Sunday, May 31, 2009


Before my flight back to Wisconsin, we took a drive along the Columbia River for some sightseeing...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Portland food tour

I know, I know. I'm a freak. I can't get enough of the walking food tours.

We started off at the landmark Heathman Hotel. Here we're looking down on the Tea Court just outside of the restaurant where executive chef Phillipe Boulot works his magic.

I could be wrong, but I don't think it was Boulot slaving away on making our deviled eggs. Yep.. those are shrimp.. local shrimp.

Slipped next door to Cacao for a drinking chocolate. I'm pretty sure it's in an espresso cup... this isn't Swiss Miss... high single-origin chocolate content, whole milk, and cream, people...

Falafel with tahini from the food-stand district... really exceptional... made from scratch (most falafel is bought by restaurants as a mix) and the tahini is creamy with the consistency of tartar sauce instead of the kind of paste form that's so common.

Time for raw food! (Raw foodism – or rawism – promotes the consumption of un-cooked, un-processed, and often organic foods... it's supposed to retain more nutrients) Here we have a flax cracker with cashew hummus from Blossoming Lotus. The cracker is basically seeds that stick together... there's some pepper in there, too, for a little kick. The cashew hummus... I had my doubts, but I was quickly won over.

The rest of the tour focused on cheese, more chocolate (not complaining), wine and spirits. Rogue makes some great stuff. We learned how gin and rum is made! And of course we got to try it. The choices? Hazelnut Spiced Rum (which is infused, not flavored), Spruce Gin, Dark Rum, Pink Spruce Gin, and Dead Guy Whiskey (so-named for its ease of consumption).

Hello, Portland

I've been in Portland for a few days now. Today I'm tramping through the city then later – guess what – culinary tour!

Fountain at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland, Ore.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ballgame at Citi Field

Went with Steve, his girlfriend and his dad last night to see the N.Y. Mets play the Washington Nationals in the brand new Citi Field that opened this year. Mets won...

The Jackie Robinson Rotunda

Sunset at Citi.

Steve lays one on Lauren between innings.

Now I'm off to Portland, Ore., to see my sister, brother-in-law, and the little ones. Thanks Steve and family for a great time!

Monday, May 25, 2009

The culinary walking tour: Chinatown

I've been hooked on culinary walking tours ever since my experience on the near North Side of Chicago last September. I appreciate good food, and furthermore, I appreciate learning about regional or ethnic food. So when I found out there's a culinary tour of Chinatown, I had to do it. I'm not very cultured when it comes to Chinese food, so this was a good opportunity to learn some stuff.

The party started at Dim Sum Go Go near Chatham/Kim Lau Square with a sampling of steamed Dim Sum (stuffed dumplings). I can't quite remember which dim sum is which... but I think we've got a shrimp and chive dim sum in there, a duck dim sum, a crab meat dim sum, and one of them is vegetarian. We also had a roast pork bun that was to die for.

Outside at Kim Lau Square, Memorial Day festivities were beginning with a parade.

It was a busy day in Chinatown.

Off to the Peking Duck House (no relation). It was amazing to learn about the incredibly meticulous process – nearly scientific – of raising and preparing the ducks for the dish. To read more about Peking Duck, go here... some of the information (regarding the treatment of the ducks) is a little disappointing to learn, but it goes to show the strict approach to preparing this traditional dish... and on a cultural level, I can accept that.

It was one of the tastiest things I've ever eaten. It's served whole (at your table by the chef), and sliced (at your table by the chef). It's usually rolled up in a tortilla-like pancake with hoisin sauce. Nearly every piece of the duck is used in the meal. The scraps and bones are taken back by the chef and made into soup for the end of your meal – there is an implied investment in time... it's not your 1-hour dinner out.

Ginger root anybody? This was the cheap bulk barrel stuff. There were pieces behind glass going for hundreds, even thousands of dollars.

Modeled after a Swiss roll, it's a tiger cake! Chinese "desserts" are generally not sweet... in fact, most don't in the slightest bit resemble Western and European treats. The sweetness of this sponge cake with a bit of chocolate filling was very, very subtle.

A day in the city

I would doubt that you see this everyday coming off the Staten Island Ferry... I dunno... maybe you do.

The beautiful subway.

Running through Chinatown trying to make it to the culinary walking tour on time...

Center of the Universe: B&H Photo

I had to stop in and check out the gear at B&H Photo... the place where for the last 8 years I've mail-ordered (well... web-ordered) all of my equipment from. I really wanted to buy something small but meaningful while I was there... like buying a pair of socks at a high end store on 5th Avenue... just to say that I actually bought something there. Then I was learned about New York's outrageous sales tax rate and reconsidered... a photo keepsake would have to do...

Photo by Steve Grillo.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Delaware River drive

Took a scenic drive with Steve and his girlfriend today along the Delaware River towards Trenton, N.J. on stone-lined roads passing beautiful historic homes and bridges.

Somewhere near Kintnersville, Pa.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

New York, New York

I've arrived in New York to visit my good friend Steve. Although we saw each other a couple years ago in our college years, it's been almost 5 years since I've traveled to see him.

The Manhattan skyline in the distance from the Kosciuszko Bridge between Brooklyn and Queens.


Business section assignments can be really challenging. They have the potential to be empty stores, static portraits and product shots. I can usually make something pretty decent out of them, though... I feel a lot of creative dissonance going into these situations, and that unbalanced, uneasy feeling somehow helps me get myself together...

Jacque Jadin, co-owner of Trikes to Bikes & More in New Franken, Wis., works on a repair job in the store's shop area, Wednesday afternoon, May 20, 2009.

This isn't a winner, I don't think. I like the lighting, the textures of the shop, tools, equipment (I really should have asked what the Aussie hairspray is for)... It's quiet and straightforward and serves its purpose of showing a business owner and her work. I just don't feel very engaged by it... but I do think it's more interesting than something posed would have been.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Double homicide in Gillett

Violent crime is, thankfully, rare here in northeast Wisconsin. But every once in a while when something does happen, it's hardly ever a run-of-the-mill homicide. Crandon, the border shootings near Marinette, a teenager strangling his father and putting him in a car's trunk... it's odd stuff.

Tuesday, I was called off of a softball game to go to the scene of a apparent double homicide in Oconto County. A 21-year-old man and his 32-year-old sister were found dead of gunshot wounds in their rented rural home. The woman's child was at school at the time of the murders. As of this writing there are no suspects.

Most of the local TV networks and I arrived on the scene very late in the afternoon (it's a trip), well after the bodies had been removed. So there was very little activity at the scene, and the authorities were not by any means overjoyed to have to deal with the media – so they kept their distance.

So the whole experience turned into what this job is a lot of times: trying to make something out of nothing. These photos didn't get published (we ran another photo showing some investigators approaching the house) but I'm happiest, visually, with these.

An investigator ducks under crime scene tape at a home where a 21-year-old man and his 32-year-old sister were found dead at 12000 Zastrow Road in the town of Gillett, Wis., Tuesday, May 19, 2009.

The crime scene photographer.

Waiting for the sheriff to show...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sights and sounds of the marathon

The Cellcom Green Bay Marathon was today... I was up and at 'em at 4am to make it to work and get prepared for a day out on the route doing video...

Friday, May 15, 2009

All new at Nitschke

Nitschke Field, part of the Green Bay Packers' practice facility, is being moved closer to their indoor facility, and receiving new bleachers and sod.

Stippled reflected sunlight shines in the face of Dave Hockers of IEI General Contractors of De Pere, as he fastens a piece of decking of new bleachers at the Green Bay Packers' Ray Nitschke Field in Ashwaubenon, Wis., Thursday afternoon, May 14, 2009.

Workers from subcontractor Tuckahoe Turf Farms, Inc., of Hammonton, N.J., install new sod at Ray Nitschke Field.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Something new we're trying at the Press-Gazette that I'm kind of spearheading... video editorials (that we're calling videopinions) allowing people to record a 60-second video on a topic of their choosing and upload it to our designated Facebook page.

It's taking off a little slower than I thought/hoped... but it's also been challenging to promote and get the word out...

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The bell...

Workers remove the bell over the Brown County Courthouse in Green Bay, Wis., Friday evening, May 8, 2009.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Colors back in the trees...

Monique Van Stechelman, left, and running partner Sara Helgeson run down Locust Street during a training run in Green Bay, Wis., Thursday afternoon, May 7, 2009.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

All Children Exercising Simultaneously

Payton Nedobec, 7, and his little brother Brice, 2, play while participating in Project ACES (All Children Exercising Simultaneously) at Providence Academy in Green Bay, Wis., Wednesday morning, May 6, 2009. Payton is a first grader at the school.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Reasons I like my job...

You never know what you're going to end up doing. Sometimes the surprises you get are... lackluster. Other times, it really brightens your day.

If you would have told me Tuesday that – all in one day – I would wear a bulletproof vest, witness a rehabilitated bald eagle being released into the wild, and meet really honest, humble and honorable bank executives (yes, they do exist!)... I probably wouldn't have believed you.

I've always been interested in law enforcement. Not necessarily to be an officer, but to understand the training and methodology that they use to do their jobs safely. First assignment I got to experience it really close up. So close, I had to wear a vest! Green Bay's police department invited three officers from our sister city in Mexico to train with them, and Tuesday they were doing close-encounter pistol training.

I really should have gotten a picture of myself...

Officer Julio Cesar Alvarez levels his pistol at his target while training with two other law enforcement officers (an assistant chief and a commander) from Green Bay's sister city of Irapuato, Guanajuato, as they trained with Green Bay police at the Multijurisdictional Outdoor Firearms Training Range in Hobart, Wis., Tuesday, May 5, 2009.

Juan Carlos Mina, an inter-agency narcotics commander, fires off a round.

It was a great experience to talk with the GBPD guys, and the Mexican guys. The disparity in training and equipment is astounding. Many Mexican police are required to supply their own equipment, weapons, etc. They cannot afford many of the latest in safety equipment (such as dual-action holsters)... which costs lives. The GBPD guys hoped that some of the training they gave would help save a life... Mexico is a dangerous place and these police officers are walking targets in their own communities.

Then it was off to the Oneida reservation where a special ceremony was being held before they helped release a rehabilitated bald eagle back into the wild. The ceremony consisted of tobacco-burning over a fire and a Native American blessing. We were not permitted to photograph either of those aspects of the event... but in hindsight, it really wasn't special photogenically... it was special just to experience it.

Mike Reed, curator from Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, walks with Oneida Nation Elementary School students, faculty, and guests, to the release spot after a special ceremony for the release of a bald eagle from the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary at the school in Oneida, Wis., Tuesday, May 5, 2009.

Reed releases the eagle in front of a couple hundred students, faculty, and community guests.

Its first stop as a free bird was in the trees near Oneida High School.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Cool cars

Went to Road America in Elkhart Lake, for a day. RA is permanent road course that has held races since the 1950s.

Lately they've done Wisconsin Electrathon and Supermileage competitions... basically hand-designed and hand-engineered cars that are completely battery powered or get incredible fuel economy.

They're just not all that fast, and not all that reliable...