Movies and TV

I have been consuming A LOT of content over the past several months. I am going to try and break them down by category based on the platform I use to watch them (in alphabetical order). From there I am going to do my best to put them into sub categories, either the order in which I watched them or by genre or both.

Please note that this is not a ranking list but merely a recap because most of it is good. You should be able to tell by the length at which I’m able to talk about them and the enthusiasm I have for them. The ones with * are favorites.

Amazon

The Grand Tour – Season three has allowed this series to really hit it’s stride. They’ve trimmed the fat of all the excess stuff we don’t need, mainly the Celebrity Brain Crash and now have a show that is even better than it already was.

Cable

Garage Rehab – I came into this reality/docu-series not realizing this was already season 2 or 3. However, despite the fact that basically every episode is the same, I love seeing the reveal of the new shops once Richard and his team are done with them.

Drunk History – Always good, always funny, keep it up.

Broad City – Though I was/am sad to see this series end, this final season was a very good one. I especially loved the first episode and hope to recreate their excursion when the weather gets nice.

The Other Two – This show is laugh-out-loud funny and the characters are really interesting and enjoyable. I hope it’s getting good viewership and ratings because it deserves to keep going. It’s rare to find a new show that’s actually good but this one delivers.

The Ride With Norman Reedus – I bescially love any travel show. Throw motorcycles in and I like it even more. Throw Norman Reedus in and I’m hooked. Thanks Kyra for telling me about it.

HBO

The Price of Everything* (documentary) – this was fantastic. I heard about it on one of the podcasts I listen to and I ended up really enjoying it.

Leaving Neverland (documentary) – this four hour saga really dragged the life out of me. As a, now former, Michael Jackson fan, I kept struggling with my feelings of the man and his personal life, and the man as a performer and an entertainer. It confirmed all of the fears I’d been putting aside and that I’d hoped weren’t true. This fucked with me for days.

Last Week Tonight (comedy/news)- it’s back, I’m watching week-by-week, it’s good as always.

Barry (comedy/drama) – it’s back, I’m watching week-by-week, it’s good as always.

Movies – In Theatres

Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse* – This was one of the best movies, if not the best movie I saw last year. It really lived up to the hype and was visually unlike anything I’d seen before. I was to see it again and freeze every frame and screen shot it.

Glass – This was a fine ending to the Unbreakable trilogy

Captain Marvel – I went with a few of my friends. We universally agreed it was just fine.

Apollo 11* (documentary) – This was very good, emotional even. Right from the opening shot I was hooked. I had to keep reminding myself that this was not a Hollywood movie. The build up was perfectly paced and the imagery was beautiful. I wish I could have seen it in IMAX. The score was incredible and tense.

The Beach Bum – I was really hoping that despite it’s dumb movie exterior it would secretly be disguised as a deep well thought out comeback story. I was wrong.

Us* – despite the fact that the movie going experience was terrible, the movie itself was very good. I’d like to watch it again once it comes out on streaming services so I can take a deeper, non-distracted look, into this world.

Netflix

Maniac* – I throughly enjoyed this series. I’m sad that this is the only season but at the same time, what more could they do? It was hard to tell at first, tonally, if it was meant to be taken seriously or as a joke. To be honest, I’m still not sure I know how to answer that. Regardless, it was the best series I watched in 2018.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch – This was good. I only went through it once and I sort of wanted to explore it again, but, once I found the flow chart online, it kind of wet my whistle.

Carmen Sandiego – Though this is probably meant for kids, I actually really enjoyed this show. I kind of wish I was a teacher so that I could have used to the geography and history facts that were sprinkled into the show as part of a lesson plan. I also have a spoft spot for this IP because I grew up with this Carmen Sandiego adventure computer game that I loved.

Tidying Up With Marie Kondo – This spoke to me as I love the idea of minimalism and organization. However, I only watched maybe three episodes since they were all basically the same.

The Pixar Story (documentary) – If you’re a Disney or Pixar fan, you’ll enjoy getting a deeper look inside this studio and how everything came to be what it is today.

Sex Education* – I just finished the last episode of this show last night and I absolutely loved it. All of the characters were great, the acting was great, the story was great; I can’t think of a bad thing to say about it. Sex is always a fun and interesting topic, in fact, the show was surprisingly explicit, which was cool. I keep forgetting that Netflix is basically like HBO, they can do whatever they want. I am very excited that it got renewed for a second season.

Russian Doll* – I have one episode left to go on this one. Unlike most people, I don’t binge Netflix shows, but rather assign them a “watch day” and watch them weekly. Regardless, this show is high concept with drama and some comedy. It is a very enjoyable watch and I’m very curious to see how it ends.

Trigger Warning With Killer Mike – I’m a fan of Run the Jewels so I knew this would be good. That said, for some reason I stopped watching after two episodes. I will likely go back to this but my watch schedule has been so full, I haven’t made the time for it.

Ken Jeong: You Complete Me, Ho* (comedy special) – This was laugh out loud funny. It’s been a while since I watched it so I don’t remember a lot, but I do remember enjoying it.

Formula 1: Drive to Survive* – Despite the stupid title, this is a gripping docu-series. It might help that I started following F1 last year and attended the Monaco Grand Prix. Regardless, it gives great behind the scenes insight as to what drama takes place that we don’t usually see and why and how certain decisions are made. It does a good job of demystifying some of the major “characters” of the sport.

After Life* – This drama/comedy is heart wrenching at times while simultaneously being laugh out loud funny. As usualy, Gervais gives you new perspectives on the topics most people think they have a handle on.

Amy Schumer: Growing (comedy special) – To be honest, nothing has topped Amy’s debut special Mostly Sex Stuff. I think of jokes from that one all the time. That said, though this one was good, it didn’t crack me up.

Studio 54* (documentary) – I really love the idea of Studio 54 and it’s a moment in time in which I wish I could have existed. I think I would have thrived there. Between the music and the people and devil may care attitude, it all just looked so glamorous and fun. It also blows me away that these two guys, who are the age I am now when they opened, were able to find so much overnight success. On top of that, the music is and was great; check out Studio 54: The Documentary playlist on Spotify, you won’t regret it.

Love, Death + Robots* – I heard about this a while ago from one of the podcasts I listen to and now it’s finally out. Despite the fact that they were being wusses about the “gratuitous” violence, I really enjoyed them so far. Three Robots, The Witness, When The Yogurt Took Over, Beyond The Aquila Rift and Good Hunting are my favorites so far.

Our Planet – Just like Planet Earth and Blue Planet before it, Our Planet is another nature docu-series that is pure eye candy. Sure there is an environmental message as well and there are a lot of interesting facts about nature you’ll absorb along the way, but if for no other reason, watch this simply because it’s beautiful.

YouTube

Everybody Street* (documentary) – This is a doc I’ve known about since 2013 but I was finally able to find the full thing for free online. The photography and photographers in this are all very good and it makes me want to do more “street photography.” Highly reccomend.

The Twilight Zone – This Jordan Peele series reboot is an interesting take on the classic premise. When did Peel decide to go dark and why didn’t he go sooner. Though this isn’t great like Get Out or Us, this was pretty good. I will admit that it won’t get me to pay for CBS All Access, but this was good nevertheless.

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Nonstop

For the past few weeks I have been going hard pretty much nonstop. I think I’ve gone out every Wednesday and Thursday the past three weeks in a row. This past week however was especially eventful.

Wednesday – April 3rd

On Wednesday I went out to Jeremy’s Ale House in the South Street Seaport district as an early low-key birthday party for my friend Steele. It was just me, her and two other friends but that proved to be just what we needed. We had a few drinks and I had a funny run in with a guy I didn’t know.

IMG_9822Me eating a PB&J at Jeremy’s Ale House

Basically this big dude walked in that we thought we knew. I was headed to the bathroom anyway so I stopped to say Hi. However, I basically immediately realized that this was not our friend Vaughn but I was already committed. “Vaughn!” I said. “No,” he replied, “Wall Street Win.” and he extended his hand for me to shake, which I did. “Follow me on Instagram and I’ll give you the follow back.” he said. “Ok!” I replied, then continued to the bathroom.

We all had a good laugh about it when I got back. After finishing our drinks we made our way over to a nearby pizza spot for a couple of slices before we all went our separate ways.

Thursday – April 4th

On Thursday I went out to the movies for the second, maybe the third week in a row (Apollo 11 Doc, The Beach Bum and now, this. Keep reading). While out at Jeremy’s Ale House my friend Kris asked if I wanted to see the movie Us with him. I had been looking for someone to go with, so I naturally said yes.

During the day on Thursday we made plans to meet at Nitehawk for the 9pm show. Knowing it would take me too long to go home, then go back out to the theatre, I went straight to Nitehawk from work. I got to Nitehawk early enough to grab a bite and a beer at the bar. Then, being my punctual self, I was the first to enter the theatre and got my favorite seat, back row, center.

Eventually, as it got closer to when the movie was supposed to start, I got a text from Kris saying that he was on the way. This forced me to be a person I hate, checking my phone while in a movie theatre. Finally he texted me to say that it was sold out but that I could exchange my ticket for the 9:45pm. Since the movie hadn’t started yet I reluctantly went to meet him in the lobby.

When I went out there, he wasn’t there. I called him and he said he was at the bar, so I went upstaris to the bar. However, when I got there, he wasn’t there. So I called him back. “Kris,” I asked nervously, “are you in Williamsburg?” “Yes,” he replied. I could have sworn I told him to meet at Prospect Park and not Williamsburg.

Frustrated, I bolted back down to the theatre just in time to not miss the opening of the movie. I thought I was out of the woods until a couple came in and was standing around, basically right in front of me, looking for a seat. I whipped my jacket off the empty seat next to me I’d been saving for Kris and patted it and the one next to it for them to sit down.

Offense number two came when they used the FLASHLIGHT function on their phone to look at the food menu. That is the one pitfall of Alamo and Nitehawk, for as cool as they are and as convenient as it is to be able to eat a full meal at the movies, I fucking hate that you can still order while the movie is playing and that service happens during the movie.

Eventually the woman to my left leaned across me to ask them if they could put their phones away since they were distracting. The boyfriend bluntly replied, “No.” Annoyed I let that pass. Offense three came when the started talking with each other about who knows what. I let it slide for a bit and then eventually asked in a super polite way if they could stop talking. The boyfriend’s response, “How are we supposed to communicate?” To which I replied, “Don’t.” To which he responded, you guessed it, “No.”

Frustrated, I spent the rest of the movie silently fuming while I tried to drown them out. It sucks because it took away from my enjoyment of the movie and tainted the movie going experience. Especially with a tense movie like this, the last thing you want is a couple of fucking idiots talking to take you out of it. The movie overall was very good, I just wish I could have seen it in piece. If only Kris had come, they wouldn’t have been able to sit next to me.

To make matters worse, on the train ride home I sent an apology text to Kris for not specifying what theatre to go to and for getting upset with him on the phone only to scroll back up and see that I HAD specified Prospect Park, FUCK!

Friday – April 5th

While waiting for the train home from work on Thursday I had called my friend Jonathan because I had found out earlier in the day that my entire former Inside Sales team had lost their job. I reached out to Jonathan because he had been our supervisor. During our conversation, he offhandedly mentioned the fact that he was going to be getting married on Friday. What!?

Cut to Friday morning and after doing my laundry, getting showered and dressed and shaving, I hopped on the (2) train bound for Borough Hall.

I arrived at the Court House at 11:45am to meet with everyone for 12pm. Not only was I early, but everyone else was 15 minutes late. By around 12:15pm everyone had shown up. It was supposed to be a low key affair, however, basically the whole Inside Sales team was there. When Deisi arrived, she was confused because she didn’t expect us to be there.

“Oi Deisi, tudo bem?” I said. She smiled, “What are you doing here?” I gave her a hug and then all of us went upstairs. While we waited for their number to be called -the court house is like the DMV or a deli, you have to take a number- I texted to Alyssa to tell her what was going on and where we were. She then called me, confused. I told her where we were going afterwords and she decided to call out of work and meet us there.

IMG_9831 (1)Jonathan and Deisi

While we were on the phone, their number was called. We all went into a room with a bunch of chairs where we were kept waiting… a waiting room, you might say. After waiting for another 5 minutes, we were brought into a third room where the short ceremony actually happened. Though it was simple, it was lovely.

From there we all went outside to figure out how we were getting to Giando On The Water. Our friend Michael was able to make last minute reservations because he’s got connections. We Ubered in a few different cars to the venue and were there by 2pm. A short while later the rest of the gang showed up. I had texted Steele while we were waiting for the Uber and she met us a short while after everyone showed up.

IMG_9874 2Alyssa and I at Giando On The Water

The meal was expensive but very good. The only thing the threw things off was when Jessica got up to excuse herself since she wasn’t feeling well and then nearly fainted. I got really nervous until I found out that she had apparently had an edible on the way over to the restaurant. She ended up vomiting in the middle of the lobby, classy.

After dinner the rest of us grabbed one last drink at the bar before heading off in our own little separate groups. Me, Alyssa, Steele and Turner ended up going over to Alyssa’s apartment to keep partying. We got there at around 6pm and drank and smoked cigars and danced and played with her dog until 7pm.

IMG_9877 2Turner with Mia (Alyssa’s dog)

At 7pm Turner went home and me, Alyssa and Steele took the (L) into Manhattan. Alyssa and I got off at Union Square I hopped the (4) back to Brooklyn and Alyssa took the (R) to Canal street to see a punk show with our friend Adam.

Once back at my apartment -at around 8pm- I ate dinner and watched The Living Daylights with James Bonding commentary. At 10:05 I left for Alligator Lounge and arrived at 11pm to meet up with Adam, Alyssa and later Steele. I stayed until 1am but not before singing Ironic by Alanis Morissette. I took the subway home and was in bed a little after 2am. What a long fuckin’ crazy day.

—Saturday – April 6th

I slept in for as long as I wanted before eventually getting ready for the day. By 1pm I left for a bike ride to Jacob Riis Park. I got there a little after 2pm and got back to my apartment a little after 3pm.

I filmed almost the entire ride with my new GoPro and spent the rest of the day editing the footage until it was time for bed. It was a nonstop week(end).

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NY BY BIKE – Jacob Riis Park

As promised, below is “Episode 1” of NY BY BIKE. If I’m honest, my plan was for this to be released as “Episode 3;” though there won’t actually be any formal numbering system for each video. However, the ones I had planned to post first require more footage than I’ve captured thus far. Also, at least one requires the assistance of a second rider whereas this was shot and edited by myself in one day.

The reason I wanted this to be third is because it is a bit more mellow than the other two I had planned to precede it. Most of this ride is through the more neighborhood part of Brooklyn so there’s considerably less energy than that of a video shot in the middle of Manhattan. That said, I was itching to get a video posted sooner rather than later; I didn’t want to just sit on this until the other two were done.

So without further excuses, there it is, the first “Episode” of NY BY BIKE. Stay tuned for more videos in the upcoming weeks, weather permitting I’m able to shoot more.

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Kicked Today’s Ass

For the past two Friday’s, which are my new Saturday due to my work schedule, I have been taking full advantage of the weather and the city and making the most out of my day off. What follows is a recap of those days.

Friday – March 15, 2019

On Thursday night Kyra came to visit from Boston. So Friday was our first full day hanging out together. We first went to Russ & Daughters but there was a 30 minute wait. While we waited, we went to Davelle.

Davelle – I had seen a small piece about Davelle in Time Out magazine so we decided to check it out. They are known for their delicious toast and the one I got was sickeningly good covered in chocolate and bananas. Kyra got one that had chocolate and graham crackers and marshmallows.

The whole time we were eating I couldn’t help but hearing the conversation between the women sitting near us. They were talking about work and apartments and general NY frustrations. On their way out I told them I heard their convo about graphic design and asked if I could help. I ended up getting one of the woman’s email address.

Russ & Daughters – By the time we were done I had gotten a text from R&D that our table was ready. I had a bagel sandwich and Kyra had eggs, it was expensive but good.

IMG_9723 2Russ & Daughters – it was featured in an episode of Broad City

New Museum – We then walked to the New Museum to see this installation that had apparently been a one-night-only thing (you’ll read about it later in part two). However, we ended up exploring the gift shop for a bit before moving on.

Book Store – Next we went to Housing Works Bookstore and Cafe, which, though a bit dusty was pretty cool.

IMG_9726 2Housing Works Bookstore and Cafe

We continues to just stumble around SoHo for a bit before making our way to the West side.

Friends – While in Greenwich Village I realized that we were near to Friends apartment so we stopped to grab a quick picture before continuing to…

Sex and the City – …”Carrie Bradshaw’s” apartment which is nearby.

Starbucks Reserve – After that we briefly popped into the Starbucks Reserve Roastery so I could show it off to Kyra.

Chelsea Market – After that we stopped in next door at the Chelsea Market where there was this cool flea market happening. One of the things that caught my eye was the subway line posters that were on display. I’d seen them before but I love the minimalist design. After chillin’ for a bit longer and exploring a little more we left.

We then took the train to 34th Street

Vessel – I have known about Vessel for a long time so I was pretty excited that it was finally open. In researching beforehand I realized that in order to climb to the top of it you need to reserve (free) tickets and a time slot. I was hoping that since it was the opening day, that they might forgo to tickets and just let people up.

IMG_9761 2Vessel – new structure at Hudson Yards

I also thought that since it was the first day it might be crazy busy and they might not let anyone up. To my very pleasant surprise, my first guess was correct. I was elated that I was able to climb to the top and not have to wait to do so. On top of that they weather was 70 degrees and sunny, we couldn’t have asked for a better day.

Hudson Yards Mall – We then did a bit of exploring of the HY mall before heading back to my apartment to chill.

We took the (7) to the (5) back to my apartment

Apartment – Back at my apartment we Chill and listened to the Live From The London Podcast Festival episode of James Bonding.

Grimm Artisanal Ale – later in the evening we ventured back into the night to check out Grimm Artisanal Ale in Williamsburg. It’s a brewery/beer hall/bar that Kyra had found out about and is now on my “places to go back to” list.

I want to start by mentioning that on Thursday night, after I got home from work and had dinner, I went back out to see Apollo 11 Nighthawk Prospect Park. As I’ve said before, the new Nighhawk is perhaps my favorite place to see movies in the city. It’s relatively close to me and it’s one of the least expensive. And, as one of the newest, it’s really nice on the inside.

However, this is secondary to the fact that Apollo 11 was a very well done documentary. The footage was beautiful and the score was intense and compelling. It brought me close to tears on numerous occasions. It’s crazy to think that it took place only 20 years before I was born. My only wish was that I could have seen it in IMAX as most (if not all) of the footage was shot in 70mm. I highly recommend checking it out.

Friday – March 22, 2019

Bank – I started my day by going to the Bank to open new savings account. This new account is specifically meant to be a vacation fund. I think it’s probably better/safer than how I used to have a vacation fund, which was literally money kept in envelopes. I took my envelopes with me and deposited a good chunk of money to start the fund off. One thing I was nervous about was having to keep a minimum in the account, but, because I’m a “gold” customer, there is no “maintenance fee” if I empty it out. This is great.

After the bank I took the (2) to Atlantic Ave where I switched to the (N) train to get into Manhattan; Canal Street.

K&M – I went straight to K&M camera and bought a GoPro Hero 7 Black, a chest harness, a handlebar mount, and a 64GB Micro SD card. Thankfully they were able to price match B&H Camera so I got an okay deal on some of the gear.

IMG_9817 2GoPro camera gear I just purchased

I dropped a shitload of cash on this gear (and felt like a baller when I paid in cash, all hundreds) BUT, I’ve been thinking about it for a very long time so it wasn’t an impulse buy. Plus, my tax return was pretty excellent so I felt like I wasn’t even spending my own money.

Western Spirit – I then made my way back towards Canal Street, along the way stopping into a store called Western Spirit.

IMG_9797Western Spirit store on lower Broadway

I have walked past this store many times and finally decided to stop and smell the roses. This place was massive and filled floor to ceiling with cowboy shit. I thought I had stepping into Nashville or something. There was also a bunch of memorabilia that was pretty cool.

blu Marble – I then left and made my way up and over, across town to check out a new art installation.

IMG_9806blu Marble  – outdoor art installation at 159 Ludlow St

blu Marble is a very large LED screen that projects live satellite images of the planet Earth. This paired well with my prior viewing of Apollo 11. I think I might need to go back to see it at night.

From there I walked to the nearby (F) train and took it to Bryant Park where I switched to the (7) train and took that to Hudson Yards.

Hudson Yards – despite having just gone the week prior, I really wanted to see Vessel again. On top of that, though Kyra and I did go to the Hudson Yards mall, I wanted to spend more time really exploring every floor and actually going into some of the stores I was interested in.

IMG_9816Snark Park – interactive art exhibit at Hudson Yards

One store in particular that stood out to me was called b8ta. It reminds me of what sharper image used to be, gadgets that only rich people can buy. I don’t know if it’s because it’s new but there is something about the vibe of that place (HY) that I really like.

I look forward to eventually taking a date there for food or drinks; all of the restaurants and bars look great. I looped around to check out the exterior of the Snark Park, an ever-changing interactive art exhibit put on by Snarchitecture. After that I made my way to MUJI, as I’m one to do, to get organized and figure out the rest of my day.

I then walked over to the (2) train and took it to Atlantic Ave.

Bank – I went back to the bank this time to deposit remaining cash leftover from my purchase of the GoPro.

Dunkin Donuts – After that I went to the nearby Dunks to get breakfast. It was 3pm and I hadn’t eaten all day.

Target – Next I went to Target to grab beer for Adam’s party. I paid for it with a gift card I’d gotten for xmas so I didn’t really feel like I was spending money. I was going to buy a new candle but it was more than I wanted to spend after having just spent so much on everything else.

From there I took the (5) train back to my apartment. At the Atlantic Ave station I was able to see the new tap card system OMNY that is going to be rolled out over the entire subway system over the next several years.

Apartment – Once back at my apartment I made my bed, did the dishes and played around with the Go Pro. I also logged onto my bank website to raise my credit limit (exciting).

Later that evening I took the (2) train to Atlantic Ave the got out, walked and switched to the (G) and took it to Myrtle Willoughby.

Adam’s Party – I spent the rest of the evening chillin’ with my friends at my buddy’s apartment for his birthday party.

On the way home I was planning on taking the (G) but it wasn’t running or something so I had to Uber.

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New York By Bike

This is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Ever since I started coming to New York in more recent years, and now living here, I thought that it would be fun to film POV video of my various bike rides through the city.

Screen Shot 2019-03-15 at 8.03.50 PM

NY BY BIKE logo

To be honest, the only thing that really stopped me from doing this over the past two summers was being cheap. I didn’t want to buy a GoPro because I thought that it was sort of a waste of money. Only in the sense that I would really only be using it for one thing… doing this.

However, when you look at it as a one time investment, as you would with any big ticket purchase, it really isn’t that expensive. Plus, I think it will inspire me to go out and do things that require an action cam ie. do more snowboarding or jumping into exotic pools.

Also, as I usually do, I typically take a long time to think about these purchases, rather than impulsively make them. So, the fact that it’s been years and is still on my mind proves that it is not just an impulse buy. Plus, when I saw what I would be getting back from my tax return, I figured it was about time.

Part of my inspiration to do this video series was this video (which I’m sure I’ve referenced before) about driving a Porsche 918 from the top of Manhattan to the bottom in all electric mode.

To be honest, I purposely haven’t looked to see if a video series like this already exists because I’m afraid to be labeled a copycat or see that that person is already doing it better. That said, as with most things I do, I’m gonna do this for myself and if people end up liking it, great.

I have a lot of ideas for videos/episodes as well as songs to use for said episodes and ways to try and make them more than just POV vids riding through the city. I like the idea of giving myself new editing projects since I really haven’t had any reason to cut a video together in a while. This will keep me busy on weekends and force me to go on more bike rides.

Look for episodes of NY BY BIKE to show up soon on my YouTube channel and for at least episode 1 to premier on this blog. All I’m waiting on now is my tax return and more consistent warm weather. Expect to see episode 1 to drop sometime this April or May.

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Switzerland Top Five

Theses are listed in the order in which they took place, not by rank/how much fun they were.

1. Partying Sunday Night – The first night that we went out as a group was so much fun. Getting flaming shots at the shot bar, singing karaoke and dancing with Italian women; what more could you want.

2. Rinerhorn Powder Day – The second day of snowboarding was by far the best. There was excellent powder and despite the fact I only did maybe 10 runs, it was so much fun and reminded me of what I love about snowboarding.

3. St. Moritz – It was cool to get to visit a place that I’ve heard about in books, movies and music. I wish I could have spent a bit more time exploring the actual city part, but, we got to see live up close bob sledding. My younger self was super excited about that.

4. Sledding at Rinerhorn – The first time we went as a group at night, I simultaneously loved it and hated it. However, when I went again by myself in the daytime, it was a lot of fun.

5. Zürich – This was never a city on my “places to visit” list. However, after checking it out, I’m glad I went. The city itself is clean and charming. There is beautiful architecture and design everywhere you look.

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Davos to Zürich to Boston

Switzerland Day 8 – Saturday February 16th

I slept in for a bit due to the fact I was out late the night before and had gotten kind of drunk. After getting ready for the day I grabbed my stuff and brought it down to the lobby. I then got a light breakfast before beginning the long wait for the bus to arrive. I did at one point leave the lobby to grab a souvenir postcard for Kyra.

Davos to Zürich Airport via Bus (2 hrs 30 min)

We left Davos at ~10:30 and I sat in the back of the bus with Jim and Jim. Trying to conserved my entertainment, I read the rest of Time Out magazine and some of the Road and Track I had with me. We arrive at Zürich Airport a little after 13:00.

IMG_9627View from the bus ride to Zürich airport

The fist thing we did was to check our bags. Because we were a decent sized group this process to quite a while but we were super early for our flight so it didn’t matter. After checking my suitcase and dropping off my snowboard at the oversized luggage area I hung around for a bit to find the others and gauge what everyone was doing.

Soon after I made my way through security with some of the other people in the group. Once through, I took a little time to explore the terminal. One thing that I had noticed right away about the airport was just how well designed everything was. It was very clean, the signage was clear and it used a fair amount of wood in different elements of the design.

IMG_9633Sprüngli chocolate shop at Zürich airport

On the second floor of the terminal I found the Sprüngli chocolate shop and bought myself a few pieces to have on or before the flight. I then made my way back downstairs and sat with some of the people from our group who were at one of the restaurants/bars.

I sat with them until Dad showed up, at which point we moved over to the bar and ordered together. He had a burger and I had a turkey club. Afterwards we went on a fruitless journey to find the observation deck, only to be told that it is inaccessible airside (past security).

With the wind out of my sails, I did a bit more exploring before taking the shuttle train to Terminal E. There we went through passport control. Because the terminal was pretty barren, I basically milled about and took pictures of planes until it was time to board. I was again impressed with the cleanliness and beautiful design of the airport. It’s small but charming.

Boarding began by 17:00 or 17:30 and, as usual, I played the game of trying to be the last one to board. I’ve really come to enjoy this strategy.

Zürich Airport (ZRH) to Logan Airport (BOS) via SWISS A340-300 (8 hrs 30 min)

I had checked in on the SWISS app the day before and picked a window seat in front of the bathroom. This ensured a close proximity to the restroom if I needed to go, and guaranteed there was no one behind me to kick my seat.

When I arrived at my seat I was pleased to see that Jess (from my group) was sitting in front of me and that that man in the aisle (the seat next to me; the layout is 2-4-2) was also from our group. It’s nice to know the people around you aren’t shitty people.

IMG_9648SWISS A340-300

However, almost immediately after takeoff Jess fully reclined her chair. This really bummed me out because, though leg room is not a problem for me and she technically has every right to do so, it made difficult my ability to see the IFE screen.

Thankfully it was the type of screen that tilts but it was still a bit too close and difficult to see. Plus, the plane was clearly older and the IFE was quite dated and slow. The first thing I watched was a documentary or recap rather of the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

This was interrupted by a snack and drink offering which, by the time I was done with the doc was follow by dinner. I chose the chicken and opted for a beer. After dinner I began Mission Impossible: Fallout. I was no more than a minute in before it was interrupted by an IFE reset.

It was at the point (19:30) that I wrote about my day this far in my Field Notes. I then read more of Motor Trend and started a podcast before the IFE was finally restored. It was at that point that I restarted MI: Fallout. I ended up liking it. There are a few bits of dialogue that could use work but the action was unbelievable and the overall story was solid.

I followed Mission Impossible by watching this transportation technology documentary which was mostly focused on the hyperloop. I was interrupted towards the end when the crew came around with this pizza type thing and ice cream.

Following that I started watching this Swiss tourism video but it was so boring that U quickly bailed. I ended up watching this Business Traveler Artificial Intelligence documentary that only briefly discussed AI. It was more about travel in general, which I liked. Soon thereafter it was time for us to land.

Logan Airport to Melrose, MA via Car (30 min)

After going through customs I thought there might be a final meet up of the group to hug and say goodbye to each other. Alas, we all separately grabbed our bags and got the hell out of dodge.

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Madrisa/Rinerhorn

Switzerland Day 7 – Friday February 15th

After grabbing breakfast, I went up to the room to figure out how to get to Pischa. I was not able to find out anything online so I went to the front desk. They explained that I needed to take one bus to another bus. However, they told me that the second bus leaves every hour so you need to time it right.

Not wanting to put that much work into my planning, I grabbed my board with it’s busted bindings and hopped on the train to Madrisa. I was a little bummed because my plan was to ride the Fat Bikes at Pischa but ultimately it was whatever.

Madrisa

After taking the train and the bus, I waited in a super long line to get onto the gondola. At the top I rode the short way down to the 6 chair and rode it to the top. There was this line that I’d spotted from the chair the other day and I was determined to ride it.

At the top I hiked along the ridge of the bowl and to the starting point of the line I’d spotted. Along the way, I noticed that what I thought was powder was a fair bit crunchier. However, I’d already hiked all the over so I might as well drop in.

IMG_9616Madrisa from the 6 person chairlift

I was hoping that when I dropped in, I’d break through the crust and find powder right below. Instead it was essentially a steep sheet of somewhat grippy ice. I was alreadry dedicated to the line so I essentially side slip down the slope like a nube… unless I wanted to go straight down on ice… yeah, eff that.

Thankfully I made it to the bottom without really falling. When I got out to the main trail, I cut across to the “powder” to other side. However, it too was more crusty than it was soft. Eventually I lost an edge and fell and had to trudge through snow for a bit before strapping in again.

I could tell how loose my binding felt with the toe support gone. So, I took one more run before taking the gondola back down to the bottom. From there I took the bus to the train. I dropped my board off at the hotel and hopped a bus for Rinerhorn.

Rinerhorn

Since I wasn’t able to do the Fat Bike and the conditions weren’t very good (on top of my ill-fitting bindings) I decided to go back and try sledding in the day time. I rented a sled and headed to the top.

On my first run I ran into the same problem I had the first time which was that whenever I tried to stop or slow down, the snow kicked up right in my face. At least this time I had the proper accessories to avoid getting it on my skin. However, by the second run I figured out that if I dragged my feet to the side, rather than right in front, the spray wouldn’t hit me.

IMG_9620Sledding at Rinerhorn

I ended up doing about six or seven runs, each one better than the last. After three runs I grabbed a burger and fries at the lodge at the top. The toboggan was much more fun this time, partially because it was daytime and I could see where I was going and partially because I figured out how to properly slowdown.

I rode until around 15:30 before returning my sled and grabbing the bus back to the hotel.

Hotel

Once back I showered, shaved, changed, packed and wrote this.

That Night

After dinner, Jess, Owen, Ryan and myself made our way into town for a final night of partying in Davos. The fist place we went into was the Casino because Ryan wanted to check it out. Unfortunately Jess didn’t have any ID on her and so they wouldn’t let her in.

Thus, we decided to all bail and ended up a bar just down the street. As we did the other night, we regaled one another with stories from our lives over a round of beer that Owen bought for us. Because we hadn’t left until 21:00, by the time we were finishing up it was was 22:00 and we were late for the show we were going to.

We continued walking up the street and at the next bus stop, waited for the bus. We then got off a few stops later and made our way into Montana (a bar). There we hung around for a Scottish band –The Mad Ferret– that was playing traditional Scottish music. We stomped and clapped and danced and took shots and drank beer until I don’t know when.

IMG_9623The Mad Ferret at Montana

On the bus ride back to the hotel we each went around talking shit about different people on the trip. You know, that fun drunken past time. Once back at the hotel we found a handful of people from our group hanging out drinking in the lobby. Since I already had a solid buzz going, I decided to stay up a while longer.

I tried some of Jim’s Schnapps and he ended up buying a glass for me. Between Owen, Jess (who had got the rounds at Montana) and now Jim, I didn’t pay for drinks all night. I ended up hanging out until 1:15 before calling it a night.

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Zürich

Switzerland Day 6 – Thursday February 14th

After sleeping in until around 7:30 and grabbing a quick breakfast, Dad and I headed over to the Davos Platz station and bought round tickets to Zürich.

Davos Platz to Zürich HB via Train (~2.5 hours)

We first took the 9:02 train to Landquart and from there switched to a second train that took us to Zürich.

IMG_9486“The hills are alive…” / view from the train

Zürich

In classic Kyle fashion I had not only made an itinerary, but had written detailed walking directions in case my LTE didn’t work. My pre-trip Google mapping paid off as I knew exactly where to go once we arrived at 11:23.

Rather than mess with the ticket machine, Dad and I went to the booth an purchased a full day pass good for unlimited rides on all busses and trains. We took the 4 tram to Feldeggstrasse and walked the short distance to our first destination.

Monocle Shop & Cafe

The Monocle Cafe is associated with Monocle Magazine. Despite having looked at the pics online I was so happy to see all the beautiful, clean, minimalist design. I grabbed a sandwich and a hot cocoa and Dad got a coffee and a slice of pie. We sat and ate and drank, then looked at all the items we weren’t going to buy before making our way to stop number 2.

IMG_9497Monocle Shop & Cafe

Sternen Grill

While on our way to the Sternen Grill, we came upon the Opernhaus Zürich. There we stopped and took pictures before continuing on.

I had heard about this restaurant through an episode of Attache. Sternen Grill is mainly known for their sausages and bier. As we walked past the restaurant, there was literally a line out the door and onto the sidewalk. Since we’d just eaten, we decided to skip it for now.

Grossmünster

While on our way to the Grossmünster church, we headed up a side rode and walked through a quaint area with little shops. We stopped in at one place so Dad could look at watches. Shortly after we came up to the back side of the church. We walked around to the front to get some better pictures of it.

IMG_9521Grossmünster church

We then made our way down to the made rode where we got a view of the Münsterbrücke Bridge and the Kirch Fraumünster. Before taking the time to really take them in, we made our way to a destination I added the night before.

Burton Store

We stopped into the Burton store because I wanted to see if I could get new bindings for my board since the ones on my board had broken the day before. However, after seeing the price and not know the size I needed, I decided to pass for now.

Münsterbrücke Bridge

We doubled back to the bridge where I kept taking pictures of it and the church in an attempt to get something “Instagrammable.” While walking over, we took note of how clear the water was in the river. We then walked across the bridge to get a better view of the church.

IMG_9516Münsterbrücke Bridge and Kirch Fraumünster

Kirch Fraumünster

The church is situated in the side of a square that is surrounded by cool shops and restaurants. At the far end is a fountain. We zig-zagged through a back alley to exit out to the Bahnhofstrasse.

Bahnhofstrasse

This is essentially Switzerland’s Rodeo Drive. Their Regent’s Street (London) or their Newbury/Boylston Street (Boston). Every high end fashion and jewelry brands have locations in and around this area. We stopped into Sprüngli, a chocolate brand I’d heard about through a YouTube video. The variety pack I bought was not cheap so this better be the best chocolate we’ve ever had.

After that we stopped into the Apple store to steal some internet and try to find the watch shop I’d added to the list the night before. Despite going to exactly where Google maps said it should be, we couldn’t find it.

IMG_9538Bahnhofstrasse – street with high end retail shops

We then ventured down a side street to look at some other watches. Realizing that I didn’t have much else on my list, we decided to wander. Our wandering led us to the casino where I tied to use their restroom, but was shut down.

We regrouped at a little square and started to head back to the other side of the river when Dad spotted a gem. He asked if the sign he saw was for the Deus store I’d been to in Sydney and Tokyo. I was certain that Deus did not have any stores in Europe but low and behold, there it was.

Deus Ex Machina Pop Up Shop

This little (actually not so little) shop followed the same style as the other two, half cafe, half motorcycle gear. To make things better, the woman working there let me use the restroom.

IMG_9552Dad and the Deus Ex Machina Pop Up Shop

Right as we were leaving, the song Harmony Hall by Vampire Weekend was playing. This was kind of funny because I was playing it for Mom and Dad right before we left for the airport. Once done exploring, we headed back to the Sternen Grill, along the way stopping into a gift shop where Dad bought a watch.

Sternen Grill

At the grill, Dad and I both got the sausage, bread, mustard and scalloped potatos combo. I picked it because I thought it came with a bier but I was wrong. We sat and ate and decided to how to end the day.

UBS Polybahn

We walked over to the UBS Polybahn funicular. I wasn’t sure I needed to ride it, especially where I didn’t know where it went or how much it cost. But I did get to see it go by. We then tried to follow side streets to try and find the top of it unsuccessfully.

IMG_9578UBS Polybahn funicular

Instead what we found was Universität Zürich. It was located at the top of a hill that overlooked the entire city and had great panoramic views. After getting some shots, we stopped into the University Museum which had a bunch of taxidermy animals and animal bones. It was seemingly free.

We strolled around it for a bit before moving on to the next thing. It would have been cool to explore in more detail if we’d had more time. We then went into the campus building which had some cool architecture. Eventually we made our way out and around to the Central Square having never found the top of the Polybahn.

IMG_9585Hilltop view of Zürich

After that we walked to the Zürich HB station so I could use the restroom, look at Mondaine watches (they had a shop there), figure out the next train back to Davos and check out the tourist info booth to see if there were any worthwhile brochures to look at.

But the time we found out when the next train was, there was only time to look at the watches, not buy one and make our way to the platform. Luckily there is a restroom on the train and from there it was a smooth ride back to Davos where I wrote yesterday and today’s posts.

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Parsenn/Madrisa

Switzerland Day 5 – Wednesday February 13th

Dad and I took the bus to the base of Parsenn to meet up with the guide who would be taking us on the “Safari”. While we were waiting for the rest of the group to show up, I saw the dentist we’d met and made friends with while at Ex bar on Sunday night. I said hi to him and yelled “karaoke” and he seemed to recognize me.

When we got onto the funicular, the dentist ended up standing right near me. We got to chatting and as we left to make our way to the mountain he said, “May the force be with you.” “And also with you!” I replied. It wasn’t until much later that I realize he may have made the Star Wars reference due to the rebel alliance sticker on my helmet.

Parsenn

When we got to the top, Dad decided to bail due to the fact that 1) there were a number of flat or slightly uphill areas along the “Safari” which cane be difficult for snowboarders since we don’t have poles. The second reason was because he found out that there was one T-bar involved. He does not like using T-bars and so he decided to do his own thing.

IMG_9435The top of Parsenn

I’ll be honest, the day was too much of a blur to really get into a detailed account. We did a bunch of runs at Parsenn and took lifts, gondolas and a T-bar that seemed to get to all these different sides of the mountain. I had no idea where I was or what what going on. However, it meant that I was seeing things that I may not have found on my own.

Eventually we went on this long windy run that took us over to Klosters (another ski area). By this point the group had been whittled down to myself, a German couple and the guide. When we got to the bottom of Klosters, we had to walk through this village to get to a bus stop that would take us to Madrisa, the next mountain.

IMG_9436Making our way from Parsenn to Klosters

Along the way, the guide brought me over to a water fountain and told me that all of the water in all of the fountains is drinkable. We both leaned in a drank from different parts of the fountain. The water was ice cold and tasted fantastic. We then took the bus to Madrisa where, upon our arrival, we took the gondola.

Madrisa

From the gondola we rode a short distance down to the 6 person chair. From there we rode down to the mid-mountain lodge where we grabbed lunch. The temperature was perfect so we sat outside to drink our beer and eat our sausages.

I offered to buy the guide and the German couple drinks because they had been so helpful, offering to tow me with their ski poles on the flat parts. However, Stefan refused and in fact, ended paying for my beer and my sausage! I was pleased but pissed.

IMG_9448One of the suites in the Igloo/Ice Hotel on Parsenn

He said it was because I was there American guest but he didn’t realize he missed a very rare opportunity. I’m super cheap and I never offer to pay for other people but oh well, it worked for me.

After lunch we continued to ride Madrisa for a bit before taking another bus back to Klosters. From there we took two gondolas to get to the top. We took a few trails to make our way back to Parsenn. Along the way, the two supports on the base of both my bindings broke.

IMG_9456Thomas (the guide), me, German woman (sorry I forget your name) and Stefan

At 16:05 we ended up at this gondola that was, I think, supposed to have closed at 16:00 but took us anyway. From the top we made our way over to the funicular. I was so determined to finish out the day with the group but with the toe supports completely broken and conditions on the trail getting choppy, I bailed and took the funicular back down.

It was 16:40 by the time I was done, a long day of almost nonstop riding. While waiting for the bus back to the hotel I noticed a Tesla Pop Up shop.

Rinerhorn/Toboggan

Fast-forward to after dinner and the BSSC group decided to go to Rinerhorn for a bit of night tobogganing. Not only was this something a bunch of people wanted to do, it was also Lise’s birthday so we had to do something fun.

Cut to a montage of being told when people were leaving and Dad and I waiting for the bus to Rinerhorn alone together. Then taking the wrong bus and having to walk back to the bus stop we started at to find the group all waiting for the bus.

We ended up all riding together and when we arrived a little after 21:30, 19 of us rented sleds using my drives license as collateral if not all 19 came back. The rental cost 13 CHF. However, we found out that our ski pass for Rinerhorn was only good from 8:00 to 16:00. So, on top of the rental, we had to pay another 12 CHF to take the gondola to the top.

IMG_9466Night tobogganing at Rinerhorn

It was at that point that Dad bailed and took the bus back to the hotel. The other kicker was that the 12 CHF was only for one run. If we wanted to do more than one it would have cost 24 CHF! We all agreed to do just one but to make it count.

I rode up the gondola with Jess and we got pumped up for our run. I had literally been looking forward to this all day. After grouping up and singing happy birthday to Lise, we all began to make our way down the course.

I was told it was sketchy but I was not prepared for how treacherous it was. The course was mainly ice with a bit of snow on it. Stopping was nearly impossible and turning was basically futile. Not to mention that every time you did drag your heels, the snow kicking up flew in your face.

IMG_9469It was also referred to as “sledging”

On top of that, there were these rhythm section rollers in the middle of the trail, I think meant to slow you down but basically just were a bunch of bumps and jumps, which sucked. Three fourths of the way down there was a section with a barrier where you had to stop, cross a road and then start again.

I was the third to the bottom and my face and ears and hands were frozen. I think with proper accessories (bandanna, thicker gloves, goggles) and during the day it would haven been better. That said, ultimately, everyone had fun.

Afterwards we grabbed drinks at the bar at the bottom of Rinerhorn before taking the 23:22 bus back to the hotel.

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