AMBER SEXTON New York City 917-207-2375

Monday, November 11, 2013

Rollei film backlog, family and friends

image by Amber Sexton

This time there were quite a lot of pictures from the beach house that my dad and his wife rent each year. And there were many naked pictures of my twin sisters, only one of which I can show here in a public web page. This film is perhaps not the oldest I have, the girls are nine now and perhaps they are two or three here. I made many versions of this frame, and I like some of the color ones, but so far this is the only image I have really preferred with a black and white, slightly toned treatment.

I shall swallow my pride and show a decidedly unglamorous shot of myself and my niece at an adorable age. She’s a gorgeously tall teenager now. 
image by Amber Sexton

And here she is on her own being super cute.
image by Amber Sexton

My biggest little sister, with my littlest little sister.
image by Amber Sexton

Some pictures of the same view I seem to take each year, headed down to the beach.
image by Amber Sexton

This one I really like
image by Amber Sexton

I had got in one roll from Venice, that I was really bored by the images on, and also a roll of old Mermaid parade pictures that I felt the same about. But here’s a couple frames from a friends old apartment. I used to babysit their birds and cat on weekends. This first one, I’m not sure what I was attempting but I sort of like it.
image by Amber Sexton

And here are said birds. The guy in the foreground is Peepster, one of the most interesting creatures I’ve ever met and certainly the bird with the most personality I have ever known personally. A mourning dove who was pushed out of the nest and rescued by my friend Joanna Belby. The bird in the background is his companion Emma who is a domestic ringed neck dove. Anyway, both creatures have sadly shed their mortal coil but I have fond memories of each.
image by Amber Sexton

I’m facing a situation where I have an amount of backlog left, where if I keep sending the same number of rolls each payday, I will not finish by the end of the year. This had been a new years resolution, but while I wasn’t working I had to pause, and it took a while to bounce back. I could send double the amount and be done by the end of the year, I’m thinking that over. My rollei related resolution for next year is to get some repair work done on the camera. I’m pretty sure the shutter speeds need help.

Posted by Amber Sexton on 11/11 at 01:31 AM
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Saturday, September 21, 2013

I have another book review up on People.com

image by Amber Sexton

Obviously I love this book it’s particularly close to my heart. So glad it made it in.

Posted by Amber Sexton on 09/21 at 03:38 AM
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Monday, September 09, 2013

Cheap prints or just enjoy the slideshows

Hey these are dirt cheap prints of my Instagram or Rollei backlog photos. Or just enjoy seeing them fly by in slideshow form.

Summer pics 2013


Summer pictures 2013 - Images by Amber Sexton

New York stuff, summery in nature


New York City pictures, print gallery 2 - Images by Amber Sexton

Italy 2005 from my Rollei film


Italy 2005 - Images by Amber Sexton

If you want to order a print, you click on it, go to the gallery and you have to click “Add to Cart” before print sizes and prices show up.

Posted by Amber Sexton on 09/09 at 05:05 AM
New YorkPrints for saleRollei filmTravelPermalink

Monday, September 02, 2013

Corpse Reviver #2

image by Amber Sexton

This drink is the most popular drink I’ve ever made, it’s possibly my favorite thing to drink at this point and I swear it should be a new brunch favorite. In honor of Labor Day, make what I consider the ultimate morning after drink, which you can then keep drinking all day. Apparently corpse revivers were a category of drink from around the turn of the century, as hair of the dog type drinks, and there were a number of them. Only the #1 and the #2 survive as recipes currently, and of those only #2 is really what we would think of as a morning, or brunch type drink. And brunchy it is in spades. It’s more alcoholic than the mimosa, but easily quaffed quickly unlike a bloody. It’s also not hard to make, or remember how to make, but the fact that it has one expensive ingredient makes it less accessible to serve at home unless you are serious about amateur mixology.

And that ingredient my friends is absinthe. Before I made my own corpse reviver #2, I ordered it at a bar which specializes in classic cocktails, to see if I wanted to spring for an expensive bottle of the green stuff. Since it was love from sip one, there was no question, plus owning absinthe opens a whole new world of drinks to make at home including the sazerac. There is no skimping on absinthe, do not use the aqua colored fake “Czech” stuff. It is going to run you between $40-$60 and will last forever unless you get into drinking it with sugar and water. You can use a non-absinthe pastis if you like such as Pernod. And since most of us are not going to be able to taste a bunch of pastis/absinthe, do what I did and go to The Wormwood Society‘s page on your smart phone when you are in the liquor store and buy one with a good rating, you would be surprised which ones get critical pans on that site. In my store the only one they had which didn’t have terrible reviews was an American absinthe from Philadelphia Distilling called Vieux Carré. The same people who bring you Bluecoat Gin.

image by Amber Sexton

The Corpse Reviver #2 requires an absinthe rinse on the glass, please do not think you can skip this step, it is simply not the same beverage without it. To really do a rinse you are going to have to dispense your absinthe into either an elegant dasher bottle if you can find one, or do the déclassé thing and use a small spray bottle like me. You don’t want to try pouring the tiny amount from a giant heavy bottle. I use the funnel for my flask to fill my sprayer bottle.

image by Amber Sexton

So now chill a glass as we assemble the other ingredients. Gin, Lillet (or a Kina Lillet simulacrum like Cocchi Americano or Kina L’Avion D’or if you can find them), lemons and your orange liqueur of choice.

image by Amber Sexton

The recipe is a simple 1:1:1:1 of these ingredients, plus an absinthe rinse on a chilled glass. Surely even with a splitting headache you can remember this. For a single cocktail mix:

3/4 oz Gin
3/4 oz Triple sec/Curacao of choice
3/4 oz Lillet Blanc
3/4 oz lemon juice

Place in a shaker with ice, shake till ice cold, prepare your glass with absinthe rinse (more on that below) and strain into it to serve. Viola.

For gin use anything that is mixable, here I have Greenhook, but you can go Plymouth, and the limited edition Tanqueray Malacca is really nice in this drink. I went with Senor Curacao curacao, but I usually use Cointreau, I can’t decide which I like better. Some people think the Cocchi is more authentic than Lillet Blanc because it’s got more cinchona bark like the original Kina Lillet is supposed to have had, some think it tastes too much like vermouth. I’ve not heard of many people who have tried the L’Avion D’or yet, I can never find either when I’m in the liquor store and therefore stick with Lillet. I strain my lemon juice prior to adding if I remember to, also if you have a Meyer lemon, this drink is divine when you use the Meyer for no more than half the lemon juice. I also learned the hard way not to use that halfway dried up half a lemon sitting in the fridge for this, as it flattens the drink out totally when you don’t have a fresh cut lemon.

Tips on applying the absinthe rinse. It’s supposed to coat the glass, which gives a small pop of anise of taste, and a lot of fragrance. However if you put too much, it will very quickly become a dominant taste. If you like an anise licorice taste the drink will still taste good but it will just not be right, a bit of extra absinthe and you will dwarf the other flavors in the drink significantly. It’s supposed to be hint that you almost can’t define. If you are not massively skilled at administering a few drops from a dasher bottle and rolling it around with a flourish, then pouring off the extra, you may be a spazz like me. Try a spray bottle, my friend Amy sold me on this, a lot of great bars and bartenders are using them for this because it really allows you to use less absinthe. You can buy a nice looking aluminum one if you can find it, it will look like a fancy bar tool, though you won’t be able to tell how much is in it. I have a thoroughly ordinary one from the drugstore designed as a travel toiletry bottle.

I do not spray from a distance like you would hair spray or an olive oil mist on a pan. I found doing that left me a lot of absinthe in the air and not enough coverage in the glass. Pictured below is my technique more or less.
image by Amber Sexton

If you use the same spray method each time, whatever it is, you can use each pump of spray as a consistent measure. Four sprays while turning a chilled glass from the freezer is how I like it, three is good too but I prefer four. It depends slightly on the glass but again, once you have your spray method, each pump from your specific bottle is consistent so it’s a very reliable measure. Find the amount that you like and you can get it the same each time on your choice of glass if you count the number of sprays that got you there.

This drink has a sour sweet, herby drinkability and goes over easy in a crowd. It’s like a sophisticated gummy bear in a booze form, but no artificial flavors or colors. I’m sure it’s crass to describe it like that. I’ve not found anyone that hates it. I waive off people who say they don’t like licorice, when they know there’s absinthe, because done right the absinthe is going to be undefinable, give a sweet finish, and botanical aroma and just contribute to the drink being deliciously good. The corpse reviver #2 should take brunch by storm, because it crushes a mimosa made with Tropicana and cheap bubbly like Godzilla. It’s very citrusy and refreshing. Get your relatives tanked at the beach house with it next summer and everyone will forget you are mooching a room for free.

As for garnish, one is not called for. Manhattan Inn puts a lovely curled orange peel on the edge. That’s great because it really adds something and signals you to taste the orangeiness of the drink, yet there’s no orange juice in it. Because of that you might not have an orange around, as I did not. Use your fanciest metal foiled glass to dress up the pale contents. Anyway, you won’t be sorry you got your corpse revived. Do it twice!

image by Amber Sexton

Posted by Amber Sexton on 09/02 at 01:22 AM
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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Citibike-Growing Pains

image by Amber Sexton

Citibike has settled in at it’s current level, until they roll out another stage it’s a good time to assess how it’s all working. In the neighborhoods it serves, it’s now part of the infrastructure, and as good as it’s going to be until they expand. I’m an enthusiastic booster still, but it’s become like another part of our transportation system, when it’s not there when I want it, I get annoyed. I went from not having this service at all a few months ago, to now feeling entitled to it meeting my transportation needs when I plan for it. And yes I know that’s ridiculous, but it’s NYC and that’s about the speed of things. This is a round about way of saying despite using it several times this week and last, I’ve noticed some shortcomings lately related to it finally getting full saturation of members. Today was the first day I really could not get a bike for a leg of trip I wanted to make and had to take the train. However another time I used it it was especially joyous, like when I went to it’s northern and easternmost station (59th & Sutton Pl) on Thursday morning and saw this view. I found a bike at the start, and a dock at the finish with no hassle at a prime morning commuting time, from 9:15-10:00 AM. It was a sweet ride.

However my ending station, on 51st and 6, did not have bikes after 5PM that day, or the next day, so leaving work via Citibike became a problem. I’ve no idea when a redistribution unit brings more bikes or if they come back through natural use in the morning, but between 5 and 6 getting a bike is probably not likely for me from right behind the office. The station empties out and and it probably stays empty until the next day at whatever time riders start to bring back bikes. I’m going to check in with the map this weekend sporadically to see if the dock there fills up and when.

In some ways the empty stations are a great thing, the program is clearly a success, people want it and are using it. The bad thing is I’ve had to go to three stations two days in a row in the hour between 5 and 6 and one of those two times failed to get a bike. This is a problem that is not easy to solve. Theoretically they can put more stations out, but this takes parking space and there’s only so much of that space they can get, or would be fair for them to get. The program may have maxed out on riders it can support in certain areas at the prime times. Citibike has been talking about rebalancing—>here and in other posts. There’s only so much redistributing bikes it makes sense for them to do, and they focus those efforts on hubs like Penn Station and Grand Central. I personally notice that Union Square and Broadway on a Sunday morning at 8:30 is as empty as on a Monday morning at 8:30 but a block away at University there are usually bikes. But in midtown, I don’t see this problem getting better unless they get some stations in spots like garages and off the street in other pedestrian plazas and such, they probably have taken over all the curbside space they are going to get. If you need a bike at a prime time, you might have to skip it and take the train.

Broadway has a large concentration of stations along it’s length in midtown and that’s facilitated by the fact that a lot of broadway above 34th already has lanes blocked off for pedestrian plazas and such. This gives a lot of room to put Citibike stations, and they have put in the largest ones there. When I’ve not been able to get a bike I go to Broadway, unfortunately even those stations were empty at these times around 50th st and just below today. Yesterday I got one of two bikes there. It’s just not going to be a guarantee anymore that I can take a bike from my office at a typical evening rush hour time. Luckily most of the time I do not work regular hours so hopefully that will work in my favor in terms of getting bikes as I need them.

Another issue is that in the app a station indicating very few bikes, might actually have no bikes. Very often you get there and the station has one or two out of service bikes, or a couple of broken docks that won’t release bikes but seem to be trying. The docks may make noise like they are trying to turn some mechanical gear, but the bikes don’t come out. The app, and I assume the system administration as a whole, has no way of knowing bikes or docks aren’t working, or perhaps they do but the app is not smart enough to capture this info and display it. This is the station at Broadway and 49th St. One of these bikes is out of service, because the red light is on on the dock, and the other is in a dock that won’t release the bike.

image by Amber Sexton

Clearly that dock eventually worked because in the wee hours of the morning, I looked on the Citibike website and saw that there is only one bike available at that station, which I assume is the broken bike. I assume that because I’ve now been to a station in Soho a couple days in a row with the same four broken bikes sitting there. I don’t know how long they leave them but it’s become an issue, most stations have bikes locked in a dock under a red light because they are out of service. On that same station map, shows the docks by my office holding one bike also, it’s probably the same broken one that I saw there at 5:45 today, possibly it will be there all weekend. I’ll check for it on Monday and see when it gets turned around.

I also had an experience where I took a bike for lunch in Soho and had to go to three stations in that area before I could find a place to park it. I had to walk quite a few blocks back to where I was working, making the whole thing a risky lunch hour jaunt, because I walked in 15 minutes late. I only found a dock because there was a redistributing truck at the station on Canal and 6th avenue and he moved a bike for me to be able to return the one I was using.

So as I said, today I took the subway after finding no bikes to do an errand in Chelsea from Rockefeller Center. I purchased the whole pomegranates I needed to make grenadine for future cocktail posts. Feeling dejected about walking to a few stations and then having to train it instead of ride, I was pleased to see the station on 22nd and 8th had plenty of bikes for my short jag to the L train home. Here’s a picture of what users have come up with as a way of signifying from a distance the bikes that are out of service. They often lower the seat all the way and turn them around backwards. Because you do feel like a chump getting through adjusting the bike and realizing there’s a red light on the dock and that bike is out of service.

image by Amber Sexton

I like when a new etiquette is formed. However some people are only doing half of this gesture. Some are just lowering the seat all the way and that’s it, when I think the crucial thing is turning the seat around at whatever height the post is at. As a lazy person who actually rides on the lowest seat position because I’m also very short, at a full dock I look for a bike I won’t have to adjust first, and often I go up to a bike which is just my height to find it’s actually out of service. So to my fellow riders, flip seats all the way backwards on out of service bikes to help even short people know not to try to use them. Obviously this is not a rule, it’s a new courtesy we are all learning to get used to.

Here I am in my backup helmet after finally finding a Citibike today. A little annoyed and tired, but still rolling along.
image by Amber Sexton

Posted by Amber Sexton on 08/31 at 07:19 AM
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