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There’s More to iPhone Photography Than Hipstamatic: Take a ‘Deetour’

September 13th, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

That Hipstamatic app sure is popular. It’s fun to use, and it makes your photos look cool.

But it’s not as fun now that everyone’s using it. I mean, it still looks cool and all, and if you’re having fun with it, go nuts. Or continue going nuts. I’ll have to cop to a certain amount “before it was cool” mentality here, and admit that I have this deep and maybe not incredibly attractive need to have people know exactly how creative and special I am all the time.

This feature got me all excited and inspired to go beyond taking a photo, running it through an app, and calling it a day: Tricking Out Your iPhone Photos.

The iPhone is such a powerhouse of a tool for photographic creativity. It’s our century’s Polaroid, right there in your pocket. Rather than emulate the look of a time past, why not get stoked on creating a look for now?

I saw this girl in the mall by my office that looked like she fell through a wormhole in 1974 and landed up against that wall smiling and playing with a BlackBerry. She was kind enough to let me take her picture, despite probably finding me a little creepy. Fair enough.

I’ve had Karen Young’s 1982 jam “Deetour” on a permanent loop on my iPhone for a couple days, too. It makes the commute into this spacey disco loop, like someone tied my brain to a rollerskate and sent it over a beige rainbow bridge. I probably listened to the song ten times while I ran this young lady’s picture through Decim8, Instagram, TrueHDR, TiltShiftGear and StripeCam — ultimately ending up with this:

Deetour 4

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Gripping the Rail With Both Nostrils – No Wonder I’ve Got A Cold

August 22nd, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

Summer colds are such a ripoff. At least when you’re sick in the wintertime you can enjoy being under a blanket and watching TV indoors. When I’m sick in the summer everyone else is having the most idyllic day of their life — the whole world is tossing a frisbee in slow motion while a death march plays in my head.

Ever since I’ve moved to New York, I’ve gotten more colds. And more of those colds have mutated into full-blown sinus infections. Last winter I coughed so hard I thought I cracked a rib.

I used to wonder why I got so sick all the time, and figured it had something to do with touching all those handrails on the subway all day long. Take a look at this guy I saw on the N train this morning — I think I’m right:

This is why I'm sick

He rode the subway all the way from Atlantic/Pacific to Canal Street with his nose smushed against the railing, pausing only to give it a deep picking. I don’t know if I’m grossed out for that guy, or because of that guy.

From now on, I’m commuting in a HAZMAT suit.

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Meet the Jersey City Pimp

August 4th, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

This is the Jersey City Pimp:

Jersey City Pimp

I saw him on the PATH Train a few weeks ago. I don’t see him that often, but he’s not like, white buffalo rare. A JC Pimp sighting brings you goodluck, but it’s rapidly expended: you get the privilege of seeing him. That’s good enough. I have no idea what this guy’s name is, or what he does, or how he afoords those suits that make him look like Flavor Flav starring in a remake of “The Mask.” But he’s probably not a real pimp, like that other guy in Jersey City.

People in Jersey City try to photograph him, and they track sightings on the JC List. I saw him on the train once, wearing a floor-length faux-raccoon fur coat and a fedora covered in matching fur. I asked him if I could take his picture, and he waved me off, muttering “no pictures, no pictures.”

It’s fascinating to me, that someone could want to draw so much attention to themselves in one way — and so little in another. He’s not exactly trying to blend in.

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Lost: One Seriously Evil Cat

July 29th, 2011 by D.Billy

I spotted this flyer walking up 5th Ave in Brooklyn today. I don’t think someone so much lost this cat as cast it out of their home with a series of prayers and incantations.

Evil Cat poster

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The Ghostbusters Firehouse Is Right in Tribeca

April 11th, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

The always-excellent ScoutingNY blog has an excellent post tracking down all of the exterior locations in Ghostbusters. I was pretty amazed to see that the firehouse that was the Ghostbusters’ home base is still functional, and just a few blocks from my gym — right there on the corner of North Moore and Varick Street.

Naturally, I went over there and took a few pics:

Ghostbusters Firehouse 1

Ghostbusters Firehouse 2

It’s still fully functional. I wonder how long it takes for the magic to wear off for the firefighters that get assigned there.

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“Retarded” Is the New “N-Word”

April 7th, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

It’s easy to forget that life is a gift. And it’s easy to overlook the essential humanity of so many people out there on the Internet. It’s easy to get mad at people’s gripes and whines and forget that the Web can be a tool to expand your empathy and connect with people outside your regular routine.

But this video yanked me out of my regular routine and deep into the wild currents of the human experience. I don’t know whether to cheer or weep, to hug somebody or go be alone. My eyes swelled and leaked a little, and I could actually feel my heart expand in my chest.

It’s by a disabled woman who carefully, methodically explains why it’s so upsetting to be called “retarded.”

These are her words:

I made this video after seeing a number of things: Other disabled people rushing to prove that they were not some thing called “retarded,” being referred to here as a “mong” and other such words myself (on and off YouTube) as well as seeing lots of pointless ridicule directed at people with developmental disabilities, and being asked questions about what it’s like to be considered “retarded” in casual contacts with people, or to “look retarded”, whatever that means. I explore these questions, and the prejudice and dehumanization that surrounds cognitive disability of all sorts, in my video.

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Surf’s Up: Permanent Summer in an Abandoned Refrigerator

February 23rd, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

A little bubble of summer weather surfaced just after Thanksgiving in Jersey City, late enough to be a treat but not so out of place that the guy on the corner in the velour tracksuit with a cigar would make a little global warming joke about it.

I’d just walked up the street to see DeCarlos about a suit he was working on for me. When I walked up the sidewalk, it was completely clear. Fifteen minutes later, this fridge appeared in the sidewalk, maybe coalesced out of some swirling dirty plastic vapors or something. It had no front door, nothing in it except for this one PBR gleaming in the freezer compartment:


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Not the World We Know, But an Exciting Place to Explore!

January 31st, 2011 by D.Billy

I have learned that there is a SUPERVOLCANO (which is a real thing not made up by an 8-year-old kid, apparently,) underneath Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. This supervolcano has erupted in the past, and was possibly partially responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs. According to one guy (who keeps saying “million” when he means “thousand”, which you’d think would be problematic for a physicist,) it WILL erupt again, and everybody who lives in the huge area depicted here will be pretty well f*cked.

Coincidentally, on the same day that I learned that 11 U.S. states and 3 Canadian provinces are just incontrovertibly screwed six ways to Sunday, I came across this amazing and hilarious Jack Kirby drawing from 1972 of what our future might look like after “A GREAT CATACLYSM!”:

Image taken from Kamandi #1, Via the always excellent Comic Book Cartography.

Also, Discovery Channel has a pretty cool interactive explanation of the supervolcano.
BOOM. For real.

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Found In A GED Classroom: Profanity in Six Letters or More (or The Subtle Romance of the Cuss Word)

January 3rd, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

Is there a worse word in American English than the dreaded “c-word?” I really need to describe pretty much the worst human being I’ve ever heard of, and “cunt” seems downright generous under the circumstances. I like the Jamaican “bumba claat,” but it’s not really my language and I need to see clearly when I swing this hammer.

It’s a shame I can’t ask the author of the little document below. If he doesn’t have any leads now, I bet he will in a couple years. A good friend of mine teaches GED school. He found this on a desk in his classroom last month:

More Than 6 Letters

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Don’t Let Your Dog To Put the Dirty On the Grass

January 3rd, 2011 by D.Billy

This cardboard-and-Sharpie sign is nailed up in our friends Alex & Emily’s bathroom:

Don't Let Your Dog To Put the Dirty on the Grass

According to Emily:

“Alex and I were walking one evening in northwest DC and discovered a bunch of these signs (same misspellings and all) posted outside an embassy, I believe it was the Lebanese embassy. Since they had so many, we figured we could snatch one without them noticing.”

The sign is brilliant enough on its own, but I LOVE the thought of a cranky Lebanese diplomat stepping in dog shit once, and then scouring the embassy for scrap cardboard and scrawling out TONS of these things to put out all over the lawn. And possibly spending the rest of his day watching with one eye through parted curtains for trespassing dogs to yell at.
(Jeff can relate.)

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