Monday, March 31, 2008

Moleskine Love

While growing up, I was the nerdy little girl who played "office" instead of "house," so it's no surprise that I now make a living playing with paper, bindings, and ink. A stationary store in any country still makes me hyperventilate, and I feel that one can never have too many pens, notebooks or nifty paper products on hand.

One of my all-time favorites: Moleskine notebooks. An utter classic, I'm partial to the small, lined, reporter-style pocket notebook for daily use, but its seems that nearly everyone I've worked with over the years in the design community has their favorite (a sampling in the image above). With an elastic band to keep the book closed, a handy pocket inside the back cover, about 30 perforated pages at the end of the text, a waterproof cover, nice paper quality, AND lines to keep me straight, it's hard to find fault with the perfect notebook.

You can now personalize your Moleskine on both cover and spine with images of your choice via custom laser engraving. Very cool.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Check out my Flickr page via the link at right for Hong Kong photos, and others.

House Of Lords

For those of you confused like myself, my college friend Neil down in Houston has some swell posts on his always insightful blog Texas Liberal about who and what superdelegates are. Also interesting is the link he provides to the 2008 Democratic Convention Watch, where a current tally is kept on how each superdelegate plans to vote.

The New Gov

From David Paterson's Wikipedia entry:
Paterson is also a basketball player and an avid fan of the New York Mets, the New York Jets and the New York Knicks. He has been known to call in to WFAN, a major sports talk radio station in New York City.

And from the Saratoga paper:
Governor Paterson’s great grandfather on his mother’s side was a blacksmith. Like many blacks of his era, he worked with horses. He put shoes on them and one of the horses he shod was Upset. Upset delivered Man O’ War his only lifetime defeat, right here in Saratoga, in the Sanford Memorial on August 13, 1919. Upon recognizing the significance of defeating “de mostest hoss that ever wuz”; Upset’s owner, H. P. Whitney staked all of the people responsible for the horse. It was not the usual stake; he bought the trainer, the breeder and three or four stable-hands houses. One such house was for the blacksmith, Patterson’s great-grandfather.

The new house enabled Governor Paterson’s ancestors to move from, “not necessarily squalor, but certainly a giant step forward.” The brownstone was in what is now the Fort Green section of Brooklyn. It is the home where Governor Paterson returned after his birth.

Maybe he'll save OTB.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Dare I Say it?

Maybe it's not spring yet, but it's definitely NOT winter anymore either. At least my crocus don't think so. Things are just starting to peek up in the garden and unfurl their leaves. Me too. As usual, it can't come soon enough, for all better things come with the sun.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Eatin' Out - The Habitat/68/Karczma

Assorted locales in Greenpoint
Bar/nightspot number 13,14, (or is it 15??) in Greenpoint set to open soon on Manhattan btw India and Huron. And yes, Franklin Street is still poised to become "the new Bedford". Looks kind of cool on the inside, and glad they are offering some kind of food that isn't Thai.

Speaking of which, "68" has excellent food. Located at 68 Greenpoint Ave, it has the same owners but a more mature vibe than little sister bar Coco 66/Cheaters. I've eaten there twice in recent weeks and been impressed. Contemporary American, much of the food has a nice, subtle, hot pepper underkick. Goat cheese creme brulee w/beets, and the churros with two dipping sauces for dessert were delicious. And $1 oysters are offered everyday from 5-8.

Karczma is a 6-month old Polish restaurant closer up to Manhattan at 136 Greenpoint Ave. With the same owner as the place with the 2 giant knights outside on Manhattan btw Nassau/Norman, I like this one way better. "Karczma" means old country farmhouse in Polish, and the interior and food reflect this name. With waitresses dressed in traditional Polish frocks, farm-y decor, festive Polish music as the soundtrack, I really like this place. White borscht garnished with bacon and mashed potatoes comes in a bread bowl (LOVE THIS!), and the polish platter tastes as good as the food my Polish aunts made. Actually, better. Cheap, delicious, filling, w/friendly efficient staff makes me a big fan. My new go-to Polish joint.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Scott's Benefit Show

I received a play-by-play of the benefit show for Scott last night at the Highline Ballroom via text from Smitty (THANK YOU!). Sold out, with most people playing 2-3 songs, and a recorded message from Scott was played to the crowd. Very cool that people turned out in full force and raised some cash to help a brother out.

From (may I never reference that site again):
Antibalas, Scofield, Medeski, Martin, Krasno, Evans, Laswell, The Duo and Friends Salute Scotty Hard

Last night, a number of musicians with ties to New York’s downtown music scene participated in a benefit for veteran producer Scott Harding, who was partially paralyzed after being sideswiped in a hit and run accident in February. Throughout the night, DJs Olive and Logic entertained the sold out crowd between performances, the latter DJ sporting one of Ropeadope’s new charitable “Hard Ware” t-shirts. Vernon Reid opened the evening’s festivities with a few words about his longtime friend, before joining Logic for a performance that drew in John Medeski and John Scofield for their final number. Their set segued into a short, spirited set reminiscent of MSMW tour that featured Scofield, Medeski, Club d’elf bassist Mike Rivard and Bill Martin. Immediately after, legendary dub producer/bassist Bill Laswell took the stage with a band that featured his Praxis collaborator Bernie Worrell, with whom he recently completed a series of new studio recordings.

Perhaps the evening’s most emotional moment followed, as Brian Harding led Medeski, Michael Blake and others through his brothers arrangement of Duke Ellington’s “Utopia” and offered some words on behalf of his family. Soon after, jazz keyboardist Vijay Iyer won over more than a few new ears, while Sex Mob invited out a number of musicians for its segment, including Blake, Medeski and Logic.

For many, the evening’s highlight was a powerful set featuring members of the extended Soulive and Duo families. First up, Soulive’s Eric Krasno and Neil Evans played a trio set with Krasno’s longtime musical partner Adam Deitch, before handing things over to Joe Russo, Tom Hamilton and Marco Benevento for a take on The Duo’s new song, “Hey Hey Hey.” All six musicians then took the stage together for energetic instrumental Led Zeppelin medley highlighted by “The Ocean.” Finally, an ad hoc version of Antibalas closed things out with the evening’s longest set, with omnipresent saxophonist Cochemea "Cheme" Gastelum, Medeski, Casey Benjamin, John Ellis and others sitting in before the benefit came to a close around 2 AM with a charged version of “Incitement.”

The night also featured some short interludes from the more rock-centric realm: two songs from Kevin Kendrick’s “A Big Yes…and a small no,” which features Kendrick’s former Fat Mama bandmates Joe Russo, Jonathan Goldberger and Jonti Siman and a horn section featuring Gastelum, and a stripped down version of American Babies that found both Russo and Hamilton playing acoustic guitar and Goldberger played pedal steel. Though unable to attend in person, Harding was there in spirit, offering both video and audio messages that confidently declared, “I’m going to beat this thing, so don’t be surprised if you find me standing by the way at a show in the next few months.” In total, the evening raised over $30,000. Please visit for more information on how to donate.

Donations can still be sent to:
The Scotty Hard Trust
c/o Heesok Chang
970 Kent Ave #401
Brooklyn NY 11205

Nice link here to a blog by a guy named hyphen, who put together his own downloadable mix of Scott's work as a tribute.
Unable to attend the benefit show for Scott Harding a.k.a. Scotty Hard in New York tonight, I decided to run a tribute show here myself. I admire the Crooklyn man a lot and love his contributions – as a musician and a producer - to dub, hip hop, drum & bass and New York Jazz. Here is a collection of music and productions he did, compiled in a fast, uncritical way. All the best Scotty. (Read the post below.)

1 Scotty Hard: Holy Dub
2 Scotty Hard: Pockets Fat (ft. Sensational)
3 Leon Lamont: Humanoid
4 Medeski, Martin & Wood : Shacklyn Knights
5 Scotty Hard: Lurking In The Shadows
6 Medeski, Martin & Wood: Start/Stop
7 Scotty Hard: Bubble In The Haze (ft. High Priest & Sayyid)
8 Scotty Hard: Scarab Medley Remix
9 Scotty Hard: Dark Blocks (ft. Sayyid)
10 Leon Lamont: Mockery
11 Medeski, Martin & Wood: In Case The World Changes Its Mind
12 Medeski, Martin & Wood: No Ke Ano Ahiahi
13 Scotty Hard: Who Said What (ft. King Cobra, Watah Mokk, Horus)
14 Scotty Hard: Sensi For Sale (interlude)
15 Scotty Hard: Raw Nerves

Paris, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down

This series of posts on Paris from The Morning News, written by one of their co-editor-in-chiefs are very entertaining. The guy is really good with a turn of phrase. Funny, and sometimes gorgeous stuff.

Surreal speeding into China over the border from Hong Kong, making 3 stops along the way for customs/passport checks and finding yourself jammed in a van with 7 Chinese folks, all loudly talking non-stop on their cellphones while a mix of old (tar paper shacks; people on odd motorized contraptions carrying half their family and 40 pound bags of everything) and new (32 floor towers everywhere) pass by the window. The car is weaving in and out of traffic lanes, crazily honking at anything in our way, while traveling at about 75 mph, and some cars come down the wrong side of the road simply because they missed the turn. As Hong Kong turns into China, driving switches from the left to the right side of the road. I still have no idea how people can make that switch so easily. I'm terrified to drive in left-side driving countries, if only because 22 yr driving habits die hard and I'd go the wrong way straight to my death.

Remind me: How did I get here again?

(Interestingly enough, I can post to my blog, but can't read a single thing on a, or wordpress site from here in China. Today's lesson? One should not take the right to freedom of speech lightly.

Also: there are constant rolling power shortages because of the high demand in this part of the country for juice. We were scheduled to print tonight until 8 pm but have to shut it down 3 hours early, as the plant's backup generator cannot supply enough to support all of the presses. The government apparently calls the plant about 4 hours before this happens to tell them. This must be maddening for scheduling purposes)

Cordero, Not a Nasty Boy but...

It's baseball season again (funny how the winter flies by when you go out of town for a month) and here's a great article on why adding closer Francisco Cordero might make my Redlegs a team to care about again.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Licensed to Ill

The main reason I even came to Hong Kong was put off today after I begin vomiting violently overnight. Yes, I know this is fascinating to all my loyal readers. I was supposed to go into China at 8 am to start a press check but was so unbelieveably sick, I have been confined to my hotel room since it all began last night around 8pm. I started seriously freaking out that I would not be able to work at all, which was going to be really bad for me if I wasted the whole trip and didn't do what I needed to.

Fortunately, the hotel with the shoddy logo was great. They found me a western-trained doctor nearby, made an appointment for first thing this morning, and $50 later, (totally reasonable you'll note, even without any insurance in this country!) I am well stocked with pills that have made all the difference. I never heard this before, but the doc said I could have been infected with something as long ago as two weeks back. SL didn't get sick at all and we had the exact same food all week, so who knows where it came from. Possibly my lowered resistance from the other body issues made it worse for me.

This is surprisingly the first time I've gotten really sick while traveling and eating all kinds of food I'm not used to off the street and wherever else. Having SL with me made a HUGE difference, with someone around to take care of me and run out to get some supplies that I can almost now keep down. And thank god I wasn't all up into China when this started.

Beyond not being able to work and putting off what I need to do into tomorrow and Friday, the crap part is that we don't get to go to the night horse races at Happy Valley tonight (imagine if a 125+ year old track like Belmont was in smack in the middle of midtown, that's what it looks like), or go on the ferry to Macau on Friday. Boo.

Obama's Masterful Speech

Everyone else is going to say it way better, but when I read the text of Obama's speech from yesterday in Philadelphia after finding out about it via friends' blogs, I welled up from inside with emotion. True story. It's going to be a benchmark in American history, pure and simple. It took courage to address the issue of race in America, while on the defensive, instead of avoiding a touchy topic because of fear of possible missteps during a campaign. There isn't much international coverage of it in the papers (my beloved Int'l Herald Tribune, the South China Morning Post) or on the television news (CNN World, BBC, SkyNews) besides short blurbs, yet to any American who is almost inevitably mishmash of different ethnicities, inlcuding my personal involvement with someone that is multi-hued, it was news I wanted to know about.

I haven't been on the bandwagon with him as much as everyone else I know is, mostly because I've been lazy and distracted by other things, but that speech finally made me sure he's the type of man I want leading my country. His words were powerful, moving, eloquently stated, and he's dead on. See below for some choice bits.

UPDATE on the 20th: With 36 hours now passed after his speech, and more time to allowed to print the stuff, much more coverage is appearing in the international press.
This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign – to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction....the path to a more perfect union...requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

...I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible...It’s a story that hasn’t made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.

The Gayification of SteveLynch

Monday meant going to the Hong Kong Flower Show in Victoria Park, and then having high tea at 3pm in the best tradition of a former British colony. My big ol' man friend was a willing partipant in both activities, I might add. Lots more photos to come, but some of the best ones of people we creepily stalked so I could take their photo at the Flower Show are below. It was fantastic people watching, and I gotta say it: in general, the adult Chinese are not the best looking race. They probably think we're ugly as hell, too. But the kids are adorable and just STARE at two big curly headed gweilo like ourselves. Very fun to stare back and get them to smile at you while they point and whisper in Chinese to their moms. Anyway. Maybe there needs to be some more halfsies, or blood mixing in some way or another to up their stock. Check out the length of the hair on that last guy's mole....

One Swell Day

Sunday in Hong Kong started with absolutely amazing Dim Sum at Fu Sing Shark Fin Seafood Restaurant in Wan Chai (best pork buns i've ever had), a day of racing including the Hong Kong Derby at Sha Tin Racecourse, and Hong Kong hot pot for dinner in Causeway Bay at FF Hot Pot.

Racing in Hong Kong was great. We paid about US$15 extra and showed a passport stamp dated less than 3 weeks old to get into the 'members only' section of the track, which is a nice touch to make things more enjoyable for us tourists. The racecourses are cleaner than most of the ones in NYC, and there are SO many different ways to bet, also named differently than trifectas, exactas, doubles, etc. In a very smart tactic to help you to part with more of your money, guides who speak English and Chinese are standing around simply to help the racing fan figure out how it all works. Minimum bets are HK$10 (about US$1.25).

The races, like most of the rest of the world excepting the US, are run primarily counterclockwise on turf. We were there for two of the biggest races of the season, the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup and the Hong Kong Derby. The Derby here, interestingly enough, is for four year olds rather than three year olds because Southern Hemisphere horses (lots from Australia and New Zealand) mature later than ones from the Northern Hemisphere. Perhaps because of whenever the birthing season falls in the South? Sha Tin holds about 80,000, but even on the biggest day of the year, it was civilized and spacious. Nothing like a possible Triple Crown Day at Belmont. Picture of the setting below: racing surrounded by giant buildings and mountains.

Going for dinner was pretty amusing, as we were first seated in one restaurant and given the menu for the Hot Pot. Hot Pot basically means you order a variety of raw meats or seafood (chicken, beef, oysters, live shrimps, all kinds of offal, and god knows what else kind of mystery meats. Ox testicle anyone?) and its thrown into this boiling spiced pot of broth until it's cooked. Sort of a 70s meat fondue vibe. We sit, get the hot pot menu, until it's whisked away from us and we are given another menu with no hot pot choices. We keep saying "hot pot, hot pot, hot pot" like Bart and Lisa Simpson as we have no idea what is going on, and the communciation is sketchy at best. Finally, ten minutes later, some old guy motions us up, and takes us two doors down to where there's more space in the other half of their restaurant, and someone who speaks decent English acts as our hot pot guide. Yum. Although I think it was the culprit of the most horrific case of food poisioning in my life that appeared last night. More on that shortly because, after all, who doesn't want to hear about how sick I got????

Monday, March 17, 2008

10 Years On

Until last year on Retotted's 40th, I hadn't acknowledged St Patrick's Day for 9 years in any way, shape or form. It was in 1998 that one of my very best friends, Craig Falbe, was killed in a car accident on the night of March 17th on his way to SXSW after a show in Dallas, Texas. Serving as tour manager for Pat's band, another still very close friend (I actually introduced them), they were hit by a third-time DUI offender who blasted through a red light, smashed into their van and killed Craig on impact. While Pat, the driver, emerged physically unscathed, he was dealt a hand of emotional trauma I can't even imagine shouldering. It's taken a long, long time to get beyond the horror and shock of that single life-changing moment.

Ten years on, I still miss Craig, his wisdom, his humor, and wonder where he would be in his life now.

I realize I've been blogging all about pain, injuries and death as of late, but such is the fabric of life. And I will always be melancholy on St Patrick's Day.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bad Logos

SL and I are staying at the Excelsior Hotel in Causeway Bay in Hong Kong for 4 nights before I go to China tomorrow to print this job. Four star hotel, schmancy enough for a hotel princess like myself (Don't judge me. How I LOVE LOVE LOVE a good hotel!) part of the Mandarin Oriental chain with great views of Victoria Harbor from our room on the 26th floor.

Seriously though, what is up with this logo of theirs? It's on everything, and for the life of me, I can't figure it out. Is it some stylized Chinese character?? I hate crap design that makes no sense, and this is a perfect example. They can afford a great design team, and should do better.

More on Hong Kong to come when I have a bit more time and don't HAVE to run out and eat dim sum for the third time in four days. Man. Food is so good here....

Scotty: Post Surgery

Scott's healing nicely from his surgery a couple Mondays back. The bones are fusing to the metal cage placed in his back around the crushed vertebrae, and he's been moved out of the ICU into rehab to begin the next phase of recovery. He's able to sit up more and more, still with a brace but hopefully soon to go. Six or seven hours of physical therapy each day will attempt get him out of Bellevue and into his own place within a month or so, with the goal being to have him perform basic functions for himself (in and out of wheelchair, powering himself around, etc.) Positive progress continues onward!


About 10 days ago, my body malfunctioned in an unexpected, blindsiding way. While I realize I am getting older, my body has always been the one thing I could rely on -- I was always strong enough, could do most anything for myself without needing help, able to hold my own in most sports, rarely sick, and most fortunately, blessed with a naturally fast metabolism. Things were effortless, and the physical was one thing I could always count on, able to more or less take daily functioning for granted. I am lucky. REALLY damn lucky.

When something within didn't work the way I thought it would recently, I was stunned. I'm still grappling with the fallout, and inevitable feelings of failure. I feel utterly betrayed by one of the most basic things about me. And while I'll be okay and my inner strength will carry me through, I'm still a bit heartbroken. Facing your own mortality: what a bitch.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Scott's Surgery

From Scott's friend Leif:
After a long delay in ICU since the car crash to allow Scott to regain enough strength, Scott underwent key reconstructive spine surgery on Monday, March 3rd. We've all been anxiously anticipating and hoping for completion of this essential operation as soon as possible, nobody more so than Scott, and he was greatly relieved it was finally at hand.

The operation started at 11 am, and ended at 7 pm. The operation was long, complicated, and performed by a team of 3 neurosurgeons. In conversations with the doctors immediately following the operation, we were told that the operation to rebuild went well, with no unexpected complications. They were able to rebuild the T5 vertebrae position using a metal cage system into which they packed remaining bone fragments, and fuse this "new vertebrae" to 2 remaining vertebrae above and below with a system of metal rods and screws. This will take time for the bones to "accept and take hold" of the metal. Once Scott heals from this surgery, this will allow him to be able to sit upright in a chair with greater stability to begin the next phase of his recovery. He will remain in the ICU for approximately "5 to 10 days or more" depending on his progress.

Visting is allowed in Scott's new room, but please be advised that fitful sleep remains the number 1 challenge affecting Scott's comfort, so keep visits short and low decible (5 minutes or so, unless otherwise asked).

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Eatin' Out - Radegast Beer Hall

113 N. 3rd St@Berry, Williamsburg
I had heard some describe the beer hall that opened up in Williamsburg in December as "Beer Disneyland" but my brother Mike in from Chicago, SL and I totally dug the place on a late Sunday afternoon.

Right across from the former Kokie's, it's huge, well-designed, warm, kid-friendly for all you parents, with about 15 beers on tap (in 1/2 and 1 litre sizes), a good wine list, and excellent, filling food. SL and I both had the moist braised bunny with red cabbage that must have been sauteed in some kind of animal fat it was so good, and my brother had a stuffed pork loin that came with fantastic homemade gnocchi on the side. Pasta and pork together - yum. Finish it off with root beer float, and what's not to like?

Will probably be a madhouse of idiots as the weather warms and you'll surely never get a buyback, but for a couple early evening drinks and dinner, color us impressed.

The Leapling, P2

Turns out Finn Glaser was not a Leapling after all. He was born at 10:30 pm on Thursday. For those of you who know (of) Signe (aka The Reluctant Mother, as I've titled her pregnancy book sure to come) I'll let her explain it:

It was fucking crazy. I took a bath on Thurs where my water broke (and I didn’t notice) and then I had some mild contractions and pretty soon I was howling like a banshee. Josh drove through all the lights on the way to the hospital and when we got there I was dilated to 8. We were basically waiting for my doc to get there (also speeding through traffic on his motorcycle) so he could tell me to push. 45 min later and no drugs, Finn! I burst the blood vessels in my eyes, face, and shoulders. Nice.

God forbid anyone should induce HIM. Guess mom and son like to do things our way. He’s off to a fine start.

Ah, motherhood!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Benefit for the Scotty Hard Trust

A huge benefit has been set up for Scott at the Highline Ballroom on March 19th. Quite an impressive roster of friends and performers can be found below. You can purchase tickets here.

$35 GA / $50 VIP Balcony / $65 VIP Floor
VIP tickets include reserved seating and an after show meet & greet with many of the musicians.
Concert starts @ 9PM, Doors open @ 8 PM

100% of proceeds will be going to the Scotty Hard Trust.

John Scofield
John Medeski
Billy Martin
Bill Laswell
Eric Krasno
Neal Evans
Marco Benevento
Joe Russo
Sex Mob
DJ Logic
John Ellis
Michael Blake
Vijay Iyer
Tommy Hamilton
Kevin Kendrick

Bio from the press release:
Vancouver native and longtime New Yorker Scotty Hard has a long and varied list of production credits, including New Kingdom, Positive Black Soul, Charlie Hunter, Barney Bentall & the Legendary Hearts, Tricky, Crooklyn Dub, Dubadelic, Bailter Space, DJ Logic, Badar Ali Khan, Sex Mob, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Material, Soul Crib, Michael Blake, Chris Brown/Kate Fenner, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Metabolics, and Organ-ized. He also engineered and mixed pioneering music by Wu-Tang Clan, Gravediggaz, Jungle Brothers, Vernon Reid, Chris Rock, Ultrmagnetic MC's, Salif Keita, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, PM Dawn, De La Soul, Boogie Down Productions, Brand New Heavies, Prince Paul, Biz Markie, Chubb Rock, Teo Macero, and others.


•GLASSES: With red frames, that I fear make me look like a weird old artsy Italian woman. I feel very fancy after casting off my busted five-year old pair.

•JOB: Filling in for the manufacturing director on maternity leave for a few months at Art + Auction, Modern Painters and Culture + Travel. All three are part of a company called Louise Blouin Media. Only working three flexible days a week so as not to cut into my life of leisure.

•TRIP: SL and I are going to Hong Kong in March 13th for ten days while I print the latest issue of Visionaire. Trips to Guangzhou, China, Macau for gambling, and the two Hong Kong horse tracks including the Hong Kong Derby (!) are on the card, as well as tons of amazing food. I love Hong Kong, and suspect it will be even better with company this time.