Hudson Valley Road Trip

See the full photo album on Flickr

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Above: Vanderbilt Mansion Italian Garden

Below: Our B&B, Le Petit Château, Hyde Park, NY

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Above: Sculpture at SUNY New Paltz

Below: Bard College Performing Arts Center, Designed by Frank Gehry

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Above: Flower from the garden at Le Petit Château

Below: Kris and the cat from Le Petit Château

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See the full photo album on Flickr

Japanese Ambassador’s Reception

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Above: Me and Takae from the Japan National Tourist Organization in NY

Last Friday, I joined members of JETAANY and the new 2007 JET Programme participants departing from New York City for a reception at the Japanese Ambassador’s residence, a Louis XV-style townhouse (with elements of japonisme, of course) in the tony Upper East Side. I felt like Marie-Antoinette at Versailles as I munched on Beard Papa cream puffs.

Good luck in Japan to all the departing JET participants. Gambatte ne!

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Above: Me and Monica, Social chair of JETAANY.

See all of my photos of the event on Flickr. And Carol’s photos here.

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50 Word Fiction #1

Today I tried out to be a teacher for an SAT prep company called Revolution Prep. There were about 13 of us at the audition. We had to teach a short, non-SAT-related lesson on the topic of our choice as a demonstration of our classroom teaching potential. I did an interactive lesson on how to order drinks in Japanese. One girl named Tatiana introduced us to the idea of 50 word fiction. It is meant to be a daily exercise where you have to write a short, fictional story in only 50 words. The story should begin right in the middle of the action or a vivid sensory description and end with a twist. I wonder if I will be disciplined enough to try it as a daily practice. It seems like a great intellectual and creative exercise.

Here is my first attempt below:

Amy was doing cartwheels on the lawn. Dog days of summer. Sprinklers turn on. Johnny washing his car in the driveway. Lemonade stand across the street. Damn neighborhood kids riding their bikes through my flowerbeds. Damn punks with their music too loud. So I throw my garden gnome at them.

(Mostly) Brooklyn Weekend and Klong

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Above: Flower bouquet from Rachel and Elizabeth’s housewarming brunch in Brooklyn. More pictures on Flickr.

On Saturday, Kris and I headed out to Brooklyn for Rachel and Elizabeth’s housewarming brunch. It was nice to get out of the Manhattan and hang out on a perfect summer day with some cool cats on a tree-shaded deck while sipping mimosas and bloody marys and noshing on chocolate pancakes and assorted Turkish delicacies. See more pictures on Flickr.

Sunday, we returned to Brooklyn, this time on foot, via the Brooklyn Bridge, to go hang out in a bookstore/gallery in DUMBO. After exploring the neighborhood a bit, we returned to Manhattan by walking across to Manhattan Bridge.

That night, we had dinner at a Thai restaurant on St. Marks Place in the East Village called Klong. What does “Klong” mean in Thai anyway? Perhaps it is onomatopoeia for the factory-like industrial din of the restaurant’s Asian po-mo interior 😉 Luckily, we were able to escape the noise by moving to a table located on the small outdoor terrace. The dishes are reasonably priced and generously portioned. We had a some lightly battered fried calamari and some green papaya salad as starters, a bargain at 5 and 6 dollars respectively. Then for our main course, we shared an order of soft-shell crabs in garlic sauce, and the Klong pad thai, a “royal” Thai variation of the famous Bangkok street-stall noodle dish, which came with thinner rice noodles, mixed seafood, and wrapped in a thin egg omelette.

We had some unexpected dinner entertainment from the table next to us. Not that we were eavesdropping or anything, but the girl was just talking very very loud. It turned out that she was a plus-sized model having dinner with her protegée. Some of the quotes were priceless, but I guess you really had to have been there to understand the context. I can’t wait until the Samson H2 portable audio recorder comes out – I want to get one to carry around and record “on the street” podcasts in New York.

Anyway, back to the review of Klong: Our waitress was very nice and very attentive, and they certainly don’t skimp on spice. It’s certainly doesn’t measure up with the food in Thailand, but for New York, it’s good, reliable Thai – if you can stand the hubbub of the interior, or snag a coveted outdoor table in warm weather.

David Miliband/Avaaz.org Chatham House Speech (Highlights)

David Miliband/Avaaz.org Chatham House Speech (Highlights) from lee-sean on Vimeo.