All posts by Joe

For the Ghosts of Greenwich Village…

For the Ghosts of Greenwich Village

As I sit in a basement bar on Macdougal Street.

I feel you.

Your presence is palpable.

Kerouac.

Ginsberg.

Gibran.

Wolf.

Thomas.

And so many others.

I feel you as I walk down the streets.

As I sit in the bars and cafes.

The same streets that you walked.

And some of the cafes that you worked in.

Drank in.

The same streets that you called home.

That inspired you.

And today as I sit in a basement bar.

Drinking a cold beer,

I thank you.

For changing things.

With your art.

With your words.

And for inspiring so many people.

Still; today.

And for—in a way—changing me.

Even if just a little.

That is enough.

Thank you.

For the Ghosts of Greenwich Village…

For the Ghosts of Greenwich Village 

As I sit in a basement bar on Macdougal Street.
I feel you.
Your presence is palpable.
Kerouac.
Ginsberg.
Gibran.
Wolf.
Thomas.
And so many others.
I feel you as I walk down the streets.
As I sit in the bars and cafes.
The same streets that you walked.
And some of the cafes that you worked in.
Drank in.
The same streets that you called home.
That inspired you.
And today as I sit at a bar.
Drinking a cold beer. 
I thank you.
For changing things.
With your art.
With your words.
And for inspiring so many people.
Still; today.
And for—in a way—changing me.
Even if just a little.
But that is enough. 
Today I think of you.
And thank you.

Illuminated!

So I went to Canalside tonight to see the grain elevator illuminated and it did not disappoint. It was designed by Ambiances Design and will be lit 365 evenings a year starting tonight. The scenes on the elevator changed, representing the seasons of Western New York, and I have to say it was pretty spectacular. I also have to add how blown away I was by the sheer volume of people on the waterfront on this unseasonably warm November evening. The work and progress that has been done and continues to be done there is truly impressive. I’ve ridden my bike in that area for many years, and for many years it was a desolate industrial wasteland (I would be nervous being by myself even in the day time), but now it has been transformed into an all ages family-friendly waterfront. And this is just another example. Anyhow, click any photo for a slightly larger view.


Urban Simplicity.

Illuminated!

So I went to Canalside tonight to see on of Buffalo’s iconic grain elevator illuminated and it did not disappoint. It was designed by Ambiances Design and will be lit 365 evenings a year starting tonight. The scenes on the elevator changed, representing the seasons of Western New York, and I have to say it was pretty spectacular. I also have to add how blown away I was by the sheer volume of people on the waterfront on this unseasonably warm November evening. The work and progress that has been done and continues to be done there is truly impressive. I’ve ridden my bike in that area for many years, and for many years it was a desolate industrial wasteland (I would be nervous being by myself even in the day time), but now it has been transformed into an all ages family-friendly waterfront. And this is just another example. Anyhow, click any photo for a slightly larger view.


Urban Simplicity.

Two photos; two evenings

I suppose this post could easily be filed under “shameless self-promotion,” but hey, someone has do do it. Anyhow, if you happen to be in the Western New York area there are two events this week where my photos will serve as the backdrop.

The first is this Thursday (11/5) at Burchfield Penny Arts Center. There is a performance hosted by Haiku for Buffalo and the Buffalo Architecture Foundation. It’s a free event and open to all. The above photo (of Kleinhans Music Hall) will serve as a backdrop for at last part of the show. Here is a link with information about the performance(s).

The next night, Friday (11/6) there will be a book opening at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center. My photo of one of my favorite watering holes is featured as the book cover (pictured below). The editors and some of the writers will be present. Here is a link with additional information about the book and the event. Hope to see you there…

Urban Simplicity.

Two photos; two evenings

I suppose this post could easily be filed under “shameless self-promotion,” but hey, someone has do do it. Anyhow, if you happen to be in the Western New York area there are two events this week where my photos will serve as the backdrop.

The first is this Thursday (11/5) at Burchfield Penny Arts Center. There is a performance hosted by Haiku for Buffalo and the Buffalo Architecture Foundation. It’s a free event and open to all. The above photo (of Kleinhans Music Hall) will serve as a backdrop for at least part of the show. Here is a link with information about the performance(s).

The next night, Friday (11/6) there will be a book opening at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center. My photo of one of my favorite watering holes is featured as the book cover (pictured below). The editors and some of the writers will be present. Here is a link with additional information about the book and the event. Hope to see you there…

Urban Simplicity.

Things that can be carried on a bike (#678)…

$170 in groceries, sundries, and dog food. Three liters of red wine. And a double order of Chinese take out.

Now if I were the type of person that liked to scrunch words together and put a number symbol in front of them (which of course is also known as a hashtag), I would likely do it to the following phrases… cars are optional, bicycles are vehicles, human powered, be the change you want to see, and freedom (and yes, I am aware the last one is a word and not a phrase but that’s what makes it special I suppose).

Urban Simplicity.

Things that can be carried on a bike (#678)…

$170 in groceries, sundries, and dog food. Three liters of red wine. And a double order of Chinese take out.

Now if I were the type of person that liked to scrunch words together and put a number symbol in front of them (which of course is also known as a hashtag), I would likely do it to the following phrases… cars are optional, bicycles are vehicles, human powered, be the change you want to see, and freedom (and yes, I am aware the last one is a word and not a phrase but that’s what makes it special I suppose).

Urban Simplicity.

The view from my handlebars…

Some years ago I worked with a waiter who was from France, and he told me one of the things he noticed straight away about Buffalo was its trees…how even some of our busier streets have such beautiful and grand trees. The weather has been so incredibly idyllic and autumnal these last few weeks I have been in awe of the magnificent colors of the trees. And–as I’ve said on numerous occasions–one tends to see more when they are on a bike or foot. Anyhow, the above photo and the first two below were taken this evening on my way home from my second job (they were all taken on Linwood Avenue, which has a great two-way bike lane), and the bottom photo was taken in the morning on my way to my first job (Elmwood Avenue). This evening I was in fact so taken by the colors that I was looking up and almost ran into the rear of a parked car. Click any photo for a slightly larger image.

Urban Simplicity.

The view from my handlebars…

Some years ago I worked with a waiter who was from France, and he told me one of the things he noticed straight away about Buffalo was its trees…how even some of our busier streets have such beautiful and grand trees. The weather has been so incredibly idyllic and autumnal these last few weeks I have been in awe of the magnificent colors of the trees. And–as I’ve said on numerous occasions–one tends to see more when they are on a bike or foot. Anyhow, the above photo and the first two below were taken this evening on my way home from my second job (they were all taken on Linwood Avenue, which has a great two-way bike lane), and the bottom photo was taken in the morning on my way to my first job (Elmwood Avenue). This evening I was in fact so taken by the colors that I was looking up and almost ran into the rear of a parked car. Click any photo for a slightly larger image.

Urban Simplicity.

Things that can be carried on a bike (#677), and a few things I saw along the way…

On the bike… two 8′ boards, a new log rack, a tripod, a camera bag, a smoke detector, duct tape, and 3 liters of red wine.

I had to go the the big box hardware store today, which is about 4.5 miles from my house, so I brought my camera to make it more interesting. Sometimes it’s not so much about the destination as it is the journey. At least that’s what I’ve read. Anyhow the photos below are as follows. The building below is where Spot Coffee is located, the photo isn’t so much abut that building or business as it it the billboard located on it’s roof. Next is the Church of the Assumption in the Black Rock neighborhood of Buffalo (as seen from an overpass). Below that is the iconic HH Richardson Towers (also known as the Buffalo Psych Center). Next is Colonial Circle. Then a random railroad track photo. And finally, the view of the evening autumn sky from my front porch, shorty after arriving home. I haven’t made it to the gym in more than a week for a few reasons, but today I road probably 12 miles on a really heavy bike into the wind while loaded with a few things. I was huffing and puffing. And now I am tired 😉

Urban Simplicity

Things that can be carried on a bike (#677), and a few things I saw along the way…

On the bike… two 8′ boards, a new log rack, a tripod, a camera bag, a smoke detector, duct tape, and 3 liters of red wine.

I had to go the the big box hardware store today, which is about 4.5 miles from my house, so I brought my camera to make it more interesting. Sometimes it’s not so much about the destination as it is the journey. At least that’s what I’ve read. Anyhow the photos below are as follows. The building below is where Spot Coffee is located, the photo isn’t so much abut that building or business as it it the billboard located on it’s roof. Next is the Church of the Assumption in the Black Rock neighborhood of Buffalo (as seen from an overpass). Below that is the iconic HH Richardson Towers (also known as the Buffalo Psych Center). Next is Colonial Circle. Then a random railroad track photo. And finally, the view of the evening autumn sky from my front porch, shorty after arriving home. I haven’t made it to the gym in more than a week for a few reasons, but today I road probably 12 miles on a really heavy bike into the wind while loaded with a few things. I was huffing and puffing. And now I am tired 😉

Urban Simplicity

October 1982…

So recently I came across a box with some old things in it. One of them was a composition notebook with some lyrics/poems I had written. One of the poems, which was untitled, was simply dated “October 1982.” At the time I was out of high school for a just few years, both my parents had all ready made their earthly transition, and I was working as a cook in a Greek diner. The thought of a blog or the internet at the time would have been science fiction. So I wrote things down. This was one of my earliest journals. I would have been 21 years old at the time. In many ways I feel like I’m a different person since then, but at the same time I am very much the same. What struck me about this particular poem was my voice…I could have written this today. Some, I think, who may have known me for a while, were surprised when I attended seminary a few years ago (after being a cook for much of my life). It’s not as if I had this sudden epiphany, I’ve been me all these years. I’ve just finally had the courage to say so. Or maybe things simply bubbled over. Anyhow, when I read this poem I realized I hadn’t changed all that much in 34 years (okay, my knees and back didn’t hurt back then). Anyhow, here’s an excerpt…

You may not believe in

organized religion

but the truth of God is real.

Everybody is

created equal

no matter what their race or creed.

We are all the same.


Urban Simplicity.

Chasing Light…

So as many of you know I have been voluntarily car-free for a few years now. It does have it’s hardships now and again (I’d be fibbing if I said otherwise) but the good far outweighs the negative (as is with most things in life). This said, one of the things I love about being on a bike is seeing all that is around me and in all weather conditions. And two of my favorite times to shoot photos are dawn and dusk. I am up at dawn a few times a week for work but usually do not have time to take photos, thus most of them are shot at dusk. The French have a phrase for these times of day…l’heure bleue (the blue hour) because of the distinctive blue hue the sky often takes and the way colors are enhanced. A camera has three ways in which one can manipulate how much light enters it and for how long, this is called the “exposure triangle.” There is also, of course, post-upload software to help enhance photos. But with the camera itself, and the software, nothing can compare to what natural light offers to a photo. And with this in mind–when I have the intention of going out to take photos in the evening–I usually time it…I check the sunset time and head out with enough time to set up my camera and have a beer or glass of wine. The thing is I often under-shoot the time, meaning I cut myself short and have to hurry. Sometimes I think I must look like a crazy person; the waterfront is about 2 or 3 miles from my house and I can only imagine the sight of me…a middle aged guy on a bike pedaling as fast as he can while looking at the sky. The perfect light only lasts minutes, sometimes seconds; one minute can drastically change a photo’s look. This is why I think of it as “chasing light.”

Urban Simplicity.

Chasing Light…

So as many of you know I have been voluntarily car-free for a few years now. It does have it’s hardships now and again (I’d be fibbing if I said otherwise) but the good far outweighs the negative (as is with most things in life). This said, one of the things I love about being on a bike is seeing all that is around me and in all weather conditions. And two of my favorite times to shoot photos are dawn and dusk. I am up at dawn a few times a week for work but usually do not have time to take photos, thus most of them are shot at dusk. The French have a phrase for these times of day…l’heure bleue (the blue hour) because of the distinctive blue hue the sky often takes and the way colors are enhanced. A camera has three ways in which one can manipulate how much light enters it and for how long, this is called the “exposure triangle.” There is also, of course, post-upload software to help enhance photos. But with the camera itself, and the software, nothing can compare to what natural light offers to a photo. And with this in mind–when I have the intention of going out to take photos in the evening–I usually time it…I check the sunset time and head out with enough time to set up my camera and have a beer or glass of wine. The thing is I often under-shoot the time, meaning I cut myself short and have to hurry. Sometimes I think I must look like a crazy person; the waterfront is about 2 or 3 miles from my house and I can only imagine the sight of me…a middle aged guy on a bike pedaling as fast as he can while looking at the sky. The perfect light only lasts minutes, sometimes seconds; one minute can drastically change a photo’s look. This is why I think of it as “chasing light.”

Urban Simplicity.

Pasta with Broccoli, Garlic, Oil, and Other Good Things…

I have posted this recipe–or variations of it–on other occasions, but not in a while. It is one of my favorites. And besides being so simple to make, it is also delicious, nutritious, and inexpensive. The recipe below is a basic one, but add or remove whichever ingredients you prefer. This recipe is delicious and applicable with most vegetable, and proteins as well. For recipes similar to this, click here.

Penne with Garlic, Oil, Broccoli, and Chicken Broth

Makes about 4 servings

3/4 pound whole wheat penne

1/2 cup virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon crushed hot pepper

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups chopped broccoli florets

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta and drain it. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet with the garlic and hot pepper flakes. When the garlic just starts to change color add the chicken broth and salt. Cook the broth for one minute, until it reduces by half, and then add the broccoli. Toss the broccoli for a few minutes. Add the cooked pasta, and stir it until thoroughly coated with the other ingredients. Stir in the cheese just before serving.

Pasta with Broccoli, Garlic, Oil, and Other Good Things…

I have posted this recipe–or variations of it–on other occasions, but not in a while. It is one of my favorites. And besides being so simple to make, it is also delicious, nutritious, and inexpensive. The recipe below is a basic one, but add or remove whichever ingredients you prefer. This recipe is delicious and applicable with most vegetable, and proteins as well. For recipes similar to this, click here.

Penne with Garlic, Oil, Broccoli, and Chicken Broth 
Makes about 4 servings 
3/4 pound whole wheat penne 
1/2 cup virgin olive oil 
1 tablespoon minced garlic 
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot pepper 
1/2 cup chicken broth 
1/4 teaspoon sea salt 
2 cups chopped broccoli florets 
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 
 
Cook the pasta and drain it. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet with the garlic and hot pepper flakes. When the garlic just starts to change color add the chicken broth and salt. Cook the broth for one minute, until it reduces by half, and then add the broccoli. Toss the broccoli for a few minutes. Add the cooked pasta, and stir it until thoroughly coated with the other ingredients. Stir in the cheese just before serving. 

Sister Autumn

Sister Autumn

Sometimes you arrive so gradually

That I barley notice

There’s a slight shift

Balmy days

Give way to cool nights

Warm breezes

To chilly winds

Early nights announce you

But I don’t listen

You deceive me

Flowers still bloom

There are leaves on trees

But here you are

As if the door was left ajar

And you slipped in

Quietly

And sat down

With just a whisper

But now that I look

I see you

And I smile

Warm days and chilly nights

You are my favorite

But you know this

Your embrace

With freshness in the air

Is all-encompassing

And it comforts me

I hug you with all my senses

And I don’t want to release you

Because it’s your brother

Winter

Whom I’ve begun to dread

And he’s just behind you

For him

There is preparation

But for now

I solely embrace you

Sister Autumn

With your incredible beauty in decay

Signaling another cycle

Another year’s end

A reminder

But for now

Your embrace is enough

It fills me

And I overflow

Urban Simplicity

Sister Autumn

Sister Autumn 
Sometimes you arrive so gradually
That I barley notice
There’s a slight shift
Balmy days
Give way to cool nights
Warm breezes
To chilly winds
Early nights announce you
But I don’t listen
You deceive me
Flowers still bloom
There are leaves on trees
But here you are
As if the door was left ajar
And you slipped in
Quietly
And sat down
With just a whisper
But now that I look
I see you
And I smile
Warm days and chilly nights
You are my favorite
But you know this
Your embrace
With freshness in the air
Is all-encompassing
And it comforts me
I hug you with all my senses
And I don’t want to release you
Because it’s your brother
Winter
Whom I’ve begun to dread
And he’s just behind you
For him
There is preparation
But for now
I solely embrace you
Sister Autumn
With your incredible beauty in decay
Signaling another cycle
Another year’s end
A reminder
But for now
Your embrace is enough
It fills me
And I overflow

Urban Simplicity

La Luna Roja!

Shine and shimmer my harvest moon, Illuminate the shadows of the sky.”

A.F. Stewart, Reflections of Poetry

These photos were all shot a week ago, on the evening of the harvest moon/blood moon/super moon/lunar eclipse. Some were shot on Buffalo’s beautiful waterfront, while others were shot from the sidewalk in front of my house. They are not all of the moon, of course, but that was the real star of the show that evening. It was a pretty incredible sight. Anyhow, click any photo for a slightly larger view.

Urban Simplicity.