In January Mike mentioned he was tagging along with Gino to visit mezcal producers in Mexico. That sounded fun and we booked tickets. Come departure, news about the virus was ramping up. I’d been washing my hands quite a bit but not adjusting my life much. I was waiting for one of my companions to back out … but no one did.

In the mask-wearing minority, touching nothing.

Day 1 — Thursday

  • Arrived in Puerto de Vallarta. Mike practiced his Spanish in an uber to district Romantico. Lunch and beers while waiting for the California guys. Gino, Nick, and our host Pedro found us and promptly picked out some mezcals to sample.
  • Pedro took us to a restaurant. It was squarely what we’d came to Mexico for — a sleepy, open shelter that had no evidence of a kitchen. All kinds of amazing food appeared and we ooh’d and aah’d. The owner lady gave me a to-go wheel of cheese after she saw how much I enjoyed the first wheel of cheese.
  • Drove South for a couple hours to El Tuito and got rooms at a dusty hotel. Had beers in the empty little town.

Day 2 — Friday

Today was we tagged along with Pedro as he checked in on his mezcal sources.

  • Breakfast in the empty little town. Pedro wanted us to take note of the grumpy waitress.
  • Drove 100 mi West toward the coast and in the mountains to Cabo Corrientes. The road was pretty empty. We asked why there were no cars … a cartel funded the paving of the old country gravel road … it was basically their driveway!
  • Our first visit was to 88-year old “Japo.” He seemed like a charming abuelo type. He had a broken arm on account of being kicked by a donkey (when visiting one of his girlfriends in a nearby village). His son was making the mezcal while we were there. He had the nicest setup, with 2 stills running. It was explained that Japo takes pride in being patient and precise. His agave plants mature for over 10 years, and ferment for exactly 23 days. He showed us his farm with ocean views, and we sampled his mezcal although he doesn’t drink the stuff anymore.
  • The next producer’s name was Vicente. Nice guy with a quiet farmer vibe. He had some mezcal cooking as well. We tasted the “primo” as it was pouring out of the still (the first run of the two distillations). Vicente took us over to his roadside store where there was a lovely setup for lunch featuring all kinds of good food. Notably, a massive bowl of ceviche that I wanted to wolf down … but kept myself in check so as not to be a weirdo.
  • Our final stop was more of a check-in. I think this guy was named Rudolfo. He had a lot of personality and wasn’t making any mezcal. Unlike the other guys, he brought out a huge jug of his product and was encouraging us to enjoy it. He had a good attitude.
  • We went back to Puerto de Vallarta to stay at an airbnb. We had lots of tacos and attempted to go to a bar. We were wiped out and it became apparent we couldn’t hang til late when the partiers typically come out.
  • Mike was convinced he’d lost his jeans for many hours (they were in his suitcase).

Day 3 — Saturday

  • Walked to the beach with the intention of really swimming it up. The water wasn’t particularly pleasant looking, so I walked up and down a couple times and finally got in quickly so I wouldn’t have any regrets.
  • Drove to Guadalajara.
  • Had a few refreshing drinks and delicious food at De La O Cantina (Pedro’s bar).
  • Then beers at a dark bar we liked called Pigalle.
  • Dinner at Xokol Tortilleria. Gino described one dish as “one of the best things he’s ever eaten.” The secret was the sauces.
  • Then to Pare de Sufrir (Pedro’s other bar) for lots of mezcal and observing young people hang out. Everyone erupted when the bartender would grab this broomstick and manually spin the disco ball. The young people sang along if the DJ played a traditional song they all knew.
  • Then to Pigalle again.

Day 4 — Sunday

Today the speculation about severity of the virus really stepped up. Us guys were kicking around the idea of leaving early, staying the course, or riding it out. Esha was with her friends in Mexico City having the same conversations. The general conclusion was that it would be a mistake to go back to the US while was everyone was in a panic. Photos of the airport customs lines sealed the deal for me. If I was going to catch covid — it would be waiting in line at the airport. Most of the day was sorting out what to do about new airbnbs and flights.

  • Woke up and found some coffee while the rest of the guys stirred awake. Nick and I walked to downtown Guadalajara to see the plazas and Orozco murals. Gino had a cold and was coughing all over the place. He went to the hospital to make sure he didn’t have the virus. Mike slept in.
  • The Orozco murals were incredible. I don’t go wild for big ceiling murals, but these were powerful and had real energy. Guadalajara was terrific — felt both modern and historic, wide boulevards, plenty walkable, not especially touristy.
  • That night we were treated to a tasting at The Mezonte Tasting Room, yet another establishment of Pedro’s. What you do there is sit and taste many a mezcal.
  • Mike, Nick, and I went to this steak place called Res Publica. They served us a raw steak. We sent it back and requested rare instead.
  • Pigalle.

Day 5 — Monday

Hardly slept because I was up all night reading about the virus (18 hrs screen time!) and trying to strategize what to do.

  • Nick went back to L.A. as scheduled.
  • I did some work calls.
  • Gino, Mike and I got some lunch. Gino was coughing all over the place again and freaked the waitress out, so he went home early.
  • Settled into our interim airbnb
  • Walked to Office Depot to buy hand sanitizer and wipes. We ran into a bar industry guy from Philly that Gino knows. At this point NYC had shut down for 2 days and this guy was pretty certain a majority of establishments were screwed.

Day 6 — Tuesday

Mike and Gino took flights back to Puerto de Vallarta. My route was South to meet Esha and her cousins. My job was giving me a hard time about when and if I was coming back—which was pretty annoying. The world is falling apart, give it a rest. I got to Oaxaca, found the airbnb, washed my clothes in the sink, and got a sandwich.

Days 7–10

We stayed in Oaxaca and had lots of nice meals. We visited the ruins at the top of the hill, it was extra spooky since no one was around. We went to the weaving village via a crowded bus. There was a festival going on where everyone in the village was sharing(!) sweet drinks in the plaza. On the last day or so, the streets really emptied out, and things started closing down and we were getting dirty looks…time to go back to NYC. We flew back on what felt like a tense flight … although many people on the plane had not a care in the world; wearing flip flops; cuddling; fumbling with duty free bags. The cab ride home was surreal—10pm on a Saturday night through desolate streets downtown New York City. We unpacked and started lockdown.


Esha, Veronica, Colin and I left NYC late on Saturday, December 15 and landed in Bangkok 24 hours later. 

» Lots of Photos

Day 1

  • Walked around to eat, I remember being kind of nervous and pointing at some stuff in the buffet. I made a couple wrong selections on this first attempt.
  • Went to TEP Bar that night — a great bar in an alleyway. They play traditional Thai music. It wasn’t exactly comfortable, or fun, but a cool experience. 

Day 2

  • Took a boat tour up the river to some temples. The highlight was stopping at another boat with an older lady selling coconuts. I am pretty sure she was related to the driver somehow. She asked, “beer for the driver?” Yes, of course. 
  • Spent the rest of the day touring various temples and the Grand Palace. The temples are like a big craft project where they have hot-glued some decoration to every available surface.
  • Went to a bar (some tables, a cooler, and a pretty rustic cooking setup in the alley) along the riverfront. The proprietor was whistling Christmas music, and picking at his bare feet in between serving us beers. I enjoyed it.

Day 3

  • Flew to Chang Mai in the morning. I was expecting it to be a chilled out hippie paradise, instead it was more like a smaller Bangkok. 
  • Walked around, went to one restaurant and realized it was the wrong one (there’s two Anchons), then went to the real one. Lots of good veggie curries on a 2nd floor. I love a 2nd floor restuarant.
  • Then ate some more some other place. We had lots of recs on account of Laura living there for a while. 
  • Got a massage that night. I didn’t find it all that good. Mine was 20 min, whereas Esha’s was over an hour. I walked around alone for a while and realized I looked like a creepy white guy, and was getting solicited by sex-workers. So I found one place to sit and wait instead. 
  • Assume we saw lots of temples every day from here on out. 

Day 4

  • Futzed about in town: mango sticky rice, mediocre $3 beard trim, Esha got threaded, went to a market to eat from Cowboy Hat Lady’s cart, had a big multi-fish dinner in the back of another restaurant.

Day 5

  • A guy drove us 3 hours up the mountains to Pai. Everyone was nervous about getting car sick, but it was fine. 
  • Rented scooters. Everyone was nervous about dying on the scooters, so we left them at the huts and an old guy drove us around instead. Prob for the best because we would have been scooting for hours along dusty roads.
  • Went to a waterfall where a lot of teens were hanging out, then to town, went to a canyon at sunset, more markets in town again, went to 7-11, had beers at the huts while sorta sitting in this natural hot tub thing behind Veronika’s hut.

Day 6

  • The huts were on this nice plot of land with great views, and a farm next door — meant to be very peaceful. In the morning there was a 5k scheduled for like 7am. so we were woken to the national anthem and megaphone screaming. It was both annoying and comical. 
  • Went to the hot spring that day, one of the best experiences of the entire trip. Quiet, foggy, magical hot water flowing over our bodies.
  • That afternoon, the old guy drove us back down the mountain to Chang Mai airport and we flew south to Krabi.

Day 6

  • We went to Railay beach, which was nice.
  • Walked around to really chill bar on the bayside. My favorite thing to do on vacay is spend a whole afternoon at a bar. I suppose it’s also my fave thing when not on vacay.

Day 7 (xmas eve)

  • We took a ferry over to an island called Ao Nang. It was nice, we sat on the medium-crowded beach all afternoon. I found some beers in the little village. 
  • Asked for a rec for dinner and this lady said someone would pick us up at our hotel at 7:00. We got in the back of this truck and he drove us for like 20 min to a restaurant on a little canal. It was breezy, large, and not many people there. An elderly couple on a stage singing Beetles covers. Turns out this place is where Thais on vacation go. We ordered tons of food and beers and it was all great, and like $60 for all 4 of us.
  • The truck had been waiting for us the whole time, and took us back to the hotel. I was confused and fascinated by this. He didn’t want any money. I later learned that he works for the restaurant.

Day 8 (xmas)

  • Couldn’t really tell it was Christmas when at the beach in Thailand. I felt bad about it for maybe 2 minutes when looking at this sad little tree setup in the hotel. 
  • This day we had booked some tour to James Bond island. The bus never picked us up, so the lady drove us in her car to catch up with the bus. This was the only time we got to talk to a local. She explained how her parents live in a village of and work on the rubber plantation, and she looks forward to going to the village for New Year’s. I got the sense that is like the only big event of the year, and only time people do anything. I asked what was so fun about it, and she said eating. 
  • The tour was OK, but also annoying because it was like 30 other tourists. The gals thought the tour guide was hot.
  • Went back to the same restaurant again (I was eager to ride in the truck again) and sat at the same table, and ordered a little more food than the night before. 

Day 9

  • This day we sprung for our own boat. Overall, it was the best day. This teenager was driving us around to all the little islands where we’d get out and swim a bit, then move on. We were pretty much all alone swimming in beautiful locales.
  • Hong Island beach was really amazing, since it costs a few bucks to get in, a lot less people were there. Eventually we were like, “enough islands!” and headed back.
  • That night, even though we weren’t sick of Thai food, I thought we should venture out. Went to a place called Burger Bung for burgers, and it was terrible. 

Day 10 

  • A van drove us 3 hours up to a Khao Sok, a national park with a giant man-made reservoir. I suspect it’s one of those stories where they razed a bunch of villages to make it. We got on a little boat and headed to Plern Prai Raft House. A floating cabin thing where we stayed for a night. This quiet tour guide guy took us along a hike and showed us a spider. Then we went into a cave and we could touch whatever we wanted and shine flashlights on bats — which seemed wrong. All in all very serene setting.
  • They serve you delicious fried fish, curry, and rice on the floating restaurant. I wondered what the employee’s lives must be like living on a series of floating buildings. They seemed to be getting nice and drunk come early evening.
  • We did more swimming and rowing around the next morning, and flew back to Bangkok.

Day 11

  • Went to the Jim Thompson House Museum. He was a CIA guy that traded silks as a cover and disappeared mysteriously. They say a tiger ate him. Cool house. 
  • Then to some malls to buy silks, it was fun when we found some cool stuff. Esha bought a few yards. We ate our final Thai meals, packed up and left the next day. The mall is where we saw the most locals.
  • We discovered that, in Thailand, all their food is generally fresh and flavorful. But we do have some Thai in NYC that is on par. Now we know.

Great trip in a beautiful land, realizing we did a lot of shuffling about which isn’t my preferred vacay, but it made sense here because we will likely never return.  


15 day trip —

 Berlin & Frankfurt

West side — really emphasized the stupidity of a border wall.

I was fully expecting to roll my eyes at Berlin. Everyone’s always “Berlin is so libertine and cool and vibey” and all these other red-flag things that usually turn out to be overstated. In spite of that Berlin ended up being our favored city — what we saw was very international and diverse (and vibey and libertine).

You could sense the juxtaposition of history vs. welcomed evolution. Seemed generally affordable for an urban area, and I could envision good quality of life there. (As in, you might not have to work so hard.)

Impressions: Moms pushing babies around, street markets, cold weather cycling, waiting for the walk sign on empty streets, tea-making-classical-music-loving airbnb host, watching neighbors eat dinner in slapstick fashion through courtyard window, spacious apartments, honor-system / on-time trains, smoking in bars (yuck), intense lovers of art.

Flying the drone on a very foggy day. Thankfully only minor damage

Bulletted Impressions:

  • Turkish food was great. Went to two fancy, contemporary German places — good, but not worth it
  • Beers were nice
  • Loads of parks and outdoor areas. Told it really goes off in the summer
  • German Historical Museum was excellent. A linear, focused presentation of the country’s history. I needed another hour there, but they were closing up
  • Spent a couple days in Frankfurt (while Esha attended a tradeshow). The Städel was a worthwhile art museum (they had a good app, and the only contemporary art I saw on the continent). Otherwise, Frankfurt was not an interesting destination. Terrible food

» More Germany photos


Remainder of our time was in Paris. This was Esha’s focus and thankfully she had prepared the itinerary. City-wide there was a high level of craftsmanship and general olde time artisan-y relics. I got to wondering if the average carpenter there had to be so much more skilled? Even the museums were very stylish and moody (sometimes too dark). After a while, you’d kind of get tired of seeing the same stone building and old churches everywhere you go.

The food was generally on a higher baseline — although I was surprised that many of the rec’d bistros had laminated menus, unchanged for years. A few newish places tried a bit harder. Next time we won’t be so dedicated to French staples … as in Germany, the best eats were Turkish sandwiches from the markets. Rarely saw chicken or crafty cocktails on the menus. My favorite place was a little bar preserved from the 60s with a handsome after work crowd, and the accompanying bistro across the street. I went back a couple times.

Pond at the Hameau de la Rein — fake rustic village at Versailles

Spent a Sunday at Versailles. Booked their King’s apartments tour, which was really nice and took us into some off-limit rooms. I’m totally sold on tours when available. After walking at least 10mi that day, Esha convinced us to get over to the far corner of the property to see the The Hameau de la Rein, which ended up being my favorite part of the day. Pleased to see a lot of families hanging out and riding bikes in the gardens.

Versaille garden at dusk

Impressions: everyone smokes, sits outside year around, healthier looking elderly population, waiter seems to be a normal career track, same stores as NYC, aggressive traffic, beat the crowds by seeing all the tourist stuff in the off-season, got a haircut and it was the only time US politics came up … thankfully it didn’t seem to consume them as much it does us, they recognize that trump is an idiot and don’t understand it at all either

  • Louvre was better / less annoying than anticipated
  • Hunting Museum was a true surprise
  • Would be a nice place to experience daily life — I’d be interested in spending time with a project to work on like all them old writers
  • Limited beers on offer, and the wine wasn’t as cheap as I’d hoped
  • Overall, everything was a bit too pricey
  • Walked 7–10 mi every day
  • Plenty of bread

» More Paris photos

The entire trip I was further reminded about how little I know of world history. Seemed a bit scary that nearly everyone spoke English, and you really only heard American music. We’d take an uber to a plane, get off, order another uber. Used our phone for directions, recommendations, translation when necessary, and to get the news we were hoping to get away from for a little bit.

2016 in Review — Amazon Purchases

I placed 13 orders with Amazon in 2016.


Jan 12 — Round Ring View Binder, 1.5 Inch, 4 PackAvery Economy Clear Sheet Protectors, Box of 100

My scrapbook binder was full. I also started a goals binder filled it with journal entries, google docs, diagrams, etc. from the last 4 years relating to personal growth and career. I’m a  believer in typing out goals, desires, etc.

It makes you think about it, which is the first step. Secondly, it’s cool to look back and see that you’ve accomplished something, or made some steps. If you don’t reflect on what you’ve accomplished it can seem like nothing much has happened.

Tablet StylusJan 12 — elago Stylus Grip

I was curious if this stylus would work on my magic trackpad — it didn’t. It was kind of fun to use on the phone w/ a drawing app though. Not recommended.


Jan 12 — Extra-Rigid Fiberboard Photo/Document Mailers, 9 x 11.5 Inches, Box of 25

Just to have on hand in the office. Mainly for sending Doodl Club issues to contributors.


Jan 20 — AcuRite 00613A1 Indoor Humidity Monitor

Our apartment gets kind of cold in the winter, and I wondered “exactly how cold?” Now I’m kind of into checking the humidity too. Usually we’re at “OK.”


Jan 20 — #6 3/4 Security Envelopes

I thought I’d ordered #10 envelopes (these are the small ones). I put these out on the curb and someone picked them up right away.


Jan 20 — BIC Marking Permanent Marker Fashion Colors, Fine Point

These came up on reviews as ‘least smelly’ permanent markers. Sharpies make me nauseous. These are better, but I still don’t like them that all that much. For me, it’s good old felt tips.


Jan 20 — Slik Sprint Pro II Tripod in Gun Metal With Quick Release Ball Head & Case

I wanted a tripod for making my Doodl Club time lapse videos. Usually I really belabor reviews and specs, but I bought the cheapest one recc’d by wirecutter in this case. I thought it had a 90° head, but it doesn’t. I make it work anyhow.

Now that Doodl Club is retired, I’ve been using it for product shots for Makrosha.


Feb 3 — Futurebatt® AC Adapter Charger Magsafe 2 45W 14.85V 3.05A for Apple Macbook Air

My original charger was all frayed out, but still worked. I’d left it at the advertising agency office and they threw it away. Rude! This one was like $12 and it works fine.


Feb 23Wacom Intuos Pen Small Tablet

Sometimes I leave my wacom at the office, or home. I have a hard time getting any work done without it. A bit frivolous, but I got this one as a backup. This new one doesn’t work with the wireless adapter though.


Apr 12 —  Minimalist Slim  Wallet

My previous slim wallet was purchased at Dillard’s in 1999. This one is pretty great, with lots of pockets while remaining slim for about $15. In a store like J. Crew they try and charge you $80 for something like this! This one blocks RFID readers, which I don’t care about too much, but is interesting because I had credit card info stolen right before I got it. Great wallet.


Apr 12#10 Envelopes

Because I got the wrong size before.


Apr 12 — Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work

A guy I met said it changed his life and I suppose I wanted my life changed too. I think about the nature of work more than doing work. Remains unread. I did read the intro and there a good line about your pay being called “compensation” because it’s not something you’d do otherwise.

I have 5 books next to my bed. If I read them, I’m going to buy myself the kindle paperwhite that I’ve been eyeing.


Apr 12 — 4-inch Pizza Wheel

We eat more frozen pizza than I care to admit. I buy them when doing the shopping thinking it’ll hang around in the freezer in case we don’t have any real food and it always gets eaten within 3 days. I like Digorno and the Paul Newman ones the best. This big pizza wheel cuts em up pretty good.


Apr 12 — Contour Memory Foam Pillow

Esha used the pillow I got last year and wanted one of her own. Now we each have our own contour memory foam pillow.

May 11 — Rubbermaid Commercial High Heat Silicone Spatula, 13.5″, Red Handle

The old spatula was crumbling apart (I always wonder if we end up eating the bits of utensils that seem to chip away … especially our knife). I think America’s Test Kitchen said this was the best, and it is. I’ve noticed it being used on the cooking show I like (A Chef’s Life) too.

May 11Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Headphones

My office neighbors at the coworking space were talking all the time and driving me crazy. Got these fancy headphones thinking they were noise-canceling, but they weren’t. I moved out of the co-working office in July, and didn’t use them that much. Sold them on eBay in December for $50.

cheap x-acto blades

May 11X-acto Blades

Not sure x-actly why I needed these. These were the best price for the quantity and good to have around.

bike stuff from amazon

July 26Chain Lube,  Bike Lights, Bike Tires

Some stuff to fix up my slowly rusting bike. I’d started working in the city again, and figured I’d commute to get some exercise. The ride from my house to the flatiron was so stressful, it just wasn’t worth it. By the time I’d get to work I was in a terrible mood. I rode a handful of times and gave up. It’s also kind of a pain to get my bike in and out of the house. I should probably get rid of it, but I daydream that I’ll live somewhere with basement next year and I’ll be a cyclist again.

Aug 11 — Prospectors Gold Rush Pomade

There was a hip barber shop in LIC that I’d gone to pretty consistently for about a year. They did a good job, but it was $40 and after I’d move offices, not that convenient. This is the pomade they sold me, it’s light and not too sticky. Now I get my haircuts on 23rd Street for $25.


Oct 3 — Peacock & Vine: On William Morris and Mariano FortunyIn Bloom: Creating and Living With Flowers

I got these for Esha’s birthday. She said she liked the textile history one.

Oct 3S.W.A.G. Bar

Also for Esha’s birthday. This was on Shark Tank a long time ago, and she seemed interested. I think it’s a loofa with soap in it? She liked it.

Oct 30 — Fire HD 8 Tablet

I’d been kinda wanting a tablet for a long time, but didn’t think it’d be worth it. The good ones were like almost the price of a decent laptop. I got this kindle one for $85. I love it and use it way too much. This dirt cheap tablet works pretty good, but they try to lock you out of all the decent apps. With about 20 min of research I ‘hacked’ it and got the regular apps on it.

I think I’m going to have to start shutting it off and putting it in a drawer because I waste hours on it every night. Tablets are the biggest time-wasters because you can only consume with them. Nothing about them promotes creating. And they’re a better experience than a phone, so you don’t put it down. Great purchase, but too much.


Nov 16 — Leather Writing Journal Notebook, The Westing GameEscape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, Pokemon Headphones

Meredith at work signed us up to buy presents for kids. We got letters from the kids saying what they wanted. I think my kid is sensitive. He wanted specific pokeman cards (didn’t get b/c it’d have blown the whole budget), a diary for boys (is this a thing? I saw someone else posting about it), books, and headphones. I compromised on the pokeman thing and got poké headphones. Hopefully he likes everything. I signed the cards as if I were Santa and encouraged him to stay cool.

Dec 5 — 6.5 x 4.5 Rigid Photo Mailers

Surprisingly hard to find a small rigid mailer. Bought these to send out pinpal pins in. They didn’t come in time, and ended up using random envelopes from the 99¢ store.

Pleased with how pinpal worked out. I’d felt sheepish because I tend to search for reasons to discredit and not follow through with ideas. Several people wrote articles about how the safety pin was lazy and passive. I kinda agreed. I also heard from people, like Esha, that thought it was good to show and wear your support. Thanks to lots of friends, we sold out pretty quickly and sent $1450 to the Southern Poverty Law Center — that felt good. A goal for 2017 is to find or create more volunteer opportunities.

The Election

At this point I’m not that interested in what the pollsters got wrong and theories why Trump was elected. I’m very bothered by the reports of harassment carried out in Trump’s name by bigots emboldened by the election result. On Tuesday night my wife repeatedly asked “are there really that many racist people in America?”

I don’t believe racism was the priority for most Trump voters.

I give most of the Trump voters the benefit of the doubt — my instinct is that they voted out of: party loyalty, dislike for HRC, the establishment, desire for non-progressive supreme court judges, and the magical return of ‘good’ jobs. Despite anyone’s reason for voting for Trump they did so in spite of his hostile rhetoric, and looked the other way.

Trump’s campaign was built upon scapegoating the most vulnerable for America’s problems, and taking the country back from “them.” While he was quick to speak out on behalf of Mike Pence for being confronted at a Broadway play, Trump has done little more than shrug when it comes to sticking up for hundreds of Americans being harassed and intimidated in his name. I was anticipating a strong denouncement from him last week during his 60 Minutes interview. This is what we got:

When we interviewed him on Friday afternoon Mr. Trump said he had not heard about some of the acts of violence that are popping up in his name… or against his supporters.

Nor he said had he heard about reports of racial slurs and personal threats against African Americans, Latinos and gays by some of his supporters.

Donald Trump: I am very surprised to hear that— I hate to hear that, I mean I hate to hear that—

Lesley Stahl: But you do hear it?

Donald Trump: I don’t hear it—I saw, I saw one or two instances…

Lesley Stahl: On social media?

Donald Trump: But I think it’s a very small amount. Again, I think it’s–

Lesley Stahl: Do you want to say anything to those people?

Donald Trump: I would say don’t do it, that’s terrible, ‘cause I’m gonna bring this country together.

Lesley Stahl: They’re harassing Latinos, Muslims—

Donald Trump: I am so saddened to hear that. And I say, “Stop it.” If it — if it helps. I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.

Compare that to how McCain shut down this BS in 2008:

I mistakenly believed that Trump’s behavior would disqualify him. His voters compromised on decency.

When it comes to these views I will never understand the amount of capacity attributed to immigrants, poor and powerless to conspire and execute complex ploys to ruin the country they live in.

The only good thing that may come of the election is that people like me will be moved out of complacency to help our neighbors. I’m looking for a positive way to help out in Queens. In the meantime, I’ve put this together a small fundraising project along with my friends at Studio Rodrigo called

I hope it helps.

Fake Shoes

Esha was looking into sourcing some some stuff from Alibaba, so I got to looking around the internet for how-to guides and insights. In my search I got sucked in to the world of fake shoes.

Chiefly, the repsneakers subreddit — these dudes scour Chinese websites and create detailed reviews examining every little detail, and how they compare to real shoes.

My fake Pirate Black 350s
$50. Fake Yeezy Pirate Black Boost 350s I’ve worn for ~2 weeks

If you don’t know anything about this whole streetwear / sneakerhead thing — these brands release limited amounts of product and limit the amount an individual can buy. There’s a whole secondary market of waiting in line, buying, and reselling for profit. For instance, the hot shoe is Kanye’s YEEZY Boost 350. It retailed for $200, but is sold out and goes for nearly $1000 on Amazon.

$50. These aren't as popular as Yeezy's. If you can find them, they go for ~$200

$50. These are NMDs — not as popular as Yeezy’s. This colorway is hard to get. But others are readily available

The repheads develop relationships with the suppliers. “Did you see David’s 7th batch” “Is Jessie answering messages?” “Have you seen Eva’s new pics?” … they know there is no “David” but the supplier has taken on this handle and become their own mini-brand with distinct reputations. Some of them work with the suppliers to refine and develop the details on each new “batch.”

Insider lingo and acronyms:

  • LC — Legit Check, having the group check to see if they’re getting ripped off by a reseller of retail sneakers
  • QC — Quality Control photos … users ask Chinese suppliers to send them verified photos of the actual shoes they’ll be getting, usually via WhatsApp
  • W2C — Wanted to Cop
  • TD (turtledove), PB (pirate black), MR (moonrocks), OT (oxford tan) — the various colorways of Boost 350s

Ordering is reminiscent of the wild west days. You might get a confirmation number, it might work, you aren’t really sure when they’ll arrive, if they’ll get shredded by customs, or if there is any recourse if the shoes are messed up somehow. The anticipation of what will show up and when is half of the fun. People get pretty worked up about the customer service they’re receiving and how soon they’ll get their illegal shoes being shipped from the other side of the world, showing how much we’ve come to expect from e-commerce.

Sometimes they don't ship in a box. Just wrapped in plastic
Arrived like this

For the price, the shoes are fairly comfortable. I suspect the retail versions are a bit better, but not enough to justify the cost. I’ve only seen one other person wearing 350s in the wild. A few people on the street have asked me about my shoes, and I tell them they’re bootlegs. Most people have no idea what the shoes are in the first place, but my heart does race a little bit if I’m approaching a group of high-schoolers.

TD Boost 350s

These TD Boost 350s came with some Tommy Hilfinger socks and a fake receipt
These TD Boost 350s came with some Tommy Hilfinger socks and a fake receipt

They seem like regular old shoes once you get them. Looking at the logos printed on the side really puts in to perspective that all things are hand made — by someone, somewhere. There’s no Adidas machine spitting these out. Now, if you so desire, you can have anything you wanted produced in a factory if you bother to send a few emails.

The fact that we’re now so connected that a high school kid in the suburbs can negotiate textile swatches with someone on the other side of the world over text message is a mind boggle for sure.

Sellers modify the logos — but they arrive w/ real logos
Sellers modify the logos on their listings — but they arrive w/ real logos


What I Read On-line

I made a tweet last week that I’ve hit “peak revelation.” I can’t learn about what I didn’t know that I didn’t know any more! I never even deploy the new knowledge. I’m on the lookout for things that are plain entertainment, or art. Maybe I should read a book?

I also made a facebook rant a while ago, that I think some ppl took the wrong way, about lack of pure status in the feed. Over the last 2 years, every time I see a shared article I go up to the top right and click “hide all from” or whatever it is…

— the result of which is that I only really see actual status updates (maybe 4 ppl I know regularly post), instagram reposts (I find annoying, and you can’t block) and things ppl liked “John liked this” … usually some other person’s status.

That said, I look forward to email newsletters, in this order:

I pruned my RSS feed to:

I scan nytimes app headlines, but really only read the weekend printed edition.

And niche subreddits.

2015 in Review — Amazon Purchases


Jan 30 — Google Nexus 6 Synthetic Leather Smartphone Sleeve.

This case was listed at 1¢ in order to get reviews, but it wasn’t worth it. Too much hassle to pull out of the sleeve. My phone is massive and easy to drop. I’ve busted the screen 2x and it costs $350 to replace.


Jan 30 — ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Brief

Terrible, tight. Supposed to be travel underwear that dry quickly, but they don’t “breathe” and cause more odor than they prevent. Hate wearing these, but have kept them for those days that I’ve been too lazy to get my laundry done. Maybe I’ll travel somewhere and need to wash my underwear in the sink next year too! I’m definitely on the lookout for a great fitting underwear. When I find them I’ll buy 18 pairs.


Jan 30 — Martha Stewart Crafts Fringe Scissors

Thought these would be handy to have around the house to cut up sensitive documents like a miniature paper shredder, but I hardly ever use them. We used them to cut herbs a couple times.


Feb 23 —  Sparco Long Reach Stapler

Needed a stapler and figured I’d get a long reach one in case I ever wanted to make a booklet or something. I had one years ago, but I think Kelly has it, or I left it at Todd Oldham’s office. I’ve not made any booklets, but I did staple at least 10 things.


Feb 23 — Georgia-Pacific Standard 92 Multipurpose Paper

~700 / 1500 sheets remaining.


Feb 23 — Madi K’s Whole Natural Almonds, 1-Ounce Bags (Pack of 48)

I’m always on the lookout for good office snacks. Got these single serve nuts because I would eat a whole can of nuts the same day I got it. Now I get raw cashews because they don’t taste that good and I won’t binge on them too much.


Mar 1 — Dissident Gardens

Set in the neighborhood I live in. Started reading it 3x but haven’t made it past 20 pages. I am not very good at reading books anymore and I’m trying to decide if that’s a problem or not.


Apr 13 — Kashi Chewy Granola Bars, Chocolate Almond and Sea Salt with Chia

Studio snacks. I got a bunch of granola bars and kinda gained some weight. I think it’s because I’d eat like 3 at a time. No more granola bars.


Apr 13 — Pentel Sign Pen, Fiber-Tipped, Black Ink

My favorite pens! They make big fat lines that look way more important and artsy.


Apr 13 — Swingline Staples

That long stapler did not come with staples :/


Apr 13 — AA AAA Battery Charger with and 4 Pack AA Rechargeable Batteries 

Things that need batteries: bluetooth keyboard and trackpad, swiffer, tv remote.


Apr 21 — The 4 Hour Body

Thought maybe this would have some secrets to being healthy and buff that didn’t require working out or dieting. Takeaways that I’ve sort of incorporated: Kettlebells, eating a protein only breakfast w/in 30min of waking up (sometimes). Maybe someday I’ll pick it up again and add some more gems to my regimens.


Apr 25 — The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

Skimmed. Can’t recall any of the laws.


May 5 — Applebee’s Gift Card

Birthday gift for Mom.


Aug 2 — Paisley Pattern Sock

An option for my wedding day. Didn’t end up wearing this pair. Kinda too small.


Aug 2 — Contour Memory Foam Pillow

My neck had been bothering me. How often do you throw away pillows?


Aug 2 — Woven White Paisley Pocket Square

For wedding day.

sock2Aug 2 — Paisley Dress Socks

Wore this pair on wedding day.


Aug 2 — Men’s Running Short

This color was a bit cheaper and I found out why — it’s flesh color and it looks like your pants-less. Esha gets real made when I wear them.


Aug 2 — 8 Pack No Show Liner Fake Socks

You can never have enough no show socks! These are decent ones. I think they’re Korean and they run pretty small, which is an asset when you’re not showing your socks off.


Aug 2 — Nexus 6 Armband

Don’t really use this. My phone is too big to run with.


Aug 2 — Personalized Custom Logo Embosser Seal

Got the doodl club logo turned into an embosser. Very pleased w/ this.



Sep 25 — Scanner

I guess I needed to scan something? Wish it was wifi compatible.



Sep 25 — Men’s Running Short

The logic is that if I keep buying running stuff, I’ll guilt myself into running. Not sure that I’ve worn these yet.



Sep 25 — Titanium Straight Scissors

Was attracted to the copper-y color. These are scissors for my office.


Sep 25 — Fold-Up Hex Keys

Needed to remove the arms from my office chair. I thought I’d lost my other set, but it was in my ratchet and socket case. I can’t believe I own as many tools as I do considering I have very limited use for them.


Oct 23 — Probiotics

I was asked to buy and review this for my day job.


Oct 23 — Self-Seal Stay Flat Mailers

Used for sending samples of dood club. Feel like I should be mailing eveyone’s with these heavier mailers, but they’re expensive, and cost another dollar to mail. I’m already losing money on each one I send out as is! I’ve only had one complaint about them arriving bent up, so hopefully they ship w/o too much damage.


Oct 23 — OXO Good Grips Dustpan and Brush Set

So hard to find a dustpan that is flat to the ground. I think maybe I will try to sharpen the edge somehow.


Oct 23 — Crayola 36ct Colored Pencils

Colored sounds racist to me :/


Oct 23 — Toner

For my printer! I print off a list of what I need to do at the end of the day, so I’ll have it ready for me the next morning. It’s like my own personal assistant telling me what I need to do.



Oct 23 — 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Nice to have around.


Nov 18 — The Field, Games People Play, The Trusted Advisor, Blue Ocean Strategy, How to Be Funny, Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes

My favorite amazon non-fiction ‘hack’ is that most books are on there used for 1¢ + 3.99 s&h. I add books to my wishlist whenever I see some dumb “smartest book” or reccomendations list. Then I either find a lecture on youtube by the author or longform podcast. If I can’t find one of those, I’ll buy the book. BUT … like I said earlier, I think maybe I can’t read anymore.


Nov 30 — USB Microphone, Wind Screen

I’ve been thinking of starting up my podcast again. I was pretty excited to get this, but it’s too good and picks up tons of white noise in my office. I gotta spend some time to figure out how to make it clean.

Designing the Cabin Porn Book

Cabin Porn Book More photos: / Buy on Amazon

Aug 2013 — Cabin Porn posted a book review hinting at creating a book. I emailed straight away and was stoked to hear they were gearing up to prepare a sample for publishers. We had a skype call about a month later to get started.

Oct 2013 — Met with Zach, and discovered we had similar references in mind for the size, shape, and spirit of the book. A few days later, I made a trip to the mini-village / commune / handmade utopia Beaver Brook. A crew of people were diligently working on the sauna. I helped by repairing the mailbox that I’d run over when I arrived 😐

Initial Notes

  • An object — a “brick”
  • Size / tactile references: field guides, how-to books
  • Photos are the star of the book. Sacred, lush, presented as big as possible … it is pornography after all
  • Not contemporary or ‘now’ feeling … no trends or of-the-moment typography (side note: a lot of architecture books are designed by architects, and it shows!)
  • Typographic cues from manuals, how-to, back-to-the land books of the 60s & 70s, however nothing ‘retro’ or obvious

Nov & Dec 2013 — We worked on a proposal. I started gathering typographic samples and inspiration:

Cabin Porn Typographic Inspiration… many of the references used chunky serifs created during the Arts & Crafts movement. I liked them, but didn’t want to mimic them exactly, only nod to their tone.

I put together sample palettes of headlines, subheads, body copy, page numbers, etc:cabin porn typographyAn Intro to Typography rule is to stick with one or two type families. I break that rule and mix a lot of similar looking type to create texture, flavor, and mystery. I get bummed out when I can recognize the principle typefaces in someone’s work. It’s boring. This book has over ten different type families and remains cohesive. Keep ’em guessing!

Throughout 2014 the rest of the team traveled all over the country capturing the feature stories. Often projects have a tight schedule and there is little time to explore variations. I was excited to spend time and create a lot of different layouts. With each version, I’d tweak the size, margins, typography, and grid:cabin-porn-layouts-matt-cassity … I’d print these out to see how they conform to the many factors that make a pleasing layout — is there room for your thumbs, is the body copy readable, are the columns a comfortable length, are the headlines in proportion, do the photos lay in with minimal cropping?

Meanwhile, there’s a bit of planning needed to figure out the page count and how the pace of the book will flow. For that we created a flatplan:Cabin Porn Flatplan

Oct 2014 — All the assets were complete and we put together the first draft of the book. I try to put off the cover as long as possible. If you get something circulating as a For Placement Only cover, it often ends up as the Real cover.

From the very beginning  I had a specific cover idea in mind, but for the sake of exhausting options I put it aside and made about 100 layouts:Cabin Porn Cover …we tried all kinds of title orientations, stickers, and dust covers, and as you can guess; we ended up with the original idea for the cover —  wordless, lush, full bleed image on the hardcover with a discreet ‘wrapper’ bellyband covering up the sexy cabin. Simple and straightforward just like the website, without any wacky PORN! antics.

Jan 2015 — we had our only IRL All Hands weekend (hooray for distributed teams!) to go through the draft and finalize images. After that there was the usual housekeeping and tying up of loose ends. I’ve left out all the workflow and mechanical bits out of this post-mortem to spare you the tedium!

As a designer, it is often hard to look at a big book once it is printed because you spent so much time poring over every page, and you don’t want to find a mistake, and you may still cringe at some small compromise. In this case, I’m quite pleased with the final product!

Many thanks to the Cabin Porn Book team:

doodl club

I’m excited to launch a new side project —

doodl club zine

I love zines. They’re satisfyingly simple to create, not too precious, and plain fun. As a young adult they were a window into other worlds, and an influencing factor to my ending up a designer. I’ve been making them for my entire adult life — as glorified newsletters, self-promotional mailers, art, and to collaborate.

Matt Cassity Zines
Some zines I’ve made.

A few months ago, I sent a zine to all my pals w/ kids. I thought “kids love getting stuff in the mail, and they might enjoy these fun little drawings.” When I saw an instagram Kristen posted, I was like “oh — these could be coloring books!”

So it’s pretty simple! Cool little coloring zines for cool little people. Subscribe and you’ll get a new coloring book every month.

Two Goals:

  • Find 1000 subscribers interested in: zines, obsessive drawing, exposing kids to art, off-line activities, and finding something delightful in the mailbox
  • Make the process easy and beneficial to the artists — everyone will be compensated for their work, and the process is hassle-free with creative control in their hands

I was lucky to get the terrific illustrator Jim Stoten to do the first issue. We met a year or so ago, and he’s super nice. His work is so confident and it’s easy to get lost in all the detail he creates:

doodl club Jim Stoten

Please help me out and subscribe, gift, or tell yr friends about — Issue One is ready to ship.


Some faves from my zine collection:

Andy Rementer ZinesAndy was the best section in The Artist’s Guide, and I’ve been following his career ever since. His zines are always really funny.

hit BookHit Book was a zine-making party organized by Kelly Rakowski and myself. A bunch of friends would get together and we’d spend an afternoon creating a zine on a single topic using stacks of old clip art books and making drawings. I love looking at the evidence of how much fun it was.

Wayne White ZinesAfter designing his book, Wayne White surprised us with a package of his early homemade comic booklets. They’re each a little treasure.

Cheetahs Never WinI met Steve Reeder at a graphic design conference in 2002 and we’ve somehow kept in touch ever since (thanks internet). His comics are excellent!