Pop Thoughts

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balthrop alabamaMusic: I have been waiting for some new inspiration in the music world; ie hitting the shuffle button on my ipod a lot. I did see a great 8 piece local band, Balthrop Alabama, last Sunday at Bait & Tackle. Their lyrics are full of humor, irony, and heart. Plus their Irish accordionist kicks ass. Their music reminded me a bit of a honky tonk They Might Be Giants meets Iron & Wine. Check out their website and download their new album for free.

Movies: Pan’s Labyrinth could be one of my most visually favorite films in the last few years. An amazing mix (labyrinth) of reality and fantasy that was so suspenseful it had Nancy clutching my arm from start to finish. Plus he really likes bugs.

Books: The Bird Man and the Lap Dancer: Close Encounters with Strangers by Eric Hansen. Don’t be fooled by the title, this is an amazingly spiritual book. Given to me by my pops, this collection of stories give new meaning to the word “journey” and shows by example how to truly travel with humankind

Photography: I have been a big fan of table top tripods that are not limited to the table and have loved my compact Ultrapod 2, however, the newly released Gorillapod series of tripods attaches to almost anything. Joby makes 3 different sizes of these cute, not cuddly, Gorillapods, I’ve used them all and I have to say that I finally found the perfect one for me! The Gorillapod SLR Zoom holds a whopping 6lbs of camera goodness almost anywhere you go. See the below picture of my Zero Image 6x12F pinhole camera attached to a tree in upstate New York. I highly recommend using a cable release or the self timer in your camera when it is attached to the Gorillapod as some immediate shake can happen from depressing the shutter. There is no doubt about it, tripods open up a creative door to photography. They help you increase depth of field, create long exposures, and immediately give you street cred. Find the right Gorilla for you and let the fun begin!

rhinecliff churchgorillapod shot

Good Morning Vietnamese Sandwiches!

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bahn-miNancy & I are recent converts of the Vietnamese Sandwich. We stumbled upon Nicky’s Vietnamese Sandwich in Brooklyn as we were walking down Atlantic Avenue on a warm fall day last year. It was a cute little shop with very friendly service and we split a “Classic” Vietnamese sandwich.

The sandwich, or Banh Mi, can best be described as truly delightful! Thin slices of pork, chicken, or tofu are laid on a bed of cilantro in a small French baquette. Don’t ask where they get them from, it is a highly guarded secret. The crunch of pickled carrots and daikon round out this spicy little number.

Soon after, another Vietnamese Sandwich restaurant opened in our neighborhood, Carroll Gardens, called Hanco’s Bubble Tea and Vietnamese. Hanco’s is a little closer, and we soon became obsessed with having a Vietnamese Sandwich and Bubble Tea for brunch every Saturday.

I’d like to think that most people understand Nancy’s & my obsession with food, certainly her parents do, as they got us a dvd titled Sandwiches That You Will Likefor Xmas this year. I highly recommend this 2002 PBS documentary by Rick Sebak as he travels the USA sampling unique sandwiches. We also own his A Hot Dog Program, but that is a blog for the summertime.

Anywho, we enjoyed the sandwich movie immensely and were psyched that we had been to about half of them; but there was one restaurant that definitely intrigued us, Huong Lan #1, located in San Jose, which claimed to be the king of banh mi. Now technically I really don’t like to patronize a restaurant that has a number in it but with a trip to San Jose for B&H in the near future I was already planning out my lunch break.

bo-biaThe moment of truth arrived last week as I drove a quick 5 miles to Tulley Road in San Jose and immersed myself in Huong Lan-ishness. Here I was in the mecca of Vietnamese Sandwiches! Suddenly, fear struck my heart as I looked up on the board and noticed no “Classic” version but instead 11 varieties of banh mi, half of them with pork, thankfully. I asked the counter person what she would recommend for a newbie to Huong Lan, and she said “The number 7 is the most popular”. Done, a number 7 (thit nuong – grilled pork), Durian Milk with Pearl bubble tea, and bo bia, please. As I waited for the sandwich to get dished up, I meandered around Huong Lan checking out all the other goods on display. The restaurant really wasn’t a restaurant but more of a grocery store with some tables in the corner near the Vietnamese disco-playing plasma TV. Most everything else was a cookie or a version of Bahn Tet wrapped in a green banana leaf and I felt definitely “lost in the supermarket”.

And how did this eating experience go? Scrumdiddlyumptious! I could taste all the individual flavors: carrots, cilantro, jalapeno, pork, and daikon, and they also blended so well together. The sandwich had a snap! of flavors and a crunch to it that some of my local shops were missing. That’s about all I can remember as the meal was done in 5 minutes!

So give Vietnamese Sandwiches a try, Nancy and I are going to finish ours now!

The NEW Ruinism!

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welcomeYes, welcome to the new look ruinism website featuring the fine art photography of Gabriel Biderman!

The Portfolio section of this site is dedicated to my images. It is divided into 6 albums: Abstracts and Contructions, Ruinism, New York, Pinhole, Environmental Portraits, and On the Road. Check them out and send me some feedback.

The blog will feature the POTW (Picture of the Week) plus my latest adventures and musings on such subjects as baseball, burlesque, photography, travel, and food..yes definitely food reviews! Subscribe to the blog if you want to receive my latest updates via email.

I would like to thank Nancy, my wife, for being a beautiful muse for 10 wonderful years. She teams up with her sister, Sandy, and edits the hell out of my work. Thanks ladies, for helping me stay in focus-ish. And to Sean, the true maestro behind the website! Master blaster and web designer who took my lark of a resolution on New Year’s Day and made it true one month later, thanks brotherman.

We all love images in which we can get lost and yet, still find something familiar.