Off To A Good Start

As is usually the case at the beginning of a new year, I am full of ambition to make the most out of my weekends/free time. Thus, I try to use that time either wisely, doing laundry, grocery shopping, etc. Or doing fun activities around the city. So far that first two weekends in January have been a success. Hopefully that success will continue throughout the year.

January 5 (Sat)

After doing a big of Google mapping at work, I came across something that I had to check out in person. In Manhattan there is an area around 181st Street where the highway actually runs under and through the city!

img_8905Highway running through upper Manhattan

It’s bonkers because there are open areas where you can just look down and see the highway running through the city. To top it off, there are a few high rise apartment complexes stacked up on top of the highway! Who thought that was a good idea?

After exploring this for a bit, I made my way over to the nearby George Washington Bridge. I walked around the area near the bridge for a short while and did some light exploring.

img_8909The George Washington Bridge

I’ve been in this area with my bike but never before on foot where you can just take it slow and check it out. It’s probably only interesting to a nerd like me, but I explored it anyway.

I then took the train to 125th Street where I walked around Riverside Drive for a bit before making my way out to Broadway and Amsterdam Ave, through Columbia University and eventually making my way to The Heights Bar.

Grabbed some food at the bar and got a seat close to the window that looked out over Broadway. Because it’s located on upper Broadway, there not too much interesting stuff to see. However, as the name implies, the bar is on the second floor and thus gives a slightly more interesting vantage point than any other bar or restaurant on street level.

While at the bar, there was a TV on the NYC public access station. There was one segment which featured holiday events which were still happening in the city. One that caught my eye was for the Holiday Train Show happening at Grand Central Station. So, after finishing my lunch, that was where I went.

img_8921Holiday Train Show at Grand Central Station

The “show” consisted of a model train set that when through a miniature Grand Central Station and parts of Manhattan as well as having various other small town and rural parts thrown in. Being the transportation geek that I am, I really enjoyed it. It helped that it was staged in the Transit Museum gift shop.

There I found a book called Subway Adventure Guide: New York City End of the Line. As the title implies, the book highlights cool areas to explore that the ends of the various train lines in throughout the 5 boroughs.

January 6 (Sun)

I started the day by popping off at Target to grab some sundries. I then made my way into Manhattan to pay a visit to the Herman Miller showroom. I am a furniture nerd so I get enjoyment out of just looking at and appreciating the beautiful design featured in their gallery and imagining it in a someday home.

img_8976High Line Hotel

After wasting all of the sales reps’ time, I made my way over to the High Line Hotel. I merely wanted to see it as it came across my radar while looking up something else online. After looking at it, I walked over to the nearby Mickey Mouse Exhibit. I didn’t go into the exhibit itself (Celebrating the 90 years of the Disney mouse) but I did explore the gift shop.

I then tried to find the Vitra furniture gallery in Meatpacking but I failed. So I walked ove to Union Sq where I took the (6 ) to Bleeker to try and get a copy of Time Out magazine. On the way up the stairs to the street lever I helped a young woman carry her suitcase to earn some good samaritan points.

img_8980Mickey Mouse Exhibit gift shop

Back to my mission, I knew there was a TO stand near the subway entrance/exit but the copy in the stand was soaked.  Eventually, after using the stand locator map on Time Out mag’s website, I found a copy at Houston and Crosby St.

Following this I took the (F) to Nighthawk where I preceded to get an overpriced beer and meal at the bar upstairs. The new Nighthawk near Prospect Park looks and is beautiful but I was disappointed by the fact that my dinner portions were tiny and expensive. I will say that what little they served was quite good.

January 12 (Sat)

I started the day by heading to Bank of America to get some Swiss francs for my upcoming trip to Switzerland. However, I was disappointed to find that the manager, in typical BoA fashion didn’t want to help me but instead directed me to the website. If I wanted to bank online I wouldn’t have bothered making a fucking trip to the bank.

Bummed at how useless she was, I went to a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts for some breakfast. I had gotten a DD gift card for xmas so this one was “free”. While walking to the DD, I saw advert for an upcoming KISS concert taking place at the Barclay’s Center. Though I only know a few songs by them and I don’t really give a shit about them, I feel like I might have to go just because I think the spectacle would be worth while.

img_8993John recording the AudioMovies podcast

In any case, I ate my sammy at the food court at Target and bought a new shower curtain liner with a Target gift card, another xmas gift. I then went across the street to Stop and Shop to grab meat, milk and beer… also paid for by gift card.

I then went home and cleaned the apartment and cooked some burgers. My friend John stopped by and together we recorded a nearly 3 hour long episode of AudioMovies.

January 13 (Sun)

I started off my cold Sunday by getting breakfast at Shelsky’s. I had an everything bagel with creme cheese and jalapeños. I also had this coffee infused soda which started out good but by the end was sickeningly sweet. One nice thing was that they were playing jazz and a bunch of nice contemporary pop/rock from the early/mid ’00s.

I then took the (4) Train to the Bronx and got a lot of reading done in I Might Regret This (by Abbi Jacobson), the book I was borrowing from the library. I took the train to the Botanical Garden and used my IDNY card to get into the grounds. However, the thing I was there to see, their holiday train show, required a separate admission. Lame! So, I just ended up walking around for 1 to 1.5 hours.

img_9012Starbucks Reserve Roastery

I then took the train to Union Sq, finishing the book along the way. I walked to Starbucks Reserve Roastery which had apparently just opened a month earlier. It was a fucking zoo in there. The place was like a steampunk brewery only for coffee. They had sections for sandwiches and coffee and pastries and even a full on bar.

To be honest, I don’t give a shit about coffee, but the place is pretty cool. I definitely want to hit up the bar at some point and while I was there I did get a good, albeit overpriced, sandwich.

Afterwards I took the train back to Union Sq and weirdly, while transferring from the (L) to the (4), ran into one of the women I’ve been chatting with on Hinge. We only passed each other on the stairwell but I texted her afterwards and she confirmed that it was in fact her.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Travel/Adventure

2018 Top Five

This is now my fourth year doing a “Top Five” list to summarize my accomplishments and overall highlights to see if I was actually a useful enough human to be worthy of another year of life on earth.

The list is not in an order of best or worst but simply the order in which these things occurred.

1. Monaco Grand Prix – attending the [2018] Monaco Grand Prix was an accomplishment I’d had on my proverbial bucket list for longer than I can remember. I’m happy to say that the experience did not disappoint.

Not only do I plan on going back to the GP someday, but I also intend on attending some of the other races in the years yet to come. These include: Abu Dhabi, Singapore and Vietnam (set to be part of the 2020 F1 calendar).

Though I hadn’t previously followed F1 very closely, I jumped on the bandwagon this year and followed the entire season. I plan on watching it regularly in the future and I even listen to the F1 podcast, Beyond The Grid.

2. Late Night With Seth Meyers – would I have preferred it to be Jimmy Fallon, yes. Do I still want to see a taping of Last Week Tonight, yes. Am I still stoked I got to do this, absolutely.

It was cool to meet Fred Armisen, Seth Meyers and Matt Groening. It was also cool to be able to share the experience with one of my best friends, Jordan. It proved to me during one of the toughest times at work, that good customer service sometimes pays off.

3. AudioMovies – I got my first podcast off the ground. Now to be clear, this is my first solo podcast. Technically the first one I had, FaceWords, was a joint effort with my roommate at the time, James.

Also, since FaceWords is no longer being produced, this is the only one. On top of that, AudioMovies lives on iTunes and Google Play so it feels way more legit than FaceWords ever did, no offense.

4. December – I think I really came in at the 11th hour (more like 12th month) with this one. I feel like I did more cool stuff in December than I did in the entire year. I might be missing things from my Instagram or that I previously blogged about but if you look at my previous post, you’ll see that it is full of fun and interesting stories and travel adventures. Much of that is to do with number five on this list which allowed for my “business” trip to California.

5. Changing Roles At Work – once again there is a job related item on this list. Yes, after a year and a half with the Inside Sales team I am once again starting a new position within Tesla. It is far too early to know if this was ultimately a good decision.

This is technically a step backwards being that in my previous role I had some seniority and now in this new one I’m starting at the bottom of the totem pole again; because it’s in a different department.

However, despite the slight decrease in pay (and aforementioned step backwards) I think that this job will ultimately make me happier than my previous position and who can put a price on happiness?

On the one hand I won’t be seeing my co-workers a much, so that’s a bummer, but on the other hand I will no longer be customer facing and that I think will be the biggest perk of this job. 

Resolutions:

-Get a girlfriend – this is one I’ve had on my list for years and though I’ve had a few little hook ups here and there and a couple of dates, I have still failed to find a stable gal to call my girlfriend. I really thought 2018 would be the year because I had a little extra motivation. At the work Holiday Party I had won a Gift Certificate valid for a Table For Two At The Top Of The Standard [hotel] With A Bottle Of Moet.

IMG_8875Gift Certificate for The Standard Hotel

I thought that this would make a great anniversary gift for me and my nonexistent girlfriend’s [fill in the blank] month anniversary. However, despite this motivation, I still failed to get one in 365* days! I’m feeling slightly more confident about 2019 thanks to Hinge but not much.

*It was actually a little more than 365 days because the holiday party was on December 15th; even more pathetic

-Be more present – be in the moment. I feel like a lot of what I do involves planning and making lists for the future. What I like most about lists is checking things off of them. However, the problem with being fixated on completing a list is that you’re so busy playing out this script you’ve written, that you aren’t able to fully enjoy or appreciate the moment. Instead you just want it to be over so you can check it off and move on to the next thing. This is something I struggle with and it’s difficult to change but I do want to work towards enjoying more things while they’re happening.

-Be less angry – this is something I feel I have gotten better at but that I always feel could be improved. I have a very short patience and do not handle stress particularly well. I ultimately want to work on focusing my energy on things that matter and things that are in my control rather than worry or stress about things I cannot control.

Leave a comment

Filed under Random/Thoughts

End of The Year

These last few months have been somewhat filled with activity. However, this last month of the year is going to packed with nonstop action. Below is an outline of what I have coming up this month/what’s happened so far. I will fill it in as things actually transpire.

Naturally the stuff I’ve written for future dates is just conjecture so far.

November 30

Karaoke / Shave

After work I met up with some co-workers at the Alligator Lounge, a staple of my life in Brooklyn. We went for what other than karaoke. Despite telling people to be there at 10:30pm, I myself arrived at 11pm. However, as is usually the case, I was still the first one there.

I put my song in right away and then watched a few people sing. After a while I started to make my way to the bar to see if anyone had come in. No sooner did I turn to leave was I greeted by my co-worker Yev. Moments later he was followed by our co-worker Michael. Just as we began to make our way to the bar, my name was called, perfect timing.

Rather than just stand up and sing, I chose to make it a full performance. I pulled over the small table that was on the stage and pulled up a seat next to the table. I then lowered the mic stand so I could sing into it from a seated position. I then took off my regular glasses, placed them on the table and put on the sunglasses I’d brought with me.

As the music began to play I mimicked playing piano on the table and then proceeded to sing all 6 minutes and 46 seconds of Elton John’s Someone Saved My Life Tonight.

IMG_9699Singing at karaoke at Alligator Lounge

At the end, when it repeats the title, I did a bit of call and response with the audience. First with them as a whole, then out to individuals and finally for the last two, splitting the audience between the left side and the right side. To my pleasant surprise it worked and they sang along beautifully.

What I love about karaoke (and I imagine is the appeal for most people) is the feeling, even if just for a moment, that you’re a rockstar and that the audience is hanging on your every word. To have that much control over an audience while also having their temporary affection is really wonderful thing.

On top of that, the feeling of vindication of picking a good song that the whole bar know and will be interested in singing along to is really a talent that I pride myself on. I rarely fail to bring the house down.

After singing and dancing until 1:30 or 2am, we called it a night. Michael was kind enough to give me a ride back to my apartment. Once home I took advantage of the fact that November was technically over and trimmed down my overgrown beard. It was nice to see my face again and not feel dirty or itchy.

That said, I don’t know if it was the shock of going from a lot of facial hair to suddenly very little, but I did sort of immediately regret it. I think I need to find a happy medium of scraggily facial hair and too little facial hair. Luckily, it’ll grow back.

December 1 (Sat)

Haircut / Food / Write / Brinson Chill Session

After going to bed at around 4am, I slept in till 9:30am. I then got showered, dressed, brushed my teeth and at 10:25, began to make my way to Greenpoint for my haircut appointment.

It usually takes me pretty long to get to my barbershop, but I knew it was going to take particularly long because, in usual (G) train fashion, it was only running to Nassau Ave, at which point I needed to transfer to a shuttle bus to Greenpoint Ave.

Once off the bus I backtracked to the nearby Bank of America to grab some cash. Then doubled back to head to Tomcats, grabbing a copy of this weeks Time Out magazine along the way. I got there a few minutes early for my haircut so I just sat and chilled.

After the cut I headed back towards Nassau Ave, this time on foot, along the way stopping for a late breakfast (or on time lunch) at Charlotte Pâtisserie. There I had their hummus sandwich which was very good and fairly priced. Afterwards I made my way back home where I chilled and wrote a bunch of this.

Went to Brinson’s apartment to hang out with co-workers. We watched some boxing and afterwards I went to my co-worker’s girlfriend’s apartment which was literally across the street.

–Week 1–

December 3 – 7

Work 

It’s crazy to think that this is my last week with the Inside Sales team. Despite the fact that the time with this team has been slightly longer than my time with the Boston team (1 yr 6 months vs 1 yr 5 months) it’s somehow felt shorter.

After work on Friday I went to Home Sweet Home for Shakin’ All Over, the soul music dance night put on by New York Night Train and spun by DJ Jonathan Toubin. I met up with my co-worker’s girlfriend -Skyler, her roommate Kristen and their friend Tory.

We had a really good time dancing. Kristen and Skyler ended up leaving at 1am but Tory and I hung back and danced until 2.

12/8 (Sat)

VOX LUX

When I first saw the trailer for Vox Lux I instantly got Black Swan vibes. Not only because of Natalie Portman, but also because she is playing a character who is a performer. My gameplan was to go to this movie on a Hinge date. However, due to unforeseen complications, she decided we should reschedule.

That said, I had no intention of waiting to see this movie so I ended up going with my co-worker Carter. Initially we tried to meet up for the 2:50pm screening but by the time Carter showed up, it had sold out.

When I went to the box office to get a refund, the guy told me I couldn’t get a refund, but that he could give me two free passes the see the movie another time. This was a win.

We went to Soho and grabbed a beer and chatted. Before you knew it, it was time for the 5:10pm screening. We doubled back and got tickets. I don’t have the time or energy to do a full on review. Plus, being that it is still relatively fresh in my mind, I think I’m still processing it. That said, the one adjective that comes to mind to describe the movie is Intense.

Tom’s Bday

After the movie I took the train into Brooklyn to got to my co-work’s roommate’s birthday party. I’ve gotten to know Tom a bit over the year and a half that I’ve been in NY so I was happy to attend.

I got to Bed-Stuy a little before they’d gotten back from dinner so I went to a nearby pizza spot and grabbed a few slices. I then sung by once I got the green light from Adam.

The party was pretty low key. Naturally there were a bunch of people that I didn’t know. I socialized with a few of them and chatted with some that I’d met before but mostly just chatted with Adam.

Eventually the combination of it being too hot in there apartment, me having been out all day and the early onset of what I now know to be a throat and head cold, I called it quits at 11pm.

–Week 2–

December 9

Fly to California

After sleeping in late and getting a few last minute things organized, I left my apartment at 12:08pm and made my way to JFK. Along the way I listened to my Spotify 2018 Recap Playlist. It was filled with a bunch of solid tracks.

And then perfectly timed, as if ordained by the heavens, as I exited the AirTrain and headed to the terminal, This Time Tomorrow by The Kinks came on.

I got to JFK at 1:45pm. Security was empty and I had pre-checked in on the Alaska Airlines app so I already had a digital boarding pass on my phone. I got through security in no time and then had 2 and a half hours to kill before my flight.

I mostly spent it hanging out, drinking orange juice and tea, and talking with my Mom on the phone. Eventually it was time to board and I purposely waited so I’d be one of the last people on the plane. However, because I had waited, they had to check my bag since overhead storage space had filled.

While I was boarding, I realized I recognized the interior of the plane. Having never flown Alaska Airlines before, I didn’t know how this was possible. A quick glance at the branding on the galley confirmed my suspicion, this was a Virgin America A320 being operated by Alaska Airlines. The good news is, I knew this meant that I’d have IFE.

Once in the air I started Incredibles 2. During the movie I ate the bagel I’d gotten and drank the second OJ. After the movie I watched Isle of Dogs which I’d had a craving for. Halfway through the movie I took a bathroom break.

Once it was over, I got started on my last movie, Ocean’s 8. This was a fun re-watch (as all of them were) and by the time it ended we were on final approach to SJC, I’d timed it perfectly.

We landed at 7:40pm PST. The San Jose airport was very basic but modern, nice and clean. There was a great announcement I overheard while on my way to baggage claim, “Paging passenger [Joe Shmoe], this is the final boarding call for your flight. We love you but we will leave you.”

After collecting my bag at baggage claim, I grabbed an Uber to my hotel. My driver was chatty and friendly.  I got a free cookie with check-in. I then proceeded to my room where I got things organized before watching a little TV.

I tried to fall asleep but the descent in the airplane had caused bad blockage in my ears on top of my cold which already had me stuffed up. I tossed and turned in pain for a while before calling the front desk. The didn’t have any Nyquil for me but told there was a nearby 7-Eleven.

I ran out, grabbed the stuff and brought it back to the room. I then chugged some and hopped in bed. Eventually the pain subsided and be it the drugs, the fact I was actually tired (it was 2am in my brain) or a combination of the two but before I knew it (I literally don’t remember) I was asleep.

December 10 (Mon)

Training

I got up, got showered/dressed and grabbed some oatmeal from the lobby. A little before 8:30am I went downstairs to meet up with my new colleague/co-worker Andrew Ho.

We went back to the “Kato” facility in Fremont and Andrew gave me a little tour. There I got to see an early prototype of Model S. Cut to a montage of us doing some stuff on the computer, him taking me for a ride to show me how his day is structured, going back to “Kato” and then me taking us on a ride.

A little while later we drove to THE FACTORY. There I finally came face-to-face with the facility I’d seen only on pictures and heard only about in stories. We checked in and got me badge access, then after a few short texts and weird luck, I ran into my friend and former fellow Boston Product Specialist Corey.

Passed NASA while driving the long route

He took Andrew and myself to “Stinson Beach,” The food court in the factory. There we grabbed lunch and were going to take a tour of the factory but the golf kart we were going to take wasn’t fully charged.

On the way out, Corey showed me his desk and I met some of his co-workers. His immediate neighbor gave me a red plastic Model S “toy” as a souvenir which was pretty cool. I then took an obligatory picture in front of the giant T-E-S-L-A before heading back to “Kato”.

There we did another test with Andrew driving. It was a fun drive and we had a really cool conversation. Once back we had a meeting and did a few more things before wrapping up. A very full but solid/fun day.

[Add the bit about how on one of the routes you drove past NASA]

December 11 (Tue)

I got up a little before my alarm, got ready, drove to Kato and got there at ~8:20. Once we were done getting things set up for the day, we headed out to San Francisco for the long drive.

I was behind the wheel for this route which had a lot of tests for us to conduct along the way. On top of that we came across various traffic patterns and weather conditions such as heavy fog.

When we eventually got to the city one of the fist things I had to do was to crossed the Bay Bridge. On the way to Treasure Island from San Francisco we traveled on the lower part of the bridge.

It was so foggy that all I could see on either side of the bridge was a white haze. We eventually crossed over to Treasure Island where, after a short jaunt down the road, we found a place to turn around.

I then had to drive back across the Bay Bridge, this time on the top section. Again, my visibility beyond the traffic was cut short by thick fog.

Driving back across the Bay Bridge from Treasure Island into SF

After making it back into the city we quickly found a Parking Garage to park in downtown. We drove around for a while but eventually found a spot that we thought we might be able to fit into.

Andrew got out and miraculously guided me in. There had to have been mere centimeters between my side view mirror and theirs. We then took the stairs down to street level, made our way through the Westfield and headed out onto Market Street.

We ate at a spot called Bun Mee, a place I’d been to the last time I was in San Francisco (2014). After finishing our sandwiches we headed back to the car. Along the way we crossed through the Westfield again, this time stopping upstairs the check out the upside-down Christmas Tree.

When we were leaving the Wesfield, the city was testing their earthquake alarm system. I drove back to Kato where Andrew filled out the report from the drive. In the meantime I worked to get access to the various websites I would be needing to use in this new role.

Eventually we went out again to try and test a new software update that had been pushed to the car. However, we weren’t able to get it to work. Afterwards we stopped for milk tea which I had been craving. Andrew also grabbed some popcorn chicken before we drove back to Kato. Once back, I parked in the warehouse to supercharge.

Entering San Francisco

Back at our work area, I continued to work on getting access and before I knew it, it was time to go. I drove straight from Kato to The Factory to pick up Corey.

There was terrible traffic leaving The Factory, but once we got through the light and onto surface streets we were home free. I drove us to Asian Pearl where we met up with Conner and Vasili, two of my other former direct co-workers.

We let Vasili order and we had dinner chatted and caught up with each other from 6:30pm to 8:45pm. Afterwards I showed Vasili the Model 3 as he’d never been in one before. Looking back, I’m kind of bummed we didn’t take a group picture before parting ways.

Upside-down Christmas Tree hanging from the ceiling of the Westfield Mall

I then drove back to my hotel from the restaurant. When I got to my room I found tons of ants in my sink (I also found one in the bed). I called the front desk to come up and check it out.

The gave me a new room key and I moved to a room a bit further down the hall. In then went through the process of moving everything to the new room.

It had clearly just had a similar problem as the new room smelled like bug spray and all the cabinet doors we open as well as the windows. After settling in I wrote this, watched some Futurama and then went to bed.

December 12 (Wed)

9:00am short route. i did notes. came back and I filled out report. I got badge access for Kato.

11:30am went out, did long route, Andrew took notes and recorded clips. we passed NASA again.

once done stopped to grab some ramen. went back and supercharged the Model 3. uploaded the clips from the long route.

Once we were done with that we hopped into a Model X and did one more set of tests. This time Andrew drove while I took notes.

When we got back to Kato, Andrew and I recapped the day, he then uploaded clips and

December 13 (Thu)

I skipped breakfast at the hotel because I’m sick of oatmeal and instead grabbed cereal at Kato. Once at my desk, Andrew put me to work setting up the route for the day. We then left at around 9am and ran the Hard Route.

After that we came back to Kato to dump the footage from the hard drive. At around 11:20am we drove to headquarters in Deer Creek or “DC” as it’s known. We got there at around noon, got me badge access and went to the food court. Andrew grabbed a quick bite.

Deer Creek Headquarters

He then took me on a quick tour of the building. We were pretty early so we just hung out for a bit. We then went to the meeting from 1pm to 1:40pm. Afterwards I drove us to Adamson’s French Dip in Sunnyvale. We stopped there to get lunch.

After Adamson’s I drove us to “Page” so we could look at the goings ons at that building. Andrew took me on a quick tour before we went back to Kato. We got back by 3:30pm. Once back I put the Model 3 on the Supercharger.

We waited for it to charge and for the newest build to download to the Model X. Then we went on the route and tested the new build.

When we came back one of Andrew’s coworkers asked if he (we) could give him a ride to the factory. There I got a peak at the end of the production line. We then drove back to Kato and reported on the day plus added clips.

December 14 (Fri)

Accidentally deleted this part

12/15 (Sat)

I got up at around 8:30 and at 9, texted my friends Conner and Cory to let them know I was planning on getting ready for the day and was planning to leave for Mission Peak at 10am. I then proceeded to do exactly that.

Luckily, I had already Google Mapped directions to the base because the GPS in the car was taking me some complete wrong way. I turned it off and drove to the base from my memory of the Google Map directions. It was super easy to find at only 1.4 miles away and I got there in no time.

Cut to a montage of me looking for a space in the tiny parking lot and eventually using Autopark to parallel park in a space on a nearby side street. Before exiting the car, I noticed that I had gotten a text from Corey saying that he’d just woken up so him and Conner would not be joining me. I then walked up to the base and, after taking a moment to figure out how to get on the train (you had to open a gate) began my hike.

Mission Peak trail

I was about a minute into the hike when I reached a fork in the trail. As I stared at it and tied to figure out where to go, an older gentleman who was on his way down stopped to help me. He explained that the path to the left was a bit easier and the one to the right was a bit steeper. He recommended the left path as I was new to the hike. He also told me it should take about an hour (it was 10:23).

I thanked him and continued down the left path. I took my time making my way up the path. I stopped a few times along the way to grab a drink of the large ice tea I had in my back pack. The sun was out with little cloud coverage, so I was pretty hot on the way up. Luckily, I had put on sun tan lotion, so I didn’t get burned.

About half way up I took out my phone and played Daft Punk Alive 2007. It’s great motivational/work out music. As I approached the summit, the last five or ten minutes of the hike, the clouds rolled in and I got a bit chilly. Luckily, I had packed my sweatshirt just in case. Eventually I made it to the top and as expected, I felt very gratified.

Me at the top

I had a fellow hiker take a picture of me at the top. I then walked over to a boulder and sat down. I took a drink of my ice tea and ate a granola bar I’d packed, taken from the hotel “breakfast.” I checked the time and it was 11:47, it had taken me a little over an hour to reach the top, not bad.

I then slowly made my way back down. Once at the bottom I called Corey from the car. He told me their plans for the day and we decided to meet up in Oakland, where he and Conner live. I drove to the address he gave me and was luckily able to find an inexpensive parking lot nearby.

I then walked to Itani Ramen and waited for them outside. They got there about three minutes later, and we went in. We ordered, sat and ate our ramen and chatted. Once done, we made our way down the street to SoleSpace, a street-wear store. There, both Conner and Corey tried on sneakers and Corey bought a pair of white low tops that were 50% off.

After that we went to this other shop nearby where Conner bought two small plants for their apartment. They were going to Uber or rent scooters to get to their apartment but since I had the car, I offered to give them a ride.

I drove them to their apartment and parked down the street. They showed me inside and it was pretty nice. After grabbing a selfie with them on their little balcony, I offered to drive them to the grocery store where we parted ways.

Corey, me and Conner on their balcony

I then set the GPS for nearby San Francisco. It should have normally taken me about 20 minutes to get there but due to an accident and generally bad traffic crossing the Bay Bridge it took an hour. After exiting the bridge in SF, I took the Embarcadero to Fishermans Wharf, the Times Square of San Francisco.

I drove around there for a bit but eventually found a spot on the street. Once parked, I basically just walked around aimlessly for an hour. I then circled back and made my way into the city to go to a classic SF tiki bar, The Tonga Room.

The Tonga Room is in the basement of The Fairmont Hotel in the central part of the city. When I got to the area, I spent about half an hour driving up and down a bunch of random blocks looking for a spot to park.

IMG_8752Fishermans Wharf

On top of the fact that there was nowhere to park, I was getting my kicks driving on the streetcar tracks (you have to on some streets, there’s literally no other choice) and going up and down SF’s famous hills. I literally thought one hill was a sheer drop.

Eventually I got fed up and decided to drive back to Fremont. However, just as I was making my way out of the city, I found an open spot. I Autoparked and, after double checking that I was not in a tow zone, made my way back to The Fairmont Hotel.

IMG_8757Driving on streetcar tracks

On my way over there I passed a bar called Pagan Idol. I made a mental note to hit it on the way back. After figuring out the line situation and stopping at the restroom I got in line for The Tonga Room. The wait was pretty short about 10 minutes and I went right to the bar to get a tiki cocktail. I never drink hard alcohol but at a tiki bar, how can you not.

I then found a spot at a stand-up table (in the shape of a surfboard) with a group of 30-somethings all dressed in “ugly sweaters.” I got to chatting with a few of them and before I knew it, I was part of their tribe. The “leader” was this nice guy named Justin.

He really took me under his wing. He told me they’d just come from Smuggler’s Cove, the other tiki bar I’d been to in SF when I was there in 2014, and that after Tonga Room they were headed to Pagan Idol. A match made in heaven.

IMG_8764Pagan Idol tiki bar

After chatting and dancing and singing and drinking with my new squad, we made our way to Pagan Idol. Along the way the group got a bit spread out and Justin yelled, “Kyle? Do we still have Kyle?” What a class act.

Eventually we made it to the bar. I really loved the theming there and we all continued to chat and drink and hang out. Everyone was super nice and fun to talk with. It was so cool of them to just bring me in. At around 11 I decided to call it quits, said goodbye to everyone and then drove the 50 minutes back to Fremont where I immediately went to bed.

12/16 (Sun)

I slept in until around 10am because I had a late night and because why not. I was up at 8:30 but decided to stay in bed. Once I got showered an dressed I wrote yesterday’s post. Eventually, at around 12:30 or 1 I left the hotel and drove to downtown San Jose.

I knew there would be basically nothing to see or do there but ever since dipping my toe in during my brief visit in 2014, I wanted to at least get waist deep. After getting rerouted shortly after getting off the highway due to a police roadblock, I eventually found free street parking on account of it being Sunday.

San Pedro Square

I then took a stroll around the block and eventually to the SAP Arena where I had started my SJ journey the last time. I retracted my steps and eventually found myself basically back where I started. I ended up at a restaurant called Olla Cocina.

It was a well-designed family Mexican restaurant. I got a variety of tacos and some Mexican Hot Chocolate (they add cinnamon). The food was very good and after a bit more strolling, I made my way back to the car.

I had been debating going to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom or California’s Great America, so I could get some coasters under my belt while I was out here, but it was starting to rain, and it only got heavier. I navigated my way to a nearby supercharger, but all the stalls were full when I got there.

Olla Cocina

Then, just for the hell of it, I decided to navigate to Great America just to check it out. However, when I got to the entrance, there were cones blocking it off. This seemed to be a theme throughout the South Bay. Defeated, I made my way back to the hotel.

The rain was really bumming me out, but I didn’t want to be cooped up watching TV all day. After scrolling through my phone, I was reminded that Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse was out. I looked up nearby cinemas and showtimes. It was ~4pm and there was a 5pm showtime at an AMC that was 16 minutes away.

I hopped back into the car and made my way to the theatre. Cut to a montage of me moving the car into different spots because apparently, I don’t know how to park, then realizing that the cinema was kind of far from where I parked. I decided to grab my ticket and then walked back and re-parked closer to the theatre.

Without going into a full review, I thought the movie was great. The animation was beautiful, the voice acting was on point, the story (though parts were predictable) was fun and action packed and the music was excellent. I knew I was going to like it, but I really, really liked it.

–Week 3–

12/17 – 12/18

Training

Most of these days consisted of uneventful training. I was with Kaz on Monday and Tuesday.

12/19 (Wed)

On Wednesday I went with Andrew on the long route to San Francisco and back. On the way back to Kato we stopped at A Slice of New York for pizza. Andrew told me that the restaurant was owned buy a former New Yorker who moved out to the West Coast but said he couldn’t find a good slice of pizza out there, so he made his own pizza joint.

The place itself has a bunch of curated graffiti all over the walls. There is a fake (7) train in the restaurant complete with subway maps. The floor is painted to resemble a giant subway map and there is memorabilia on the walls and hanging from the ceiling. This includes NY street signs, the advertisement holders from taxi cabs and a subway sign for Penn Station. One section of the wall had a bunch of old Metro Cards posted on it.

After that we stopped into Krispy Kreme because Andrew wanted to get donuts for the team. While there, I got a glass of coffee milk. They had a bunch of weird flavors to choose from such as Root Beer and Orange, but I landed on Coffee.

After the day was over I drove to the South Fremont BART station, parked and took the BART to San Francisco. I figured since I only had a few days left, I might as well not waste my nights going back to the hotel to eat fast food and watch TV. Plus, taking the BART meant that I wouldn’t have to try and find parking in the city.

IMG_8833Coin Op Game Room

Once I got into SF and figured out where I needed to go, I made my way to a bar called Coin Op. This was a spot that had been recommended to my by one of the “friends” I’d made while I was out at The Tonga Room and Pagan Idol. Coin Op is a two story bar that is themed around gaming and nerd culture. There is some 80s nostalgic memorabilia on the walls and the top of the bar is filled with VHS tapes.

I grabbed a beer and some food and hung out by the bar. Then, a work group came and ordered drinks next to me. When the first beer came out, I asked them what it was because it looked good. They told me and took it back to their boss. I made a mental note and planned to get it for my second drink. However, the woman who had ordered it for her boss was back seconds later ordering a new drink.

“My boss didn’t like the look of this drink so he asked me to get him a new one. Do you want it?”  I gave her a confused look. “I promise we didn’t do anything to it, he just doesn’t want it. I understand if it’s kind of weird and it you don’t wanna take it but I figured I’d offer it to you before they pour it out.”

I ended up accepting because this seemed reasonable and why turn down a free drink. Plus, I didn’t see any reason for there to be “foul play” so I took it. The beer was pretty good and it turned out not to be roofied!

After finishing my food and drinks, I wanted to check out the upper level but it was roped off for a private party. I had been told it was supposed to end at 8:30 and by the time I’d finished it was 8:30. However, there was still a rope up. The security guard told me they had extended their time and I asked if I could go up just to get a picture.

Eventually, after waiting for a few minutes, they let me up. The main thing I wanted to see was a neon FLYNN’S sign they had behind the bar as a reference to Tron. I got the picture as well as a few others looking down at the first floor from above. I also got a picture of the green army men they had in a display case. However rather thank being in army poses, they were in yoga poses.

Eventually, I asked the bartender if I could buy some merch (I had seen a poster on the wall advertising their merch). All I wanted was the enamel pin that was in the shape of a Tron arcade game. His buddy went and got it for me and, after I paid for it, took me to the not-so-secret back room that is a Tron Legacy themed VIP speakeasy. The cool thing was that the entrance was through a Tron arcade cabinet.

After getting my fill of all things nerd, I headed back to the BART and took it to South Fremont then drove home. A pretty solid night overall. Clearly I have good luck when it comes to going out to bars alone in SF.

12/20 (Thu)

Training

Went to Deer Creek for meeting and to pick up a car. Got Boiling Point for dinner.

December 21 (Fri)

Training

During my last day I was kind of out of it due to my cold. I went on a ride along with the other Kyle to see how he does his routes. Later Kyle, Nick and I went to lunch at a place called Black Bear. After that we picked up a car at Sunnyvale. I basically just napped the entire time. Once back we hung around for a bit. I eventually got a chance to briefly meet my new manager before getting a ride to the airport at ~6pm.

Fly back to Boston

IMG_8852Rube Goldberg Device at SJC

I flew back Friday night on Jet Blue. I spent the first two hours of the flight watching Crazy Rich Asians and the last three hours were spent sleeping. There was intermittent turbulence throughout the flight and they had us close the window shades as we would be flying into daylight.

Thus when we were on final approach I had no idea how far along we were. Before I knew it there was a fair bit of turbulence and then nothing. The woman next to me opened the window and we had already landed. The last bit of “turbulence” I’d felt was the ground.

12/22 (Sat)

I got into Boston early Saturday morning ~5am EST. After getting my luggage I took the T to Oak Grove and got picked up by my Mom at ~6:45. I then slept from 7am to 2:20pm.

After that I watched Ready Player One on HBO and later The Parent Trap. I basically watched TV the rest of the night like a loser. I had the opportunity to go to The Mill and meet up with my friends but I didn’t want to take the energy to drive out there.

I wanted to record an episode of AudioMovies with Chris Smith and Greg Clapp but since I didn’t have my MacBook or my mic, I axed that plan. I had also wanted to party with my OG Tesla Squad but I’m pretty sure they chilled without me while I was in California.

–Week 4–

December 23 (Sun)

Sunday was pretty chill. I slept in until 11:30am. I then got ready for the day and proceeded to watch football with my Dad. At halftime he drove my Mom and I to Oak Grove and we took the train into South Station.

From there we walked to the Seaport District where we went into the brand new Away luggage store. It literally just opened on Wednesday. I’d been to their store in Manhattan before but I love the design of their stores and my Mom had never seen it before so we went in.

The luggage is kind of cool, but what I really like are the travel guides and magazines they carry. This store however carried these city guides by a company called Lost In. The city guide had beautiful photography and seemed to be well curated. On top of that, they have an app so you can look through their guides on your phone.

IMG_8854Away “luggage tag”

We also went into Filson next door. I believe I had previously written about Filson shortly after visiting their new flagship location in New York. However, I didn’t even know there was one in Boston before visiting the one in NY. To be honest, I think the layout at the Boston location was much better than the one in NY. It’s much more conducive to shopping and there is a lot more room to walk around.

After taking a lap through the store we walked from the Seaport District to The North End. There we went to the Old North Church to meet up with Kyra. On the way back to the T we stopped into CVS so I could get contact solution. We then walked through the Public Market and then took the train back to Melrose.

Once home we ate dinner. Kyra’s friend (and my ex-girlfriend) Katherine came over so they could exchange gift. We watched The Santa Clause and filled out some Mad Libs before she left. Afterwards we watched The Big Bang Theory and eventually ended the evening by watching Nightcrawler. I hadn’t seen it for about three years and Kyra had never seen it so it was good to re-watch.

12/24 (Mon)

Christmas Eve

After calling my Uncle Patrick the night before to make sure it would be alright and calling my Auntie Maria to see if she wanted to go with me, I made plans to go down to the Cape to vist my Cousin’s for Xmas Eve. Because my cousin’s live on the Cape, it’s pretty rare that I get to see them, even before I moved to New York.

The last time I was down there was in July of 2016 so it had been a while. Maria and I drove down at around 8:30 and got there by around 10am. We basically just hung out with my Auntie Sue, Uncle Patrick, cousin Lauren, her husband Nick and their kids.

We hung out and had coffee and snacks. I wanted to see my cousin Jonathan but he was working. His wife Becca was home with their kids but I guess they weren’t feeling well so I didn’t get to see them either. My other cousin Danielle was, funny enough, up in Melrose with my Grandpa. She was taking him out to eat with her husband and their three kids.

I was kind of bummed because I wanted to see Jonathan and Danni but it was not meant to be. We got pizza later in the day and me, Uncle Pat and Nick went out to pick it up as well as do some other errands. We came back, ate some and at around 2:30, Maria and I left to drive back to Melrose.

IMG_8860Santa “flying” on top of a firetruck in Winthrop

Shortly after I got back, my family drove to Winthrop to visit my Auntie Jeanne as is tradition. She wasn’t feeling well so she mostly stayed in bed. However, we hung out with my cousin’s Joe and Jason as well as Joe’s wife Maggie and Jay’s girlfriend Jen. We ate Chinese food and watched as Santa rode by on top of a firetruck.

After eating and hanging out for a bit we went back home where we watched TV and eventually went to bed.

12/25 (Tue)

Christmas

Xmas morning was spent as it always is, opening gifts in the living room while listening to Xmas music and eating Dunkin’ Donuts. It was a pretty light year since we’re getting older and don’t ask for much, if anything, anymore. At 10 we watched the Disney World Parade and after it ended, got dressed so we could go over to my Grandpa’s house.

It’s tradition that we spent Christmas at Grandpa’s. However, each year it seems to get smaller as the cousins all have their own lives. Our time there was pretty basic, mainly just talked and ate dinner. However, I made up a new game where we would go around the table and sing a Christmas song. The twist was that each person only got to say one word. It ended up being pretty fun and was more difficult then it sounds.

Eventually we went back to our house and Kyra had us watch Infinity War. I slept through most of it but what I saw was ok.

12/26 (Wed)

Bus back to NY

Wednesday afternoon I took the bus back to New York. Grabbed the 12pm. Listened to a podcast and napped. Used the restroom at Burger King. Caught up with some of these posts and listened to more podcasts the rest of the ride back to NY.

12/27 (Thu) – 12/28 (Fri)

New Job in Brooklyn

Thursday and Friday I worked my new role. I spent Thursday first driving a press car from the showroom in Brooklyn to the showroom in Manhattan. Then I took a ~$75.00 Uber to Paramus, NJ to pick up the engineering car I will be driving.

Once in NJ most of my time was spent finding someone who could help me, locating the car, getting the car charged, getting the car washed and making sure it had good tire pressure and what not. Sounds easy but due to how busy they were it took the later half of my day and, thanks to traffic, I didn’t get the car back until 7pm.

That evening my former co-worker and friend James texted me to say he was in town and asked if I wanted to get drinks. I really didn’t feel like trekking back into the cold, but I hadn’t seen him since April so I met up with him, his finance and his brother at a bar in Bed-Stuy.

Most of what I did on Friday was logistical, organizational crap. Essentially preparing for next week when I will start actually getting some testing done.

12/29 (Sat)

I love when I have days where I have a big “To Do” list because it usually means I’m going to have a productive day. I started my morning by doing a food shopping. One of my Xmas presents consisted of some gift cards to Stop and Shop (where I get my groceries). It was great to pick out all the things I wanted and not have to worry about how much the total would come to.

When I got back to my apartment, after putting the perishables away, I went and did a laundry. This too was “free” thanks to a few rolls of quarters I received in my stocking. In the down time between when I had to move my clothes from the washer to the dryer, I organized my apartment and made myself breakfast.

Once the laundry was done, folded and put away, I took the train to the library to grab a book I had on hold; I Might Regret This by Abbi Jacobson. This was quick in and out; I really enjoy efficiency.

From there I took the train into Manhattan in search of jeans, dress pants and a dress shirt. The first Urban Outfitters I stopped into did not have the jeans I wanted in my size.

Next I went to Uni Qlo, which was mobbed, and looked for dress pants and a dress shirt. I found a few shirts but the fitting room line was so long that I decided to bail. Besides, I did have a backup outfit but I just thought it would be nice to have a plain button up that wasn’t black or didn’t have the Tesla logo on it.

I then continued to another Urban Outfitters where I ended up buying what I would later find out to be the wrong pair of jeans. Right color, wrong style. I then took the train back to my apartment so I could have a quick late lunch and get ready for my evening.

Pirates of Penzance

A few weeks ago a bunch of my co-workers and I decided to go to our co-worker’s production of Pirates of Penzance. When we were buying the tickets, we were trying to get the seats all in a row and next to each other. I somehow got roped into buying my seat and two others.

Now the two other people paid me back right away, but they didn’t pay the extra $4 each for the service fee. It just pissed me off because I was too much of a wuss to speak up and ask for the extra money. This sort of thing happens to me all the time, but I do it to myself, I have no one else to blame. Not important to the story, I just had to get it out.

IMG_8876

In any case, at around 6pm I made my way from Brooklyn to Kaye Playhouse on 68th Street at Hunter College in Manhattan. The show was set to start at 7:30 but I got there at 7:08, naturally the first to arrive. I sat and waited and eventually the rest of my friends/co-workers filed in.

The show was pretty funny and all of the actors were great, my co-worker Carter especially. Turns out, he was basically the star of the show! Afterwards we all went out for drinks, and a late dinner, at Bedford Falls, a nearby bar.

12/30 (Sun)

Despite wanting to have a friend/co-worker screening of The Grinch (the Jim Carrey version) with my co-workers, due to life and what not, it didn’t end up happen. Instead I had another list of tasks I needed to accomplish.

I woke up late due to being out till 2am the night before. I then took an excursion to my co-worker Jonathan’s apartment to reclaim this coupon for a table for two at the top of The Standard hotel. I never used it so I gave it to him to use with his girlfriend. However, they never used it either so I wanted to see if I could use it before it expired at the end of the year.

After getting it back from him, I called the hotel only to find out that they were fully booked tonight and tomorrow is NYE so forget about it. So, that train ride was a solid waste of time.

I then went back to my apartment where I finally got showered and dressed. I organized my apartment, made lunch and brushed my teeth. I then caught up writing some of this blog post.

A little after 4pm I left to meet up with my buddy Jordan for the Man Date we had planned. I got to the restaurant -Vincent’s in Little Italy- first and was about 10 mins early. When I texted him, he said he was on the train crossing the Manhattan Bridge so I made my way towards the subway to try and meet him.

When I got there I immediately realized that there were several exits he could take and thus doubled back to the restaurant to find him now waiting for me. I kept it simple, spaghetti with meatballs. He had ravioli or something. It was good to catch up.

LadyAndTheTrampVisual reenactment of our Man Date

Half way through our meal a small band came in and walked around playing music. They started with some Christmas songs and then went around asking for requests… and tips. I had three songs in mind, The Godfather theme, That’s Amore and Lazy Mary, but I didn’t want to have to tip them in order to hear them play it.

–Week 5–

December 31 (Mon)

New Year’s Eve

Thanks to my new job I have New Years Eve day off as well as NYE. On Friday, while I was flossing my teeth, I accidentally broke that permanent retainer I’ve had for about 15 years. Knowing this needed to be resolved, I called my dentist and scheduled an appointment for Monday.

So, I spent the morning at the dentist getting the retainer removed. I then went back home to do a bit of planning before heading back out to do some errands. The first was to stop at a comic book shop. Ever since seeing Into the Spider-Verse I’ve been wanting to look at some alternate Spider-Man comics.

Three comic books later I was on my way to stop number 2, Urban Outfitters. There, I was able to find the jeans I was looking for when I went the other day. So I exchanged the ones I had bought for the new ones. I was gonna hit Target on the way home but decided to skip it.

Once home I watched some YouTube, an episode of Broad City, read one of the comic books and read my library book and before I knew it, it was time to head out. I took the train to Adam’s apartment as the plan was to hang with him, his girlfriend Rachel and Jordan before heading out to karaoke.

However, because Jordan was running late and Adam was held up at work, Rachel and I just chilled and ate snacks and chatted and watched Netflix. Later Jordan joined and eventually Adam did too. We played a bit of cards against humanity before heading to The Alligator Lounge.

We got there at ~11:30 and were able to see the ball drop… sort of. Adam, Rachel and Jordan stayed until around 1 or so. Almost immediately after they left, my name was called. I did Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me by Elton John. Amazingly, I was able to hit all of the notes I was struggling with while practicing at home.

The performance went well and soon after a few of my other friends showed up, egging me on to stay until 2:30. The night was pretty good, and though I didn’t get to kiss a girl at midnight, it was cool to spend another NYE with Jordan, Adam and Rachel. Two years in a row, I think I smell a tradition brewing.

–2019–

January 1

New Years Day

I spent New Years Day …

January 2 – 4

New Job in Brooklyn

Wednesday through Friday I finished out the first week of new year in my new role. This was my first week doing my actual new job. Luckily I had some metaphorical training wheels in the form of my new colleague (also) Kyle. He rode around with me and taught me how to structure my day.

Whew, what a way to close out the year.

Leave a comment

Filed under Random/Thoughts, Travel/Adventure

Bronx Adventure

Every time I take the bus into or out of the city, I always see parts that I want to explore. For the longest time I wanted to ride Bruckner Blvd because it goes right alongside the highway. However, the last time I went home, I passed a memorial statue in the middle of a grassy park that I knew I wanted to check out.

Pelham Bay Park

One of the train stations I always see while heading back is Hunts Point Ave which is on the (6) line. I thought it would be a good jumping off point as it is in a deep part of the Bronx that I’ve never been to before.

When researching my potential ride today, I found that it might make more sense to ride the (6) all the way to the end, to Pelham Bay Park. The reason being that that must be the park I saw from the bus the last time I went home.

So this morning, I left my apartment around 10:30am and took the (2) to Wall Street. From there I rode to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall and hopped on the (6). I rode it all the way from it’s start point in lower Manhattan to it’s end in the Northeast Bronx.

IMG_8593Bronx Victory Memorial in Pelham Bay Park, Bronx, NY

From the Pelham Bay Park station it was a quick and easy ride to the Bronx Victory Memorial. This was the aforementioned statue I’d seen from the bus. I then rode around Pelham Bay Park for a bit before stopping on a bench to Instagram my findings.

From there I mapped out my next stop on my adventure, City Island.

City Island

City Island was something I’d known about for about a year. I heard about it on an episode of the Bodega Boys podcast. They were rambling about some Bronx nonsense and somehow it came up.

Talk about the ride from Pelham Bay Park to City Island. How after crossing the bridge you started to go right, then doubled back and took the bike path to the rotary and rode down that street with no bike path. Eventually crossing the street to get to the bike path, passed the second rotary and eventually to the bridge to City Island.

The island is very small I rode from one end to the other in about 10 minutes. However, it’s very charming. It reminds me of Cape Cod, Salem, Nantucket, Rockport or any of the small coastal towns in Maine or New Hampshire.

I can imagine that in the summer the town is booming with cyclists, fisherman and tourists who go to the ubiquitous sea food restaurants. I definitely want to go back in the summer and be one of those aforementioned tourists.

IMG_8599City Island Nautical Museum

After exploring some of the side streets and happening upon the City Island Nautical Museum, I made my way back onto the main drag and rode all the way to Belden Point at the Southerly tip.

Bay Plaza Shopping Center

After taking in everything I’d done thus far, I rode back through the city center, across the bridge and down the bike path that I should have stayed on in the first place when I had started heading in that direction.

IMG_8600On the bike path in the woods

Rather than going left and heading back over the bridge to go back towards Pelham Bay Park station, I crossed the intersection and went right just as I had done the first time, only this time, rather than go right at the intersection, I went left and followed the bike path to the Bay Plaza Shopping Center.

I had no interest in actually going to the mall but it was another ‘thing I see from the bus’ and I wanted to say I’d been there in person. To know how it feels to exist there rather than just be a bystander.

While there I saw a Starbucks in the middle of the parking lot. It had a drive thru! I’d never seen a Starbucks with a drive thru before. I then took the opportunity to use the restroom at the Marshalls before continuing on my journey.

Mention the bit about wanting to go a little further up the highway to the depot where they keep all of the busses but that you didn’t want to keep going further north and then have even more to retrace. Plus the fact I didn’t know how much further it was or how easy it would be to get there.

Bruckner Blvd/Hunts Point Ave Station

I doubled back through the parking lot to the bike path, across the bridge, along the river, over the highway to the rotary to the intersection across the bridge to the bike path back to Pelham Bay Park.

I rode up the ramp and crossed the bridge over the highway back to Pelham Bay Park station. I then entered the station and took the stairs down to street level where I began my journey on Bruckner Blvd.

As previously mentioned, what I liked about Bruckner Blvd was that it runs parallel to the highway (Rt. 95 and 278 to be specific). However, because it is not the highway, it is very bike-able. There was one small section along the way that tripped me up but I think that was on account of the sidewalk being closed.

Fortunately the one on the other side was open so I rode up a few blocks and crossed back over at Castle Hill Ave. From there I rode all the way to the Hunts Point Ave subway station passing Concrete Plant Park along the way (I definitely wanna go back and check it out).

As I was approaching my legs were beginning to hurt. I should have just hopped on the train there and headed home but I was determined to bike into Manhattan before getting back on the train.

Train Home

From Hunts Point Ave station I continued to Southern Blvd which later reconnected with Bruckner. I rode to and took a right onto St. Ann’s Ave before taking a left on Msgr. Gerald J. Ryan Blvd. Immediately I recognized this from the Bronx adventure I’d been on in April.

I rode along the Blvd passed the Brooks Ave subway station. A few streets later I began to approach a roadblock. As I approached the Alexander Ave intersection something was suddenly not right. My front tire was rolling fine but the back tire was suddenly translating every bump in the road.

Instantly I knew what it was and when I dismounted my fears were confirmed, flat tire. I was really bummed. Now to be be fair, the roadblock I’d come upon was for the New York City Marathon so either way my plans for crossing the Madison Avenue Bridge into Manhattan were foiled. However, it just sucked to be faced with the fact that I now needed to endure the cost of replacing my rear tire.

What added insult to injury was that had I not kept going, I wouldn’t have gotten the flat. While ridding down Southern Blvd I had ridden over some broken glass. This happens all of the time and hardly ever ends with a flat tire. However this time the glass bit in and didn’t expose itself until a mile or so later.

Defeated, I made my way back to the Brooks Ave subway station where I rode the (6) to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall. From there I took the (4) to Fulton Street where I switched to the (2) and took that the last three stops home.

I reckon I probably rode about 20 miles or so. It’s too bad I caught that flat, it really deflated my day.

Leave a comment

Filed under Biking, Travel/Adventure

During And After Work

Vans x NASA

It all started last Tuesday when I saw an Instagram post for an upcoming drop of a sneaker collaboration Vans was doing with NASA. The colab was based on the Vans “Old School” silhouette.  I showed the post to my co-worker Adam who I know to be a NASA nerd during lunch. He was immediately hyped on them.

I mentioned they were coming out on Friday (Nov 2). From there, word spread to the rest of the people at or around the lunch table. The next day more pictures came out showing a pair of orange sneakers (the first post only showed white ones) as well a few other styles that were set to drop.

Our other co-worker Yev caught wind of this and also started to get pretty pumped. The word continued to spread in our team and even my Manager was starting to get interested! As the week went on the hype continued to grow. On Thursday night, after we got out of work, Adam and I went to the Vans store in Williamsburg.

We wanted to try on a pair of non-limited edition “Old Schools” in order to know what size we needed before the drop the next day. Now my philosophy had been that I didn’t need the sneakers and that if it they were at the Vans store when I got there after work on Friday, it was meant to be. However, Adam was pretty adamant about getting the sneakers.

Cut to Friday morning and there is buzz in the office. I mentioned to my Manager, who at this point was also all in (as well as Yev), that we should go during our lunch break and see if we could all cop a pair. He was hesitant at first but then, as the rest of the team shuffled in, came to the decision that we could go at 2pm. (That was when he would be done with all his phone calls).

We checked the Vans website and saw that the orange low tops were available but the white ones were not! At 10am, Adam called the Vans store that we’d visited and they told him that they were not getting the white ones. The air was slowly being let out of the tire that was our plan.

However, a stroke of luck came when -and I don’t know how he thought/knew to do this- he called Journey’s who said that they had them. I was amazed that of all the stores that could carry them, Journey’s was the one who had ’em. We were back in business. Adam asked them to hold a pair of his size and to my surprise, they said they would.

When he hung up, Lev (my Manager) asked if he’d asked them to hold a pair for him as well. Adam told him he hadn’t but suggested he do so. We then went about our day and at around 1pm. Lev, Adam and Yev got my attention. “You wanna go get the shoes?”

“I thought we weren’t going ’till 2?” I said. “Yeah, well I can put off this call until tomorrow.” Lev said. I couldn’t believe it. Not only I was amazed at how hype he was of the three of us, but also that he was putting off a work call just for some limited edition sneakers. On top of that it was crazy to me that we were taking a work field trip in the middle of the day to get Vans.

We then made our way out to his car.

Side Story: When I started working for Lev he had a Ford Fusion or something. Shortly after I started with him he was driving a used BMW 3 series a friend had sold him. Last month, Tesla had some sort of deal for employees where they could take advantage of something that made the Model 3 financially attractive. I knew that Lev had been thinking about it but when last we’d spoken about it, he said that he couldn’t get his wife to agree.

We followed Lev down the street and around the corner where there was a Model X and Model 3 parked. He started walking over to the Model 3 and I thought, “Oh, we’re borrowing a test drive car so Lev doesn’t need to lose his parking spot.”

However, two details were funny as we got closer. The first was that the car had New Jersey plates on it rather than the California plates we put on our test drive cars. Secondly, there was a car seat in the back. This was no test drive vehicle, this was Lev’s car! I was blown away. I couldn’t believe he had kept it a secret from us. On top of that, apparent Yev already knew because he had gotten credit for the sale! MIND BLOWN.

We hopped in and made our way through Red Hook to the BQE to downtown Brooklyn. To our amazement we found a spot right near the Journey’s. We walked in and told the guy what we wanted, me a pair of the orange low tops, Yev a pair of the orange low tops and Lev a pair of the white low tops.

Meanwhile, Adam was already on his way to the counter to pick the pair he had set aside. The employee working with us said they were all out of the white ones. Our collective heart sank. I walked up to Adam to make sure the ones in his box were the white ones. Sure enough, they were. However, Lev was shit out of luck. Apparently someone had come in with a large blue Ikea bag and said that he wanted to buy every pair of the white ones.

We were all collectively bummed. It took all of the excitement we had been feeling and all of the joy of getting the sneaker out of getting the sneakers. I felt guilty buying my pair in front of Lev. He had taken us all on this field trip and he was the one leaving empty handed.

On the way back we even tried calling some of the other Journey’s locations but to no avail. It made for a bittersweet cop.

IMG_8564Yev, Adam and myself with our Vans x NASA sneakers #hypebeasts

The sneakers themself are pretty cool. However I was a little disappointed that there was no special package design. The box they came in, apart from the label, is the exact same type of box you’d get with a basic pair of “Old Schools”. On top of that, the orange was a little different than how they looked in the pictures online. I’d learned this lesson before when I bought my “Skywalkers.”

That said, they do have a few cool features that makes them stand out. In addition to the colorway, there are American flag patches velcroed to both heels. The right tongue has a pull tab that says “Shuttle” and left has one that says “Mission.”

On the right side of the right sneaker it has the NASA “worm” logo. Below that it says National Aeronautics Space Administration in Helvetica (typeface). Below that it says John F. Kennedy Space Center in Helvetica bold. All of this is also on the left side of the left sneaker.

On the inside of the white rubber sidewall it say “For the benefit of all” in all caps in the “worm” logo typeface. This is on both sneakers. The sole itself is sectioned off in four different colors; light brown, deep brown, orange and gum. The insoles have schematic drawings of the space module.

Morgan Library & Museum

It’s Alive! Frankenstein At 200

IMG_8569Large movie poster for Frankenstein

After work I had plans to visit the Morgan Library & Museum to see their exhibit on Frankenstein. I had initially stopped by on Sunday but when I realized admission was $20, I passed. I found out that the museum was free from 7pm to 9pm on Fridays and decided to go.

IMG_8571Makeup effects for one of the on screen versions of Frankenstein

The exhibit was celebrating the fact that Frankenstein is 200 years old! It was split into two wings. One that sort of gave the backstory and inspiration for Mary Shelly’s creation. The other which showed more of the evolution of story and the character. How it has been adapted on the stage and screen as well as in comic books and pop culture.

IMG_8584The Empire State Building in the fog and rain on the way back to the subway

The exhibit was pretty cool but wasn’t really that big. I ended up only spending about an hour and 20 minutes there so I’m glad I didn’t have to spend the $20 to get in.

–Extra

Today I met up with my co-worker Jonathan at Chelsea Market for the Wind Up watch fair. I had never been to the Chelsea Market before and it’s a pretty cool venue filled with shops and restaurants. I definitely want to go back and explore it in more detail.

The watch fair was set in one of the side halls and consisted of booths for various watchmakers from around the world. Jonathan had his eye on a few brands and styles. I was impressed with his watch knowledge. I on the other hand only cared about one brand, Autodromo.

IMG_8591Autodromo Group B Series 2

I’ve known about them for years but cannot muster up the courage to drop the necessary cash for one of their watches. The one pictured above harkens back to the Group B era of rally racing and is in my opinion the coolest designed watch they make.

The Series 2 steps up it’s game by having a metal strap rather than a nato strap. It is a beautiful and clean design. However, I know if I bought it I would thing about how that money could have paid for roundtrip airfare to Europe or part of my rent.

Leave a comment

Filed under Travel/Adventure

Six Flags and Stuff

Once again I let an amount of time pass and didn’t write about any of the things I did in that time. So, let’s recap some October Highlights.

Dan/NYCC

The first weekend of October was New York Comic Con. My buddy Dan came down from MA to attend. That Saturday after bumming around Greenpoint and Manhattan I met up with Dan and Guto.

From there we went back to Guto’s apartment where were chilled, watched The Mummy and The Fifth Element, ate pizza and drank beer. A very good/chill way to spend a Saturday. On Sunday morning we got brunch and I had shake with Bailey’s and Kahlua. I never do that sort of thing but… brunch.

Stink Studios

On Thursday the 11th, Stink Studios, the tenants above us held a work party at the end of the day. Me and some of the rest of the Tesla crew went up and crashed it. In addition to being responsible for some of my favorite marketing campaigns, they also know how to throw one hell of a party. There was an open bar and catering. There was a DJ and cool lighting and fog effects. I mingled with a bunch of the people who work there and it was a lot of fun.

Standards Manual

The following Saturday I visited a store called Standards Manual. I forget even how I found out about it, probably Instagram, but it specializes in graphic design related things; books, posters, etc. I had been wanting to go for weeks and then finally, I had a free Saturday.

The place is pretty small and it would really only appeal to design nerds like me. That said, there was some cool stuff to look at and I ended up walking away with a matchbook, one of my favorite free things to collect.

Six Flags

I had been wanting to do an end of the summer trip to a theme park for the past several weekends. I finally hit up my buddy Jordan and agreed to go the following Saturday since he magically had the day off.

Ultimately I wanted to go to Dorney Park in Allentown, PA as I’d never been there before. However, being that is more difficult to get to via public transportation and has fewer big roller coasters (albeit, coasters I’ve never been on before) than Six Flags Great Adventure (which I have been to before), we decided to go to Six Flags.

Unfortunately, as the week moved on, Saturdays forecast showed rain. On top of that, Jordan realized he had overextended himself and promised he be at too many things at once. On top of that, his friend/the ride he had secured bailed.

Luckily I had hedged my bets and told my buddy Adam about the plan to hit the park. He and his girlfriend were only free to go on Sunday. Thus, I ended up going with the two of them and Adam’s roommate Tom. We ended up having a solid day:

Kingda Ka

Drop Ride

Green Lantern – I’d never ridden it before

El Toro

Medusa

Nitro

Skull Mountain

Batman The Ride

Superman Ultimate Flight

AudioMovies Episode 4

I have a wedding to go to on the 26th. My original gameplan was to leave NY on Wednesday. However, I knew I wanted to try and get things done on Saturday and Sunday so I decided to take Monday and Tuesday off and come home early.

I took a 7am bus that got me to Boston at 11:03am. I then walked from South Station to Back Bay where I dropped my bags off at the Tesla store. I then went to Johnny Cupcakes where I made an impulse buy, a neck tie (one might say an impulse tie). I then saw baby blue Lamborghini Huracan Peformente with LIIIT as the license plate.

I then made my way back to Tesla to grab my stuff and took the T to North Station. There I bought a Commuter Rail ticket and hopped on the 1:13pm to Waltham. I met up with my buddy Greg and went back to his apartment where we recorded Episode 4 of AudioMovies; Raiders of the Lost Ark.

After recording we went out for beers and food but not before stopping in the comic book shop across the street. Afterwards we went back to his place for a bit to watch some of Maniac on Netflix. He then drove me back to the commuter rail where I took the 7:18pm back to North Station and then hopped on the Orange line back to Oak Grove to surprise my parents.

Motorcycle/Phone

My cousin had texted me that he bought a new motorcycle the other day. I wanted to go for a ride on it and so on Sunday I hit him up and he came by and gave me a ride. It was great to use my helmet which has gotten little to no use since I bought it.

The ride went perfectly smooth and afterwards we walked around admiring the bike and taking pictures of it. I STUPIDLY put my phone in my left outside breast pocket. Then, like a FUCKING IDIOT, I bent down/leaned over to look at the engine and BAM, my phone fell out of my pocket screen side down.

I always say cases are for the careless. Well, I got careless and I paid the price. I went to Apple to get the screen replaced for $129! They said the screen wouldn’t calibrate when I came back to pick it up and so they gave me a new phone. Most people would be thrilled with a new phone but I wasn’t. I didn’t need a new phone, just a new screen.

I hate getting new things when old things are still working, it feels so wasteful. On top of that, my iCloud back up was not up to date so I lost some photos and Notes that had been updated. Overall just a huge bummer because this sort of thing does not happen to me. Oh well.

Leave a comment

Filed under Random/Thoughts, Travel/Adventure

AudioMovies

After talking about it for a long time, I finally made (am making) my second podcast. AudioMovies is a series where I sit down with a guest and together we describe the action and perform the dialogue from that weeks movie. The catch… it’s all done from memory.

This first episode is just an introduction and is probably redundant of what I am writing here. However, there are currently three full length episodes on my Soundcloud* page. Head on over to check out the rest or go to iTunes** to download the episodes and listen to them on the go.

I’m excited to bring more content in the coming months. If this thing goes as planned I have some fun surprises in store so stay tuned to my blog, Instagram and now podcast for all the latest.

*On my Soundcloud you can listen to all 13 episodes of FaceWords, my first podcast.

**At the time of me writing this I am still waiting for this podcast to be verified. However, once it is, you’ll be able to find it in the iOS Podcast App and iTunes store. 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Scheme

June | July | August | September

Once again, here is another ‘catching up’ post where I give brief screen shots of what I’ve been doing the past few months that I haven’t posted anything.

Domino Park – June 17

Ever since reading about it in Time Out Magazine I wanted to check out Domino Park in Williamsburg. Well finally, when I got back from my vacation, it was open.

IMG_0327Fake cranes and elevated walkway at Domino Park in Williamsburg

Domino Park is basically just a chill hang out spot by the East River near where the old Domino Sugar Factory was/is located. The place has really nice theming, grassy areas to lay out, a playground area for kids and a taqueria. It’s basically a perfect park.

Moonstruck – July 13

As I’ve mentioned previously on this blog, Moonstruck is one of my favorite movies. One day I was looking through Time Out Magazine and I saw that there was going to be a free screening outside the Oculus building in lower Manhattan.

IMG_0366Outdoor screening of Moonstruck next to the Oculus in FiDi

So, immediately after work I headed to the Financial District and though I was not able to get a seat in the ‘official seating area’, I was able to find a seat across the street. Eventually, as the sun went down, I moved to the curb back on the other side as to not be blinded by the setting sun.

This was the first time I had seen it with a big audience. It reminded me just how good the movie is. People of all ages and were laughing at just the right parts. I couldn’t help myself from grinning ear-to-ear the whole time.

Formula E – July 14

Last year when Formula E came to Red Hook I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. I certainly didn’t want to spend $80+ to check it out. This year however, one of my co-workers told me that I could score free tickets by going to one of the local business that had been given vouchers for free tickets.

IMG_0692The track and final race as seen from the rooftop across the street

It was super easy to do, you just went online and used the provided coupon code. Then you put in how many tickets you wanted (up to 4) and boom, you had PDF of tickets in your email. I used it to get myself and one of my friends into the event. It ended up being pretty fun, despite the heat.

Ironically, when it came time for the actual race, we found a spot on the rooftop across the street and watched from there, negating the need for tickets at all. However, being able to access the area with the food trucks and the sponsors was worth the “price” of admission.

Post Work Bike Ride to Coney Island – July 20

A month or so prior, one of my co-workers floated the idea of doing a post work bike ride to Coney Island. I thought it was a great idea as it’s a super easy ride and would be a great way to hang out/end the week.

IMG_20180720_200438Darryl, Carter, Xander and myself on the boardwalk at Coney Island

Eventually, after weeks of hounding the group, we finally got figured out a day that would work for everyone and went for it. It was the perfect way to forget about the week and just enjoy time with friends. We grabbed beers on the boardwalk, and, right before we left, got to see fireworks over the beach.

Ice Cream Pop Up Shop/Cooper Hewitt Museum – July 28

While scrolling through my Instagram feed I saw that one of my friends had posted a picture from The Pint pop-up shop.

IMG_0714The Pint pop-up ice cream and merchandise shop

Basically, this was a collaboration with The Museum of Ice Cream and Target. The pop-up consisted of very Instagrammable theming as well as free samples of ice cream, pints of various flavors for sale and colorful merchandise.

I had also heard about something interesting from a friend that was later confirmed in Time Out Magazine. This was that if you have a library card, you can use it to get a free ticket to a certain museum in the city.

IMG_0734Solari flip clock at the Cooper Hewitt Museum

The catch is that you’re only allow to do this once a year and that not every participating museum is available to visit at any given time. That said, I used mine to visit the Cooper Hewitt Museum. This museum is perfect for me as it is based around design. There was this one room filled with different pieces of industrial design that were impactful throughout history.

The Intrepid Museum – August 4

The Intrepid Museum is a place I had been wanting to visit ever since I lived in NY briefly in 2015. However, because entry is not free, I wanted to make the most of it and go with a friend.

IMG_0756British Airways Concorde G-BOAD at The Intrepid Museum

One of my friends expressed interest in going but was repeatedly too busy to join. Eventually I couldn’t wait anymore and decided to go on my own. I was able to save some money on admission as I have my NYC ID card.

The museum itself is just fine, most of it is housed on and in the Intrepid aircraft carrier. However, I basically got enjoyment out of three things, the A-12 reconnaissance plane (which from the ground I’d mistaken for an SR-71), the space shuttle Enterprise which is housed in a hanger on the flight deck and the Concorde.

The Enterprise was cool because I had never seen a space shuttle up close before. It was much larger than I expected it to be. The showstopper for me however was Concorde. I have been obsessed with Concorde for a long time and so to see one up close was a dream come true. I could have paid more money to do a tour of it but even just walking around it was good enough for me.

Late Night With Seth Meyers – August 16

The backstory to this is that one of my customer’s whom I’d helped to take delivery of his car is the bandleader for Late Night With Seth Meyers. When he took delivery, he told me that I was welcome to come to a taping and to just send him an email.

IMG_0774Jordan, Seth and myself in the green room

A few weeks later I took him up on his offer. I ended up taking my friend Jordan because I knew he’d actually appreciate it. We met up in Brooklyn and took the train into Manhattan. We then walked to 30 Rockefeller Center (NBC Studios) and went to the guest service center where we got our guest passes.

We then took the elevator to the 8th floor where we got checked in and waited in the green room. We sat quietly for a bit before getting more adventurous, taking some of the candy and veggies that were laid out. Jordan even opened one of the bottles of wine and had some of that.

Later Eli, my customer, came out to greet us and gave us a tour of the 8th floor. The first place he took us was the studio where they shoot SNL! I was blown away by how compact it was. It does not look that small on TV. Eli took a picture of Jordan and I in front of the stage and even pointed out Lorn Michaels office.

Back in the green room, Jordan had gone to the bathroom but Eli had brought out Fred Armisen. I shook his hand and chatted with him for a bit before they had to go get ready for the show. We were then taken to our tapped off/reserved seats and were entertained by the hype man who got us ready for the show.

Next the 8G Band came out and got us amped with a cover of Should I Stay Or Should I Go by The Clash. After that, the show started. The guests that night were Jessica Biel, Akwafina and Matt Groening. There was a technical problem between the first and second guest so Seth came into the crowd and took audience questions.

After the show we were taken back to the green room where I saw Matt Groening and Seth Meyers. As Seth walked by, I tapped his arm and said good show. Then Eli came in and introduced us. I talked with Seth about his episode of The Getaway and how I went to some of the place he’d recommended in the episode.

Before we left, I walked over to Matt Groening who was giving out illustrations of his various characters. I didn’t want to “make the monkey dace for me” but just shook his hand and told him what a big fan of Futurama I am.

Governor’s Island/Longest Slide In New York – August 18

GI is one of my favorite places in NY so I biked there just to hang out for a bit. It’s such a nice/chill place to ride around.

IMG_0788The longest slide in New York… apparently

While there, I rode what is apparently the longest slide in New York. I had heard that it was there from a friend and, despite going to GI a few times before, had never known it was there. When I eventually found it, I felt like a kid again. I must have ridden it at least ten times.

Alyssa + Caitlin – August 19

That night I was supposed to meet up with my friend Alyssa to grab dinner but accidentally fell asleep (I was so tired from biking). Instead we met up for lunch the next day, ended up walking to The Pint pop-up shop, walked The High Line and met up with our friend Caitlin at Fat Cats to play some pool.

House of Yes – August 24

Ever since hearing about House of Yes I had wanted to visit it. HOY is a club in Brooklyn that is a hipster/modern day equivalent to Studio 54. They host theme nights and people get dressed up for these parties.

IMG_0802Burlesque dancer hanging from a metal crescent moon at House of Yes

In order to get into the club without having to pay to get in, I had to get my free entry ticket a month in advance. The theme for the night I went to was Casino Royal. Because I live far-ish away and there is no direct transit, I just barely made the 11pm entry time.

My ticket was checked by a drag queen and when I got inside, I was greeted by a bizarre mix of styles. The warehouse/club was pretty big and there is a lot going on. I didn’t stay super late because I was there by myself; it ended up being pretty ok.

Riis Beach Bike Ride – August 26

It was Sunday and I was out on a personal bike ride/errands run. I hit up my buddy Darryl because he’d mentioned going on a ride to Riis Beach. I didn’t have sunscreen, a bathing suit or a towel but foolishly decided to go.

We met up at Bergen and Eastern Parkway. I ended up waiting so long that I could have biked to my apartment, gotten some stuff and biked back in time to meet them. On the ride there I felt like such a noob, I couldn’t keep up. On top of that I wasn’t mentally prepared to ride that far.

I was super tired when we arrived and pounded a Gatorade. I then sat on the beach for a bit. Later I made my way into the water. On my way out I got caught in a big wave which knocked off my sunglasses.

I was so upset because I pride myself on being someone who doesn’t loose things. On top of that I had had those for 4 years and now they were gone. It felt like I had to reset the “days without an accident” clock, which I hate doing. It’s not that they were even expensive, but I really loved them. It also bothered me that I accidentally polluted the ocean.

To add insult to injury, because of my poor sunblock application, I got a terrible burn on my back and legs. I hate the sand and I hate the beach. The only silver lining for a nerd like me was that I got to see a Qantas 747 on it’s ferry flight from JFK to LAX.

Field Notes Adventure/Crazy Rich Asians – September 2

I ended up not planning any sort of trip on Labor Day Weekend this year unlike last year when I took a day-cation to Philadelphia. However, I had been itching the latest release of Field Notes as they came with paper-craft that I thought would make a fun rainy day activity.

I had made a list of stockists in Manhattan and planned a field trip only to find them at the second store I visited. After bumming around for a bit I went back to my apartment and later that night went to a screening of Crazy Rich Asians.

I had been wanting to see it ever since reading about it months ago in the Jimmy O. Yang book How to American. Unfortunately I had to actually pay for it as it was not listed as a movie I could see with MoviePass. I had seen The Happytime Murders the day previous using MP so I didn’t feel too bad actually paying for this one.

I really enjoyed the movie overall, however, there were three incessant cell phone puller outers that made for a bad moving going experience. It was so bad that at one point I yelled from the back, “Guy up front, put your fucking phone away!” I have never done anything like that before but I could not control myself.

AudioMovies Podcast – September 3

After weeks of trying I was finally able to lock down my buddy John to record Episode 3 of my AudioMovies podcast. AM is my idea for doing an audio book for a movie. Me and my guest describe the action and the dialogue that is happening in a movie. The catch is that we do it all from memory.

AudioMovies_Podcast_Art_Final2-01Artwork for the AudioMovies podcast

My ultimate goal is for it to get popular enough for me to have a monthly show at Videology and turn this apartment podcast into a live show. “Coming at you live from Videology in Brooklyn, New York…”

Perrotin Gallery – September 8

A month or two ago I had seen something cool pop up on my Instagram. There was an art installation in progress at the Perrotin Gallery in the lower east side. The exhibit was to be called “3018” and feature the artwork of Daniel Arsham.

Version 2Welcome To The Future by Daniel Arsham at the “3018” exhibit at the Perrotin Gallery

I had seen his work online before and loved his style and concepts. The idea of taking everyday/modern items and turning them into artifacts or fossils. The feature piece in th gallery was a Delorean DMC-12 that was made to look like it had turned to concrete and had begun to crystalize.

The work was really fascinating and I plan on going back to check it out again when it will hopefully be less crowded. There were plenty of hype-beasts there getting there posed Instagram photos. It was funny to see how they all dressed up for each other.

One cool thing was that the artist, Daniel Arsham, was actually there just walking around, talking to people and taking pictures. It wasn’t until I was leaving that I actually thought of a question to ask him. It was going to be about his process and if he recreated objects or uses found objects to make his art. I also wanted to ask how he gets things to look fossilized. Oh well, it was cool just to see everything in person.

Leave a comment

Filed under Biking, Travel/Adventure

Mermaid Parade

Yesterday was my first real weekend day since getting back from my trip. I had been piling up with things I was not going to be able to do during the week as well as things that were specifically planned for the weekend. This led to a very long but very fulfilling day.

Computer

The day started out, as many of my days do, by going on my computer. I took the time to go through and edit some of the photos from my trip. Rather than use Photoshop, I actually made the adjustments in the Photos App on my Mac. It’s a fairly powerful tool and is good enough for the type of editing I needed to do; exposure, contrast, saturation, etc. This was a great way to start my morning which felt productive.

Mermaid Parade

After getting showered and dressed and texting my friend Alyssa, it was off to Coney Island for the Mermaid Parade. Initially my plan was to swing by Alamo and watch one of the three movies on my watch list: Solo (which I saw in London but want to see again), Oceans 8 or Incredibles 2.

However, when I looked at the showtimes and when I got a text that said the parade started at 1pm (initially my plan was to leave my apartment at 1pm), my time table got pushed up. I got done with my morning routine in time to leave my apartment by 12pm.

I was going to bike to Coney Island from my apartment (7.5 miles) and I knew that would take 45 minutes to an hour to do. As I got to Ocean Parkway, the straight shot with a bike path which leads all the way to the beach, I saw a flock of rollerbladers followed by a cyclists dressed as a mermaid.

I soon caught up with them, started chatting with the cyclist -Page- and ended up riding with them all the way to the Cyclone. I hung out at the Cyclone for a bit before moving to an area further down Surf Ave with a clear view of the Wonder Wheel. Eventually Alyssa showed up (~1:30pm) and together we watched a bit of the parade.

We were both hungry however and wanted to get out of the direct sunlight so I waited in the shade around the corner with my bike (I hadn’t brought my lock) and she went into Carls Jr. to get us some chicken sandwiches and drinks.

We ate them sitting on the sidewalk in the shade and then walked back towards the Cyclone and waited in line to get onto the boardwalk. We then walked the very crowded boardwalk, me being the asshole with the bike, all the way down to the end of the parade.

We then made our way back out to the street and walked back (using the street behind Surf Ave, which runs parallel) to the subway. There we hugged and parted ways.

24 Hours of Le Mans

It was about 3:45pm and I knew my co-worker Xander was planning on watching the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I was interested in checking it out and texted him to see if he wouldn’t mind if I crashed his watching party for a bit.

I then proceeded the ride back up Ocean Parkway towards Prospect Park. I decided that if I didn’t hear back from him by the time I reached the park, that I would just go home. Sure enough however, when I checked my phone at a red light near the park, there was a response from Xander saying to come over.

I rode the rest of the way there and got to his apartment by 4:45pm (9 miles). I sat, had a beer and chatted with Xander while watching a bit of the race. I was a great way to just relax after biking and being out in the heat. Meanwhile in the background, another plan was being hatched.

I had seen in Time Out Magazine that the Metrograph was going to be playing a 35mm film print of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I had reached out to two of my friends about it and, amazingly, they not only wanted to go, but followed through with getting it organized.

Metrograph: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

At 6:30pm I left Xander’s apartment and biked back to mine to ditch my hat, denim vest and bike, and checked my computer to see when the next train was leaving. It was 7pm and the next train was to leave at 7:08pm. After a quick drink, I left my apartment for the subway.

I got to the station on time and despite a slow train, made my connection to the (6) at Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall. I got to Canal Street at 7:56pm. The movie was set to start at 8:15pm so I sprinted the several blocks across town to the theatre.

When I got to the lobby, I texted tweedle dee and tweedle dumb only to find that I had beaten them there, my sprint had been for naught. On top of that, they insisted on buying drinks and chugging them before entering the theatre. Despite entering a couple of minutes late, we got there just in time to not miss the beginning of the movie.

The Last Crusade is my favorite of the Indy J films. It doesn’t hurt that it has Sean Connery and came out the year I was born. It was great to see it in theatres (I’d never seen it in the theatre before) as I had been having a craving for it for a while. After the movie was over (~10:20), we took the train up to Astor Place and ended up on St. Marks where we had a late dinner and drinks in a little Asian restaurant.

After dinner we parted ways, Guto and I needed the same train and John needed a different one. However, Guto and I found out that the trains we not stopping at Astor Place on the downtown track. So we walked up to Union Square where I got on the (5) -which came first- and he got on the next (4) train.

Apartment

I got back to my apartment at ~1:30am where I proceeded to find a live stream of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and watched it for 20 minutes or so before going to bed.

Leave a comment

Filed under Biking, Travel/Adventure

Amsterdam to New York

Saturday – June 9, 2018

I woke without an alarm at 7:30am and though I was planning on leaving at around 9:30am, since I was ready earlier, I left. Before I walked out the door, the host of the Air BnB came down, asked if I’d had a good stay, and said goodbye to me.

Air BnB to Schiphol Airport via tram and train (~30 minutes)

I took the 5 tram (light rail) from Kronenburg Station to Station Zuid where I transferred to the commuter rain station. I tried to use my metro card to tap into the other station but it wouldn’t let me. I then asked at the information desk why it wouldn’t work and was directed to the ticket booth. There I purchased a second single use ticket for the nonstop 6 minute commute from Station Zuid to Schiphol Airport.

Schiphol Airport

The commuter rail train takes you right to the terminal. Apart from the Underground at LHR, I’ve never seen a metro connection that is more direct. Because I was fairly early for my flight, it was 9am and my flight was set to depart at 12:25pm, I decided to use the time to explore the terminal.

I grabbed a light breakfast before taking a few laps back and forth in the area outside of the security checkpoint. There were several shops and restaurants to check out. I was caught off guard by a clothing store called “America Today”.

However, what really interested me was a model airplane shop that had a KLM jet engine on one side, fuselage on the other and landing gear out front. There were models of aircraft from numerous airlines and several different sizes. Not only the scale of the model but anything from a B737 up to an A380. If this was the sort of thing I collected, I’d have spent the rest of my Euro there.

IMG_0258Planes @ Plaza model airplane shop

Eventually I moved on, self checked in at a kiosk and took the moving sidewalk up to the departure level. There I went through security. Once again Amsterdam proved to me that they just have their shit together.

Everything about how the security line was set up was vastly more efficient than any I’d dealt with before. What impressed me the most was the self replacing plastic trays that appeared as if from nowhere when you took one for your various bits of luggage.

After that was a quick automated customs checkpoint before moving on to more food and duty free shopping. Here I purchased some Dutch cheese as a snack for the flight. (As I learned from my first Norwegian flight, there would be no food or drink).

IMG_0266Where I bought some cheese before my flight

I then made my way to my gate to see where it was and if there were other food offerings there before making my way back to this main area to buy to sandwiches and two drinks; lunch and dinner on the plane.

I got back to my gate just as boarding began. It took about an hour and as it turned out, was not a gate at all, but rather a bus that drove us to our plane. The tail of every Norwegian Airlines airplane is adorned with a figure from history (or whatever) that has pushed boundaries. Our had, as luck would have it, Freddie Mercury! I was pumped as I’d seen a Norwegian 787 with Freddie on the tail as we were leaving JFK so I was hoping we’d get him and we did.

AMS to JFK via Norwegian Airlines B787-9 (~7 hours)

We pushed back from the gate, er, stairs a little after 12:30pm. As we were taxiing to the runway I watched an episode of Family Guy, as I had before, and had a slice of cheese. Once we were in the air and had leveled off I had my first sandwich and drink. I then started my first movie, Blade Runner 2049.

I’d seen Blade Runner in theaters and though I didn’t love it, I did want to give it a second chance. Additionally, being that the run time is nearly 3 hours, it would be a good way to eat up almost half of the flight.

IMG_0271 2Norwegian Boeing 787-9 as seen from the bus that took us to the plane

As was the case with The Shape of Water when I watched it on the flight from JFK to CDG, the movie was censored which was really lame. However, perhaps because I knew what to expect from the plot this time, I liked it a little more.

There was about 4 hours left in the flight and I used approximately 2 of them to watch Singin’ In the Rain. I’d seen it when I was a kid but this was the first time I really watched it and paid it my full attention. I didn’t realize all of the songs/references that are from the movie. It was simple but cute.

Half way through the movie I helped the couple next to me (I had the window seat again, score!) who spoke little english to fill out their landing card. After the movie was over there was about 2 hours left in the flight. I used the time to eat sandwich number 2 and drink drink number 2. I also filled out my landing card and watched some Big Bang Theory.

I then looked at the map for a bit, the last hour seemed the longest. I used the last ~50 minutes to listen to Abbey Road; I’d had a craving to listen to it ever since visiting the studio. We soon landed where we sat on the tarmac for about 30 minutes before finally pulling up to our gate.

JFK to Apartment via AirTrain and subway (~2 hours)

I got through customs as quickly as possible, got out to the curb and headed straight for the AirTrian only to find that it was not running. Instead there was a free shuttle bus to Howard Beach station. It was around 3pm and shortly after a quick call to my Mom to let her know I’d landed, a bus arrived.

There was an (A) train pulling in as we got to the station. I took the (A) from Howard Beach to Jay Street Metro Tech where I got out and switched to the (5) at Borough Hall. I got back to my apartment at ~5pm, just as I expected I would. I was finally home.

Top Five

This is based on the order in which these things happened, not on any sort of ranking system.

1. Monaco Grand Prix – as I said in the post, I have been wanting to go to this race for years and it did not disappoint.

2. Hamilton – a show I’ve been interested in seeing that lived up to the hype.

3. Alton Towers – a theme park I’ve wanted to go to for nearly 20 years and turned out to be a lot of fun.

4. Le Caveau de la Huchette – a fun night of jazz and dancing in Paris.

5. Moulin Rouge – one of the most memorable birthdays I’ve ever had; the show was incredible.

Below is a visual itinerary of the different modes of transportation I took to get to each major location in my trip.

MyTrip

Lastly, I just wanted to give a shout out to MapWay app (not a sponsor). I used their maps of the London Underground and the Paris Metro in both cities respectively and the worked wonderfully. Whats great is that they work even if you don’t have internet so it make getting around very easy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Travel/Adventure