Saturday, August 6, 2011


Thanks to Netflix, I've been watching some documentaries over the past few weeks.  I thought I'd give a little review of each of them (because I know you care).  Three were fashion-related, the other two were not.

Lagerfeld Confidential

This movie is about getting to know Karl Lagerfeld -- his iPod collection, his crazy soundbites, his casual attitude about work and his prolificness.  It's less about fashion, and for me, it was less interesting than watching the Chanel documentary I mentioned in a previous post, which had more of an insight into the creative process.  However, he is definitely an interesting personality.  His blase attitude about fashion and life in general has always intrigued me.

Valentino: The Last Emperor

This movie follows Valentino around in the last few years before his eventual retirement.  The movie revolved around the big retrospective they did.  What I liked about the movie was that it prominently featured his longtime partner Giancarlo Giammetti, who has quietly worked behind the scenes to build Valentino's empire.  There wasn't much about the creative process, and Valentino comes across as a brat, but the moments that highlighted their relationship, like when Valentino thanked Giammetti in his acceptance speech for the Legion d'Honneur, were poignant.

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never

I'm no Belieber, although I can't help liking the song "Baby," (which was written by the guy who produced Beyonce's Single Ladies, and Rihanna's Umbrella) but I wanted to watch this movie.  Firstly, Justin Bieber's fans are notoriously loyal and rabid, and I was intrigued by how this kid became a success through YouTube.  It was interesting to watch his development, starting as a toddler who sang on home videos, to recording covers on YouTube, to singing at local venues and festivals, to finally becoming one of the biggest pop stars today.  They showed him playing drums as an 8-year-old, and I have to admit, the kid is really talented.  I was also impressed by how much he loves his fans and doesn't want to let them down (like when he was sick and had to reschedule a couple of concerts), and how hard the kid works.  He is probably going to be around for a while.

Viktor & Rolf: Because We're Worth It!
I actually found this movie pretty boring, maybe because I'm not that big a fan of Viktor & Rolf to begin with, but probably also because they're not that interesting on camera.  The movie centers on the launch of their fragrance Flowerbomb, and follows them around as they work on getting things ready and doing other projects, like designing eyewear for a Japanese company.  Their work is avant garde so it was interesting to see them get some of their outfits ready for their show, but otherwise blah.

Good Hair

This movie was entertaining and informative.  Chris Rock is a good host, and it was interesting to see the lengths black women will go to to get "good" hair.  Rock also touches on issues of race and how black women view themselves through interviews of black celebrities.  The movie revolves around an annual hair competition and follows a few different stylists and their preparations for this crazy competition.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A night (or three) at the Roxbury

photo from the Roxbury Motel Facebook page

Today I returned from a little family vacation to the Catskills.  My parents didn't want to venture far, which is why we chose this as our destination.  After some browsing on TripAdvisor, I managed to find The Roxbury Motel, which is a recently completed motel in Roxbury, NY.  It got great reviews and when I looked at the site, I saw beautiful photos of immaculately clean and modern looking lodgings.  My mom and brother are a little high maintenance, so I knew this would be much better than the typically musty B&Bs you find in rural areas. The owners had a background in theatre set design, and each room/suite has its own wonderful and unique character.

We stayed in George's Spacepad, which had a Jetson's feel to it (photos from the Roxbury Motel website): 

Took a couple baths in this tub!

Our suite was at the left side on the balcony.
The view from our room.
The grass area you see in the picture above has a gazebo where we saw a couple get married, some lawn chairs and a black steel table with umbrella, and a fire pit which we gathered around with other guests at night.  There's also this nifty fire pit near the office, which was close to our suite:

The attention to detail was amazing, and the service was great too.  My mom, who is often difficult to please, was very happy, and we all had a great time there.  I had brought my Diana mini but managed to mess up loading the film, so was unable to take pictures with that camera, but tried to take some snaps with my iPhone.

When we got in, we spent the afternoon hiking.  I was given a map but somehow I must have taken a wrong turn because what was supposed to be a two-hour hike ended up being three.  They don't have cell towers where we were staying, so we were unable to use Google maps.  Additionally, we were there mid-week so there weren't a lot of people who were actually in the houses, which were very sparse in the area.  At one point, we finally got the courage to ask directions and managed to scare the guy, because there just aren't a lot of people around generally.

We checked out Mine Kill falls, which is near the motel.  Here is my dad, practicing kendo from one of the vistas.

We walked down to the bottom of the falls, where there was a little pool.  I dipped my feet in, and it felt very cool.

Then we went on a walking tour of the town of Roxbury, which looks like a ghost town.  There are a lot of abandoned storefronts and homes, and the woman who was our guide, the former town historian, said she hoped that the Roxbury motel was part of a rebirth.  The town was the birthplace of Jay Gould, and his daughter Helen helped develop it.  Apparently, she would walk up to people's houses and inform them they needed a new paint job, and would have a bucket of paint delivered the next day.

Tiffany stained glass windows inside Gould church.
Cool bridge in Kirkside park.
This might be why it went out of business.
It was a little weird being up there -- besides the fact that our cell phones didn't work and a lot of the town seemed deserted (we wondered how people made a living around there), there weren't a ton of businesses around, and most of the restaurants were only open at certain days and times, so we had to consult a chart in the binder in our room to figure out which places we could go to.

Our favorite part of the trip was the kayaking tour, led by Allan and Jo Hinckley.  They met us at the motel and we drove a short while to an entrance to the Delaware River.  We kayaked about a mile down to a resting spot, where we had a wine and cheese break that they had packed for us.

View of the Delaware

I got the blue kayak!
My mom started feeling tired and nauseated at one point, so my dad told her to hold onto his and my brother's kayaks, and they ferried her down the rest of the way, although in this photo she is breaking free since we had reached our break stop destination.

Our lovely guides!
The weather was perfect, and the water was very calm so we were able to paddle without a problem.  Towards the end, my brother and I started racing.  He beat me at the end, but only because I got stuck in some weeds!  We saw a bald eagle, a blue heron, and other little creatures.

The next day it rained so we mainly relaxed and watched movies.  The Roxbury has tons of DVDs you can borrow.  We also rented bikes from Casey Joe's in Arkville.  Joe the owner kindly brought the bikes over to us, and my brother and I rode down Rte 30 while my dad tried to teach my mom how to ride.

It was a great short trip so if you're ever looking for a quick getaway from New York City, this is definitely one to try.  To learn more about The Roxbury Motel, visit their website or Facebook page.

And a final word from our sponsor:


Thursday, August 4, 2011

My friends' blogs

My friend Mike recently started a guitar blog -- he writes about different sounds he achieves through his guitar, using different pedals.  If you're interested in guitars, check it out here.

Another friend has started a blog profiling talented twenty-year-olds.  You can check it out here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The first photos from my Diana Mini camera

As the Lomography people suggested, I did a test roll.  Here are some of my favorite shots.

This is a painting I did in college.

I'm not sure how it happened, but this photo has two images in one.

My attic studio.

Hartsdale train station.

I'm not sure how this happened, but a little peep hole self portrait.

Oncoming train.