant Park and PBS hosted classical concert series. I hope they do it again next year.


In this video, I think the quartet is from the Orchestra of St. Luke:

More music in parks... Please :)

This past June, NYC installed pianos is parks (Play Me I'm Yours and Sing For Hope). I visited several parks, and had lunch everyday at one. It was great seeing talented people collaborate. I discovered that there are so many talented musicians in New York City (more than average).



This young lady improvised to classical music (left) and to jazz music (right).

Experimental Architecture in Union Square

In September, Union Square hosted an experimental architecture exhibition. One of the structures used cardboard signs from the homeless.





March 16, 2011

Data Visualization Event at The New York Academy of Sciences

Mark Hansen, a professor at the D|MA in UCLA will be presenting The New York Academy of Sciences on May 19, 2011. For more information, please visit this link.

September 16, 2011

If you are in the city, Big Gay Ice Cream Truck has a store now...

Father Anthony Bourdain christens the store:

Big Gay Ice Cream Shop opening ceremony and benediction from Kathleen McGivney on Vimeo.

November 18, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Protests...

When the city closed down Zucotti Park, some of the protesters made way to this public park on Canal and Varick Streets.


I am perplexed why the president hasn't gotten involved with this protest, since this movement has spread nationally. I am reminded of how FDR sent the National Guards to protect strikers from the police seen in this video:

On a separate note but from the same movie, the Second Bill of Rights from FDR:

Both video clips are from Michael Moore's documentary Capitalism.

April 25, 2012

This is why I love living in NYC... Cheap eats!

May 7, 2012

Interactive projection - dog park

There is an interactive dog park projection at the Columbus Circle subway station closer to the Hearst entrance/corridor. I thought this was clever because I think they are targeting audience from my neighborhood, which is pet-friendly (i.e. many dog owners and dogs). Also, it is nice to see a "green park" in the concrete tunnels of the subway. The interactive installation is sponsored by Beneful. I should check to see if Beneful is sold at Whole Foods in the Columbus Circle mall.

You can choose a dog, and throw tennis balls in the interactive field, and the dogs will fetch the ball. I think there are approximately 3 projectors/screens. I was curious to see many people interacting with this installation during rush hour (see photos below - taken over a couple of days around May 2, 2012).

Interactive installations sponsored by Beneful.

Dogs wait for you to play fetch.






September 15, 2012

"Fireflies On The Water" by Yayoi Kusama

If you are in New York and you like contemporary art, please see this exhibit at the Whitney until October 28, 2012. If you do plan on going, go early, to get tickets. If you have to wait, trek up to the Met and see the "Cloud City" exhibit.

More about the piece here.


"Cloud City" by Tomás Saraceno

As I mentioned earlier, there are a couple of temporary art exhibitions in New York city. Cloud City is an architectural sculpture piece at the Met. You can get tickets to tour inside the piece.


"Murder of the Crows" by Janet Cardiff

I was lucky enough to attend this exhibition by Janet Cardiff titled "Murder of the Crows" at the Park Avenue Armory. This is a multi-channel sound experience utilizing 98 speakers strategically scattered around the large space. You can either sit or walk around the dark space. A more detailed description about the piece is here.


November 6, 2012

Surface store in Times Square, New York

I just found out from a colleague, Thomas Feliciano, who went to see the Surface tablets in the Times Square pop-up shop. He said that the current tablets, Surface RT will not run legacy apps, however Microsoft will release the Surface Pro in Q1 of 2013, which will be able to run legacy applications as well as new apps from store. I believe he said you would be able to side load Windows 7/8 (potential for a USB). It will be for users who want the power of a laptop. It will also come with a stylus (that hopefully allows people to rest their hands on the screen).
Outside the Surface store in Times Square, New York:
Credit: Thomas Feliciano

Inside the Surface store in Times Square, New York:
Credit: Thomas Feliciano

Related: Surface RT tablet

Adding this article I found today about Microsoft adding HTML5 and javascript in Windows 8:

December 8, 2012

Landfill Harmonic

Fantastic video of people re-appropriating trash to make recycled instruments in Paraguay. This video says it all:

The recycled orchestra is an orchestra that performs with instruments made out of trash... People realize that we shouldn't throw away trash carelessly... Well, we shouldn't throw away people either.

January 8, 2013

Kickstarter stats and best projects of 2012


Ever thought of being a VC or Angel Investor, but couldn't afford to invest or commit? Well, Kickstarter is the platform for you to become an investor on some very cool projects. A group of friends that periodically invest in some interesting projects end up in my feed, which end up becoming a social way to invest. It is empowering and fun!


This comes out to $606.76 per minute.

Just like an annual report (but more interactive and engaging), Kickstarter publishes some stats and some projects for the public, [Just click here to visit]. But I will summarize some of the numbers below. All art belongs to Kickstarter, but I had to modify the screens so they fit in my blog.

Interesting list of categories and how much they made as a group. I believe games win at ~$83 million:

Here is a stat for those in music:

Here are a couple of music projects look pretty interesting (a movement to bring classical or new classical music back):

Now for funny projects that I have to revisit:



Other projects for me to revisit:


Design/Environmental Design/Architecture/Urban Planning

Design/Graphic Design/Urban Planning/Legal (offering "public domain" fonts)

A former colleague of mine, Britta Riley at NYU/ITP grad program founded this project:
Design/Environment/Interior Design/Nutrition/Education


Even Stanford University is teaching Kickstarter for college credit:

And Kickstarter is parodied by major publications like The New Yorker:
The caption reads: "Thanks to Kickstarter, we're buidling a tunnel." Click here to view original.

More funny links: [The Daily Show]

The Onion:,28655/

IFC (Portlandia):


Funny or Die [Rated PG-13]:

January 21, 2013

Very cool startup in charity

Just found this url on the ITP list. This is a great idea. In short, donate your items, sell, and receive a tax receipt.

Also, check out Housingworks and Angel Thrift Shop if in NYC, or Housingworks digital space.


Having trouble holding onto stuff you don't need?

"Do you have a closet full of clothes just taking up valuable real estate that are so old you can't even remember where you got them?"

Maybe this post can help you from one of my favorite blogs, Apartment Therapy. I love this competition on designing "Small," "Little," "Tiny," and the most challenging "Teeny-tiny" spaces:

Referencing Doria Fan and Hilary Spencer for introduction to "Apartment Therapy."

January 29, 2013

Wikipedia is AWESOME...

Awhile back, I was fortunate enough to travel to Calcutta, India. I was a photographer at Kshitij in IIT Kharagpur, India. IIT is the acronym for Indian Institute of Technology. They are the Asian version of MIT. In fact, I remembered watching a video about a graduate saying that this school was harder to get into than even some of the ivy leagues [source: 60 Minutes].

When I visited, there were robotics competitions and many innovative projects there. I was fortunate to see Jimmy Wales speak. I have always been an advocate of Wikipedia, since I wanted a set of Britannica Encyclopedia, but couldn't really afford it.

In any case, I found these two videos.

Did you ever wonder what happened to OLPC (One Laptop Per Child)? OLPC was founded by Nicholas Negroponte, who is also the founder of MIT Media Lab. Lisa Strausfeld, one of my professors for Information Visualization at ITP, worked on the o/s Sugar. This video documents children in Peru using Wikipedia on OLPC.

Children in Peru write their own history on Wikipedia

International contributors from Wikipedia talk about their experiences and contributions.

Meet some of the awesome people who make Wikipedia

If you are an expert, volunteer!

September 24, 2013

Improv Everywhere and Carnegie Hall

This is awesome!

Improv Everywhere, the public art group set up an orchestra on 34th Street, with a vacant stand displaying a message "Conduct Us."

October 11, 2013

Malala Yousafzai, age 16, to Receive the Nobel Peace Prize

An advocate for education and women's rights, she tells this story on the Jon Stewart show:

I started thinking about that, and I used to think that the Talib would come, and he would just kill me. But then I said, 'If he comes, what would you do Malala?' then I would reply to myself, 'Malala, just take a shoe and hit him.' But then I said, 'If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty and that much harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.' Then I said I will tell him how important education is and that 'I even want education for your children as well.' And I will tell him, 'That's what I want to tell you, now do what you want.'

Read more:!

October 17, 2013

A Network of Balloons Providing Internet Access

Google has launched a project called Loon, in which they create a network of balloons powered by solar panels and controlled using wind technology to provide Internet access (40th parallel south). I wish the success for this project, and the design is ingenious.

The technology:

It is project like these that make me wish I were a scientist :D


Promotional video:

November 24, 2013

Synapse Lighting by Gomez Paz

While in Soho this week during lunch, I happen to find this lighting module that can be pieced together to customize a specific size or width.


Here are some examples of varying the number of lights pieced together:
[Photo Credit:]

Here is an example of the lighting in context with the environment:
[Photo Credit:]

Ziegfeld Theatre

Credit: Emily's Last Word

One of my favorite theaters in NYC is Ziegfeld Theatre. If you don't want any hassles waiting in line, finding a seat, or have a pleasant lavatory experience (each stall in the bathroom has a sink) -- then this is the theater to watch your movie in. Last night, I watched the new Suzanne Collins' sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire starring Jennifer Lawrence. I was able to walk right to this theater 12 minutes before the show started, purchase tickets in two minutes, and find a seat with plenty of time to get popcorn or go to the restroom. Also Rosa, the attendant, introduced the movie and the duration of the movie and trailers. So if you can't watch this movie, you still have time to leave and get a refund on your movie tickets.

The theater is enormous:

In addition, there are historical plaques describing the detail of the theater. I found this one, which reads:

Story of This Wood

Carbon 14-Isotope dating shows this wood has been buried in a peat bog near Cambridge, England since 2120 BC. Rising sea levels flooded the forest and prevailing winds toppled the trees. The forest was replaced by an open sedge fen. Waterlogging the tree and enveloping it in a thick bed of organic peat.

After 4100 years, the bog waters have hardened the wood and changed its color from a natural oaken tone to the rich charcoal hues you see. Although other trees have been found in the same area, none has proven to be as large or well preserved as this one.

Supplied by David R. Webb Co., A division of Walter Reade Organization



Btw, Jennifer Lawrence is one of my favorite actresses. I was thinking if anyone would be cast as WonderWoman, she could play her. I really like this clip of her at the Academy Awards:

This version of Hunger Games has elements of Blade Runner and The Matrix. Costumes and special effects were amazing, and used appropriately.

A shout out to Jena Malone. I met her when she was 8yo, working on a grad student film for a candidate at the Peter Stark Producing Program at USC. I remembered how talented and mature she was at that age. She later starred in Donny Darko.

I thought the elevator banks were shot in NYC, but I was wrong -- in Atlanta Marriott Marquis.


Found this excerpt, describing these series of books:

The book was released on September 1, 2009, and was later released in Kindle and audiobook format. The book had an initial print run of 350,000 copies. Advance reading copies were available at BookExpo America in New York City, and were sent out to some booksellers, and offered as prizes in Scholastic's "How Would You Survive" writing contest in May 2009. Major themes include survival, government control, rebellion and interdependence versus independence.

August 10, 2014

Fashion Designer: Charles James at The Met

I just caught this exhibition with the works of Charles James, which was highly recommended by colleague, Ms. Jacqueline Gordon. It was pretty impressive, and the digital kiosks displaying media on Mr. James' process was engaging in that 3D graphics were used to show how the dresses were made.



My favorite dress from his collections (front/back):

Even though some of his styles seem simple, his sketches and construction of these dresses and coats seem complex to me (especially matching a pattern with the seam:

August 17, 2014

9/11 Memorial Museum

Just visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum, which has been opened since May 2014. The tour guide recommended that we start with the 20-minute video, which is why the tickets have the printed showtimes. Then you go downstairs and start with the artistic globe, which was located in a fountain between the twin towers.

The information visualization and timelines were beautiful, yet haunting. As you walk through columns of projections, the audio plays different people's voices. I think each column represented a different time zone.



There is a beautiful installation of paper tiles representing shades of blue the morning of September 11, 2001, surrounding a quote made out of steel from the twin towers, "No day shall erase you from the memory of time" -- Virgil, referenced by The New York Times.

There is an interactive kiosk, where you can write a message, and submit a zip code or country, which places the message and messages in a projection. There were messages in different languages projected on different continents.


There were some timeline information visualizations that were projected on the walls.



This visualization was accompanied by audio:

I have seen this visualization before, but not in the context of the attacks on September 11, 2001 by NASA:



There were great applications of vertical videos, but I was not able to take photos beyond the inner perimeter of the museum. I would recommend a good 4 hours if you are slow to peruse through all artifacts. On Tuesdays, between 5:30pm-8:00pm, the admission is free, but you need to start lining up at 3:00pm-3:30pm.

August 22, 2014

NYPL LIVE: Fall 2014 Season Tickets are on Sale

In chronological order:

Ben Lerner | Paul Holdengräber
Bio: Fulbright Scholar and author of Leaving the Atocha Station
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2014, 7 - 9 P.M.

Joseph O'Neill | Hal Foster
Bio of Joseph O'Neill: Cullman Center Fellow and author of The Dog
Bio of Hal Foster: Townsend Martin Class of 1917 Professor of Art & Archaeology at Princeton University and winner of the Clark Prize and the Frank Jewett Mather Award
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2014, 7 - 9 P.M.

Alexei Ratmansky | Paul Holdengräber
Bio: Born in St. Petersburg and trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow; performed with and choreographed for some of the world’s greatest ballet companies, including American Ballet Theater and the Bolshoi Ballet and author of Dreams of Japan
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2014, 7 - 9 P.M.

Michael Ignatieff | Paul Holdengräber
Bio: Centennial Chair at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs in New York and the Edward R. Murrow Professor of the Practice of Politics and the Press at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and author of Fire and Ashes: Success and Failure in Politics (2013)
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2014, 7 - 9 P.M.

Marjane Satrapi | Paul Holdengräber
Bio: Author of Persepolis and preview of her new film The Voices
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2014, 8 - 10 P.M.

Bryan Stevenson | Sister Helen Prejean
Bio of Bryan Stevenson: Public Interest Lawyer, Professor at NYU Law School, and Founder of Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), and author of Just Mercy
Bio of Sister Helen Prejean, author of

Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty
(movie with Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn)
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2014, 7 - 9 P.M.

George Clinton | Paul Holdengräber
Bio: Recorded as Parliament-Funkadelic, "revolutionized R&B during the ’70s," received a grammy for Grammy, a Dove (gospel), author of his memoir, Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard on You?
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2014, 7 - 9 P.M.

[SOLD OUT]: Neil Gaiman | Paul Holdengräber
Bio: Author of Coraline and The Graveyard Book
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2014, 7 - 9 P.M.

Tehran Noir | Tel Aviv Noir
Multiple authors: Etgar Keret, Gina B. Nahai, Salar Abdoh, Assaf Gavron
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2014, 7 - 9 P.M.

William Gibson | James Gleick (attended this event last year, and it's worth every penny)
Bio of William Gibson: Recipient of Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award and Science Fiction author of Neuromancer
Bio of James Gleick: Finalist for the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize, and author of biographies, Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman and Isaac Newton
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2014, 7 - 9 P.M.
He autographed by copy of Pattern Recognition

Robert B. Silvers Annual Lecture: Joyce Carol Oates
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2014, 7 - 9 P.M.

Salman Rushdie | Marlon James (attended this event a couple of years ago, and it's worth every penny)
Bio of Salman Rushdie: 2008 Library Lion and author of The Enchantress of Florence
Bio of Marlon James: Recipient of awards 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize and Minnesota Book Award, and author of The Book of Night Women
MONDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2014, 7 - 9 P.M.

NYPL LIVE: Marjane Satrapi

I am soooooo lucky that I scored tickets to see Marjane Satrapi, one of my favorite Graphic Novelist/Author of Persepolis. This book is so good that it even made me cry. I have her collection.

Marjane Satrapi mesmerized audiences with her poignant graphic memoir Persepolis, a narrative that was at once personal and political. Satrapi joins Paul Holdengräber to discuss the unique challenges and rewards inherent in narratives of social protest, and offers a sneak peek of her new film, The Voices.

Produced with support from the British Council and in partnership with the IRCPL at Columbia University. The nature of personal narratives in the context of social movements will also be the topic of conversation in an afternoon session on Friday, October 17 at Columbia University, featuring academics, memoirists, and journalists. Please visit for details.

MARJANE SATRAPI rose to fame in 2000 with the success of her graphic novel Persepolis, a story about her youth in Iran in the 1970s and '80s. Published in France, the novel won several prestigious comic book awards, including Prix Alph’art Coup de Coeur at Angoulême, Prix du Lion in Belgium, Prix Alph’art du meilleur scénario, and the Prix France Info, and was named one of the "100 Best Books of the Decade" by The Times (London). The animated film adaptation of Persepolis garnered international acclaim, including the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature Film, and won two Cesar Awards for Best First Film and Best Adaptation. Satrapi’s other literary works include Monsters are Afraid of the Moon, a children’s book, Embroideries, and Chicken with Plums, which was turned into an award-winning live action film. She has worked on a number of films, such as Gang of the Jotas, and The Voices, which stars Ryan Reynolds and will be released this year. A painter in her free time, her work has been exhibited at the Grand Palais in Paris (October 2011) and Galerie Jerôme de Noirmont (January 2013).

Cited from NYPL LIVE website:

NYPL LIVE: Bryan Stevenson & Sister Helen Prejean

When I was a kid, my parents, as most Asian parents, tried to push me to be a doctor or lawyer. I wanted to be a doctor more than a lawyer, but I was also interested in art. Then I watch Inherit the Wind, and really wanted to be a lawyer. Read more about the film here on Wikipedia []. After I graduated, I went abroad to teach, then decided to apply for law school. You have to take the LSATs, which was fun, but before dropping over $100k, I got my paralegal certificate (3 or 6-month overview of Constitutional Law/Statute Law, etc.), and worked at two law firms, and may I say the experience was far from being "an Erin Brockovich." Julia Roberts played her in the film []. My experience was paper pushing, coding, and politics. I am glad I have the experience because I can create my own provisional patents, and edit contract templates. If I were to go back in time, I think I would have been an Intellectual Property paralegal/attorney. I like to draw and read about technology. Anyway, I am glad that there are people like Bryan Stevenson and Sister Helen Prejean, advocates for the poor and incarcerated.

Yes, I am a fan of the film, Dead Man Walking, starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. Read more about the movie on Wikipedia []. NYPL Live is hosting a discussion with these two authors.

Does our criminal justice system lack mercy? Could the U.S. legal system exact justice if it abolished capital punishment, or eliminated mandatory minimum sentencing? These questions are at the heart of Bryan Stevenson’s new book, Just Mercy, which explores these issues and chronicles his career as founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative. Joining him at LIVE is Sister Helen Prejean, from The Ministry Against the Death Penalty and author of Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States.

BRYAN STEVENSON is a public-interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. He's a professor of law at New York University Law School and the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) [], an Alabama-based group that has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent prisoners on death row, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill, and aiding children prosecuted as adults. EJI won an historic ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court holding that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger are unconstitutional (too cool). He has won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued six times before the Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color. He has received numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant. He is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government, and has been awarded 14 honorary doctorate degrees.​ His book is entitled Just Mercy.

SISTER HELEN PREJEAN is the public face of the Ministry Against the Death Penalty. She spends most of her time giving speaking engagements across the USA and internationally, teaching people about the realities of the death penalty and encouraging people to educate themselves on the issue. She is the author of Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty, which was developed into a major motion picture starring Susan Sarandon as Sister Helen and Sean Penn as a death row inmate, and The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions. Sister Helen has served on the board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and is a member of Amnesty International and an honorary member of Murder Victim Families for Reconciliation. Presently, she serves as the Honorary Chairperson of Moratorium Campaign, a group gathering signatures for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty.

Cited from NYPL LIVE website:

August 23, 2014

[Edtech]: STEMteachersNYC: Standards-Based Grading

I have gone to one STEMteachersNYC event on [], and open-source Java based code for artists and designers. First off, STEM is an acronym for (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). I was pretty impressed with the teachers in this group. I worked with two high school teachers, who were teaching Processing, Arduino inputs (software-to-hardware and hardware-to-software interaction), scary that some kids are learning this in 10th grade, when I learned this program in my mid-thirties. Within 20-40 minutes, my group created a simulation of a decaying leaf over 365 days, including day and night. That was one of the issues I had in graduate school. Artists and designers were creating beautiful art, but not using the program to simulate science. I saw some projects simulating Visual Calculus techniques that simulated a presentation from a Caltech Professor, Mamikon Mnatsakanian [New Horizons in Geometry(Dolciani Mathematical Expositions) Hardcover – January 18, 2013 by Tom Apostol (Author), Mamikon Mnatsakanian (Author)]. I also saw cool applications of teachers teaching Trigonometry, sine and cosine by creating the application, and editing the program. Processing is the new Mathematica (this software was $100k at one time).

I am attending this event on assessment. I have been interested in retention. Why can I remember almost every colleagues' thesis or class projects in graduate school, but on a MOOC, I need to review content. In both physical classes and digital classes, assessment was very important, but very different. Since approximately 70k-100k can take one Coursera class, students are often graded by their peers using specific examples of rubrics. Anyway, there are 30 spots:

More about this event and how to join the group below:

• Elizabeth Dowdell (Urban Assembly Maker Academy, Manhattan)
• Steven Carpenter (Avenues: The World School, Manhattan)

DESCRIPTION: Standards-Based Grading (SBG) begins with standards that teachers author/choose/revise and that they apply in their classrooms. Rather than a top-down directive, these standards are a helpful tool that teachers use to make required work and acceptable performance levels transparent. Instead of receiving a traditional letter or number grade on an assessment, SBG allows teachers to provide students with feedback on their mastery of a set of specific skills and content knowledge. With SBG, conversations become more focused on learning itself rather than report card grades. SBG can also be used to help meet the demands of Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, and Danielson’s Framework (especially component 3d).

In this workshop, we will share our experiences developing and implementing Standards-Based Grading systems in our classrooms. During the first part of the workshop we will present specific examples and resources from our classrooms, along with discussions regarding why and how we made the shift to SBG and some of the challenges and rewards we experienced. During the second part of the workshop, you will have the opportunity to work in groups to experience the process of developing/choosing standards and to discuss how those standards impact instruction and grading.

Elizabeth teaches physics and Steve teaches physics, engineering, physical science, and computer programming. In addition to using SBG in their own classrooms, both Elizabeth and Steve have experience implementing SBG with interdisciplinary teams. Thus the focus of the workshop will be on a variety of disciplines, and the strategies and tools considered will be useful to any teacher, irrespective of subject.
Receipts and Certificates documenting participation are available.

STEM (Science-Tech-Engineering-Math) teachers, including physics, chemistry, biology, earth science physical science, and general science teachers
Teachers of any subject interested in making their evaluation of student work more meaningful and transparent as well as in developing explicit standards and connecting them with grading.

Students interested in becoming teachers or engaged in preparing to be teachers.
ACCELERATED MOTION APPARATUS AND WHITEBOARDS. There is a simultaneous workshop at Teachers College on “Accelerated Motion Lab Make-n-Take & Intro to Modeling.” If you wish to do so, you can order whiteboards (6 for $20) and/or one or more of the accelerated motion apparatus setups for $10 each (or 8 for $64) at . The whiteboards and apparatus will be available for pickup in room 414, down the hall from the SBG workshop at 1 pm.

CAPACITY: limited to 30 participants.
ORGANIZER: Fernand Brunschwig, Math, Sci. & Tech. Dept., Columbia Teachers College
To join STEMteachersNYC, fill out survey:

By the way, I met with Fernand Brunschwig, founder of this program, and author of a college physics text book. You can google him, or check out his books on scribd [].

August 25, 2014

Event: David Rubenstein Atrium, Lincoln Center

Just happened to be at Cynthia Sayer's concert at the David Rubenstein Atrium []. They have free wi-fi, and I was able to work simultaneously while enjoying great music. She specializes in Banjo music, and was somewhat discovered by Woody Allen.

Cynthia Sayer (Banjo & Vocals)
Bruce Molsky (Fiddle, Banjo & Vocals)
Andy Statman (Mandolin)


She will be at the City Winery on tomorrow between 5:00pm-7:30pm, as apart of Hudson Square Music & Wine Festival 2014, 2nd Annual Hot Strings Festival, "located at 155 Varick Street (back parking lot)."

June 1, 2015

Google I/O: Expeditions

This was one of my favorite experiences. I went on a scuba expedition using a cardboard viewer to learn about coral in multiple locations: Australia, Philippines, and Hawaii. To learn more, please visit:

Here's a video:

May 17, 2016

Good to see you Duane Holmes!

It was a great but brief reunion at Columbus Circle. Several years back I would take the "A" train to Varick Street, and listen to this talented musician. His music engaged little kids.
These photos were taken in 2014, (view playlist)

And here we are in 2016

Duane is playing in a jazz band that experiments with fashion and supports a mental health organization June 4, 2016, 419 W. 150th Street, on St. Nicholas.

If you're interested in learning more about the event, please contact him:
youtube: duaneholmes "as" Duke Ellington

June 15, 2016

Desk for 1 converts to a dining table for 6

Never mind the 300sq foot apt, check out this functional desk design [2:00-2:05] -- desk of 1 converts to a dining table for 6:


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