Monday, July 13, 2015

Cincinnati: Queen City

June 2015

In an effort to boost the number of destinations on the side panel of this blog, I'm listing more domestic visitations! It's totally lame, but so am I! I went to Cincinnati to do a profile on the Great American Ball Park, home of the Reds and the 2015 MLB All-Star Game. Here's Cincy:

John Roebling Suspension Bridge. Same dude designed the Brooklyn Bridge and the similarities are evident. It connects Cincinnati with Covington, Kentucky over the Ohio River. 
You shouldn't really take pictures in the middle of the street. But - you know - for art.
I didn't run across the bridge because it was too hot and I'm lazy.
Black Brigade Monument at the Riverfront Park.
Paul Brown Stadium. Home of the Bengals.
Stadium facial. Nice from the outside. 

The mustaches are out in full-force for the All-Star Game.

Riverboat tribute.
HOFer Joe Morgan outside Great American Ball Park.
HOF catcher Ernie Lombardi. 17-year MLB catcher ('31-'47).
Ted Kluszewski. 15-year MLB 1st baseman ('47-'61).
Interview with Reds COO Phil Castellini.
Notice the 'stache on that fancy building in the backdrop.
Who's got an arm?! Chucking mid-50's heat from MLB distance at the Reds Museum that sits outside the park. 60-feet and 6-inches is a long way. 
A baseball wall commemorating Pete Rose's record-breaking hit. There's also a rose garden outside the museum that honors exactly where his hit landed in old Riverfront stadium.

All-Star logo outside of the stadium.
Cincy's famous Skyline chili, piled on top of spaghetti. All say this, I didn't hate it, but I wouldn't do it again.
Nada, a surprisingly tasty Mexican cantina. Fish, barbacoa, and pork belly tacos.

Taste of Belgium, good chicken and waffle spot in Cincy's  Over-the-Rhine (OTR) district, the new hipster area. The chicken was good, but the waffle deserves the trophy. A very hearty breakfast.

Morelein Lager House. This burger has pastrami, bacon, and fried egg.
The happy couple!
Nevermind. So fickle.
Stache at the airport.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Niagara Falls, eh!

Niagara Falls
August 2011

When I was 5, my family went on a summer vacation to New York, Washington DC, and Niagara Falls. All of my impressions of the cities were based on hotels. New York sucked because they had smelly pillows. Washington DC was whatever. Niagara Falls was badass because we had a room that was almost the size of a suite.

Seeing as how that was my only recollection, I wanted to check it out again, especially off the heels of my visit to Iguacu Falls in Brazil ( and Argentina ( So when I visited Toronto after a Detroit journalism convention, I trekked to Niagara, a mere 80 miles away. 

The little-known prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road.
Feeling misty.
The New York side is on the right. I'm straight up Canada, eh.
I call this #Alone.

This gorgeous gear saves your clothes when you hop on the boats that take you close to the falls. I'm delighted to wear mine.
This was about the closest pic to the falls I got. I'm sure I had a camera then as opposed to a phone, so I had to make sure I didn't break it. Looking back, it didn't matter. The camera broke anyway.
Hoping on the boat with some Niagara skyline in the back.
Freestyle time! I was definitely more vertical than this. This poor photography from my boy Ojima. Dude's making me look bad.

Another panoramic.

Underneath and behind the falls.

Tim Taylor appreciates this power.
Panoramic #3.
The parking lot.
Signs? Whatever whatever I do what I want.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Toronto: City of Silent Second T's

Aug. 2011

I was in Detroit to attend the Asian American Journalist Association (AAJA) convention, and at the time I booked my ticket, I wasn't fully employed and quasi-occasionally freelancing for's Page 2, but as luck would have it, by conference time, I had landed a full-time freelance gig in San Diego. Because the economy was in the pooper at the time, I was awarded a fellowship to attend the conference for free, so I immediately put the money I was saving into more travel! Enter Toronto, a city I'd never visited and heard great things about, and less than four hours away from Detroit.

Fun fact: Canadians don't pronounce the second "T" in Toronto. Wheee! You wacky Canadians!

The border. This is not how it was presented in "The Untouchables." 
What is this, Times Square?! Actually, almost everybody from the state would describe Toronto as a clean New York.
Quick detour to Dublin apparently. 

The famous St. Lawrence Market, Toronto's first and largest marketplace. I find it interesting to note that according to - the market is open every day except Sunday and Monday. That's almost 30% of the frickin' week! Can you get away with that? You're better than that, Canada.

The Distillery historic district. Some say it's a tourist area. Whatever, it's f'n rad! It's a short walk away from downtown Toronto. The area, established in 1832, was formerly known as the Gooderham & Worts Whiskey Distillery. They revamped the whole place in 2003, but it totally has an old-time feel. Cobblestones! 

Architects gone wild. That's actually a boob. #ItsNot

It's been way too long since I've been here, but I took a picture of it because it had some awesome food. Again, don't know what it is anymore. Cool story, bro.

The Hockey Hall of Fame.

I can confirm the sign says "Hockey" and not a zoomed-in pic of "Shockey" - a tribute to the former Saints and Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey.

The guy who inspired me to get '93 Hockey on my computer. My hockey knowledge was never so great. Tomas Sandstrom and Kelly Hrudey all-day long! 

My boy Ojima has zero slap shot skills.
I, on the other hand, have clearly embarrassed that virtual goalie. Who is that, John Vanbiesbrouck?
I was concerned this would be difficult, but they shoot the pucks out of this thing at like 5 mph (and that's like the superstar setting). I made me feel like Goldberg the goalie from the Mighty Ducks.

There are plenty of interactive things to do at the Hockey Hall, which is way better than the basketball HOF. Maybe I'll post those pics in a future blog. It would be filled with pics of me taking disappointed selfies.

Ahhhh yes. The finest trophy in all of sports, Lord Stanley's Cup.
So we went to the CN Tower to do the edge-walk, shown below, but it cost almost $200 and decided against it. The CN Tower is 147 floors. Now most of you know this is exactly the type of adrenaline-type attraction that I normally pony up for, but at this time I was unemployed (aside from random freelance gigs) for nearly 7 months! Brother had no cash left! 

This is a sample of what the CN Tower walk was like. I guarantee if I were up there, I would walk off the edge or try to jump off, because I'm so securely harnessed. That's the type of thrill I love - when I can pull some crazy shit and not worry about dying! Dying sucks.

Lot of Gretzky in Toronto.

The legendary improv club, the Second City - which helped launch careers of Bill Murray, John Candy, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, etc, etc, etc.
We ate and drank here with a local pal. It was good. That's all I got.

The CN Tower at night.
Pravda, vodka house. This place was sick. Had this crazy old school Russian decor. It's where I stereotypically imagine KGB agents and spies cavorted when discussing how to foil James Bond.
We opted to do a little tasting. We may or may not have ordered from a Russian tasting menu, as well. I don't remember. That's the problem with these TBT blogs!

We didn't taste all of these.

Post-tasting vision. Out.