Archive | December, 2008

A Slovak Spectacle

18 Dec

Back in 2001/02 Rachel and I lived in Bratislava, Slovakia. Rachel was the editor-in-chief of the local English-language newspaper and I worked as a photographer and copy editor for the same paper. While we were there our good friend Tom stayed with us for several months while he researched and wrote a travel guide to Slovakia. I followed Tom around for a day with my camera so people back home could see what life was like for us in Bratislava. This is the first time I have stiched a movie together from stills, so the result is a bit shaky. Some might call it quirky. Music by Paberky Marko Cermaka. Please leave comments if you feel moved to do so.
A Slovak Spectacle from iambrianjones on Vimeo.

Tessie 199? – 2008

15 Dec


When Rachel and I were living in Mexico City in 1997/98 we adopted two cats – whom we named Monster and Tessie. Both cats have lived with us in our homes in Mexico City, Brooklyn and London with a few stints at my parents’ house in Haddonfield, New Jersey, in between. Two years ago Tessie was diagnosed with heart disease, a condition in which her heart was so enlarged that there was not much room for her lungs. The veterinarian’s prognosis was that she would suffocate within a few months. Luckily she lived much longer than that – and with only mild discomfort until the end. On 3 December 2008 Tessie died at home with me, Rachel and Monster by her side. I would like to share with you a few photos of our beloved Tessie:


The two cats used to hide together when they sensed danger.

Such a noble profile!


Tessie used to like sitting on black bags.


Her favourite song was Danny Boy. Rachel would start singing and she would jump up on the bed and listen intently.

We were always greeted by Tessie when we came home.

Here she is minutes after her death.

This and the next few photos are of me digging her grave at Lally and Cecil’s house.



Here she is in her silk shroud.

Makin’ biscotti with Gilda

11 Dec

starbarista catches up with Gilda Doganiero of Gilda’s Biscotti. She has been dedicated to the art of baking traditional biscotti for the last 13 years since leaving her job as a pastry chef at Philadelphia’s Four Seasons Hotel. In this podcast Gilda tells us about the origins of this noble Italian cookie as well as the story of how she started her company. (In the photo to the left Gilda is holding a tray of her lemon fig biscotti.) I would love to hear what you think of this podcast – so please leave your comments below.

Caffe del Doge – Venice

8 Dec

A few weeks ago I went to Venice where I visited Caffe del Doge. This place should be on every coffee lovers list of must-visit cafes. On offer were eight single origin espressos as well as their 100% arabica and 50% arabica/50% robusta espressos and a decaffeinated one. You could also try all of these coffees in a French press as well. This is one of the most serious cafes I have been to and this really reflects itself in the variety and quality of the coffee that makes it into the cup. These people are serious about coffee in a way that lifts them to the top of the Italian coffee community. I just wish I had been able to stay longer than two days in order to have enjoyed more of their fine coffees. But don’t despair if you don’t live in Venice – there are also locations in Cairo, Palo Alto, and Tokyo where you can pop in and enjoy a quick late macchiatto!

Caffe Dogge

Check out the setup above – eight grinders – each dedicated to grind a different single origin espresso. And don’t forget to notice the piston-driven lever-style Brasillia espresso machine.

The quote below is printed on the wall above the espresso machines.

“Il caffè è un’accademia platonica…in questa accademia non si insegna niente, ma si imparano la socievolezza e il disincanto. Si può’ chiacchierare, raccontare, ma non è possibile predicare, tenere comizi, far lezione”. da Microcosmi

“Coffee is a platonic academy…..where no lessons are taught, but where one learns to socialize and to be enchanted. One can chat and gossip but it is forbidden to preach, lecture or instruct.”

-from Claudio Magris’ Micronismi

And a view of the exterior on a grim day in late November:


They also give out these cool little trading cards for each of their single origen coffees (click the image to see the card at a larger, readable size):






Guatemala HueHue

Winter bike ride at sunset

8 Dec

On Sunday December 7 Mark MacNamara and I rode in a train to Cheshunt and then cycled back to London along the river Lea. It took us about two leasurely hours to cycle the 15 or so traffic-free miles. It was cold, crisp, and dark when we got back and had a pint at the Dove on Broadway Market.

Over there

Trio at sunset


Underpass at sunset


Mark on Lea


Sail barges