Friend Harper gives a goody bag to his guests that stay over at his place in Chicago. In the canvas tote are cool things like Harper-branded stickers and … a black and white disposable film camera, which I managed to use until Harper came to LA last week and I could hand off the camera to him to develop.
I love the hard-won look of these. And the time capsule element – there’s something special about film because it gives you such a finite amount of photos you can take. I wasted a lot by just taking nonsense photos of things like takeout boxes, for fun, but I also found this exercise in limits (only 24 chances) and patience (had to handoff the film to be developed, and then wait) really lovely. Baby Luna looked hot, as usual.
Even though I gave him a hard time for, oh, our entire childhood, I’m really proud of my little brother, Roger Hu. He is risking his lungs to live in frighteningly-polluted Beijing for the sake of his startup, TeeKart. TeeKart is teaming up with golf courses across China to allow golfers to book tee times online. (I’m told that’s not a widely available service in China right now.)
TeeKart held a big launch event this week at a gorgeous course on Hainan Island, China. Cousin Cary, who is the company’s CTO, took a bunch of pictures. For some reason, Roger Hu and team decided to look UTTERLY RIDICULOUS in almost all of them. I had to share a few — he’s in the orange:
Two years ago, one of my bridesmaids and best friends, April, unwittingly fell victim to a TOTAL ROMANTIC CATASTROPHE. There’s no need to go into the details except to say I learned of this in the middle of a busy downtown street and was so stunned that I froze there on the asphalt as cars honked to avoid running me over.
In the blur of time following the news, April and I spent night after night out at bars, rooftop parties, dives featuring wood paneling and karaoke, sketchy dance clubs full of cougars, and, you get the idea. All along, we kept our friends Keith and Virginia, parents to a then-newborn, updated with new developments in the TOTAL ROMANTIC CATASTROPHE.
Around that time, Keith had begun a friendship with a super smart engineer named Chad. And he decided that Chad should meet April. So he enlisted my help in bringing the two together. We organized a happy hour, ostensibly to casually hang out, but mainly so the two could meet.
Within a month the two were dating, by Christmas they’d met one anothers families, and by this Easter, they were engaged. Keith and I spent their weekend wedding in the Texas Hill Country gloating over our matchmaking success.
Because I’ve spent most my career as a visual journalist, photographers are pretty much my favorite people. In television, I got to work with some of the best of them around and it made me sorta picky about shooters. So when it came time to get married, the only person I wanted to shoot our Amsterdam wedding (besides war photographer Damon Winter, of course) was Channing Johnson, my effortlessly talented, immensely humble photojournalist pal from college who I got to know during my senior year, when I harangued him into shooting stills for a terrible documentary I made. His work never disappoints.
Channing is a nostalgia-junkie like me, and we just like hanging out with one another, so when I told him we were going to be in Boston a couple of weeks ago he offered to join us at MIT and just shoot a few bump photos to mark this whole family-expansion experiment. What he got, of course, was way more than we expected and I’m so grateful.
Having finished my obligatory Year in Review, I thought I’d do a more visual look back at 2011. I use the Instagram app to take photos, add fun filters, and share them with pals in the Instagram community. I took thousands of “Instagrams” with my iPhone this year, but journalism is about selection. So I picked 47 of my favorite to help look back on the year that was.
We lost constant internet connectedness for the last week as we traveled Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary by cruising down the Danube River. While we managed to check our emails once a day, not being tethered to the iPhone and other communications devices was a welcome break. I instead relished human connectedness – the kind with my family, the kind all too rare now that my mom, dad and brother are spread out across the globe.
The flights proved exhausting and frustrating as usual (but at least I didn’t have to spend the night in a baggage claim like that one night on the way back from China in 2007). Loved the Hungarians. One of our guides explained that being on the losing side of every war since the 17th century makes the people quite authentic and realistic — something that made us want to go back to Budapest, or as the locals say, Budapescht, quite soon.
Wachau Valley, Austria (includes cities of Melk and Dunstein)
Sturovo, Slovak Republic (just across the border from Esztergom)
Bratislava, Slovak Republic