Dylan’s Wedding

October 21st, 2012 | Escapes, Photos

I guess it started a couple of years ago for me, but man have the weddings begun! After a steam punk wedding in September, Audrey and I went out to California for my long time friend’s wedding. I’ve known Dylan since kindergarten, so going to his wedding was a pretty cool experience. Best of all, it took place in Carmel, which gave Audrey and I a few days to fool around in Big Sur!

The first night we drove down into Big Sur to spend the night in a treehouse. We originally were going to be staying in a yurt, but they were booked up, so the treehouse was our place for the night. It had electricity, running water, and that awesome gangway bridge.

They had a really nice restaurant with all this local organic food. Then that happened. Apparently the fly population increases when the kelp season is on.

They had a campground adjacent to the yurt resort. This was a permanent tent… sort of a mini yurt almost.

This accommodation is called the nest. Two people fit in it and bring your own sleeping bags.

We drove up the coast a little to do some hiking and found a great trail with a nice ravine.

This tree had a burnt out center. We were stumped on how it happened. -_-

Then we got back in the car and drove up to Pfieffer Beach and found this really cool little alcove. The beach was pretty busy, but this spot was totally empty.

Audrey hanging out by some of their purple sand.

There were some cool arches here. It was a bad place to swim though as the riptide is exceptionally strong there.

This is the next day in Carmel, where we walked down the beach before the wedding.

This is a Frank Lloyd Wright house, which is privately owned so we didn’t get too close.

Audrey looking for small oceanic creatures.

Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of the actual wedding. But, it was at Holman Ranch, which is a great place in Carmel Valley. Overall it was another great weekend in our home state!

The Year So Far

September 15th, 2012 | Activities, Escapes

This has been a big year! I got married and turned 30, all within the span of 14 days this summer. Both went really well.

 

Wedding

The wedding happened on June 30th in South Lake Tahoe at Zephyr Cove. We had a little more than 100 people and rented out a block of cabins for many of the guests. It was a whole weekend deal with a family dinner on Thursday night at the main cabin, then most of the guests came on Friday night to the BBQ.

The wedding was on Saturday and it was pretty much perfect! Audrey and I are admittedly a little goofy, so seeing her veil get caught on a tree when she was walking toward the wedding site was almost as good as when I accidentally kissed her during our vowed. Oh man what a bunch of newbs :P

But, the whole day (and weekend) went really well. Ever since then, I’ve been telling people it couldn’t have gone better and I mean it. Gorgeous weather, perfect guests, fantastic bride! Audrey and I really wanted to have the weekend be not so much about us, but a celebration of all the guests. Them having a good time was the most important thing to us, and it seems like we succeeded!

Thirty

With the wedding less than two weeks before my birthday, Audrey and I laid pretty low for the big birthday. Since we’ve been living in Manhattan, we’ve been using my Starwood AMEX to pay our rent, which means tons and tons of points are accumulated every month. I decided a good thing to spend them on was a night at the W Union Square, which wound up not being too amazing, but was still a fun thing to do for a night.

But, we went to the Gramercy Tavern for dinner and that was amazing. Really great food and the beer was spectacular as well. I was drawn there because Brooklyn Brewery had a very special beer there on tap: Export Gold Standard. It was quite tasty and they had lots of other great beers on tap, several of which we sampled.

It was a fun, low key night and it’s definitely been a summer to remember.

Woot I’m Coming

February 22nd, 2012 | Uncategorized

Hello baldies!

Long time no see.

I’m thinking of pumping some life and design into the bald seal.

Let’s see how it goes.

Until then!

Canadian Road Trip – Montreal

July 1st, 2010 | Activities, Culture, Escapes, Food, Uncategorized

After a night of camping midway between Quebec City and Montreal, we hit the road with our sights set on our room at the W in Montreal. We were ready to see what the city had to offer, but didn’t really know what to expect, despite having a Frommer’s. Basically we wanted to do some pub crawling and eating, so that’s what we did.


Pastrami at Schwartz’s, which they say is better than Katz’s in NYC. It was definitely good and probably on-par with Katz’s. The pickles were not, however.


We asked the man slicing up the stacks of meat to take our picture. My camera has never been the same.


This place goes through some smoked meat.


Time to walk off the meatfest.


Let’s go for the lime! Audrey was relearning her high school French the whole trip.


The big cathedral in Montreal. For some reason its name is slipping my mind…


BIXI was our preferred method of transportation. Imagine the offspring of a taxi and bicycle and you’ll get the idea.


This place apparently had better bagels than anywhere in NYC. Can you sense an inferiority complex trend here in Quebec? :)


Audrey in the park on Mont Royale.


The Olympic Stadium. It’s sort of been decaying since it was used in the 70′s, but it still pretty awesome to look at.


Me standing and looking small.


Back to the US! Nothing like a border patrol officer giving you a hard time when you come back to your country!


We stopped by Lake George on the way home. Walking around made us really want to go back there for a weekend trip sometime this summer.


Audrey on the lake and by a duck.


Matt on the lake and also by a duck.

So that’s it for Canada! It was a blast, from the driving, to the food, to the sights. It was also really cool to experience French Canadian culture and have everyone be so kind to us. I’ll definitely make less jokes at the expense of Canadians now that I’ve experienced how it’s actually a really great place!

Canadian Road Trip – Quebec City

June 29th, 2010 | Culture, Escapes, Food

After about 24 hours of driving/camping/gorging, we made it to our first of two cities to check out: Quebec City. This city is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Maybe Florence challenges it. The center of the city is elevated and built behind a wall. It’s the only city in North America with its original walls still standing. Being above the walls gives some great views of the river, city, and beyond.

This is also the heart of Quebec culture since it’s not as international as Montreal. It’s not easy to find locals who speak fluent English. I found it odd the children aren’t taught English in school, like they are in so many European countries. I guess their thinking is that they want to preserve their culture, which would be seriously diminished if everyone was speaking English and therefore moving away to the greater world.

Anyway, here are some pics.


Walking up to the wall and the lift that takes you to the inner city.


On top of the wall we posed for a pic with the view in the background.


Nearby there was a battery of cannons.


Chateau Frontenac is the gem of the city. It was built to encourage people to ride the railroad and visit the city in the 1800′s. It’s huge and definitely the place to stay if you like $500CAD/night hotel rooms. Next time!


The view from the other side. Awesome boardwalk.


The next day we walked around the inner city and posed for this one on a nice grassy hill.


The view from the hill.


At the parliament.


Poutine is french fries with cheese curds and gravy. There are a lot of fat Canadians.


On the way out of the city we swung by Montmorency Falls, which is a pretty impressive waterfall. They say it’s taller than Niagra.


The big wooden structure on the right brings you to the top of the falls.


Getting soaked at the base.


Me too!


Looking down the staircase… very high up.


The view from the top. You can see Quebec City in the distance.


Looking down from the bridge… the ring on the left are fallen tree trunks. They look like toothpicks from this distance.


Aww… this is the one to send the families :P

With that, we were done with Quebec City and hit the road to Montreal!

Canadian Roadtrip – On the Road

June 27th, 2010 | Activities, Culture, Escapes, Food

Last month Audrey and I took a much needed vacation. We’ve been trying to go to as many places in and around the northeast as we can and the next on our list was Canada!

I’ve wanted to drive to Montreal and Quebec City since we first moved here. I’d heard so much about Quebec City and how it’s like a European City in North America. It just seemed like a cool place and something I wanted to see.

We planned a 6 day trip, booked our hotels/campsites, and hopped into our rental car for the great north! Here are some pics from the journey to Quebec City, which was our first city to explore.


Moreau Lake, which was where we stopped the first night to do a little camping. In retrospect, camping a couple of the nights was an adventure, but we weren’t too well prepared. Oh, this is still in New York state.


Nice drive through upstate New York.


With no data service on our phones, we found ourselves stopping at the information shops a good deal. It was funny how the people there always led with French, but were quick to speak English when we were confused.


A sugar shack! These are really unique to Quebec and pretty weird cultural centers. A sugar shack is a restaurant next to a maple syrup farm. They serve all sorts of food and encourage you to cover it all in maple syrup.


There is also music, dancing, and spoon playing. We really stood out when we strolled in… some serious Quebecois were in there, fresh off a tour bus.


You can see some of the crowd that was interested in us, and getting their line-dancing on. These people were sort of like French cowboys if you can imagine that!


Mmmm… maple syrup on meat pie.


Line dancing…


Then they brought the dumb Americans up front to play the spoons badly.


Audrey eating up a “maple syrup taffy”. They pour syrup on a bunch of ice (snow during winter) and you pick it up with a popsicle stick.


Stephan didn’t speak much English, but he did know how to say the taffy was his secret for his belly! Also, thumbs up is universal.

I’ll post more pics over the coming days… they are on auto-pilot :)

Winter 2009/2010 is Over

May 3rd, 2010 | Weather

It’s over. My last full NYC winter. It’s strange how winter ends around here. You get a few days of teasing warm weather in late March, early April, then it plunges back to cold. Finally, one day it gets hot and humid as all hell. Then it starts raining every single afternoon because it’s so hot and humid. That lasts pretty much all of May, which will turn into just hotness and humidity come June.

Anyway, hope the spring is nice wherever you are!

Texas

April 4th, 2010 | Activities, Culture, Escapes, Nightlife

I was fortunate to have a chance to go to Texas not once, but twice in the past several weeks. The first trip was to Houston, which was a nice city, but seemed like it was mostly parking structures and freeways. It actually reminded me a lot of Orange County, CA, except lots of accents. I did have some epic BBQ that filled a major gap in my diet. Other than that, it was a lot of working during the day and taking advantage of the hotel bar at night :)

The second trip I took was to Austin for SXSW 2010. South by Southwest is an interactive festival that all dorks in my line of work drool over every year. For me, it was not only a good chance to fulfill a geeky fantasy, but a needed trip to meet my longtime online buddy, Greg! I’ve known Greg for about 10 years in only online and telephone capacities. He is planning on moving back to his homeland Germany in May, so it was key for me to get my ass out to see him before the trip costs would go up exponentially.

So with that, I set off to Austin on my own funds and with hopes to learn lots, party lots, and meet some cool people.

Learning
The sessions during the day were really all over the map, to be honest. Some sessions were fantastic, inspirational, and taught me far more than reading a blog post ever could. Other sessions were a thinly veiled sales pitch and were deemed utterly worthless. Wow, that sounds harsh! But, more than most of the talks were quality and the ones that were good could have alone made the trip worthwhile.

Partying
Aside from the fact that at any point during the day you could drop into a lounge and load up on free drinks, the parties at night were quite memorable. I’ve never been anywhere that featured bars that were sponsored and all drinks were paid for by the sponsoring company. Greg and I did pay for a few drinks over the course of the weekend, but that was basically cause I wanted to see some non-dorkdom Austin. One night I was so lucky to be able to even meet Leo LaPorte!

Meeting Cool People
There were 1600 attendees for SXSW Interactive and I was happy to be able to meet a few of them. Now that I think of it, I ought to email some of them… But of course, it was great to meet Greg in person finally. He was very considerate to let me crash at his place with his family for a few days and for that, I am extremely grateful.

Here are some pics with more to come in separate posts:


Downtown Austin from the Convention Center balcony.


One of the early parties on one of the days


A night party overlooking the city


The Microsoft Taco Truck!


Me standing outside the Frog Design party


Greg standing outside the Frog Design party


Inside the Frog party… it was this huge outdoor cultural center and a great night


This is 6th street, where all the kiddies that go to UT hang out

Good Graffiti

March 8th, 2010 | Humor

Winter in Astoria

February 19th, 2010 | Weather

Greetings from Astoria! Here are a couple of winter pics I took the other night.

Despite all the snow, the days are getting longer and actually warmer. I still find it strange that the temperature is often warmer when it’s snowing. Anyway, winter is wrapping up and that’s a good thing for me.

My Flickr Photostream