Rainy Day Adventure

Despite the fact that I knew it was supposed to rain today, I wanted to make the most of it and go on an adventure. I figured that since it was going to be crappy out, I’d do an indoor activity.

I woke up at ~7:20 and got ready for the day. I decided that I’d go to The Met first thing in the morning to avoid a crowd. Unfortunately, everyone else in New York had the exact same idea. I left my apartment at 8:55 and when I arrived at The Met at 9:55 (it opens at 10), the line was down the front steps and down the sidewalk.

IMG_8509Saw this on the way to the exhibit

I got in the line, but to my left, noticed that there was a much smaller line for this little side entrance. Intrigued, I decided to give it a shot. Shortly after, I noticed that the sign said that this was for groups only. Worried I had made a big mistake I started to scheme, feign ignorance upon entry.

Once in the doors I found that no one was checking if you were in a group. On top of that, though there was a line for people with bags -I had my backpack- no one stopped me. Good thing I didn’t have a bomb!

IMG_8514Found this in the Asian art section; saw one exactly like it at a museum in Melbourne, oh deer

I passed all of the sheeple and went to a kiosk. Using my membership card, I had my free ticket in a flash. I then breezed through one of the galleries on my way to the coat check. A worker stopped me to check I had a ticket (bet you thought I didn’t you douchebag) and told me to take off may backpack (yes sir… douchebag).

Luckily no one was at coat check so I got my bag checked by a nice man who commented on my Luke Skywalker Lego Mini-Fig keychain on my backpack. We then had a micro conversation about the show The Toys That Made Us before I bolted to the Public Parks, Private Gardens Paris to Provence exhibit.

IMG_8516The America Wing, one of my favorite parts of The Met

Exposition, exposition, I ended up staying until 2; a total of 4 hours! I did not plan on hanging out that long, but I ended up finding some hidden nooks and crannies of the museum I had never been to before and I got a much better mental map of how things, specifically the things I like, are laid out.

Got my backpack, left the museum, hopped the (6) to 51st street, transferred to the (E) and got off at Court Square (Queens). I roamed around a bit and after a quick Google map redirect, headed in the correct direction. Along the way to my 2nd destination I passed a chicken place. I was very hungry so I made a mental note to hit it on the way back.

Shortly after passing the chicken place I reached my destination 24-10 21st Street. This seemingly unassuming auto-body shop was the location of Luftwaffe Automotive, the fictional(?) auto-body shop featured in the 2007 Wes Anderson film The Darjeeling Limited (which I recently rewatched).

IMG_8521“Luftwaffe Automotive” from The Darjeeling Limited

After basking in it’s glory for a bit I made my way back to the chicken place and got some food. I sat and ate for a bit but wasn’t able to finish my food. I asked the guy for a box and he said, yeah, bring your food up here, I’ll box it up for you. This was a feat I could have accomplished on my own but was a very nice gesture. He then joked with me about how his wife is the same way with her leftovers.

Afterwards I left and got on back on the (E). I took it to 42nd St where I switched to the (R) (I think) and took that to Prince Street. I walked to 23 Prince and arrived at my 3rd destination, Filipacchi. I went there specifically to check out the Ural motorcycles I knew they carried.

Upon entering, the first thing that stood out is that the handle to their glass door is the butt of a Beretta or some hand gun. The second thing I noticed was that this was one of the coolest stores in Soho. They carry everything from motorcycles, to gear to boosted boards to off-road skateboards to one wheels… .

IMG_8523Ural motorcycle with sidecar

I walked around for a bit (I also learned about Cleveland Cyclewerks, which they also carry) and eventually got to chatting with one of the associates. He invited me to sit on the Ural and told me all about it. Apparently it has a parking brake, a reverse gear (unheard of on most motorcycles, but this one has a sidecar… so…) and 2 wheel drive! He pointed out the drive shaft that connects the rear driven wheel of the motorcycle to the wheel of the sidecar. This blew my mind.

After hanging out for a bit and eventually even chatting with the manager, I learned that they occasionally do demo drives (apparently Ural had just hosted one last weekend or something) and they invited me to stop by some time for a test drive! I think I need to do a bit of a refresher course before I feel comfortable enough to do that but it’s good to know. Reading Hells Angels by Hunter Thompson has really gotten me to want to get on a motorcycle again.

After finishing my conversation, I made my way to my 4th and final stop. I took the (6) to Chambers St where I switched to the (J) and took it to Myrtle. From there I walked to 123 Melrose St. This is the address of a new housing development that is being built. I entered a lottery to possibly move in once it’s finished, though I did just sign a two year lease on my current place.

IMG_8525Flushing Ave Station – (J) train

The place looks really cool and I’d love to take a tour of the building once it’s finished. After a walk around I made my way back to the (J) and took it to Lorimer where I switched to the (G) at Broadway and took it to Fulton. From there I switched one last time time to the (5) at Atlantic Ave and took it back to my apartment. I got back at ~6:30, not a bad day.

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Epic Bike Ride or How I Ended Up In The Bronx

This morning I woke up and sprung to action, making a list of all of the things I wanted to accomplish and setting to accomplishing them. After getting showered and dressed and brushing my teeth, I decided to embark on a bike ride.

I really only had two things I wanted to hit on the ride and I knew if I put it off for any reason, it wouldn’t happen. The weather was 55 degrees which is perfect, nearly. A little chilly, enough for a light hoodie. You’re a bit cold but the energy you exert ends up keeping you warm without making you sweaty.

11:30am to 12:00pm – Apartment to 188 Prospect Park East

I’ve known for quite some time that the esteemed Nighthawk Cinema is planning on opening a second location on the East side of Prospect Park. It is set to claim the location once held by the now defunct Pavilion Theater.

I rode the route I thought was correct based on the Google Maps search I’d done just before leaving my apartment. However, a cursory glance lead to slight miscalculation on my part which made me re-route and, on take two, I arrived at the work sight flawlessly.

IMG_8394The Pavilion Theater, soon to be Nighthawk Prospect Park

The site, at least from the facade, was much less far along than I thought it would be. I thought they had said it was supposed to open in the spring, but I might be making that up. It’s no rush, I’m just excited to see it as it’s closer to me than their Williamsburg location, which, though I’ve been too and looked at from the outside, have yet to see a movie there.

After taking a few pictures of the marquee, I headed to destination number two.

12:05pm to 12:25pm – Prospect Park to Domino Sugar Park (Williamsburg)

My next destination was the Domino Sugar Park. Technically my destination was the park right next to it, as this park is still under construction. I first read about this park in an issue of Time Out magazine.

IMG_8395Panorama of the Williamsburg Bridge and the Manhattan skyline from Grand Ferry Park

This too I had thought was set to open in the spring or in May, but according to an article I read on my phone while sitting on a bench in Grand Ferry Park (the adjacent park), it is set to open in June.

After resting and chilling on the bench for a bit, I headed to destination number 3.

12:35pm to 1:10pm – Williamsburg to Long Island City via Greenpoint and the Pulaski Bridge

I hopped back onto my bike and into the Kent Ave bike lane, making my way through  Greenpoint and briefly stopping at the Manhattan Avenue Park before taking the Pulaski Bridge into Long Island City (Queens).

It had been a long time since I had ridden over this bridge and to my surprise I found that they had added Jersey Barrier to block off the far lane to dedicate it to a bike path. I thought this was a great way to separate the cyclists from the pedestrians and to decrease congestion.

I rode around trying to find the same street I’d taken on the 4th of July to view the fireworks. I rode to the north end of Center Blvd and dismounted my bike to sit on a more posh and shadier (it was more in the shade, not sketchier) bench.

IMG_8397View from shady bench

Eventually I got back on my bike and rode along the waterfront, passing the iconic LIC Pepsi Cola sign, to Hunter’s Point South Park. This is my favorite spot in Long Island City and is one of the places I used to bring my students when I was an instructor for Bike New York.

After hanging out in the park for a bit I made a few laps up and down Center Blvd trying to find the exact street from which I view the fireworks on the 4th of July. When I was satisfied that I’d found the correct street (of which I am still not 100% certain), I headed to destination number 4.

?  – ? – Long Island city to Randell’s Island via Astoria and the RFK Bridge

I rode up to Vernon Blvd retaking the path I rode with my Bike NY students underneath the 59th Street/Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge and through Queensbridge Park. I popped out the other side and back onto the bike lane.

I took it passed the Roosevelt Island Bridge where I paused to leave my co-worker Jonathan, who lives on Roosevelt Island, a voicemail. I also took a pic of a Mercedes Maybach because, wtf are you doing in Queens?

IMG_8403Mercedes Maybach in Queens

I continued down Vernon Blvd, rode through Rainey Park (another spot from my Bike NY days), passed the Socrates Sculpture Park and through the Hallets Point (projects) waterfront bike path.

I made my way through Astoria to Astoria Park. I then rode through the park to the pedestrian entrance of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. I had driven, or rather been driven on the RFK Bridge while on the bus to or from New York but had never traversed it under my own power.

It reminded me of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is much higher than the three bridges that connect Brooklyn to Manhattan and is significantly longer. However, the ride down the ramp from the bridge to Randell’s Island is a worthy payoff.

? – ? – Randell’s Island to The Bronx

Once on Randell’s Island I continued north and made my way onto the Central Road/Randell’s Island Connector bike path. This lead me, inadvertently, into The Bronx. I had no idea I’d gone over a small bridge and into my third borough of the day.

? – ? – The Bronx to Central Park via the Madison Avenue Bridge

I exited the bike path onto E 132nd Street, passed Pier 132 (not an actual pier) and took my first right onto Willow Ave. I rode up to E 138th Street and took a left onto 138th to head West. After passing the Cypress Ave subway station, I took a few minutes to get my bearings.

I eventually continued on 138th street and crossed the Harlem River via the Madison Avenue Bridge into Manhattan; my fourth borough of the day. I continued west on 138th until I reached Malcom X Blvd where I turned and headed south. I knew that this would lead me right to the 110th Street entrance of Central Park.

? – ? – Central Park to President (bodega) via the Williamsburg Bridge

As I was approaching the entrance I briefly considered taking Central Park West and avoiding the crowded park. However, knowing that most of my ride through Manhattan would consist of few turns and essentially be filled with long straight stretches, I decided to take the scenic route.

After emerging at the Columbus Circle exit, I went around the rotary and headed south on Broadway before cutting over to 9th Ave. I took 9th all the way down to 14th where I cut over to 2nd Ave.

While on 14th Street I came across a bus that was starting to pull away from the curb. Standing in the street between the sidewalk and the bus was a tiny older woman with an oxygen tube in her nose. She was waving at the bus driver to open his door and let her in, but she was too small for him to see.

Defeated, she made her way back to the sidewalk to wait for the next bus. Seeing this, I caught up to the bus and waved and yelled to get the driver’s attention before he pulled away from the curb. To my amazement, he saw me and opened his door.

“There’s an older woman who wants to get on the bus,” I said to the driver, “can you wait for her?” A little confused, the driver nodded. I yelled back to the woman, “Ma’am, the bus is waiting for you, you can come back.” Eventually she heard me and slowly shuffled back to the bus. The driver said to me, “I thought you were yelling at me because I was gonna hit you or something. Thanks for doing that, that was great. You’re awesome man!”

I was really happy to have helped this woman and that I got such a positive reaction from the driver. It’s moments like this that give me faith in people. We gave each other thumbs up and I rode on.

I took 2nd Ave all the way down to Houston, across Houston and onto Chrystie Street then left onto Delancey and then onto the Williamsburg Bridge.

I slowly made my way up the Williamsburg, and, as expected, my legs began to cramp. I had by that point done at least 25 miles with essentially no breaks and no food besides my small breakfast. I barely made it to the top and, once I did, dismounted my bike to give my legs a break.

I stood to the side of the bike path and let my legs stretch out. I must have looked like a winded wuss who couldn’t even handle a relatively easy climb. I literally could not move my legs. I was in so much pain and the cramps were so bad that there was nothing I could do but stand still.

After a few minutes it subsided and I decided to punk out and ride back down. I could hop on the (F) at Delancey/Essex and take it to Carroll Gardens. I mounted my bike again and began the downhill. As I rode, I got a second wind. I didn’t want to bring my bike with me on a crowded train. I didn’t want to punk out. I had come so far under my own #PedalPower, I could survive another 5 or 10 miles.

I turned around yet again and, struggling, made my way over the crest of the bridge, down the other side and back into Brooklyn. At the bottom I turned around and made my way back to the waterfront and to the Kent Ave bike lane. I made my way out to Franklin Ave and took a right on Dekalb Ave towards Downtown Brooklyn.

I passed Fort Greene Park and eventually took a right onto the Fulton Street Mall. I took a left onto Smith, a right onto Schermerhorn and a left onto Court. I rode down Court for a bit before going right onto Sackett before eventually taking a left onto Columbia and arriving at President bodega.

? – 5:00pm – President (bodega) to Red Hook Crit

Because I didn’t have my lock with me, I took my bike into the bodega. I figured they wouldn’t mind and, as expected, no one said a word about it. I ordered an Italian Sub and grabbed an Arizona Ice Tea from the fridge. After my $10 transaction, I took the short ride to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook.

I followed some other cyclists to the Red Hook Crit, a foot and bike race two of my coworkers had told me about. I was due to meet one of them at 4:30pm but by the time I got there, set aside my bike and found a loading dock to sit on, it was a little after 5pm.

I called my buddy Darryl and found out that he wasn’t there yet. Even when I’m late to things I’m early. Good thing I didn’t rush to get there by 4:30. I sat on the dock, ate half my sandwich and drank some of my drink. Eventually I got up and walked around a little bit.

The day, which had started out chilly and had gotten warmer was now getting cold again. The sun was going down and clouds were rolling in. I was exhausted but I wanted to meet up with Darryl since I’d already come all this way. I looked at my phone, it was 6:13pm. I decided that if he wasn’t there in two minutes, I was gonna bounce.

Moments later I looked over and there was Darryl and his girlfriend Jess, riding over to greet me. I told them this story which you’ve now read and that I was cold so I was going to need to leave. After hugging both of them, I headed back to my apartment.

6:15 to ~7:00pm – Red Hook Crit back to my Apartment

I took the half hour or so ride through a dark and chilly Prospect Park. I returned home with a sunburn and bloodshot eyes. My lips were chapped from dehydration, my neck was sore and my legs were shot. I had survived a seven and a half hour day out on my bike.

The first half, the adventure part, the way there, all the way up to the point where I got to The Bronx, that part was cool. It was the whole ride back bit, particularly the Williamsburg Bridge that killed me and was less fun.

EpicRideA rough idea of my route starting at the bottom right and ending at the bottom left

I learned to always wear suntan lotion and a hat (that’s what you bought it for dummy) and to maybe stop for more breaks or for food. That said, I’m proud of myself for pushing through the pain and not punking out and taking the subway. My trip totaled somewhere between 35 and 40 miles. Tomorrow will be low key.

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Micro Vacation

This past weekend I decided to take Friday and Monday off to go back home to Boston. I did this (took the extra days off/when back to Boston) for three reasons:

1) because whenever I go back to Boston, even if I leave early on Saturday morning (or right after work on Friday night), I basically just have the rest of Saturday and till noon on Sunday to hang out before I have to start heading back to NY. This way, leaving Thursday after work, I had ALL DAY Friday, ALL DAY Saturday and ALL DAY on Sunday before I had to leave on Monday.

2) because the quarter had just ended the week previous and I was in need of a tiny vacation from work.

3) because had stuff I needed to pick up -my skateboard and my bike polo mallets. On top of all that, I wanted to go home for the usual reasons, see my family, meet up with friends, etc.

Friday

I started my morning by showing my Mom my new headphones. I had told her about how cool they were and so I wanted her to try them. After that, her and I went to Dunkin Donuts where I tried the Thin Mint iced coffee, which was pretty good. While eating we had a good chat about the Optimistic Nihilism video I’d sent her.

Additionally, I  texted my friends Alyssa (to see if she was still planing to meet up with me on Saturday evening), Josh (to see what the plan was for hanging out that night), Eric (to see about meeting up with him Saturday during the day) and Craig (to see about grabbing drinks on Saturday night).

After eating, we got in my Mom’s new car where I drove us to Winthrop to my Aunt’s house to take care of her cat (my Aunt was in FL to take care of my Uncle). After doing what we needed to do we drove to the cemetery so my Mom and I could visit her Mom and Dad. Once we did that, I took a picture of her in front of her new car. I forgot to mention the fact that I gave her a HOONIGAN sticker and that we had fun messing around with the Apple Car Play features.

Next we made our way to Showcase Cinemas where I used my Movie Pass so we could see Ready Player One. I didn’t have a ton of interest in it, I hadn’t read that book, but one of the podcasts I listen to has been talking about for the past year(s) so I needed to see what the big deal was about. In short, overall I liked it. It delivered exactly what I was looking for, a fun adventure with cool visual effects and a straightforward yet interesting story.

I then drove us home in the now slushy weather. We chilled for a bit before walking to the bank to take care of some… banking. We then walked back home where I chilled for a bit until it was time to venture out to my friend Josh’s house party.

The party consisted of the OG crew of people I used to work with. We had snacks, drank beers, caught up on each others lives and played beer pong, a game I detest for how “frat bro” it is. I left around 11:30pm.

Saturday

I was woken up by my Dad at 7:30am on Saturday morning. We went the the traditional Saturday morning breakfast with my Grandpa, my Auntie Maria and my Dad. As usual we went to the Cracker Barrel which was, as usual, very good.

After breakfast we dropped my Grandpa and Auntie Maria off. I then had my Dad drive me to Oak Grove so I could take the train in to JP to meet up with my former co-worker Eric and his wife Pammi. She had recently had a baby and I was excited to meet him. I got to hold Keanu and he was awesome. There is no doubt he will grow up to be a baller.

Once I was finished hanging out with Keanu and the gang I took the train home. There I brushed my teeth (something I definitely needed to do), finished my leftovers from breakfast and watched a thing I’d DVR’d. I had to stop it part way through because I was so tired from the previous evening and having to get up early that I had to take a nap.

After waking up some time later I watched a bit more TV before going out for drinks with some of my old work squad; some from the night before and some that were new to join. It was good to see a bunch of people I hadn’t for a long time, some as long as a year ago.

I took the train into the city, got out at Back Bay and walked through the Prudential Mall to get to Boylston Street. As I exited to the street I caught the tail end of a missed call from my co-worker Alyssa who was driving up from NY to meet me. I called Alyssa back to find out that she was about to pull on to Boylston, what perfect timing. I ran to the corner where she was, hopped in her car and together we found a spot basically right in front of the Pour House.

There are really only two things I want to highlight from the night: 1) when I when to the bar there were two beers already behind the bar. I assumed they were for a customer that hadn’t gotten back from the bathroom yet or something. When I ordered my Sam Summer, the bartender just handed me one of the already poured beers.

This seemed odd because who knows how long it had been sitting out. However, I reluctantly paid for it. Then, as I was about to go, the bartender told me to wait. She filled up the rest of the other glass of beer that had been sitting behind the bar and handed it to me. “You can have this one too” she said, “I’m wasn’t going to serve it.” Again I was a little skeptical but you can’t beat two beers for the price of one.

2) The second thing, without going into all of the details, is that I ended up kind of making out with one of my former female co-workers. (I’ll keep her anonymous for privacy reasons). This was great because a) I always thought she was attractive and b) because I hadn’t gotten any action in a while. I later found out from her via text that this was just a drunken mistake, and though I was kind of bummed because I would gladly date her, I was still happy it happened.

After saying our goodbyes, Alyssa drove us back to my parents place where she slept in my old room and I slept in my sister’s old room.

Sunday

In the morning I texted Eric and James to tell them what had happened with [name redacted]. Then, with my Mom’s help, I found a thing that I needed for a thing. Eventually, after Alyssa woke up, we drove to Salem to get breakfast at The Ugly Mug.

Alyssa is a horror nerd so we walked around Salem for a bit before driving to Boston. Once in the city we had to park in a garage, which was lame and expensive. We visited my sister at the Old North Church gift shop, where she works as a Manager. Then we went to Mikes Pastry and Modern Pastry to get/compare cannoli’s.

After walking around Faneuil Hall for a bit we went back to the garage, grabbed her car and drove back to my parent’s place where she dropped me off. Once home I watched another thing I recorded. My buddy Pete dropped by breifly so we could catch up and then my dad and I went to the movie Chappaquiddick. It was pretty boring AND the audience we were with was annoying.

Once home I showed him an episode of Rick and Morty and we watched the previous weeks’ episode of Silicon Valley.

Monday

In the morning my Mom and I went to Bruegger’s (tradition) before she dropped me off at Oak Grove. I took the T in to South Station and caught the 11:30am bus back to NY. I found out that all it takes is two podcasts and a book to make that ride fly by.

–Extra Stuff (this weekend… so far)

Friday

After work I biked to my co-worker Adam’s apartment, and, to my surprise, I beat him there.  He made us chicken fajitas while we chatted. We then listened to a thing that I had recorded so far; suffice it to say it is a podcast, but that’s all you get… for now.

We ate dinner while listening to the thing. Then, once done, we recorded for an extra 40 minutes. We still have a good chunk to do before episode one is finished but this proof of concept episode is coming along as good, if not better than I expected.

We stopped recording right when Adam’s roommate Tom got home. The three of us went onto their roof where they shared a cigar and I drank a beer while we looked on to Manhattan. After chilling on the roof, we went back down to there apartment for a bit and then called it a night (at around 11pm) deciding to finish the episode next week. I then biked home.

Saturday

This morning I got up at 8:30, got showered and dressed and hopped on the train into Mahattan. If I didn’t already mention this, I have been reading How to American and just had two chapters left to read.

While on the train I finished (almost all of) the book. I got off at 23rd St and walked across town to the Chelsea Piers Skatepark. I skated for half an hour before making my way over to 23rd and 8th. I took the (C) train to Spring St and walked to the old location of the Adidas Originals Store.

I did not realize it was no longer there but after a quick Google search on my phone, headed over to there nearby new location. I tried on a pair of shoes that were a little big for me before making my way over to the Onitsuka Tiger store.

After spending some time in there I made my way over to a store I’d seen while on my way to the bus last Friday that was filled with vintage Boom Boxes. However, I would later realize that it was closed.

From there I went to the LES/Manhattan Bridge skatepark. I skated for a bit, but it was pretty busy and I was intimidated by everyone there. I then walked back to where I thought the Boom Box store to be to make sure I didn’t miss the shop (again, a Google search once home proved I was in the correct place, it was simply closed).

I walked to the Bike Polo Court just to take a look at it before walking to Canal Street subway station. There I took the (4) to Barclays. I went to Target where I bought contact solution and body soap. I then took the train to the Brooklyn Museum station whereI  walked to Library, finished the book and returned it.

I walked back to train and took the subway home (home by 3pm). Once at my apartment I changed, did some laundry (4pm to 6pm) and listened to what Adam and I had recorded. After my laundry was done, I ate dinner and watched some YouTube. From 7pm to 9pm I wrote this. Once done I’m going to put my laundry away, do the dishes, watch some Netflix and go to bed.

Sunday

I plan on going back to The Met Breuer because the exhibit that was being curated the last time I went (St. Patties Day) is now open. Plus it’s supposed to rain so… might as well do something in doors. Also, I think I’ll finally get my hair cut. Probably should come up with some other stuff to occupy my day.

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Optimistic Nihilism

Ok, so this is about to get real. Warning, this is going to get “religious” and so if you feel strongly in your “religious” ideologies and are easily offended I would reccomend turning back now. Just know that as usual, this is more for me than it is for you so ultimately, you don’t have to read it.

–This is a work in progress. I may add to it, detract from it or leave it as it is.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to think that the only reason religion works is because people are afraid of death. Most people are afraid of the unknown or of things that are not in their control. Death exists in the middle of this Venn diagram. Those who consider themselves to be religious believe that if they pray and are good people, they will go to heaven.

It is this core belief that makes religion “work,” and keeps it existing. However, it is also a very old human institution which has existed in society for so long that many people do not question the use for it.

“…you are a slave … Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.”

This is one of the things that I find scariest and perhaps the most interesting. Let’s assume that person x was raised with a religious upbringing. This is not something that they chose but rather was forced upon them against their will. Person x was born into the largest cult that has ever and likely will ever exist (speaking of religion as a whole and not the various branches, sects or belief systems).

As person x grows up, it is only through their experiences and choices that they will decide to either continue being part of this cult, or decide that these beliefs are not necessary or relevant to them and therefore are no longer an element of their life.

Let me pause by saying that as a whole, I guess I don’t see a huge problem with religion. If some people feel that it helps them to be a better person or that they get something out if it, then that’s fine. What I don’t like is that so much of religion dictates aspects of the function of our society and even parts of our government.

You can do and believe whatever you want. However, never make me feel badly for not feeling the same way as you do and never cause me harm because I do not feel (believe?) the same way. That is my issue. There have been so many struggles and so much violence in and around the various religious beliefs that I see it as something that does more harm than good.

The idea for this blog was sparked by the video above (their channel by the way is filled with cool videos). The video was recommended to me through a podcast I was listening to -Threedom- which, by the way, is quite funny. One point this video makes is that when you die, you will cease to exist forever. (Forever is another topic about which I could spew many words). This leads me to perhaps some sort of a point to this nonsense.

One does not remember all of the time that existed before one was born. Time is only relevant to a person once they are born. The “spirit,” “soul,” or more scientifically, the mind is really what we are concerned with with regard to our being.  Thus when we die we cease being; we are ostensibly unborn. Our body remains, but that too will eventually break down and become matter of the earth, “ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” as it were.

I do not claim to not fear death. I, like most of the rest of the world, know it is coming for me, that I am constantly marching towards it. However, knowing that there is nothing I can do to stop it, I choose, as I’m sure most of the rest of the world does, not to think about it (as best I can). If one lets the fear of death and what lies beyond  it -nothing by the way, nothing lies beyond it- control them, one is not truly able to live or at least enjoy living while they are alive.

I used to consider myself an existentialist. Existentialism is, I feel, somewhat vague but what I took it to mean is that our lives have no inherent meaning but that is our job to give our life meaning though the things we do.

–Additional media

Neal deGrasse Tyson: Atheist or Agnostic? (video)

Church Going – Philip Larkin (poem)

God Is Not Great – Christopher Hitchens (book)

Mans Search For Meaning – Viktor Frankel (book)

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On A Roll

For the past 3 weeks I have gone to a museum. First the Met, then the Met Breuer and now The Brooklyn Museum and the MoMA. Read on

Friday

I had been having a shitty day at work. Additionally, I had recently read about a new(?) bar in Manhattan called Patent Pending. The bar is a Nikola Tesla “themed” speakeasy and based on the pictures in Time Out Magazine, I was itching to go.

After coming home and changing into a button up shirt, I hopped on the (5), took it to 14th Street, switched to the (6) and took it to 28th St. From there it was a relatively short walk to the coffee shop that fronts in the daytime as a… well coffee shop and in the night is transformed to a speakeasy.

After being buzzed in, I told the woman behind the counter I didn’t have a reservation. She let me in to the small waiting area where I was able to hang up my coat and get a beer. I chilled there and finished my milk stout just in time for a spot to open up at the bar. There I ordered a pilsner which I sipped slowly while taking in the dark cavernous atmosphere.

When it came time to pay, I realized that the bar tender had only charged me for the the drink I’d ordered at the bar and not the one I’d ordered while in the waiting area. I mentioned this and he said, “I didn’t see anything.” Pleased by getting off easy, I tipped better than I normally would have and left.

Saturday

The first thing I did in the morning was my laundry as I was in desperate need to do so. Once done I got showered and dressed and made my way to the Brooklyn Museum. The email I’d received the day prior told me to arrive a half an hour early.

By the time my train arrived and I walked to the exhibit entrance, it was 11:19 and my entry time was 11:30. Luckily there was not a line like the one which had been described in the aforementioned email. So I killed 11 minutes looking at some art deco furniture before heading back to the entrance.

The employee there scanned the e-ticket on my phone and I was on my way in to David Bowie is. This is an exhibit that had traveled from the V&A Museum in London and so I knew I had to catch it while it was in town. Without going into too many details, the exhibit was pretty cool.

Visitors are not allowed to take pictures, however, there was a cool audio guide that worked on bluetooth. As you walked to various sections of the exhibit, the bluetooth receiver would pick up the frequency of the device you were wearing and switch to the appropriate track. I ended up spending about 3 hours there.

After leaving the museum, I made my way to the nearby Brooklyn Public Library. I’d received an email that the book I’d requested,  How To American: An Immigrants Guide to Disappointing Your Parents by Jimmy O. Yang, was in.

Though I’d just started House of Leaves, I decided to check this out as well because it is much shorter and I’d found out that my co-worker owns it so I can just borrow House of Leaves for as long as I want once I’m done with this one.

When I got home, I took care of some housekeeping, cut my nails, shaved, ate, put my clothes away and put my dishes away. Next I read the prolog, introduction and first chapter of How To American. After that I watched the last episode of season two of The Grand Tour and the Bruce Lee movie Game of Death before going to bed.

Sunday

I woke up this morning and made it my mission to get to the 10am screening of Isle of Dogs at the Alamo Drafthouse. After having a small breakfast and a quick shower, I hopped the (5) to Borough Hall and got the the theater just in time to score the last back row seat.

I watched all of the pre-movie content that Alamo curates which was, as usual, really great before jumping into the movie. Without going into detail, I really enjoyed it. It was laugh-out-loud funny, heartwarming and sub-textually (or perhaps overtly) political. I hope it gets nominated for Best Animated Feature.

After the movie, I walked to the (F) and took it to 57th St. There I headed south to 4 E 54th St, a building I knew to be historically significant, before heading into my true destination, the MoMA.

I love having my membership card because it makes it really easy to just go there whenever you want and not worry about paying. I started at the 5th floor and worked my way down. I passed the very crowded Starry Night before moving on to this great painting of a couple kissing. I didn’t take a photo of the info card so I don’t have the official name or the artists name, but I really liked it.

IMG_8231Kiss

I somewhat quickly made my way through the museum, not that I was in a rush per se, but mainly because it was busy and I only wanted to spend time with the things I really wanted to see. After retrieving my bag and jacket, I strolled through the Sculpture Garden before entering the Education and Research Center. There, I spotted an old F1 car mounted on the wall of which I wanted to take a closer look.

IMG_8239Alain Prost’s 1990 Ferrari F1 car (photo has been rotated 90 degrees clockwise)

Because it was red, I knew it had to be a Ferrari and, by a rough guess of the era of car based on the body style, I thought it to be Alain Prost’s car. Sure enough, upon reading the information card, I was correct.

I starred at it for quite a long time, gazing at the wings, aerodynamics and the tight weave of the carbon fiber before moving on.

Next I made my way to another building that I had noticed from a window of the museum (550 Madison Ave) before going to the MoMA Design Store to catch a glimpse of the KAWS BFF Companion window display. Once there, I entered the store and strolled around a bit. A $25 vintage Casio watch caught my eye, but I really didn’t need to make a frivolous purchase.

IMG_8246KAWS BFF Companion window display

After that I headed to the (F) and took it back to Jay Street where I exited and transferred to the (4) at Borough Hall. While On the platform, I saw that the next (5) train, the one I needed to get home, was 13 minutes away.

I had a plan. Rather than wait like a chump I was going to get off at Grand Army Plaza, walk to the Brooklyn Library, return House of Leaves, walk up Eastern Parkway to the Brooklyn Museum station and hopefully get there in time to catch the (5). Sure enough, my plan worked out perfectly, I arrived at the Brooklyn Museum station just as the (5) was pulling in. Damn I’m good.

Once home I made/ate dinner and wrote this while listening to the Isle of Dogs soundtrack and later The Shape of Water soundtrack, which by the way are both done by Alexandre Desplat, who knew!

I plan to finish just in time to get into my jim-jams and watch Silicon Valley the premier of Barry on HBO. Not a tad bad.

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NY St. Patrick’s Day

Despite numerous efforts to get my work squad together to do something for St. Patrick’s Day this year, I was left without plans. However, my day was salvaged when about a week before the 17th, one of my friends from college reached out to tell me she’d be in town and wanted to know if I wanted to hang out with her. This led to the following adventure.

On Friday the 16th (the night before SPD) I got a text from her that she was in the city. We made plans to meet at Atlantic Ave the next day and take things from there.

Cut to 10am on the 17th. I’d timed my train perfectly and arrived at Atlantic Ave/Barclay’s Center at 10:01am. I got out and happily I found Heather waiting for me on the platform. We hopped back onto the train I’d just gotten off of and took the (5) to 14th St/Union Square.

I had seen that day or the day before that there was a new Banksy piece on the corner of 14th and 6th. Additionally, I had remembered passing a bagel place on the corner of 14th and 7th at one point, so, I figured we could kill two birds with one stone.

BanksyRatBanksy piece on the corner of 14th and 6th

We got the to corner of 14th and 6th and sure enough there was the untouched, unmistakable Banksy piece on the clock. Heather and I stopped so I could grab a few pics before continuing west on 14th Street. After crossing 7th and getting to where I though the bagel place to be, I was stumped to find that, unless we had not gone far enough, there was no bagel place to be found.

Instead we popped into a donut shop where she bought two donuts for her husband whom we were meeting later in the day. We then circled back to a different bagel place we’d passed along the way and grabbed some bagel sandwiches. We sat by the glass front of the store, ate our bagels and caught up on the goings ons in each other’s lives.

Being that she had no real game-plan until later in the day, we decided to go to the Met Breuer, a place I only realized existed just last week. While walking back to Union Square she told me more about her plans to meet up with Rey (her husband) and two of the friends they’d made while working on a cruise ship together.

Their friends are from the UK and one of them had never been to New York before so they wanted to explore and do some sight seeing. The plan was to meet up with them in the late afternoon or evening and go out for drinks. While discussing the plan, Heather invited me to join them.

Though I thought I might feel like a 5th wheel, being that I didn’t have any other plans, I decided to join them. At Union Square, we took the (6) to 77th street and made our way over to the Met Breuer. After getting tickets and checking our coats, we took the elevator to the top floor.

IMG_8180The Met Breuer

We quickly realized that the art there was… not for us. It wasn’t bad per se but it wasn’t really my (our?) taste. We decided to go down to the 4th floor but when we hit the 4 on the elevator, nothing happened. I then noticed that both floors 3 and 4 were being worked on for installations/exhibits and thus were not open to the public.

We then hit 2 and made our way down. There we were met with more artwork that simply was not to our liking. Defeated I apologized to Heather and we made our way back to the ground floor. I was glad I didn’t have t pay, due to having a membership, and that she’d only paid $5.

We ended up in the gift shop where we got more enjoyment out of the books we looked at than all of the artwork we’d seen. Heather found a good one featuring artworks of people peeing.

After getting our coats, we made our way south from 75th to 42nd; first taking Madison Ave and then cutting over to the less busy Park Ave. We ended up at Grand Central and got there just in time to literally bump into Rey. We then hopped onto the (4) train downtown to Fulton Street. There we walked to the 9/11 Memorial as Rey and Heather wanted to see it.

Moving on we stopped into a CVS so Heather could get a Red Bull before we continued on to the South Street Seaport. We sat by the water and watched the water taxis as Rey ate, and shared with me, his donut. After a short sit we headed over to west Houston to check out the bar that had been recommended to us by Heather’s brother. However, because it was St. Patrick’s Day the place had a huge line to get in.

IMG_8184Financial District from Pier 17

We hopped on the nearby (1) train and took it to 23rd street where we planned to meet with Heather and Rey’s cruise ship friends. While on the train we saw an add for a restaurant called Dallas BBQ. Heather said she wanted to go there for lunch but I pointed out that we were not going to go to Queens.

We then exited at 23rd street and walked out to 8th Ave where, to our complete surprise there was a Dallas BBQ restaurant. It was a sign, we had to go. Despite the fact that it was a crappy family style restaurant chain as ubiquitous as a Chilli’s, a Friday’s or an Applebees, we ate there. Towards the end of our meal we met up with Chris and Emma, Rey and Heather’s cruise friends from the UK.

After paying for our food, we headed uptown to a 99 cent pizza place because the Brits a) wanted to try it and b) were low on cash. We then strolled up 6th Ave, where I got to chat with Chris, and ended up doing exactly what I’d not wanted to do, end up in the area near Times Square on St. Patrick’s Day. We searched frantically for a bar that was low key, off the beaten path and not filled with drunk tourists.

Eventually after strolling into and then right out of such bar, Heather -using her phone-found a spot nearby that seemed to fit our needs. The Bourbon Street Bar and Grille, though still kind of tacky, was not super packed or too upscale/pricey. We were able to grab a booth where we posted up and drank from 7:30 to 11:30.

Mixed in were good conversations, dancing/mingling with some of the other tables which had also gotten up to dance and a nosebleed which I incurred after getting accidentally getting elbowed in the nose by the woman with whom I was dancing.

Though I had plenty of steam left, I was super bored from sitting in the same place for 4 hours and so at 11:30 I called it and made my way back home via the (Q) and the (5). I felt bad because I wanted to hang out more and show the Brits more bars but I was simply not in the mood. I ended up getting home by 1:30.

–Bonus Content

Today I went on a short adventure. The first stop was Bowery and Houston to see another Banksy piece I’d found out about via Hypebeast via Instagram.

IMG_8192Free Zehra Dogan

While on the way back to the (6) I found this piece I’d heard about be had never found… until now.

IMG_8197Offset Mickey Mouse by Jerkface

After that Made my way north to admire the new super expensive but super dope looing apartments (condos?) at 520 W 28th St. This too I’d found out about via Hypebeast via Instagram.

IMG_8198520 W 28th Street

I then went to see the entrance to a new speakeasy I want to check out at some point. I was then going to go to the MoMA but a) my feet were killing me and b) I wanted to get back to Brooklyn in time to go to the Brooklyn Library before it closed at 5pm. I also wanted to stop by the Bose store to get an accessory but I did want make the effort, so I bailed.

Back in Brooklyn I went to the library where I picked up a book called House of Leaves. I’d heard about it 4 years earlier and have been intrigued to check it out, but also  scared to read it.

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Three In One

1. Saturday

I woke up weirdly early, around 7am or 7:30am. I made some guacamole. Once it was made, which took quite some time due to lack of technique, I made some sandwiches for lunch for work.

After finishing that I reorganized my apartment, cleaning things up and getting my closet in order. Once done with that, I got showered and dressed before heading into Manhattan.

My first stop was Hugo Boss as I was in search of a jacket that I knew they no longer made but perhaps would still have on a clearance rack. I knew it was a pipe dream and sure enough, it was not to be found.

IMG_8145I kept seeing this building from a far so I finally found it and paid it a visit.

I next walked to a bar I’d been told of -Tokyo Record Bar- not to go in but to merely see where it was/is.

Next I made my way to the subway to continue uptown. Along the way I passed a Casper mattress store. I had been wanting to find one for a while but, because it wasn’t on my itinerary, I passed it by.

This was a fail because I am not good at “stopping to smell the roses” but instead only focus on what I’m set out to do. This is a skill I’d like to improve upon this year; don’t be so stringent and focus on the next thing, enjoy the present, be in the moment. (At the same time, what was I gonna get out of the Casper store? Sure I could have finally tried one of their mattresses but it’s not like I’m going to buy one. Plus, I can always go back and “retcon” my mistake).

IMG_8146Abandoned lot – Harlem

Exiting at Bryant Park, I passed a stand filled with touristy brochures of things to do in the city. One of these was a brochure for the David Bowie Is exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. Though I already have tickets to the exhibit for later this month, I thought it might be cool to get a brochure. However, again, because it wasn’t something I was expecting to do and because I didn’t wan to carry a brochure or look like a tourist*, I kept on moving.

My next stop was Urban Outfitters as I was in search of a note pad with a magnetic back that says Fuck This Shit which I’d seen the night before on an episode of Girls on HBO (I’m rewatching the series). I didn’t know this notebook to be there but I thought, if I’d find it anywhere, I’d find it there. I was wrong.

Moving on, I made my way to Tommy Hilfiger, another store I never go to (the other being Hugo Boss) in search of a certain jacket that they also did not have.

IMG_8149DeVille

From there I took the 5 uptown to 101st St where I made my way west and across the bridge to Randell’s Island. I spent a solid chunk of time meandering around there, a place I’d been only once before on my bike in significantly warmer weather. After getting cold and hungry I decided to start heading back to Brooklyn

I took to 5 to the L to the G to Classon Ave. I’d seen an ad on the subway for pizza AND had been wanting to visit one of the many restaurants from my “places to take dates” list. However, since I have yet to procure one of those AND in keeping with the Girls theme, I went to Speedy Romeo.

SR is noted as being one of the best pizza places in the city. The pizza, was quite good. Neapolitan style, this 12-inch personal pie was not cheap. Combine that with one beer, a piece of chocolate cake and I was out of there for just under $50. Not what I was hoping to spend. Luckily, I don’t go out much and if I do, I do as much free stuff as I can.

IMG_8150Sneaker Joint

Once home, I got ready for bed and decided to re-watch La La Land. I was one of the few people for which La La did not Land. I don’t know if it’s because it had been too hyped for me or because I watched it on an airplane but it simply did nothing for me.

I was hoping a second screening would change my mind, alas, it did not. I still did not care about the characters, didn’t find the songs very interesting, and though visually the movie looks quite nice, as a piece of entertainment, for me, it falls flat.

Side note: I was also possessed to rewatch either that or Moonlight (which I still haven’t seen) because earlier in the day I had listened to an episode of the Filmstruck podcast which discussed “envelopegate” from the 89th Academy Awards.

*I feel a bit like a working tourist. Like someone who is in this city working just so he can stay longer and explore it in greater detail and with more time that any tourist could afford to spend on a vacation. The problem or struggle I find is that the longer you live in a place, the less appreciative you are of it’s treasures. It becomes the thing you see everyday. You don’t enjoy the frailty of it’s temporary-ness. The flip side is that when I find myself in wonder, looking up at a building or still occasionally being excited when I see The Empire State building and think, man, this is my new backyard and yet people come from all over the world just to see this, just to be here, I get mad at myself for acting like a tourist. I want to blend in and feel like a true New Yorker. This however is a thing I’ll never be. Whether I live here for just another year, five years, ten years or the rest of my life, I’m not from here, I wasn’t born here, so it will never really be my home. But I think that’s ok because I never want to lose my Boston roots. I have such a strange love/hate relationship with this city in that when I first came here in 1998, I hated it. Hated how loud and dirty it was/is and how bad it smelled. It wasn’t the New York I knew from the movies and it was one of the first times that I saw the world for what it really is. Who would have thought that 20 years later, I’d be living here. It’s crazy because New York is often referred to as the “Greatest City On Earth” and yet it is dingy and it is smelly it is falling apart. But maybe, rather than being this shiny ultramodern metropolis, that edgy trashy side is part of the whole appeal.

2. Sunday

I woke up “late” thanks to daylight saving’s time and did laundry from 9:30am till 11:30am (including folding and putting away my clothes). After that I read a corresponding article from The Hollywood Reporter which took a more in depth, nearly minute-by-minute look at “envelopegate.” It was/is a fascinating read.

The article is quite long and I’m a slow reader so I read it from about 12pm to about 1pm. Partially while the laundry was washing and or drying I worked on a graphic for how I envision a year. There’s a long backstory but basically, this is how I think of the months as they are laid out in my minds eye.

Year“A ‘Perfect’ Year”

The color of the months either correlates with the temperature I associate with that month or was just randomly assigned by my brain. The length of the month is somewhat arbitrary (certainly not based on how long the actual month is) though I recently came to the realization that it is likely based on how I thought of a school year.

The numbers below the month are what I feel the temperature for that month should be on average and the hill from the beginning of December into mid-March is when I think there should be snowfall and how much there should be.

This visualization is also reminiscent of my thoughts of a year as a child. Before I knew what global warming was and when it felt like seasons had a fairly definite beginning and end, rather than deciding on a daily basis what temperature it should be, regardless of the time of year.

After finishing this, I left -at 2pm- for The Met. I knew I wouldn’t be able to see much as it closes at 5:30pm on Sunday but I really just wanted to see two things, the America Wing and my favorite series of paintings, “America Today” by Thomas Hart Benton.

IMG_8154City Activities With Subway**

My favorite section of the series is “City Activities With Subway.” It romanticizes the 1920s and 30s in a way that I can’t help but love. I want to step into the moments portrayed in the painting and live amongst the people, sights and sounds taking place there.

After enjoying a stroll through the America Wing, I made my way back to Brooklyn. I really need to take more advantage of this year long membership to The Met before it runs out. I need to realize that because it’s free, I don’t need to spend an entire day there trying to soak everything up but rather that I can choose one or two things to focus on, as I did and really enjoy and appreciate them.

IMG_8156A cool ornate door I passed on 77th

Back at Atlantic Ave, I went to Best Buy where I picked up batteries for the light fixture a temp at work had gifted to me and the rest of my team; we all got one. After I got home I put the batteries in “night light”, made dinner, planned some stuff on the computer and outlined this post.

**I typically don’t like to take or post photo’s of artwork. It seems disrespectful to the artist to minimize their time and effort into a single second, a momentary photograph. Also, if you post it somewhere, it feels like you’re getting credit for their work. There’s also the factor of, “Look at me, I’ve been to that thing, aren’t you jealous?”

 

3. Being A Hypebeast

I’ve been meaning to write this one for a few weeks now but I’m only just getting around to it. On February 26th, McDonald’s released a special limited edition sauce called Szechuan sauce. There’s a whole back story which you can hear about on a podcast they produced called, “The Sauce.” (The pcast by the way is a fascinating listen).

In short this sauce was re-popularized by a TV show, Rick and Morty, and brought back in very limited supplies this past October. The lack of sauce literally cause riots so now they were re-re-releasing it in much larger, albeit still relatively limited quantities. When I heard about this, I decided to jump on the bandwagon.

Being a latecomer to R&M, I was not aware of the hype surrounding the first drop. This time however, I formed a plan. Getting off the train one stop earlier than I usually do on my  way to work on the 26th, I knew I’d encounter two McDonalds and double my chances of getting some.

The woman behind the counter at the first one said they didn’t have it. I think she just didn’t know what I was talking about and was too lazy to look. The second counter had a more youthful staff and the guy I spoke with knew exactly what I was talking about, even if he (seemingly) didn’t realize the significance. I thought perhaps the Mickey-D’s would be mobbed by nerds but it seemed to be not a big deal at all.

I ordered a hash brown and asked for two containers of the sauce. Then, before I left the counter, I asked for one more. (One to taste, and two for back-ups, one to possibly try and sell). As I left the McDonald’s I was elated. I even accidentally didn’t hold the door for an older woman trying to get into the restaurant as I exited, I temporarily forgot how to be human.

IMG_8085The Sauce

Once at work, I took out a container, hastily took a picture of it and immediately posted it to Instagram. The second the post was up, all of the elation rushed out of my body. Why had I done this? What did it matter? Was the whole point of my excitement just to humble brag that I had something limited that not everyone had? Do I really only find validation in the temporary adoration of others?

This leads back to the re-occurring theme of this post, living in the moment rather than living for the moment.

 

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Spark Notes

As usual, I’ve done the thing where I haven’t posted on my Insta or this blog for about a month and a half and thus I feel like I haven’t been doing anything worthy of note. So, in an attempt to prove myself wrong I’m going to write another more-for-me-than-for-you blog post recapping any highlights from my 2018 thus far.

Week 1

Dec 31/Jan1 – went to Alligator Lounge for New Years Eve. Jan 1 (day) – adventure to Staten Island to go to Box Lunch (store). Jan 2 – went to a Bruins/Islanders game with my co-worker Alyssa at the Barclay’s Center. Jan 5 – hung out with my co-workers in the on Roosevelt Island to watch The Matrix. Jan 6 – went to The Shape of Water with friends.  Jan 7 – participated in the no pants subway ride.

Week 2

Jan 14 – went to The Strand bookstore amongst other places on a Manhattan outing.

Week 3

Jan 19 – went out to dinner with Katie and Dilila in Greenpoint and then went for drinks in Bushwick. Jan 20 – bike ride across Brooklyn bridge, through Manhattan and over for lunch all with my buddy Jordan before heading back to Brooklyn. Jan 21 – worked at the Meatpacking showroom for the Model 3 launch weekend.

Week 4

Jan 27/28 – went to Boston, hung out with friends in the city during the day, went to dinner with fam in the evening, went out for drinks in the city with a former co-worker at night + grabbed my snowboard gear.

Week 5

Feb 3 – went snowboarding with co-workers to Mountain Creek in New Jersey. Feb 4 – went to my co-workers apartment to watch the Superbowl.

Week 6

Feb 8 – got a thing in the mail that I’m excited about; you’ll hear about this when you’re older. Feb 10 – went on an adventure; Brooklyn Library, the bank, [redacted] and [redacted] before heading home. In the evening I went to my co-worker’s birthday party a the Alligator Lounge then went to Union Pool; stayed out till 4am. Feb 11 – went Nagels Bagels and had a dooope breakfast sammy on a rainbow bagel, then went to the MoMA PS1 in Queens and looked at some terrible art.

In closing, as I always say, I gotta do a better job at keeping track of what I’m doing. Even if it’s little and seems trivial, it keeps me sane.

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2017 Top Five

When I look back on the year that was 2017, I think that all in all, it was very good to me. I did a lot of cool things, went to a bunch of cool shows, and met a lot of cool people. Here is a list of my top five accomplishments from this year.

Side Note: here’s a link to Catching Up, a post I created in June to show how much I’d done by that time alone!

1) Japan – I finally went on vacation to Japan, a place I’ve wanted to visit for a very long time. While there I was able to check off a lot of things from my to do list. I got to: fly on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, see a whale shark, visit Liberty Walk, visit Nagashima Spa Land and ride Steel Dragon 2000 (a coaster I’ve wanted to ride for 17 years!), ride the Shinkansen (bullet train), see Mt Fuji, visit RWB (Porsche), go to Tokyo Disney Sea, ride go karts on the streets of Tokyo, and see The 5.6.7.8’s in concert.

2) Got a “promotion” – I put promotion in quotes because though I did get a raise with my new job, in terms of level of importance, I am not much, if any, higher from the bottom than I was before. That said, it is a new position and it makes me feel like I have the potential to go places within the company. Additionally, I like it’s better than the role I was in before, so that’s a plus.

3) Moved to Brooklyn – this is the third year in a row that moving has been listed amongst my accomplishments. Unlike the last time I moved to NY, where it was more haphazard, this time the move was due to my new job which required a relocation to the East Coast headquarters. The nice thing is, because I’d lived here before, I was comfortable finding a place to live, getting around, and exploring the city.

4) Met a bunch of people – I got to meet several of my hero’s or people I admire/look up to. While at Liberty Walk I met Kato San (the man who started it) and at RWB I met Nakai San (the man who started it). This was a pipe dream that I did not expect to come true. I also got to meet Josh and Eli from Smoking Popes and I got to meet Matt Gourley and Paul F. Tompkins at the Superego show. I also got to meet my new co-workers who have become very good friends.

5) Explored New York (and beyond) – since moving here, I’ve been to a bunch of shows including: Dave Chappelle, Just Between Us LIVE, Smoking Popes, Eleanor Friedberger, Superego, Angel Olsen, LCD Soundsystem and a few underground shows sprinkled in between.

I did a bunch of cool things like going to Bike Expo New York, did a lot of karaoke at The Alligator Lounge, went dancing at Home Sweet Home, went to Smorgasburg, went to the Mermaid Parade, went pool hopping at the FiDi Hilton, went to Coney Island and rode the Thunderbolt and the Cyclone, went to Six Flags Great Adventure, went on a 30+ mile bike ride with my buddy Jordan, took a day-cation to Philadelphia, played movie trivia at Videology, found “MIB headquarters,” went to Bike Kill, went to Fat Cats to play pool with my co-workers, went to Jingle Hells pop up bar, not to mention all the other bars, clubs and restaurants I either went to or have scoped out for future visits, went to several house parties and probably a few other things I’m forgetting.

I visited a bunch of museums including The Met, The MoMA, The Museum of Natural History, The Museum of the City of New York, The Queens Museum, The Brooklyn Museum and The Cloisters. I also checked out public art such as Descension by Anish Kapor and Photoville. Additionally, I went to the Louis Vuitton exhibit Volez Voguez Voyagez.

I’ve gone to and or ingested (in one way or another) a bunch of movies this year, namely: Alien Covenant, It Comes At Night, Spiderman Homecoming, Dunkirk, Passengers, The Founder,  My Neighbor Totoro, Nocturnal Animals, The Incredible Jessica James, Wonder Woman, The Big Sick, Mother!, Blade Runner 2049, Baby Driver, Jim and Andy and the Great Beyond, Lady Bird, Man on the Moon, Get Out, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Voyeur.

Lastly, I attended the 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I finally attended this parade with my sister, something that has been on my bucket list for a long time because the watching on TV of which has been a part of my family’s Thanksgiving tradition for as long as I can remember. My sister and I would wake up on Thanksgiving morning, in a similar way as we would for Christmas, run downstairs and put on the TV to watch the parade. We always said that one year we’d see it live and now we can finally say we did.

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Top 10 Movies 2017

I’ve watched a LOT of movies this year both in theaters and on various streaming services. Here is a list, in basically no order, of my top ten.

1. Get Out – I was really late to the game with this one. I had heard a lot of really great things but just wasn’t interested in seeing it in theaters. Eventually, when it came on HBO, I watched it. Damn. I wished I had seen it in theaters with an audience. Great scares and social commentary. It so lived up to the hype.

2. Baby Driver – this too I avoided in theaters. I thought I was going to hate it but it ended up being very good. So good in fact that I wrote a full review on it. (See previous post)

3. Mother! – this may have been the most unexpected movie of the year for me. I had only seen the poster for it, no trailers, perhaps the best way to go into a movie. I think because of that it was a blank slate. I have never seen anything that felt like being in a fever dream. Such a clear vision from Aronofsky and so many layers of meaning. A real art house piece, the truly comes together at the very end.

4. The Big Sick – I was waiting to see this in theaters with a date but that never happened. When I eventually did see it I was pleasantly surprised at how funny and how serious and good it was. I love Kumail and Emily for all the other work they do. You get to know them so much through podcasts and what not that you feel like they’re you’re friends. I felt so proud of them for not only writing and making a movie, but making a really good one.

5. Jim and Andy and The Great Beyond – this too was a surprising doc about the making of the 1999 bio-pic Man on the Moon. I was too young to know who Andy Kaufman was when the movie came out but seeing how the role swallowed Jim Carrey whole was really quite fascinating. Getting to see Carrey as this more subdue real person was incredible and I found that he and I share many similar existential thoughts.

6. Rolling Stone: Stories From the Edge – this two part HBO documentary is partially the story of the magazine itself, partially the story of the music that inspired it, partially a story of the politics that shaped it and partially an overall historical retrospective. It gave me a new found respect for the magazine and a desire to create.

7. The Defiant Ones – this four part HBO documentary is like a very long episode of VH1’s Behind The Music. I’m a sucker for a good documentary and when you’ve got one covering and being told by as many interesting and influential people in the music industry as this one has, mainly though, Dr. Dre and Jimmy Ivine, forget about it, I’m all in.

8. The Incredible Jessica James – Jessica Williams brilliantly dry comedic style is complimented by the loveably dorky Chris O’Dowd in this unsuspecting yet fairly realistic feeling romantic comedy.

9. Dunkirk – Dunkirk is a bit of an unsung hero amongst these films. I expected it to be longer. Most war movies are long and Chris Nolan movies are no exception, but this was under two hours. I’ll admit that I perhaps went in with too high of expectations. That said, it followed Nolan’s style of approaching a topic from an angle that puts the audience off kilter. I will say, knowing what it is now, I would like to see it again. Additionally, this, along with Mother! is the only other film that should potentially win the Academy Award sound design.

10. The Founder – an unexpected hit, I couldn’t help but be drawn in by the story, not of the creator of McDonald’s, but by the man who franchised it. His way of manipulating people, usually by force, rather than permission, to get what he wanted, though devious, was nothing other than admirable.

 

 

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Filed under Random/Thoughts