Monday, September 26, 2011

Day 174: Classic Cruisin'

When you see one of these classic beauties on the road with the white ribbon on the hood, then you know it's a wedding.

Side note.... I can't believe one 1 year wedding anniversary is quickly approaching!

Day 173: All Dressed Up w/ Somewhere To Go!

Happy Birthday Virgos! ~ From, The Longs
We helped our girl Angie celebrate her 25th Birthday by getting all dressed up for her birthday costume party... fun! As you can see we went as Cyclist (hehehe). The tent was up in the yard, the bonfires were on, the music was bumpin', and the shots were flowin'!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Day 172: Lonely Bench

I have been photographing for three years now. I've tried many different styles just to get a feel for what I like. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I decided that street/urban photography would be my focus. It hit me like a hundred cameras upside my head. I can't stop thinking about it. I've been researching and studying for the past few days. I'm planning my portfolio and special projects. I'm soooo excited about this. So, get ready to see a lot of street photography on the blog.

Day 171: Fight For Your Art

As I walked home from work today I saw this girl walking in front of me. It was crazy windy and she was struggling with the canvas in here hands. At first I was curious to see the painting that she bought... but then I noticed she was carrying paint and the painting wasn't finished. I remember thinking: "Oh! She paints. She didn't buy it." 

I appreciated her struggle to try to protect the painting from the strong winds. It made me think of photography and how I've recently been inspired and excited. One of the goals I set for myself this year was to enter at least one photography contest ... and I found the contest I want to enter. I'm so excited about it.  Furthermore... I've finally found my space in the photography world. I want to concentrate on Urban Lifestyle & Street Photography. More on that later ;-)

Day 170: Dumpling Appreciation Day

At work I learned about a mysterious "Mrs. Dumplings" who cooks 20 dumplings for you and delivers them to your door for only $8! Because of my recent obsession with dumplings and the fact that next week we are definitely getting back to our healthy gym and eating, I decided to send out an invitation for "Dumpling Appreciation Day". Ten team members each ordered their dumpling batch and we had a team lunch! Why not?!

Dear Mrs. Dumplings....

   You're the best.

The MBO Systems Team

Day 169: Office Effects

Walking into work where you are in a big building and behind a desk can play with your emotions. One day you can be motivated, the next day you can be bored, and then frustrated, and then happy again.  I'm sure many jobs out there are like this. At least the building I currently work in is pretty.

         Do I want to be stuck behind a desk and a computer for the rest of my life (or until I retire)? No.

Bonus Picture:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Day 168: Case of the Mondays

When you work in an office, you will have a case of the Mondays every now and again. Why was I feeling the Monday Blues? Well, Team Mojo wasn't there to cheer me up, Adonis and I just had a fun filled weekend... and here I am going to work on Monday -- blah!

Picture above is the row where I sit at work.

Day 167: Northcote High Noon Festival

On an never-ending pursuit to see our new city, we were obliged to venture out to Northcote to be a part of the annual High Noon Festival. See more here . To sum it up, its an arts festival meets battle of the bands. The streets were filled with the eclectic types we've become keen on and townies bearing their brass arms. Music filled the air. The smell of grilled sausage and onions drifted with the breeze and lured us in like a Pepe le pew, Quelle est? Ah, le belle femme skunk fatale.. haha Yes....we had some. Just as delicious as it smelled too! As we walked along we noticed an art gallery advertising a graffiti competition "out back" lol, I won't even go there. So we shuffled in, hot sausage in hand, and observed the artists at work. Much respect. We have grown fond of Graffiti artist, not just the art. The souls of these  people, how different they all look. Truely a melting pot of people and talent. The festival was fun and we ended the day with a game of basketball. Diana hit a behind the back shot from the free throw line in a game of horse, and I was the first of us to lose...I play football, no skin off my back. After a couple hours of exercise, we headed over to china town to cure D's dumpling addiction. Full and ready for a lil' R&R we went home, where we settled in and caught up on Sons of Anarchy.  

Day 166: When the parents are away the kids will play!

Seems like the past 6 weeks have been NON-STOP, whew. Someone pass me my pimp cup, I need some refreshment. After a long night last night with the Marie family, we headed to a mutual friends house for a housewarming. Or thrashing, whichever you like. These are the fellas I play gridiron (American Football) with and it was nice to see the guys after such a long absence. Grilled meats, good tunes, cold beer, and puurrrty ladies. What more could we ask for? Beer pong and flip-cup of course! Unfortunately we couldn't go in too hard, we had to catch the train back into the city and attend the birthday party of our girl Yasmin a.k.a. Kiwi-Masala. You figure it out. Yasmin went on the wine tour with myself and Ron. I bought a beautiful Creme de Cuve to celebrate with and completely forgot it at the  house. Dang-it! No worries though, we have plenty of time to pop bottles!! We partied the night away at Section 8. A trendy in door/out door bar fashioned from a shipping container (main-bar) and palettes constructed into seating areas. It was definitely a cool experience and I liked the place a lot. Yasmin and her friends are such cool people and we definitely look forward to the next night out on the town!!

Day 165: Friday Night Dinner

When you don't have family, you rely on your friends. We are surprised by the different friends we have amassed while here in Oz. It surprises us every day. I call it the United Nations of Longology. Just kidding, but we really do appreciate the Aussie hospitality we have encountered. Tonight our girl Angie and brother Michel invited us over for dinner. We ended  up staying the night, and had great conversation into the weeee hours of saturday morning. It was great looking at old childhood pictures in 35mm! With technology being how it is, it isn't often that you find yourself going through a photo album any more. Even Diana and my grandparents have digi-photo frames around the house. 

Its always interesting to see the cultural dishes a local will come up with and this meal did not disappoint. Fried steak with onions & gravy with au-gratin potatoes... YUM!! Aussie soul food, lol. As per usual, we tried to win over the crowd with our famous guacamole. We enjoyed and kept the conversation going till we fell out! Another good time with good people! 

Day 164: Flowers of the Weak

Joke for ya... What flower is between your nose and your lips? Give up? Tulips...get it... two lips, tulips! I give up, you guys are a tough audience. I'm not sure why Diana picked these up. I usually like it when she does her go big or go home arrangements. I guess she decided to keep it simple. The flowers did good for the first day, and stood up loud and proud the second. However, they quickly died and left us flowerless coming into the next week. We know now, instead of rushing our flowers of the week, we'll put more thought and consideration into our future arrangements. 
Hope you guys are happy and healthy out there! Oh, and feel free to tell us about any new types of flowers you come across, as we will with ours. 

Day 161: Great Ocean Rd. Day

Its just another manic monday oooohh ooohhh....
Diana had to work and we had to see more of Australia. So, we set out to see the GREAT OCEAN ROAD!! Our tour was scheduled with Go West, a company Diana and I had used before. We covered everything from the famous Bells Beach to Rain Forest and London Bridge. However two things happened which I have to tell you about. 

The first time I went on this tour, we stopped at bells beach, where the tour operators set up tea, coffee, and cookies. So when we walked out from the bus at our first stop, seeing the same setup in front of our parking spot was no surprise. Parked next to us was another bus operated by Go West, adding to my comfort in heading towards the table. Craig and I grab a cup and tea bag and began to pour hot water from a thermos. As we began to scoop in sugar a lady stood up and began walking backwards in our direction. She asked her guide, Tim, how many buses does your company operate? He stared back doe eyed in silence. She asked again, at the same time looking in our direction. The tour guide and I make eye contact, and I ask him, are you not with Go West? Tea Nazi storms away, her buddies in tow, and in apparent frustration. I respond back, humm, I guess that was the passive aggressive way of saying hey Tim, the black guys are drinking our tea! Awkward! I did garner a couple laughs, but after burning my tongue on the first few sips, I pour it out and returned the cup. Tim waved, no worries mate, and we were off to see the beach. 

Story 2 happens in the 2nd sepia picture above. This is Loch Ard's Gorge. It is absolutely stunning! After clowning around a bit, I decided to take Craig's Ipad and snap some pictures in a normally inaccessible cave. It is located far off to the right, where the water normally covers. I noticed that the water was unusually low, so I thought I would be able to run along the cliff side, sneak into the cave, and sneak back out. Hahaha, silly human. On occasion, the water would sneak up and tag your feet, but for the most part, no overly large crashing waves. Well not until I decide to walk up in there. I made it about 5 feet down the cliff wall and all of a sudden I see the ocean suck back. Oh Sh!t. Its all over I thought, with enough sense to stand on a couple rocks, my hands in the air, attempting to protect Craig's Ipad. The wave that formed was about 2 feet, nothing crazy, but I was by a cave which is normally submerged! When the water came crashing in, it got my boots and pants, no biggie. As the water receded, I thought, here's my chance. I began to make a run for it, only to see an even larger wave bearing down on me. Ahhh, this is really it. I emerged back on the beach, soaked to the bone. Sand was in my shoes and underwear and so much water in my Boots, I was able to take them off and pour a puddle into the sand. Guess what? Ipad wasn't touched! Take your damn thingy back Craig, I'm thru, lets go. 

Bonus Pic:
So we spent the week waiting for Chef Ronnie to put his hat on and cook us up something good! The wait was worth it! He concocted this experimental dish after remembering a dish he loved at a restaurant he ate at recently. Cranberries, cashews, fresh pear, and Brie cheese bruschetta. The fruits, nuts, and berries we soaked in Frangelico and once done, set atop the bread with the Brie and baked. AMAZING!! lil snack which we ate as we sipped on a New Zealand Riesling!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Day 163: Wine Tour Day & Last Day

Last full day in Melbourne. Its so hard to say goodbye, especially when you have excellent house guest. This is reminding me of Japan all over again, Hi Rachel! Tired from standing in front of the lens for 9 days, we set out camera-less and made mental memories all day. I contacted Yarra Valley Wine Tours and set up a day trip to see and taste the Vineyards in the Valley. Our driver Di, short for Diane, was great! We got her to open up rather easily and quickly found out she was getting into Roller Derby (Hey Nsharin). We spent the better half of the drive to Yarra, trying to come up with her name. Punky Bruiser? no? okay then. Oh man just thought of another, Roll-or-Di, Roller Di? no....wahh..
Being that Diana had made some request, as per our previous trip to Yarra, we went to Yering Station first where we picked up a bunch of wines, olive oil, and Dukah(sp). Now, usually you go to maybe four vineyards including your lunch destination. But I think because we were having such a great time in between tastings, we were treated to the extended tour. We hit 6! Thats a lot of wine! To top it off though, we were given the privilege or going to Yarra Valley Dairy, where I had some of the best cheeses ever in life, as well as a wine tasting!!

Here is where we visited:

Yering Station- great creme de cuve!

Punt Road- Amazing apple cider. Floral notes lol

Dominique Portet- our server was a cute lil costa rican lady, my charm and broken spanish led to more    
                              wine and talk of tostones and empanadas mmmmm.

Tokar Estate- Met the owner of this self proclaimed new kid on the block and Family run vineyard. She  
                      was the type that you could easily misjudge, but opened up quickly with our humor on
                      full bore. She had taken a trip to Ny and was so blessed to see Flushing...smh, flushing
                      queens was her Ny experience. Oh and she referred to the Asians as Orientals...really
                      shaking my head now!

Sutherland Estate- Decent selection, but not to our preference. Had the worlds best smelling bathroom!! 
                             We even took the manager in there to show her how great it was and she said
                             the woman's wasn't even that good.

Yarra Valley Dairy- World class goats cheeses. Most amazing marinated persian feta!!!! I would easily
                                 pay $50 for the tin I got. The wines were really good too. They offered up several
                                 selections including a moscatito, which I got a couple bottle of.

Immediately after the wine tasting we went over to Richmond, for Mountain Goat Brewery. They give free tours and have a good selection of brews to choose from. Oh, and don't let me forget to mention, their homemade pizza's. Yumm! I choose the sampler of beers and got 5 of their brews served at once in a satisfying portion to boot. As if all of this wasn't enough to fill the day, we ended the night, yet again, at kingpin. This is our third night here this week! Yesterday we played horse, BOWLING! This turned out to be the craziest night yet. As one of the bartenders hosted a going away party, we were greeted by our new friends with open arms and had an evening full of debauchery!!

Day 162: Got Options?

Whats up with my face?

Ma Ma ma ma ma ma, Ron wrote a cook book! Can we get one? Please, please, please!?
To celebrate the publishing of Ron's Newest Cookbook Peace of Mind Presents: Oodles of Options- A survival Guide to Life... Outside of your Mother's Kitchen, we had a photo-shoot. Sorry guys, you've got me today (the artistic director) Diana's at work, so you'll have to settle for the apprentice. We spent nearly 6 hours walking the Lane-ways of the CBD & South Melbourne, setting up promotional photos. Despite the time we spent doing it, we had fun the entire day. The pic's up above are some of our outtakes. No worries though, once we're done in the editing room, you'll see the madness that MOJO created 8D 

Remember it is always important to support the people you know and care about. Whether in life as life or in their business ventures. No matter how normal or "extra" their idea's seem to be, lend a hand. It costs nothing to say, good job, keep it up. You have my support. In in the case of a cookbook, you can be a taste tester! There's your benefit if you don't believe in reciprocity.

The bidness: Peace of Mind a.k.a PACE di MENTE
The website:

Last Pic's
We met with Diana for lunch @ World. I'd only been here for drinks after work, and didn't realize they had quite a worldly menu...hahaha get it, 'cause their name is world....sorry

For entree we had the Vietnamese Calamari: crispy salt and pepper calamari with daikon radish, carrot, bean shoots, spring onion, mint and coriander leaves dressed with a nuoc nam cham sauce and toasted peanuts
Top platter: Mezze spread *spiced cauliflower dip *kangaroo salami *marinated artichokes *aged manchego cheese drizzled with manuka honey *mushroom, date and pancetta palillos*selection of bread and lavash*lion head meatballs *herb and chilli marinated olives *baja spiced tiger prawn skewers
Bottom platter: Soft Tacos: autéed chicken fillets marinated in achiote with white bean puree, nopales cactus and pico de gallo salsa, grilled tiger prawn and canadian scallop with avocado salsa, coriander and lime, pork marinated in pineapple juice, garlic, oregano, cumin and chipotle with white onions, pineapple, coriander and smoky two chilli salsa

This is a bar lounge. With no expectations at all, I would say that I was impressed with the presentation and quality of food. I will definitely be back again!!

Day 160: Three Blind Mice

Three blind mice, three blind mice,
See how they run, see how they run...
This city! 
Did I mention, I love my friends? By now all of our faces are hurting from laughing sooo much, all day, all night. Not quite sure how Diana is dealing, but she is. We headed to St. Kilda today. Luna Park, da beach, St. Kilda Pier, a lil Fessh & Cheps, and to meet up with our new friend Rachel. (4th Rachel we met that weekend, our favorite Rachel!) 
I thought Luna Park was bigger and catered to adults. Wrong and wrong. But that did not take away from the character and symbolism. Just like with Astro Park at Coney Island, you could feel the history and see the age and deterioration. Which all leant to a feeling of "I hope they never tare this place down." 
Just as a side note: If you don't know, Diana and I are both from Brooklyn. Born and raised Bedstuy. CONEY ISLAND IS A NEIGHBORHOOD not the boardwalk and theme park. The theme park was named, Astro Land, not Coney Island. I haven't been there in a couple years, but I believe they've rebuilt or are in the process of rebuilding and it has been renamed, Luna Park as well. Moving on,

We walked down the main strip after meeting Rachel at Luna Park, and found a Fish&Chips spot to patronage. Good conversation and good food led to us walking it off. We ended up at St. Kilda Pier where it was so windy, the kite surfers were pulled over 5ft out of the water at times. We walked to the rocky outcrop and searched for penguins, no luck. The weather began to turn for the worst so we decided to head home. 

We ended the night with some good wine and the movie Hot Rod.....SMH, why haven't I seen this movie before....
Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
As three blind mice?

Day 159: From Queens Come Kings

Talk about a LONG day, get it... l  o  n  g  day? sorry, moving on
We started out our saturday by heading over to Victoria Market. Souvenir and odds & ends shopping was in order. This is a must see for any trip, any where you go. A market is the epi-center for daily happenings. You really get to see the people, and see the culture. After quite a few purchases, we headed over to Brunswick St. This is a really artsy and eclectic area in Fitzroy. Even better when it comes to raw photography opportunities. The graffiti is decadent and plentiful. The colors pop from their surfaces and the images are ever changing. This lil trip turned into a 3hr photo-shoot. It was too much fun, and I am glad we had friends around to join in and enjoy the experience with. We soon stopped by the Rose St. Artist market. Diana and I, without fail, found more pieces of art from our favorite Melb. Artist, Carey Potter. The guys found their own pieces around the market and we all left very satisfied with our purchases.  

The evening took us around the city, with our first stop for dinner and drinks at Town Hall for our friend "Antwan's" Birthday hahaha.. still full from the meat-pie the night before, it was a little less dinner and a lil more drinking. We moved on from Town Hall to a place where we heard there would be a live band playing FUNK and specializing in JAMES BROWN, OOOOWWWWW!! We're there man! Free entry, not too crowded, and great live cover band. We danced, and danced, and danced. The vibe was amazing and the group we came with showed no signs of being shy. And, we danced. The night ended at a club named H.Q.   
We should have stayed at the Night Cat. Nevertheless, we'll be back for Salsa Sunday!!

Day 158: Meat-Pies Not Magpies

What trip to Australia would be complete without experiencing the country's national sport? (which Ironically turns out to be primarily regional to Victoria) We went to see a game of Footy. Hawthorne Hawks vs Geelong Cats. SNORRR... sorry. I without a doubt respect the game. I love the fans even more. Buttt......In the way of organized sports, there is way too much chaos for me to know or follow whats going on. When I have the brain power to educate myself further I will. I've attended several games and have eaten a (mystery) meat-pie, I'm 25% Aussie already. 
Speaking of Meat-Pie (mind out of the gutter please)   
Second right of passage for our out of town guest, was the meat-pie. So gloriously wrapped in plastic and steamed to a crispy mush. Odd how that happens. They went in. Armed with napkins and a kilo of tomato sauce, Craig and Ron began padding their colons. Still alive, they professed their love for australia, turned into Kangaroos and began boxing all the fans, haha. At least that's what I was dreaming as I slept through the first half of the game. Meat-pies, check. Footy game, check. The list is slowly getting smaller. 

We ended the night by going out to a club, that Diana and I had not been to. It is close to the house, and if the night turned out like every other, it would make for a quick walk to Maccas (Australian for McDonalds) and back home. Fabrique looks cool from the outside. The architecture is old Melbourne and the inside is all N.Y. Meatpacking District. The DJ was better than most and there was cheap cheap bottle service. Shhhh don't tell anyone I told you. Supposedly, there is a law against bottle service in Melbourne, someone didn't get the memo. Nonetheless, we did it. Got settled at our table and had a seriously fun night out on the town. The girls will be here in Oct. so you know I can't wait for part II with the sexy ladies :D 

Day 157: 'Cause I've got friends in low places

Welcome Down Unda!!

So its been a couple days and the guys love it down here, as much as I do! Hence the Garth Brooks Ref. in the Title. We spent the entire morning goofing off and managed to hit the "studio" to finish recording a song for Diana. Aptly named, First Lady. We're honestly a bunch of clowns, but I wouldn't have it any other way. We all agreed that the 25hr, 10k+mile journey, was all for us to play on an island continent. We told Diana not to worry, we'd perform the song for her later. And oh, how convenient it was, that we were to meet up for lunch with the co-workers!

We met with Diana's work-mates for Yum Cha at Lucky Chans. It was Delish! Now for some reason, chicken feet here are meant for the uninitiated. They come out looking lightly floured, glazed and delicious. So I guess its more of what they are than how they taste. Either way Ron and Craig were initiated into the Yum Cha Family. Funny, I have not had them yet, way to slip under the radar! I will get them next time. 

"Cause I've got friends in low places 
Where the whiskey drowns 
And the beer chases my blues away 
And I'll be okay 
I'm not big on social graces 
Think I'll slip on down to the oasis 
Oh, I've got friends in low places"