Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New (and not so new) things finally hung

I don't know why but I'd been procrastinating for awhile about hanging a lot of our posters and other decorative objects. Maybe because I just couldn't decide where they should go.

Last week I came home from work to find that Dave had been busy all afternoon making those decisions for me. Above is the mobile that my aunt gave me for Christmas (don't mind the discoloring on the walls--water leaks in whenever it rains).

A closer look at the mobile (man, that wall looks gross).

Our clock and newly acquired Michael Mantler/Edward Gorey LP. (I probably should have taken a closer shot.)

We've had the Brewster McCloud poster for awhile but I'm just so glad to see it finally on display again. It's one of my favorite posters that we own.

I'll do a real house tour soon enough. Still a few more finishing touches that need to happen.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Contact paper window films

I've been mulling over what to do with the windows in the computer room for awhile. Rather than the usual curtains I wanted to try something different. So a couple weeks ago I bought some frosted contact paper to make window films. I was initially planning on covering the windows with large sheets with a few shapes cut out here and there but after about 100 tries, each with countless bubbles and folds and wrinkles (and curses), I ended up taking a different plan of action.

Instead of one large sheet with a few shapes cut out, I cut out dozens of raindrop shapes in various sizes.

Not done yet but I really like how it looks so far, especially since you can still see what's going on outside through the spaces in between.

Scraps of contact paper on the floor.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Historic Village Diner in Red Hook

After walking over the Hudson we traveled farther up into the Hudson Valley, to explore the towns of Red Hook and Tivoli. While in Red Hook we ate at this diner, which is actually an official historic landmark.

It was once called the Halfway Diner, when it was on Rt. 9, about halfway between New York City and Albany. (More on its history here.)

Inside it's pretty classic, with the obligatory counter, stools, cake stands, and pastries wrapped in plastic. The menu had a few pleasant surprises, like a black bean burger, sweet potato fries, and a decent-looking salad bar.

I'm not sure why Dave is giving me the crazy eye in this picture. Maybe he's thinking about the fried pickles that are coming his way.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Walkway over the Hudson

We've been having such incredible weather this past week that I had to plan a little excursion for the weekend. I've been wanting to check out the fairly recently opened Walkway Over the Hudson, a former railroad bridge turned pedestrian bridge that spans the entire width of the Hudson River. (That's about 1.28 miles across, making it the longest pedestrian bridge in the world, according to the Walkway's website.)

This sign was across from where we parked, and appears to be part of an art gallery.

It's hard to see, but we passed this "Rolling Stones 78 tour" graffiti at the beginning of the walkway and I had to share. I love the random "Pink Floyd" underneath it. I really hope it's actually been there since 1978.

A view of the river from about halfway across the bridge.

The entrance on the other side of the Hudson.

Railroad tracks lining the coastline below the bridge, with the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge off in the distance.

Parts of the bridge go over land, so you can catch a glimpse into backyards and factories. I spotted this airstream trailer and it reminded me of how much I want one.

As I walked across the bridge I couldn't help but think about how it differs from another recently opened railroad bridge turned pedestrian walkway, the High Line. The Walkway is essentially a straight line of pavement, whereas the High Line is a winding path filled with interesting plants, railroad ties, and benches. Of course, the High Line doesn't have the incredible views of the Walkway (though it does have its own uniquely interesting sights). It's certainly a different experience crossing the Hudson River, looking out at the vast expanse of water. Overall, each has its own merits, and each is worth visiting.

For more detailed pictures of the Walkway, check out this Flickr set.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Midcentury juicer

I'm pretty excited about this awesome juicer that I just bought on etsy. It looks so much cooler than the hand-me-down I've been using the last few years (which I'm pretty sure was a wedding present given to my mom about 30 years ago that she never used--now it's going to the Goodwill).

It comes apart into three pieces, the bottom of which has a nice pour spout.

I'll be testing it out this week to make some lemonade, which I plan to start making a lot more of come spring/summer.

P.S. I just tested it out for the first time and it works so much better than the one I had before. Score!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spicy roasted tomato and black bean soup

I have been loving this soup from Everybody Loves Sandwiches, although this time around yielded a particularly spicy batch. I usually don't find jalapenos to be all that hot--I guess these were especially potent.

(Roasting tomatoes courtesy of Dave)

A dab of sour cream on top and some chips make for a nice addition.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rainy day activity: Making a mix

This weekend brought the craziest batch of rain and wind that I can remember. We spent Saturday hunkered down in our apartment, although it did end up raining inside for much of the day (that bucket had to be emptied out multiple times, and every towel I own is currently in the wash). While keeping an eye on the buckets I decided to do something I hadn't done in a long time: make a mix CD.

Before I go on, I have to say that I much prefer mix tapes to CDs, but I can listen to a CD on my computer at work and in the car. (Note: most of the records that can be seen in the above picture didn't actually make it on the CD for some reason or another.)

There was a time when I used to spend hours on a mix tape. I'd get a big pile of records and spread them out on my bed, carefully working out the order--there's a bit of a science to this, as you need to make sure the songs flow nicely from one to the next, and then there's the whole issue of timing (hate it when a song cuts off at the end of the side). This time I kind of winged it, and as a result it's not my best work, though I'm still pretty happy with it.

I made a cover for it using my Yellow Owl stamps. My technique for naming mixes usually entails picking one of the song titles--pretty standard, I guess.

I found most of the songs online in some form or another, so enjoy:

Chambers Brothers - All Strung Out Over You
Half Japanese - Face Rake
The Rats - Broken Wire Telephone

Great Plains - The Night Won't Live to See the Day
Kurt Vile - My Sympathy
The Testors - MK Ultra
Neil Young - Thrashers
Abner Jay - Vietnam

Mike Rep & the Quotas - Out

DNA - Blonde Redhead
James Brown - Love Don't Love Nobody
Guided by Voices - The Other Place
The Who - Can't Explain
Pavement - From Now On
13th Floor Elevators - Splash 1
Yo La Tengo - House Fall Down

Tommy Jay - Lust, Honor, and Love

Pere Ubu - Life Stinks

Sic Alps - Bathman
Screaming Urge - You Make It Hard

Crime - Frustration
Hank Williams - Lost Highway
Poison Girls - Jump Mama Jump
Avant Gardeners - Strange Gurl in Clothes
Meat Puppets - Love Offerings
Daniel Johnston - Spirit World Rising

Daniel Johnston - Held the Hand
Avengers - We Are the One

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A walk in Van Cortlandt Park

After months of cold and snow I've been dying to get outside and go for some nice long walks--especially since we live within walking distance of the third largest park in the city.

Saturday was a beautiful sunny 50+ degree day so we decided to take the opportunity to walk across Van Cortlandt Park and into the neighborhood of Kingsbridge.

Of course, we didn't think about the fact that the trails would still be full of snow--and worse, mud. Poor Dave was wearing his brand-new sneakers!

Throughout our several-hour traverse, we encountered many trees, babbling brooks, and even a couple of cardinals.

It being the Bronx, however, we also saw discarded shopping carts,

the remains of what must have been a raging keg party (i.e. beer cans and red plastic cups galore),

and some sweet graffiti in a tunnel going underneath the Major Deegan. Speaking of which, several highways run through the park, and at one point the "John Muir Nature Trail" actually puts you alongside the Mosholu Parkway. Which makes for kind of a funny "nature trail." No matter though--I like some city in my nature.

I'm not sure what this building is for but I like the graffiti.

The other side of it seems to have been at the receiving end of a paintball battle.

I tried to take some pictures of the geese in this field but the broken fence looked cooler.

We saw a lot of these signs towards the end of our walk. There is a giant tortoise and the hare statue at the entrance in Riverdale but I don't know what the significance is to the park.

Here's about where we came out of the woods and saw civilization--the end of a long and muddy hike.

Coming out of the park we passed the Van Cortlandt House. Built in 1748, it's the oldest building in the Bronx and is now a museum.

There were many children playing on the lawn.

After all that exercise we rewarded ourselves with a carrot cake from Lloyd's Carrot Cake and some beer and mediocre bar food at the Bronx Alehouse. Which I guess defeats the purpose of all that exercise but I don't care. (Lloyd's calls themselves the "bakers of the world's finest carrot cake" and I think they might be right!)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Destination: Marfa, Texas

I'm very excited to say that I've just booked a trip to Marfa, Texas, for Memorial Day weekend. We'll be staying at the newly opened El Cosmico, a campground on the outskirts of town that features renovated vintage trailers (as well as teepees and tents--but screw that).

We'll be staying in the Royal Mansion (above).

Here's a sample of what the interiors are like (not sure which one this is from). A little less 1950s retro (a la last year's trailer experience at the Shady Dell) and more 1970s hippie. Which I think fits in with Marfa pretty well (not that I've actually been there yet).

I look forward to four days of relaxing in hammocks, visiting art galleries, and maybe seeing some mystery lights.

Monday, March 1, 2010

New living room entryway garland

I finally got around to stringing up these weird shadow puppet things (I don't know what else to call them) that I got at Spoonbill and Sugartown a few years back. I've always hung them on the wall but now with this grand entryway to the living room it seemed to make more sense to hang them like this.

The bright light from those windows is making it a little hard to photograph these guys in any detail but basically they're Victorian-era illustrations of hands forming shadow puppets, with the shapes they make (bunnies, birds, etc) projected onto the sleeves. I'm really not doing a very good job describing these things.