Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best This Was My Chicago Christmas

I went home for about a week for some good times at home.

Christmas night, why's everyone on the phone? Why's everyone smiling on the phone?

It's because...
...they're talking with Greg.

This is a picture of me from the end of my senior year of high school that my buddy Nate Ewald took of me. I'm enjoying my favorite food at my favorite location. It was a high-concept shoot that Nate put together. Click on it, for crying out loud. For crying out loud, click on all the pictures.

Christmas night, late night: Two Towers with Owen.

Day after of Christmas, waiting to get in the car...

Bundling ourselves up against the elements

To head downtown to enjoy the only good movie of 2009.

Oh Chicago, your miraculous streets, they go on for miles

Finished the 26th off with a Las Fuentes dinner to see if we could get a baby to put nachos all over her face.

And then, on Monday, had some Culvers with Kristen and Cory

Like I said, I had my Culvers with Kristen and Cory. Also, Owen was there. We had been returning sweaters at the mall.

Monday afternoon: Took a family walk. Except some of us absolutely refused to participate because they wanted to watch Empire Strikes Back so bad. Guess I can relate.

Just brothers and sisters walking around out in the cold.

And Dad, too.

Ellie refused to be portraited

Not even a little

But look who has her eye on me now!

The dog came along too. She was well-tended.

There's Mom. This post is a chiasmus.

And then the next morning I flew home to New York so I can concentrate on finishing my Brazil posts.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Best I Made Dinner on Christmas

I owe at least 3 more Brazil posts and this post jumps ahead of some other Christmas stuff, but I'm posting it now. Just because.

On Christmas I made dinner. I roasted my first pork shoulder after the manner of Momofuku and used it to meat up a big bowl of ginger scallion noodles. (Do you remember how last year I made the Momofuku Ribeye? In many ways, 2009's was a far less ambitious meal)

On Christmas Eve I rubbed down this nice little 3lb pork shoulder with a bunch of salt and sugar and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

See? I'm rubbing.

Then on Christmas afternoon I let it roast at 250 for 6hrs, basting every hour.

With an hour left on the clock I began working on the ginger scallion sauce, pickles, and roasted cauliflower for the noodles.

Owen, always an apt assistant. I told him to slice the cucumbers in 1/8" slices and he did it.

After six hours, I let that shoulder sit half an hour.

Listen, in my opinion, this is the easiest way to prepare ramen noodles for five.

And here is the roasting of the cauliflower.

My noodles, all ginger scallioned.

Pork got pulled all apart and everything was ready to go.

Assembling. I'll spare you the devouring pictures.

All the porksmells were nearly too much for poor Kelsi. Sorry, animal.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Best Subterranean Communication

I think the subway is trying to tell me something.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Best Holiday Wishes 2009

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

I've come home to discover my parents decided to decorate the tree with a "Nature Captured in its Natural State" theme.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Best New York City is Full of Helpers

East Broadway Station, I had just paid Andy a visit. The curving of the platform caught my eye, this joker jumped into the frame. What a cheeseball! But her certainly brought some flair to the shot.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Best There Was a Small Problem This Morning

This morning (and I was leaving a little later than usual and yes, I had heard a lot of noise in the hall) I had a real hard time getting my apartment door open to get out.

Because it was all taped up.

And my hall looked like this.

It was sealed off from the rest of my floor. I had to tear my way through that plastic, more or less. I ran into workers on my way out, they laughed, they'd been told no one was in our apartment.

This place could use a lot more signs or visits from the management.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Best Sixth Day in Rio: We Get Off the Island

We woke up in Ilha Grande Friday morning with a responsibility: the responsibility of waking those lazy girls. Chateau did it with song.

I want to show you the shark poster that was up at the Inn,

This is the bathroom for gentlemen in Brazil, this is the bathroom that I use.

We had a ferry to catch back to civilization at 5:30, that gave us a lot of time for one more key adventure: hiring a boat and rappelling down a waterfall.

Boat hired. He was not the Captain.

The hike to the waterfall was not as easy as hoped. Oh my poor hams! But here's the waterfall!

From the ground I caught the action. And if you are asking why I didn't participate, then you don't know enough about my knees and elbows for me to explain it here. And another reason: my burnt up feet.

One by one, my buddies all descended. A few times a trip the rapel master would have the rapeller give a turn to get blasted by the waterfall, so keep an eye out for that.

Others, locals and tourists, enjoying the waterfall.

Back to my buddies making there way down:

Hiking back to the boat, so hot and dirty and terrible on that hill. My hams got their second roasting of the day. But getting back to the beach was nice.

Next stop? Lunch on a beach somewhere else on the island, somewhere where they had a zipline. (Click that video and you'll see Bryndee zipping)

Another thing they had: friendly kids, kids without fear.

And also, they fried fish for me. (Not the kids, the people of the beach. At their restaurant)

A little more playing around, and then we boarded our boat and headed back to homebase.

Everything seemed to be going as planned until we discovered we were cutting it very, very close on the ferry. We were the very last to board, if it weren't for the diligence and persuasiveness of someone we were paying to get us back to Rio, we would have surely spent another night on our island paradise.

We disembarked in the charming town of Angra, here we took a waiting van back to Rio.

BEACH DOGS. A whole wonderful pack of rebels and scamps!

Banned from Angra: Crocodiles, I suppose.

Returned home to our dear Girl from Ipanema Hostel we enjoyed a private room to ourselves this time. And by "private room to ourselves" I mean a hallway with bunkbeds in it that other people passed through at all hours.

That night? Taxi'd over to the Lapa neighborhood to enjoy the nightlife. The nightlife had me on edge, but here's a market-ish place full of food stands beside the arcos.

And here's from the inside of a bar/restaurant/whatever it might have been where we enjoyed some samba--at times melodic and lovely, at times cacophonous and grating.

Doesn't this wrap up of our night out seem a touch brief? Danger Supplement #6, my friends. Danger Supplement #6.