AMBER SEXTON New York City 917-207-2375

Monday, May 27, 2013

Citibike -Day 1

image by Amber Sexton

I’m just going to give a preliminary review of the new bike sharing program we just christened here in NYC, Citibike, which launched today. This is a cross eyed picture of me returning my first ever bike.

My first impression of the bike is it’s extremely well suited to it’s purpose. The bikes if they stay in this condition, are well thought out and great rides for short hops. They are easy to adjust, 3 speed bikes in which all the speeds are fairly easy. I was often on the highest gear which gave me good speed for city traffic yet you can’t get too fast on. Lever hand brakes were good, grips are big and cushioned, all cables are covered under plastic shells to keep them from sabotage. The front ‘basket’ with bungees held my purse really well. The bike is heavy at 45 pounds. This is not really the drawback it may seem. The somewhat heavy bike is balanced pretty well, though heavy in the front, and very stable on the road when you are seated, so it’s good for riders of a wide range of skill levels. The main drawback of a bike that weighs a lot is getting it up and down stairs, into the subway and adding the weight of your heavy lock to your overall load. That’s not a factor with a bike that docks at street level that you never have to get into your home or on the train. They do not want people to fly down the street at crazy speeds on these, but you can really go as fast as you need to in the stop and go NYC traffic. Standing up on pedals makes it less easy to control than a lighter bike in the same scenario, but still impressively smooth and fun to ride.  The lights are automatic and pedal powered which is interesting, but I didn’t get the impression they were very bright.

My first experience was trying to use the station behind my office in the Time-Life building on 51st street. The phone app said all the stations in NYC are inactive, which was confusing. I tried to get a bike out and could not at lunchtime. I put my key into two bike docks, I kept seeing the yellow light and hearing a beep, but never the green indicator that the bike could be taken out. This actually does take a few seconds it turns out and the sun was very bright, so perhaps I just wasn’t seeing the light, though I pulled on the bike it didn’t come out. I went back to my office and read more about it, heard that people were using the bikes, and saw a short video which emphasized lifting the seat when removing the bike. I don’t actually know if the kiosk was having a problem or it was just me because when I tried in the evening I had no problem getting the bike out.

I was worried about being too short for a comfortable ride, I am 5’ and used the #1 setting, and it was fine, and you can go lower than that to put the seat flush with the top tube even. I looked at the phone app for a station near Astor Wines and set the timer on the app, even though I was confident it would not get close the 45 minute ride limit. I got to Astor Wines and it was closed so I checked the timer and saw it had taken 22 minutes to get there from Rockefeller Center and swung up to Union Square to return the bike and get the train home.

When I got to Union Square, the station on University was full. But one block over on Broadway it was nearly empty and I returned the bike. One of the things I think is confusing is knowing that the bike is properly locked on return. Everything I read said there was supposed to be a green light on return too, but that’s not the case. The help portion of the app mentions this green light, but on the Citibike blog post for today, it just said “Redock the bike firmly to ensure it is secure and that your trip is closed.” You just stick it in until it locks and try to pull it back out to test it, if it stays you are good. After eating dinner, I realized the L train wasn’t running, I went to get second bike at a completely different station there was a red light showing when I put my key in. I was never able to get this particular bike out but the rack had plenty of others. I’m really curious if it was flagged for repair. I had a theory that if I bike is returned recently you can’t get it back out again for a few minutes but that’s probably wrong.
image by Amber Sexton

People asked me questions about the bike as I rode it and the main complaint and fear folks seem to have is that the ride times seem really short to them. They feel they would never get the bike back in the rack in time. I was not worried about this because as an experienced NYC cyclist I know that most trips in town take 15-20 minutes. Most longer distance trips are still 30-45 minutes. People have got to adjust their minds to a different idea of a bike loan, this is not a bike to have all day, if you need one of those you probably have one. If you are a tourist and want that you need a bike shop rental and a good lock. Most rides you want to take are going to easily fit in the 45 minute time window for annual members, especially once all the stations roll out in Brooklyn and north of 59th street. You can easily return and pick up another bike, also realize overage to 60 minutes is only $2.50 for members for those rare occasions. I think the biggest hurdle for people to get over is realizing how ample that time period is for trips these bikes are intended for. People considering the program who are not experienced city cyclists may genuinely overestimate how long it really takes to get places on a bike. This is something that the city should emphasize in later communications about the program. Show people taking some test rides and publish likely ride times.

The worst part of the program so far is the app, which is a shame because it’s a crucial piece. It really needs tweaks because it’s an essential tool for using the program. A temporary problem is that it lists all the kiosks as inactive at this point. Which is confusing, and made me think none of them were allowing bikes to be used. But it really means that the kiosks that allow day rentals are not on yet, as soon as next week rolls around, I assume just the kiosks that are actually not working will show as inactive. If you are an annual member you don’t really need a kiosk, the key is all you need unless you return a bike right as your time is up and the station is full and you need to ask for extra time to find another place to return it. At any rate, the app shows how many bikes the stations have but don’t indicate things like “full” and I did arrive at a full kiosk. The app also has a timer which is less than wonderful. First of all you need to get used to that it doesn’t work like the iPhone timer which counts down to zero time left and then plays whatever alarm you choose. The Citibike app counts up to the time limit. This is a good idea actually because it lets you be able to learn how long your regular trips are going to take, the time is actually saved when you stop it until you reset it. The real bad thing is the timer goes off and barely makes a sound. It’s like a Twitter alert. It’s not like an iPhone timer which goes off until you turn it off and vibrates as well. This alert really can’t be heard in your bag, or in traffic, though the next time you check your phone there’s a ‘helpful” visual alert that your time is up.

image by Amber Sexton

I recommend using your phone’s timer until they make a more noisy alert, perhaps in addition to the timer in the app. The reason I suggest using both at once is that the app timer keeps running when your time is up. Then if you do go over your time, you will know how long your total ride took, and how much overtime you are going to get charged. (For members it’s only $2.50 if your ride goes up to an hour) It also can help you figure out how much you need change your route or habits to shave off time if you do a ride often that is at the edge of the limit. Anyway, most of the problems with the app are not features, they are glitches. The timer is my only beef with a feature.

The worst error is that I got home and now the map won’t show me any stations at all, (though in Greenpoint I’m not near one until the second stage rollout.) I had this happen on the website once as well and it’s really frustrating. Clicking on the one station I put into favorites takes me to the middle of some body of water, or whatever an entirely filled screen of blue symbolizes.  This is the useful regular function of the app being broken, I actually wanted to take captures of the station distances and number of bikes but now my app just shows that there’s nothing out there at all. I can’t figure out how to fix it, if it doesn’t reset itself tomorrow I will delete and re-install. You really need the app to plan what station you are dropping the bike when you pick it up and think about your route to your destination. It’s really necessary because many convenient stations are not in immediate eyeshot. So I hope the bugs can be ironed out because it’s really your lifeline when using the bikes.

On the left you see the misleading “inactive” and on the right the blue screen of nowhere.
image by Amber Sexton

One other little snag. The package with my annual membership key includes a coupon for $10 off a new helmet purchased at a NYC bike shop. I went to my local bike store, which was listed as participating in the program in the resources section of the website and it was news to them they were participating in the helmet discount program. But they were game to accept a coupon, however, they had none of the three helmet brands the coupon was good for. I realized later looking at that resources tab that they just list all the bike shops they can find, no one has been warned in advance about the coupons or carrying the helmets. The coupon is only good at a NYC shop so I don’t think online works. There is also a coupon to give a guest a free 24 hour ride pass in there, it’s done with a code so I just took a picture of the coupon that way I don’t need to keep track of the tiny slip of paper. That’s a great way of reaching more people I think, having someone try the bikes with a member.

I’m very excited about Citibike and it really solves a problem for me. I love being able to take a one way trip and not be stuck with my bike all day, mostly I make the decision not to ride at all in those circumstances. There are nights I work late and could never consider riding to work as I take a car service home. There are plenty of mornings I can barely get out of the house on foot but would love to ride on my lunch hour or bike home after work. This post should certainly read as an endorsement of the program. My overall emotion when using it today was that of a childish thrill, a feeling of empowerment, that I had options to joyfully go to more far flung places and to see more people and do more errands because I had the flexibility of a bike I didn’t have to look after and could just leave. I plan a lunch run tomorrow. I seriously love new things and this is like a present. Enjoy.

Posted by Amber Sexton on 05/27 at 10:04 PM
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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Long delayed post on Chef’s Night Out

image by Amber Sexton

So, I was lucky enough to win a facebook contest from Bluecoat Gin and got two free tickets to Chef’s Night Out which they are a sponsor of. This was held in the basement of the Plaza hotel and is connected with the James Beard awards. I brought my friend Alexandra who is a pastry chef and we got to business immediately by making nuisances of ourselves in the lobby of the plaza and taking photos before the event. Like this.
image by Amber Sexton
And this:
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Then we diddled around, checked out the bathrooms (natch, we are ladies after all) and then hung out in the lounge before the event opened.
image by Amber Sexton
So after this we waited on line and finally the event began. We were confronted with an overcrowded bar immediately, that we knew was a suckers game. We snarfed up some pastries and chocolates. Alexandra wanted to go savory after that initial taste, and I knew my vegan choices would be slim and perhaps there would be some slippage.
The first free drink we helped ourselves to was a Woodford Reserve “Manhattan”. Now..they tried to give us a giant cocktail glass, with a pre-mixed Manhattan loaded with ice. We were all…uh…please strain, we’ll take it up. It was good, though very watered down by whatever ice treatment they gave the pre-mixed drinks. Still, it was free, like everything we had so who is complaining?
image by Amber Sexton
At this point we began to look for stuff to eat. I confess trying several non-vegan macarons. (I won’t compound the shame by including photos.) I was meanwhile looking for the gin, knowing that the Bluecoat people were here and a sponsor and therefore there had to be a gin drink on offer. We got waylaid by these truffles, both of which were cocktail flavored, the orange one was supposed to be a Mai Tai. It was yummy but I’m not sure it totally succeeded with that.
image by Amber Sexton
Then I got cheese free pizza with caramelized onion and eggplant, and Alexandra got a short rib sandwich of some kind. There was fruit and hummus and olives and I kept stuffing my face with that. As my friend made a round to look for more things to gather I settled in to chow down. There were a lot of annoying rich people, some of which got annoyed when you were too near them. But again, this was free, I was eating and drinking for free in the Plaza, admittedly the basement but still, gift horses, mouths that you don’t glance at.
image by Amber Sexton
Then…the good stuff started to happen. First I met a lovely person who actually won a James Beard award for her children’s cooking magazine, Chop Chop, she was so nice she’s sending me an issue and the website is lovely with beautiful photos. Definitely getting children into cooking real food is an important mission.
Next I found the pumpkin ravioli, which I asked for without cheese at the same time as finding the nicer back bar which had the gin cocktails. Eureka. I proceeded to eat about eight samples of the noodles and saw that to my surprise one of the sponsored gin drinks was a Bronx cocktail!!!
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(check the pretty out of focus Bluecoat bottles in the background)
I had really heard good things about Bluecoat, from my friend Amy but honestly the stores around me do not carry it. However after some poking around I realized that I have the absinthe by the same distiller Vieux Carré. That is a topic for another time but lets just say I am a fan already. Anyway, I was thrilled to get a Bronx, though again it suffered from having sat in ice for a bit, however they did serve it to me up as asked, and I drained that thing. Amen.
I got a gin and tonic that was also lovely. There was a tequila sponsor, and don’t ask me why every place has to ruin a margarita, but this was a Tommy’s margarita and it was terrible. So I won’t say what tequila or anything it was because the drink was a watered down kool-aid tasting mess, which I could barely have two sips of. Here have some more gin.

image by Amber Sexton

At that point we actually met the reps from Bluecoat, and they were genuinely fun people to hang out with and I am so appreciative that I won the contest and got to meet them and talk about cocktails and have gin with them. Lovely. Alexandra and I head upstairs to poke around the vacant Palm court before we leave. image by Amber Sexton
So the final point of the night, my friend Jeff who had been following my facebook updates, texts to dare me to take pictures of myself lying on the carpet upstairs with my green hair against the red rose patterns. Which I absolutely say no way to. I mean forget it, the security guard was breathing down our necks and it’s not happening. So…
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And then…
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Thanks Bluecoat and Chef’s Night Out, Alexandra and a shout out to carpet lint for not getting in my hair too badly.

Posted by Amber Sexton on 05/16 at 06:57 PM
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Saturday, May 11, 2013

I’ve done two book reviews at my freelance job

Hey I did two short book reviews at People.com.
image by Amber Sexton

image by Amber Sexton

Posted by Amber Sexton on 05/11 at 11:32 AM
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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Ward 8, Two Ways

image by Amber Sexton

So been on an extremely Wondrich-y kick, just finishing up “Imbibe!” getting to the appendixes which are very worth reading. Anyhow, when I first got the book, I looked up something with rye and grenadine and that’s how I learned of this one. Then my Boston friends said basically “Duh.” But really it’s one of the drinks which appears can certainly be credited to Boston, since so many cocktails are of hazy, conflicted and apocryphal origin, this is pretty firm I understand.

Anyway I had been making them according to book, which calls for mint, in fact the oldest citation calls for creme de menthe, when I looked at his Esquire blog post and saw it had none in that recipe. And I wondered…what sort of Wondrichery™ was going on here. Then it was clear, Imbibe! is presenting drinks in an original form, or showing you how to approximate that original form, the Esquire blog is showing you how to make drinks in a fairly modern context. You know for dudes, because it’s a men’s mag.

So, I decided to try and drink it both ways.  The most significant difference is that the modern recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of grenadine and has less rye, and the older adapted version calls for 1/2 ounce, more rye, and includes mint, lightly shaken with drink and as garnish. He also suggest adding seltzer and making it a cooler of sorts, serving with ice in.

Here’s the contemporary one
image by Amber Sexton

The recipe linked above as follows:
2 ounces rye whisky (I used Redemption Rye, which is 92 proof, and frankly is not my favorite thing I’ve picked up at the liquor store. Use Rittenhouse, Bulleit, or something else you like)
3/4 ounce lemon juice
3/4 ounce orange juice
1 teaspoon grenadine (home made)

Shake with ice, strain into chilled glass. Delish, but very much in the whiskey sour family. A whiskey not so sour. Lovely.

So in the book, the oldest citation of the recipe he gets from a book by G. Selmer Fougner, Along the Wine Trail. It’s too long for me to type out and you should buy Imbibe anyway. But it calls for bourbon, creme de menthe, orange bitters, sugar, grenadine, seltzer and garnishes of orange, pineapple and cherries. Then it goes on to suggest using fresh mint if in season, and juicing an orange instead of using the bitters. However Wondrich then clarifies that it’s supposed to be rye rather than bourbon. His adaptation follows which I used for my second version right here (this is verbatim from Imbibe, I’ll note where I deviated):

image by Amber Sexton

Juice of one lemon
Juice of 1/2 orange
1 barspoon superfine sugar (I omitted this, soo much grenadine was enough sweetness)
Stir until sugar dissolves and add:
3 oz Rye whiskey (same rye as above)
1 sprig of mint

Add ice, shake gently so as not to brutalize the mint and strain into a large goblet containing 1 or 2 large ice cubes, add grenadine to taste (a half-ounce should be plenty) and fill with chilled seltzer. Fruit as above. End quoted passage, my notes below.

Soooo. I shook this with the grenadine, rather than stir it in later after straining. This time I tried just rubbing the mint in the glass, and frankly I like it lightly tamped down and shaken with the drink better, which I’ve done before. Also I freaking dunked the whole thing into the glass without straining…sue me for saving ice. This is also a double because my lovely new #8 tumber is huge at 12oz. So after the picture was done, I plunked in a second fun metal straw and me and my pal Molly Weiss shared it. There was little room for seltzer because I misjudged, but I’ve made this quite a bit before in my smaller glasses spritzed it up to dilute it. Anyway YUMMEH…, much better way #2, ward #8.


(I took this one before I decided to garnish with an orange peel as well, which I do recommend)
image by Amber Sexton

Posted by Amber Sexton on 04/27 at 06:51 PM
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Sunday, April 21, 2013

I love to chat with cab drivers

image by Amber Sexton

This is Hassan who is from Bangladesh but he’s been here over 15 years and driving a cab for over 10, he was a student when he left his home country. I took a photo of his license but it’s not readable because of glare or I might try to contact him again.

I’ve got to start taking more pictures of drivers when I’m in taxis. Unlike that HBO show, Taxicab Confessions or whatever it was, cabbies usually talk to me. But also I ask, because often they have had really interesting lives in the country they are from. Sometimes they are professionals, have advanced degrees and come to work here in a cab and it’s still worth it. I remember a guy from India who was a mining engineer when he was there, I was totally shocked he could not find any work in that field in the US but his degrees never translated and he made four times the salary he had made driving a cab. I’ve had some of these conversations get very intensely personal. To the extent that a middle eastern cabbie once ended up telling me a lot about his sexual history. I wish there was such a thing as a cell phone back in those days, because I don’t remember his home country and I certainly didn’t have a camera or notepad to record any of it, he parked the cab in front of my apt with the meter off and spoke for at least 45 minutes mostly intimate details of his sex life, though he had started by saying some slightly homophobic things, he eventually confessed to me having sex with people of both genders, especially in his home country he had sex with men. He was also totally hitting on me and said I was the nicest person he had ever met in his cab.

I’ve also had cabbies freely confess their racial and ethnic prejudices to me. One particularly unforgettable moment was a female cab driver in the 80’s who had a blonde gun moll look to her. We started talking and I’ve blanked out on most of the conversation to this point, because she asked me eventually if I was Jewish. I normally answer the question no, not only because I’m not a believer, but officially in the jewish religion only my dad is Jewish, so that means that I am not. The fact that I answered “no” meant that she was free to tell me this story about a passenger she didn’t like who she referred to derogatorily as a “jew boy” the entire time. I really was too stunned to get into an argument with her, and also I felt a bit curious to hear her anti-semitism so open and flip that I didn’t stop her. I guess I feel free to keep my principles to myself in a cab, and not argue, just let them keep talking because it’s a window into a world I don’t usually get to see. I get to judge them privately, and then the transaction is over and they drive away.

Since I’ve been taking cabs my entire life, being from the West Village, (or just Greenwich Village as it was called in the 70’s when I was a kid) they were a necessary form of transport aside from the bus and walking the short distances between school and my moms job and our apartment, or my grandmothers store. I miss the days when really our entire lives played out in this small area, and cabs were a huge part of getting around in that little place, which has tons of subway stops that mostly serve to get you out of the neighborhood. Anyway cabbies change over the years, and I’ve enjoyed each new generation of them, usually it’s an immigration wave from a particular group of countries, you wake up and all the cabbies are Iranian, then they are gone. Lately it’s western African nations and frequently Bangladesh, like Hassan. Who was listening to the Nets, and also telling me how corrupt things are in Bangladesh. A good conversation.

 

Posted by Amber Sexton on 04/21 at 12:36 PM
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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Twin Guns record release party at The Gutter

image by Amber Sexton

I went to a great show on Thursday, Twin Guns was celebrating their latest vinyl release (which you can buy here and it contains a free download.) And the bill included other local favorites, Triple Hex and The Othermen.

It was a killer show…let’s do the photos in order, The Othermen opened.
image by Amber Sexton
They are always a ball of fun and I want to dance if I’m not taking pics.
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image by Amber Sexton

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image by Amber Sexton

Then Triple Hex was up and they turned off the lights so I had to use flash and wasn’t too happy with my pics, but here are a couple.

image by Amber Sexton

image by Amber Sexton

Then Twin Guns played, and I’ve seen them a number of times, but wow was the sound and performance amazing that night, really tight and loud in a way that overtakes you even with just the two of them. I really am not a musician or a music writer so you will have to click on the links and get a listen to really get a sense of it.

image by Amber Sexton

image by Amber Sexton

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image by Amber Sexton

They have their own lights and that’s why they looked so cool even though it was dark.

image by Amber Sexton

image by Amber Sexton

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Killer show, all nice people. Rock’n'roll. Catch Twin Guns, or buy the record, you won’t regret it.

Posted by Amber Sexton on 04/20 at 02:48 PM
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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Make yourself a Knickerbocker!

image by Amber Sexton

So I’ve been reading Imbibe! by David Wondrich and I came across a drink for which I had most of the ingredients and was much earlier historically than other drinks I’ve made. I’m a huge fan of the book, and all Wondrich’s Esquire columns. Previously I’ve consulted his recipes when looking for multiple sources on drinks and his recipes are nearly always the best.

One of the things that will surprise you when reading this book, is in the 1800’s many drink recipes called for fresh fruit and berries. Certainly fancy people who could afford good booze and wine drank a lot straight, but there was a lot of bowls of punch, and even the individual drinks often called for berries, oranges, and even pineapple syrup. Drier drinks like the martini are so much later in booze history. What’s great to know is that the culture has come back around to these early drinks enough since his book was written in 07 that you can find many of the things he says are impossible to get now in most liquor stores. If I think about how things have changed since he wrote the book, the place near me with a loud plastic awning under the BQE, has Bols Genever, Old Tom Gin, 20 kinds of rye, at least 4 or 5 absinthes and even creme de violette.

Anyway, a Knickerbocker, such a NY or at least Northeast name, and it’s a drink with nothing hard to find in it at all. Though it calls for Santa Cruz rum I had Scarlet Ibis, which is Trinidadian, but it is pot-still distilled. This is the old method of distilling which Wondrich does recommend for all kinds of these older drinks. This drink calls for raspberry syrup, and I’ve made a lot of my own syrups but in this case, I felt that we don’t get a lot of good raspberries in this area, they often have mold, and they are really expensive. A pint was $5.75 and I bought a syrup that I’ve used in the past for raspberry frosting that was $11, I really recommend D’arbo Raspberry syrup which I got at the health food store.

Here’s Wondrich’s recipe, which calls for shaved ice, which for the life of me I can’t figure out how to reproduce from cubes at home, so I just smashed some wrapped in paper towels with a mallet. Yes I know that’s crushed ice, but I don’t know how I would get it in shaved form.

1/2 a lime or lemon (I used lime)
2 teaspoons of raspberry syrup (D’arbo)
2 oz Rum (recipe calls for Santa Cruz, but I used Scarlet Ibis)
1 oz Curaçao (Cointreau is my go to, he recommends Grand Marnier which you certainly couldn’t go wrong with)
Shake with shaved ice and garnish with berries, serve with the spent lime rind, but do not shake with the lime rind.

I didn’t really have an authentic glass for this really, it calles for a 6-8oz tumbler. My Atlantic City jelly glasses make me happy and I like them for drinks which you don’t strain and leave the ice in, they are the right size if the wrong period and formality. I also added pineapple and cantaloupe to my garnish, alternately, it seems like you can be free with your fruit garnish in a lot of these drinks. I used my new cocktail picks to spear them. I like having the picks because they let me sample the garnish as I’m drinking my drink instead of fishing them out of the bottom or eating them at the beginning. My friend Snapper gave me the picks as a gift and I really appreciate them.

Anyway this drink is scrumptious, festive and so summery I’m going to be having it all season. Enjoy.
image by Amber Sexton

Posted by Amber Sexton on 04/14 at 05:48 PM
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Redd Kross at Santos Party House

image by Amber Sexton

I went to see one of my old favorite bands, and also friends whom I never get to see, Redd Kross and had such a fun time. Even though I’ve retired from being in the front row for every show, and really any show, I still insist on being in the front for a Redd Kross show and dancing and making an nuisance of my myself with hair swinging around. I took my favorite photos with my phone such as the one above, but I did bring my camera and sub-optimal lens since the other was in the shop. Anyway my pics are so-so, but I’m posting them anyway.
image by Amber Sexton

image by Amber Sexton

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Thanks guys, really nice to see you on stage and off, thanks for the song dedication too.

Posted by Amber Sexton on 04/10 at 09:18 PM
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Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Prints of New York City, for sale now

Old and new casual pictures of NYC, available for as low as $5. If you have liked some of my pics you can get one really cheaply.


recent new york_gallery - Images by Amber Sexton

Posted by Amber Sexton on 04/02 at 12:13 AM
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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rollei film backlog: Venice

I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with trying to be thematic with these, and how much to break them up into separate posts. And now I’ve many that I feel doubtful about in terms of whether they are strong but flesh out the idea of Venice a bit. I think I will mostly just dump them but if I have something to say I will.

image by Amber Sexton
This is the prison part of the Doge Palace. Somewhere in here Cassanova was held. The picture below is one of the doors to the jails also, which was really depressing to be in.

image by Amber Sexton

And this is in there somewhere, it’s sad to walk through any sort of prison I guess.
image by Amber Sexton

And here are images of more happy places and people.
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I really like these next few.

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image by Amber Sexton

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And I love this one.

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Posted by Amber Sexton on 03/27 at 07:20 PM
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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

This toaster is very good

image by Amber Sexton

Underline on good.

Posted by Amber Sexton on 03/20 at 02:27 PM
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Monday, March 18, 2013

Steubenville media coverage: Mad

image by Amber Sexton

So first I saw this, no really click through and watch the video of women with degrees and important careers openly mourning two boys who premeditatedly raped their classmate because she broke up with their friend:
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And I was all:
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Then I saw Fox had not censored the name of the victim and I was all:

image by Amber Sexton
It could have been merely a sloppy accident, but really it’s the kind of mess you get when you seriously don’t care about how the victim is run through your particular sausage maker. Because your organization is not thinking of how to sensitively treat a story like this in the first place. There is no manual, no set of best practices when you do not care about the outcome for the victim of the crime. If crimes are just salacious grist for the mill of your 24 hour news cycle, you don’t have any second thought that your neglect of the basic shielding, will make the life of a 16 year old crime victim, quite a bit more miserable. She’s already getting death threats and other teens from her school calling her a whore on Twitter. No I won’t link to any of that because I’d need more angry self portraits to put after.

Then I saw this, which did help:

image by Amber Sexton
Thanks Comediva

Posted by Amber Sexton on 03/18 at 11:49 PM
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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Motor City Death Party

image by Amber Sexton

Unlike most of my old friends, I didn’t go to Motor City when they made their great memories there years and years ago. For long time I wasn’t going out, didn’t drink and was in a relationship with someone who had vastly different taste than myself. I still don’t go that much because it’s a bit of a drag to get to and home from on a weeknight when a lot of my friends do go. But all that aside, when Jodi is your bartender it is awesome and I always have a great time when I do go. My dearest old pal Lynne was djing and I couldn’t not go to at least one of the parties for the end of this particular world. I got off the bus at the Williamsburg bridge and missed the first train to Manhattan.
image by Amber Sexton
When I got into the bar, Lynne Von Pang had just arrived dressed for the part, to the enth degree.
image by Amber Sexton
Lynne played so many amazing records, many that I knew first through her when I went to her apartment as a high school student, when she was in college. It was like she was taking psychic requests from my mind and just playing them for me. I would hear certain songs and say “This is being played for me” and then dance, even if I was the only one.
Alexandra AKA Mighty Aphrodite made these beautiful cupcakes, but the photo I took of her was too bad to use. Instead here’s a sort of compellingly bad pic of me and the awesome Marti Wilkerson, AKA Marti Domination

image by Amber Sexton

Then a whole lot of this happened, and I did tip the gorgeous Anna Copa Cabana
image by Amber Sexton
image by Amber Sexton
image by Amber Sexton

And then Jodi joined her on the bar.
image by Amber Sexton

image by Amber Sexton
I took a tremendous number of bad photos of my friends as I drank more which I will leave on facebook where they can un-tag themselves instead of perpetrating that here in public. But this pic of Lynne, David and Mary who call themselves Team Blackout is pretty funny.
image by Amber Sexton
I danced my ass off, and when my date arrived we made out like teenagers, before leaving my phone died and I missed my call to go to an appointment with a friend the next day. Anyway, as with so many other places that have closed in NYC there will be nothing to replace it and we will all have to be content with our memories. Motor City burned it up, and soon it will be gone.
image by Amber Sexton

Posted by Amber Sexton on 03/10 at 12:09 AM
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Friday, March 08, 2013

Rollei film backlog: Brooklyn

image by Amber Sexton

I haven’t been posting these lately because I’ve processed some of the most boring pictures of Venice ever. I knew those were the breaks with this whole thing, that I would send the film and the check and sometimes end up with a lot of disappointment. This is a roll from Brooklyn a few years back and that’s my friend margaret at another friends birthday picnic in prospect park. I want to say it’s five years ago or more. Anyway she looks cool. Here’s another of her, less successful.
image by Amber Sexton

And same picnic, Joren and Dahlia eating chips. Not genius or anything.
image by Amber Sexton

I wish this photo had been better somehow but I’m still intrigued by it enough to go back and shoot. I love looking at the latin baseball league play in Red Hook. Plus the food carts are supposed to be awesome.
image by Amber Sexton

A nice lady at the Tour de Brooklyn oh so many years ago.
image by Amber Sexton

Anyway I’m not super thrilled with these, but they aren’t just un-postable like some of the rest.

Posted by Amber Sexton on 03/08 at 01:40 AM
New YorkRollei film • (0) CommentsPermalink

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Aviation-a drink to make for folks who don’t know they love gin

image by Amber Sexton

My friend Julie Keane posted a picture of of an Aviation maybe a year ago and that began the major cocktail craze I’ve been on since then. Of course I’ve always made lovely drinks. And there is nothing more perfect than a gin and tonic in the summer. But I hadn’t been mixing drinks with gin at home. Bourbon, margaritas, mojitos, dark and stormy’s, and actually if I correct myself I was making some nice gin drinks with Aperol and grapefruit. But that picture of an Aviation and the ingredients set me off. And it wasn’t even blue! I bought some Luxardo maraschino liqueur and made one without the creme de violette, and it was delicious, but became determined to do it right. I haven’t let go of this thing since. It is perfect.

If you are unfamiliar with maraschino liqueur, you should get familiar with it because a lot of classic cocktails need it. It is made from both the pits and the flesh of the Marasca cherry, which is why it’s got a strong almond note to the taste. Creme de violette is just what it sounds like, a sweet liqueur made of violet flowers, possibly with other colorants added. There used to be none imported in the US, but now you can find the Rothman & Winter brand everywhere, though that’s about the only brand you can get in the US. Aviations are so popular I don’t even know why I’m posting this.

The original recipe for this drink sounds sour as hell, it’s got a lot of lemon, and very little maraschino or creme de violette to take the edge off that lemon. Here are the proportions I usually end up using, but this time I tried it with a meyer lemon and it was maybe a little sweet, I would back off on Luxardo and creme de violette. So this is how it went last night:

2oz Greenhook Gin (if you want a sweeter drink you can go 1.5oz)
1/2 oz lemon juice (in this case meyer, but that’s just a twist on it)
1/2 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
anywhere from 2 barspoons to 1/4 oz of Creme de Violette

The goal is enough of the violet stuff to get the drink blue, but not as purple as here and not gray which it will be if you use too little. I find when I’m making one drink, just under a 1/4 ounce works, or 3 barspoons. There is perhaps a little much in the drink shown here but it’s pretty.

The traditional garnish is a lemon peel. But you often see them with a beautiful red maraschino cherry in them. They look great that way and I love the way that a stem on cherry has a handle to take little bites. However those store bought cherries have a lot of cinnamon in them, and taste kind of like garbage. I actually bought Luxardo’s marasca cherries, which are delicious and black, but do not pretty up this drink. I think the solution will be to make my own stem on cocktail cherries when cherries are in season.

Posted by Amber Sexton on 02/23 at 02:18 PM
Cocktails • (3) CommentsPermalink
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