Let’s Not Talk About Gun Control


Written by a GUN OWNER.

Originally posted on IdleHands Workshop:

It’s uniquely terrifying to consider the absurd extent to which many gun people are willing to suspend reason just so they can remain armed and dangerous. It’s like they are all in abusive relationships and every time there’s another shooting, they show up at work the next day with a black eye and a split lip. And they say, “You don’t understand. My guns LOVE me. They’d never do anything to hurt anyone. It’s the rest of the world that’s wrong.”

View original 3,130 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Art in Jersey City! #JCAST2015

@pandasuwann's art!!! Love this girl! #JCAST2015

A photo posted by ginavergel (@ginavergel) on

I moved out of Manhattan and into Jersey City two years ago, but in the first year, I only slept here. Since most of my friends live in New York, my social life was there, so I essentially treated Jersey City like a bedroom community.

This year, despite spending lots of time between Fair Lawn and Clifton, visiting my dad in the nursing home and my mom at her home, I decided to make an effort getting to know Jersey City a little better. At first, that meant actually hanging out at my neighborhood bar, something I rarely did when I lived in Washington Heights. (I was always downtown, which was silly.)

Then #JCTwitterDrinks happened (thanks to local artist and instructor at School of Visual Arts, Amy Wilson) and I met a community of cool people! And by following them on Twitter, I learned about The Jersey City Art & Studio Tour (#JCAST)– a citywide showcase of the arts, featuring nearly 1,000 participating artists in hundreds of venues that include private studios, galleries, local businesses, and pop-up and public spaces.

At the last minute, I decided to go for the bike tour (with the super cool folks from BikeJC) on late Saturday (Oct. 3) afternoon. Unfortunately, rain from Hurricane/Storm Joaquin marred those plans, but I decided to venture out on my own (on foot, thanks to all the bike parking in the Grove Street area) and see some art. Here’s a bit of what I saw:

The artist of this piece, BeelZan, is from Israel, and he is also a psychologist, who owns a counseling center for families, couples, children, and adolescents. It’s called Footprint. His show was hosted at Indiegrove, a super cool co-working space in the Grove Street area. If I was a freelancer, I’d rent space there.

I then headed over to LITM (great bar, btw) and caught “Thaw,” by artist Beth Achenbach. She explained the concept came to her when she watched frozen cherries thawing out. Pretty cool stuff.

#thawartexhibit Wishing @laylathelion was here for this tour! #jcast2015

A photo posted by ginavergel (@ginavergel) on

While on the tour, I kept bumping into the awesome street art murals that are popping up all over the city.

#streetart #mural #jerseycity

A photo posted by ginavergel (@ginavergel) on

I met these two cutie pies at 150 Bay Street, an awesome work/live loft building, which is many artists call home.

Love these girls! #JCAST2015 #jerseycity

A photo posted by ginavergel (@ginavergel) on

#flavaflav #JCAST2015

A photo posted by ginavergel (@ginavergel) on

Sadly I lost the above artist’s business card, but she had a very cool apartment, served great sangria, and is a professional lighting designer, so all of her art deals with light. Also, she’s a Las Vegas native. Wish I remembered her name!

Stacy Lund Levy’s art celebrated women’s bodies.

#JCAST2015 #StacyLevy

A photo posted by ginavergel (@ginavergel) on

Loved this stuff by New Jersey native, artist Piersanti.

#JCAST2015 #jerseycity

A photo posted by ginavergel (@ginavergel) on

I also met Ashley Pickett, a photographer who showcased some very cool photos she took in New York and Paris (sadly, I deleted the photos by mistake!), and also her late father’s art. Her dad, Paul Jansen, designed album covers for artists such as Jimi Hendrix!

I ended the night (far too late, of course!) by hitting JCAST after party at the super cool 660 Studios, where I met J Hacha de Zola (a musician) and saw Sunnyside Social Club perform. I also drank too much jaeger, but that’s another blog post! ;)

More art! ;) #JCAST2015 #afterparty

A photo posted by ginavergel (@ginavergel) on

Skateboard decks line a wall at 660 Studios.

The fun didn’t stop there. On Sunday, I popped over to a space in Journal Square to see Amy Wilson’s fiber work!

JCAST is actually celebrating 25 years this month, and the celebration continues through October for Jersey City Art Month.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I miss Argentina.

Photos from Buenos Aires, Mendoza, and San Juan.

IMG_2711 IMG_2829 IMG_2995 Screen shot 2014-12-06 at 2.07.52 AM

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment



Julie Larsen Maher_1650_North American Porcupine Porcupette_CZ _BZ_08 07 15

Photos by Julie Larsen Maher © Wildlife Conservation Society

Julie Larsen Maher_1646_North American Porcupine Porcupette_CZ _BZ_08 07 15A baby North American porcupine was born at WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society) Bronx Zoo and is on exhibit with its family in the newly renovated Children’s Zoo.

The young male porcupine was born on July 28 to mother, Alice, and father, Patrick. This is the pair’s third offspring.

The porcupine’s most recognizable physical characteristic is its spiky quills. They can have as many as 30,000 quills covering their bodies and use them as a defense against predators. Despite popular belief, porcupines cannot shoot their quills. The quills of the North American porcupine have a tiny barb on the tip that, when hooked in flesh, pull the quill from the porcupine’s skin and painfully imbed it in a predator’s face, paws or body.

At birth, the quills are very soft. They begin to harden a few hours after birth and continue to harden and grow as the baby matures.

Young porcupines begin eating solid food as early as three weeks old, but will continue to nurse for about three months.

For more information or to speak with a WCS expert, contact Max Pulsinelli at 718-220-5182 or mpulsinelli@wcs.org.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My dog is dying.

Screen shot 2015-08-10 at 6.36.32 PM

Skunky & I went on a long, 2.5 hour walk the other day. Yes, I brought water with us. He’s not the quick walker he once was, but I think he enjoyed walking along the Hudson River from the other side. Some of his best years were spent walking along the Hudson from the Washington Heights/Harlem side.

My dog is ill. He is dying, and I think it might be time to let him go.

Last month, when I found out the tumor on the roof of Skunky’s mouth was malignant (with hemangiosarcoma, a cancer that most often affects dogs), I felt numb to the news, in part, because, aside from being a little less active (he is 14, after all), he seemed fine. He was still eating normally and happy as ever to get out of the house and go for a walk.

The vet, who told me he would advise his own mother against putting the dog through chemo, radiation, or cryosurgery, told me to spoil him rotten, make him comfortable, and to monitor his quality of life as I’d know when it was time to let him go.

As a kid, if a horse or dog had to be put down in a book I was reading or a movie I watched, I never understood it. Why couldn’t the doctor patch them up?

But in the vet’s office that day, I recalled a time when I took Skunky to Inwood Hill Park when we lived in northern Manhattan some years ago. It was late fall, an absolute beautiful time in that park, and during our walk, we passed by a man wheeling his German Shepherd-mix around the trail on a dolly as, presumably, his elderly dog could no longer walk. That was no life for the animal, I thought to myself. That’s selfish. That’s keeping the dog around for the owner, and I won’t ever do that, I thought.

And now, I find myself at that fork in the road. Yesterday, one side of his snout began to swell. Again, he is still eating and will go on a walk, but the swelling looks pretty bad. And he knows that I know something is up. When I look at him, or pet him gently, he starts to wag and gives me that look of shame he so often gave me as a pup if he thought he did something wrong.

I think it’s time to have him put to sleep. I know I will miss how he greets me when I get in. I will miss his extreme loyalty that ensures he never leaves my side. He’s part of the family, and that’s why my mom, brother, brother’s girlfriend, and the other pet living in the house (a shorkie!), don’t seem quite ready for him to go.  (This is partly why I feel guilty about having to make this decision.)

I spoke with a colleague about this a few weeks ago, as he worked at a veterinary technician many years ago, and he said, more often than not, owners wait too long. It’s not like a pet can tell us if they’re really suffering, right? He assured me the dog wouldn’t feel a thing when being euthanized. That gave me some comfort.

But it’s still tough.

You see, this is happening at a time when my own father is nearing the end of his life. A very strong man who never had any health problems aside from his Parkinson’s disease, he’s been living in a nursing home for the past seven months. My father is not suffering, per se, but I wouldn’t say he has a great quality of life.

He is incontinent. His limbs are contracting. He is fed through a peg tube. He relies on nurse’s aides to reposition him every two hours. His ability to speak is pretty much gone. He does attempt to let us know when he is in pain. Sometimes, it’s not that, but it’s tough to understand what he is trying to tell us.

The best we can all do is make sure he’s as comfortable as possible. I thank the staff at the nursing home for doing that as best they can.

In many ways, it feels like he is already gone. I always loved talking to my father (he’s a very jovial and funny man) and I haven’t been able to do that in a long while. But, he’s not gone, and this is why 2015 has been a limbo year for me. I am constantly waiting for a shoe to drop. I cannot, I will not, enjoy myself. Being social is the last thing on my mind because it doesn’t feel right.

I control that, and I know I can make a better effort to “live my life” while my dad is at the nursing home, and while Skunky lives his last doggie days. But right now, I can’t seem to find my footing.

Posted in family, People, pets, reflection | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I miss Barcelona

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 10.03.48 AM

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Riding with the wind

My father has been doing somewhat better. He continues to stay free of any infections, and I’ve been sitting him up whenever I visit. It’s tough, his arm and leg muscles seem to get more contracted as he’s been bedridden for six months now, but I don’t care; I see him more alert and awake when I help him sit up.

In the meantime, a hobby that my father enjoyed in his 20s is something I’ve picked up: cycling. I use a Giant Sedona CX (2005) for riding around Jersey City, and various New Jersey parks. I had a great two and a half hour ride along the Hudson waterfront, from Newport in Jersey City to Weehawken this past weekend.

I also have a a Citizen Tokyo folding bike for shopping at the produce market nearby. It’s ideal for short trips only.

And I just bought a 2011 Jamis commuter 3 bike for CITY riding! I rode an hour through Central Park today, up to 110th street and back to the Columbus Circle area. It was hot today, but that doesn’t stop the action in Central Park, which was full of runners, cyclers, roller bladers, and more.

I can see why my dad loved to ride his bike. (I remember he rode a Gazelle.) Like running, it clears the mind, but it’s much more relaxing. Something about that wind hitting your face. (I imagine it’s what people who ride motorcycles love, too.)

And, of course, I’m doing something I know my father loved.

Posted in family, New York | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment