#91 - If You Build It, They Will Come... And Be Puzzled By Some Of The Choices You Made

While we're on the subject of image collections culled from the Internets, my homegirl Hope--whose blog about living in a thin-floored condo under a hot-to-trot couple with a newborn baby can be found here--sent these my way.

Having done my time working construction I understand how these things can happen. Well, some of them.

Rent isn't the only thing that's steep in this neighborhood.

This HAS to be in New York City. One of those big old pre-war apartments that was rezoned into about 35 little condos. I can almost overlook the electrical outlet in the shower--I guess you could plug it up and hope to survive--but keeping your toilet paper in the shower? It's just not going to work, man.


Who's your architect? M.C. Escher?

I see what you did there. No. Wait. No I don't.

Well, it adds a sense of drama to looking out the window!

This just can't end well.

This one's awesome. What I wonder is, did they build the balconies around the lamp post, or install the lamp post through the balconies? It's clearly a new construction which leads me to believe the lamp post was already there. Can you imagine what a pain in the ass it must have been to frame not one, but two balconies that way? Also, how friggin' BRIGHT is it going to be in that second story apartment?

I can just hear the argument between the architect and the contractor. "Look you son of a bitch, IT WAS IN THE FUCKING PLANS!"

Going up! And... now we're not.

Only very, very lazy people take the elevator to floor 2 1/8.

My Russian's not very good, but I believe this must be the entrance to the Moscow campus of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

#90 - What's With All The Orange Guidos?

A couple questions:

1. New Yorkers, New Jersiers, do you guys actually see these people walking around?

2. How did this trend start and why does it continue?

3. If you apply so much fake tanning product to your face that you look like a tangerine, don't you stay home, even if it is Friday night?

4. Who is formulating this incredibly powerful fake tanning stuff? Freakin' Eskimos who have no idea what a tan is supposed to look like?

"Nanook. Do you think this looks "tan?"

"Tan? What is this "tan" of which you speak? Is that the kind of snow where it's really sloppy and wet and then it freezes into like a crunchy kind of icy topcoat and it's really slippery?"

"No, silly Agloolik. Tan is what happens to your skin when you are exposed to the sun."

"Sun? Is that the kind of snow..."


Ay oh! Oh Ay! I'm pointin' here!

Okay, these guys are actually pretty good looking and they seem to be having fun.

The dude on the right, I believe, is one of the Prompalloopas you'll see below. That means this is an actual pattern of behavior for him. Cool!

Ah the Prompaloompas. A night they'll never forget.

What was the theme of that year's prom? The Dangers of Global Warming? Life on the Sun?

Check out my man in red. He's having all the fun of a henpecked husband taking out a particularly stinky bag of trash.

No, Glen seriously, it looks fine. Please put me down now.

This guy parties with PLAYOFF INTENSITY!

Holy hell! Why did you allow someone to take your picture?

Galaxy of kissyface d00ds.

You know, it looks silly to me, but if it works on the ladies, fuck it. Carry on, good sir.

#89 - Top of the World

Here's a story I wrote for Desert Living about sailing to Antarctica. I hope you like it. If you'd like to see a PDF of the way it laid out in the mag, email [email protected].

Plenty of pictures at the end of the story.

Top of the World, Ma by Chris Connolly
It was amazing. If you sat still for a scant few minutes, the penguins would waddle right up and investigate your boots with their bright orange beaks.

Being careful not to frighten my plump new friends, I sank back slowly into the snow and closed my eyes. Sure enough, just as my guides had advised, within moments I felt a pair of scratchy, webbed feet alight on my right shin, tighten momentarily while the bird regained balance, then relax. It was official: there was a penguin sitting on my leg.
I had secured my camera in a zippered inner pocket to protect it during the frigid and bumpy Zodiac trip from the ship to the mainland, and as I savored the feeling of the penguin perching on me I wondered if I should risk trying to retrieve it.

Some travel memories can be encapsulated in a photograph, while others are so ephemeral that any attempt to document them scatters them to the winds. If you travel a couple hours to see Buckingham Palace, definitely take a picture with one of the guards. If you’re in Pisa, don’t feel touristy if take one of those pictures where it looks like you’re holding up the leaning tower—it’s fun. However, if you’ve made it to the very top of the world, Antarctica, and there’s a penguin making its way up your leg, don’t roll the dice on the moment by reaching for your camera. Besides, if your shipmates have any sense at all, one of them will recognize the grandeur of the moment and snap a few frames on your behalf.

Antarctica for me, represented both a destination and a crossroads; or, perhaps I should say, a journey that culminated at a crossroads. Literally, I had come from the US, spent a few eye-openingly wonderful days in Argentina, boarded the sturdy ship Antarctic Dream, crossed the Drake Passage—the world’s roughest stretch of sea—and finally, on that steely gray morning, planted my boots on the Antarctic continent for inspection by penguins. And while that was certainly a long journey fraught with excitement and anticipation, in a figurative sense, I had come even further than that.

My love of travel was born of two-inch advertisement in the back of a New Yorker magazine when I about nine years old. I’d been thumbing idly through the pages when I came upon an ad offering travel to the South Pole. I brought the page to my mother and requested, with all the tragic earnestness of an infatuated nine-year-old, that we take our next family vacation there.

Dubious, but never one to discourage ambition, my mother told me to call the company and get some information. I did so and reported that trip cost $22,000 per person and took 3 months and shouldn’t we start packing?

Upon hearing this, my mother admitted that spending a hundred thousand dollars to lead me and my seven-year-old brother on a reenactment of the Shakleton expedition was less appealing to her than, for example, going to visit my grandparents in Florida. I was crestfallen. I don’t think I threw a tantrum, exactly—even at that tender age I could sense the trip was beyond our means—but there was a melancholy sense of reality and finality in realizing that I might never get to see Antarctica. I sulked for a few minutes, then I sprang into action: I rounded up all the fans in the house and established them around my bed. Then I turned them on full force, got my mother’s old fur coat and huddled under it while pretending to weather an Antarctic storm.

I slept in that situation, or in a modified, single-fan version of it, for about two years. To this day, in fact, I like to sleep with a fan on or a window open even in the winter, and I consciously trace the heritage of that preference back to the nights I spent huddled under mom’s fur coat.

When I sank back into the pristine snows of that glacier (well, pristine if you discount penguin poop,) and felt those webbed feet scratching around for purchase on the slippery surface of my advanced performance pants, the moment represented a great personal convergence for me. Antarctica was the seventh and final continent I’d visited and when I closed my eyes and reflected on all the miles I’d traveled—not merely on the Antarctic Dream, but from under my mother’s fur coat in my bedroom nearly 30 years ago—I could almost reach out across time and space and shake hands with my nine-year-old self.

“Congratulations, kid. We made it.”

How do you take a picture of that?


This was the first place we landed. Still pretty far south in the Shettland Islands. That's me and a fur seal, which, confusingly, is a sea lion, not a seal.

Here are some whale vertebrae.

I like to dive right into new experiences.

Swimming in the Southern Ocean. We're at the foot of a volcano here and the water in the square beach pool is really hot. You'd go in the hot water to raise your body temperature, then you could swim in the freezing ocean...

...unless you were this lady from Minnesota. She just went in the ocean and stayed there. At one point during our journey I was looking over the rails of the ship and I asked the expedition leader, "If I fell off this boat, is there any way I'd live?" He said no. He said you'd freeze to death before they could even get the ship turned around. But this woman, I swear to you, swam in the Southern Ocean for at least 50 minutes. She didn't even mess with the hot water. She just dove into the ocean and kept shouting, "It's not that bad! Come on in!"

I could stare at icebergs for hours at a time.

This iceberg was about the size of Yankee Stadium.

This was taken on a Zodiac going from the mainland back to the ship. Right after this was snapped I saw a 12-foot-long leopard seal pick a penguin off an ice floe and swallow it whole.

This is an emperor penguin, the largest type of penguin. Usually, if you want to see one of these guys you have to go way inland, but we spotted this massive fellow on an outlying island. He was probably heading back home and stopped to rest.

Because it was there.

Waiting for penguins to perch.

More thoughts on Antarctica here, here and here.


Why is "wildly inappropriate" so often also "exactly right?"

click to enlarge image

#68 (Continued) - People Whose Asses Are Wider Than Their Shopping Carts, A Photo Essay

I often wondered if I'd ever see this: An ass wider than a CostCo shopping cart! A CostCo-sized ass is, to the serious student of ass-to-shopping-cart-wideness ratios, the equivilent of a lepidopterist finally glimpsing the illusive Queen Alexandra's Birdwing. I like how this guy is a fan of Prince Fielder, too. Because among major league ballplayers, Prince Fielder is the only one I can think of who's own ass might approach the width of a CostCo cart. Thanks to Josh for the picture.

Here's another one. This lady was surprisingly fast.

#88 - It's Go Time!

Let's do this.

A Michael J. Fox high five to annon /b/tard for image and caption.

#87 - Oliver Art

Although perhaps it's not as complex and interactive as his installation piece Small Flat Things Jammed in Papa's DVD Drive, I nonetheless find Oliver's latest work compelling.

Almost Ampersand
Rendered in Cheese Stick on Wall Paint, 5.2008

The artist with his creation.

#27 - The Yankees Win the World Series!

Man. I guess I knew this would happen, but I didn't know the Yanks winning their 27th World Series would be so sweet!

"But Chris," you say, "the season's young, how do you know the Yanks are going to win the World Series?" Well, I'll tell you.

Tonight I was peeling a cucumber and listening to the Yankee game on the radio when Alex Rodriguez came up for his first at bat of the season. For those of you who don't know, the Yanks have been floundering in the early goings, and A Rod's return from hip surgery has been much anticipated. There I was, innocently peeling, when Alex's much-ballyhooed debut at the plate came around. There were two on in the first, and I was just slicing off the last strip of rind when two things happened at the same time: First, A Rod hit an A Bomb for three runs; and second, as I raised my arms to cheer, the last piece of peel slipped off my knife, fell to the floor, and landed on its end like this!

Hell yeah it landed like that! Forgive the quality of the pics, but I took them on my cell phone which was ringing off the hook. Anyway, I consider that pretty much incontrovertible evidence the Yanks will take it all this season. Congrats to all my fellow fans.

In this picture you can see my dog rushing in to consume the Miracle in Madison. It's gone now, and there's nothing we can do, but at least we'll always have that #27 banner to admire. And by the way, I realize the floor's kind of dirty, but hey, Max had just finished tossing a 1/4 pound of Cheerios all over the place, so I hope I get a pass.

Dinner was delicious. We were in a bit of a rush, so it was just simple, fresh Tuscan food tonight.

Rack of Yankee Dominance

Heat oven to 350. Dry rack of baby lamb with paper towels and rub liberally with salt, pepper and, if you wish, fennel seeds. (I prefer New Zealand or Australian lamb to American. Here's why.) Put a skillet on the stovetop over low heat for 10 minutes or more. Slice off a few razor thin strips of the lamb's fat cap and render them in the pan, starting over low heat and gradually increasing the flame until the fat barely begins to smoke. (Or, even better, just before it begins to smoke.) Pour 1 tbsp grapeseed oil into the rendered fat to raise the smoke point and allow the pan to reachieve temperature. Put the lamb in the pan, fat side down, and sear the crap out of it, pressing down with tongs to ensure even browning. Flip the rack over, briefly sear the underside of the rack, 10-15 seconds should do it, and slide the pan in the oven to finish--7-10 minutes depending on how you like your lamb. Rest the rack for 5 minutes on a cutting board, slice into chops and serve. The people who like better done lamb get the ends, the people who like rare get the middle. If you have two people, like my wife and me, who like a combo of better done and rare chops, just cut the rack in two at the outset and follow these instructions with two mini-racks in the same pan. You can even sear the outside ends of each mini-rack if you want extra crutstiliciousness.

When you get the feel of how your oven works when applying this technique, try this: Take the lamb out after 4 minutes, instead of 7-10, then rest it in the hot cooking pan instead of on a cutting board. To keep things nice and hot, baste the meat with the rendered fat and juices every 45 seconds or so. This will maintain the carryover cooking you would have achieved in the oven and will also crisp up your crust the way a nice serving of steroids helps a good ballplayer.

Yankees win! Theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Yankees win!