|Archived Entries: 2008, 2007, 2006|
I'm about to take off for Maine for Thanksgiving. Riding up with Caitlin and Mindy (Thanks!). Look forward to seeing all the family and friends. Dinner with the fam tomorrow, but tonight I'll be out and about in Bangor, and Friday or Saturday I'll be out in Orono. Give me a call if you want to meet up. Last weekend I raced in the annual Cranksgiving Alleycat race. You may remember from last year that it was my first ever NYC alleycat. Amazing that a whole year has passed. And its nice to see many of the same people at all the races and have gotten to know all of you. The race went well, didn't seem as long or grueling as last year, but maybe thats because I have more experience now. It also wasnt as cold this year. Finished 17th out of 85 racers. Not bad. The night before I also VJ'd the pre-party with some good bands at the Last Resort Art Space in Astoria. It was my first VJ show in a while and I think it went pretty well. My first time out with my new Edirol mixer.
posted at: 12:04 | path: /blog | permanent link to this entry
Its been a long time since my last update, let's see if I can remember all the stuff that's going on. I'm psyched to say that Mila is back. She got her VISA and arrived a week and a half ago. She's working at RenCap again. Back in NYC to have some fun and make some money. Congrats to Artem also for getting a job, he's now working for UBS in Stamford CT. We're all living together in the cozy apartment in Queens. Congrats also to Lena and Andre, who had a baby boy in October, and also congrats to Eka and Shalva, who are having a baby something any day now.
I'll probably be back in Maine for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Meet me at Woodman's and I'll buy you a drink, but I hear that there's some new places to go in the Bangor area, so you might catch me in a few places.
What else have I been up to? I've been to a few concerts and shows. Saw Benny Benassi at Cielo, which was alright. I think he was on drugs or his attention was elsewhere, so the show was not as rockin' as I expected. I also saw Justice (the French Band). They really rocked. Show was at the new Terminal 5 venue, which is huge and fun. Lots of dancing, sweaty hipsters, and cool heavy synth beats kind of like Daft Punk. A week or two later I saw Gogol Bordello at Terminal 5. That show fucking rocked! Saw them with Mila, Artem, and some cool random Russian and Armenian people we bought the tickets off. Gogol played so hard, and so well that the place pretty much blew up. There was literally just a crater of smoldering punk rock left after the show. I highly recommend seeing them in concert. I saw Cinematic Orchestra at Webster Hall, which was highly forgettable and not worth writing further about. I also saw !!! at Webster Hall with Summer when she was down. That was another really good show. Its been a few weeks so I cant remember the details of it, just that they were pretty sweet, and their lead singers were very fun to watch. I also had the pleasure of taking Summer to her first Broadway show: Spamalot. I thought the show started fairly slow, but by the end was hilarious. Butt trumpets and killer rabbits on Broadway. Classic.
Of course I've been bike racing and riding too. Lets see... I did the NYC century. 100 miles of riding all through NYC. Also did the last two races in the 5 Boro Generals series. I did alright in the Queens Riot race, at least in the Time Trial, I think me and Bianca won that part. But man was it cold. We also got so lost in the alley cat portion, which is too bad since it was my home race. The Battle 4 Brooklyn was the last race in the series. I was on a solid team of 5 people that came in 3rd for the race. There was a team time trial, an "Alley Crit", think a criterium race only in live traffic. I rocked the Alley Crit, 5th overall. There was also a mini alleycat and some trick competitions. I did terrible in the alleycat (thought the finish was under the Manhattan Bridge instead of under the Brooklyn Bridge, whoops!) and didn't do well (or anything) in the tricks, trackstand, or skid comps. I'm waiting for the final results from the whole 5 Boro series, but I'm sure I'm in the top 20 overall, which is pretty good considering there were probably close to 200 different riders throughout the Summer. On Monday I raced with some friends in a sort of new weekly series in Harlem called the Rat Pack Hustle. Big ups to Dan Bones for hosting a series featuring cool people, fast races, and beer sprints. I finished DFL due to some poor choices in gearing and footwear, and other excuses, but next week I'm going ftw.
In February I'm traveling with Tony to the NAHBS to help rep his company, Maietta Cycling. It should be awesome. I'm going to be starting to revamp the website and make some additional promo materials the show. I'd also like to congratulate Tony and Lauren, who'll be getting married next summer. W00T!
Sorry there's no recent pics, but my digital camera has started dying, so I've only been doing film, which you have to see in person. I spent my money on an Edirol V-4, so a new digi-cam is not in my fall budget, but now that Mila's back I can borrow hers.
posted at: 20:42 | path: /blog | permanent link to this entry
Labor Day Weekend
Pretty full weekend here. Excitement started on Saturday with a bike race. It was a pretty challenging layout, mostly in Manhattan, that I did super poorly in. Pretty much my worst performance in any race thus far. The after party was pretty decent. They had "roller races" by Gold Sprints, which is basically two trackbikes set up on trainers that measure and graph the power output, and you race hard against someone for 30 seconds. After the bike party I met Caitlin and some other ex-pat Mainers in the meat-packing district at a club called "Apartment". Its a semi-swanky area, and there I was in my bike gear and super crazy colorful "Masters of Russia" jersey. I hope someone got pics.
Saturday Artem and I headed out on bikes for the beach. Brighton beach is about 18 miles away as the crow flies, but since bikes don't fly and I lost my good map, our journey was a little more meandering. Finally explored Forest Hills, Cyprus Hill, Jamaica and the Rockaways. Went to Manhattan Beach, which is right next to Brighton Beach. Cant believe I only made it to the beach like 2 or 3 times this summer. After the beach and some Russian food, Artem and I met Cait, Mindy and Susane at Coney Island to ride some of the crazy old time rides they have there. My suggestion, skip the Wonder Wheel and go right to the Cyclone. This rollercoaster is crazy! Its so old and scary fast. Below are some of the pics from the weekend.
posted at: 12:23 | path: /blog | permanent link to this entry
Destination Russia video
For those of you who are too ADD to sit through 400+ of my trip photos, I made this video. Its set to the tune of Alex Gaudino's "Destination Calabria" because it's a bangin' track and it was all over Russian MTV while I was there. Also the lyrics sort of sum up the atmosphere of my travels.
Lacher in NYC
Had a visitor from Maine for a few days. Adam Lacher came down to the city for an exchange of ideas and culture and to drink and eat. We visited a few bars all over the city, went for a pretty long bike ride to various parks in Queens and Manhattan, and finally saw The Simpsons movie, only delayed once due to my watch stopping and me thinking we had plenty of time. Here's a collage we did of photos we took at a bar where Adam spilled beer all over himself.
posted at: 18:41 | path: /blog | permanent link to this entry
Back from Russia
I got in to NYC yesterday afternoon. What a trip! Too awesome to describe. Had a great time with Mila and traveling all over the Russian countryside. Plane ride home was very long, and not much fun. I got all the pictures labeled and online. Check them out here. I'll put a more comprehensive write-up of my trip as soon as I can.
posted at: 18:11 | path: /blog | permanent link to this entry
My Russian trip has been amazing so far. Internet access has been difficult with my busy schedule and lack of connections at Mila's apartment I'm at a cafe right now and my battery is dying so this will be a brief rundown of the trip so far. Arrived in Moscow at noon on Saturday the 21st, and met Mila. There was much rejoicing. We had 3 days in Moscow where I saw most of the major sights, Red Square, Kremlin, etc. Very impressive.
Next we headed off to St. Petersburg by train, which was 8 hours and a pretty cool experience. St. Petersburg is sort of like a combination of Venice and Paris, only with a rugged Russian feel to it. So many museums, palaces, cathedrals and boat rides. Eventually I'll post more pictures and more descriptions. We had a good time with some local St. Petersburgers, some of them crazy and some not. One Note about Russian Mini-Hotels; they aren't kidding about the mini part.
Now we're back in Moscow, and Mila is back to work. Tomorrow I'm heading off on my own to Volgograd to meet some friends. I hope it goes well as my Russian language skills are not to great (read: very poor), and my document status is questionable.
Gone to Russia
In 4 hours I'll be on a plane headed to Moscow, and I'll be in Russia until August 6th. I'll be visiting Mila in Moscow, and then we're heading to St. Petersburg for a few days. Trip should be awesome! I probably wont get to post pictures until I get back, but I am bringing the lappy, so I just may be able to. Poka!
posted at: 14:53 | path: /blog | permanent link to this entry
4th of July
What a rainy 4th of July. Perfect weather for a race. "Bombin Broadway" started at 218th st, and went all the way to Battery Park. I knew it was going to rain, but had no idea what exactly I was in for. It rained a bit, but let up as about 90 of us waited for the race to start at 8pm. The route was 13.5 miles, and took me 44 minutes, which is probably as fast as anything can get from top to bottom of manhattan unless you take the highway or helicopter. I was in position to do really well, but in the pouring rain and darkness I missed the last checkpoint by 1 block, and in the time it took me to turn around I slipped from 9th place to 19th. Doh!
The race ended in a good spot to see the fireworks, and they were pretty cool. But you know, fireworks are pretty much all the same, there's not too much you can do to make them different except have more of them. From there everyone went to a bar in Bushwick Brooklyn, where at 1am it started POURING. Me and Andres who lives further out in Queens kept going outside, checking on the rain, then going back in for a beer. We repeated this till about 4am when we finally conceded that the rain wasn't going to let up. Got soo wet on the ride back. I've been drier after going for a swim.
Pictures are courtesy of Grant from fixed.gr/nyc
Russian VISA application
I turned in all my VISA paperwork to the Russian Consulate in New York today. I paid the extra $50 ($150 total) for the 3-5 day processing just because I was paranoid that it wouldn't be done by the 20th. Everything went well so far, and it should be ready on the 4th of July at 11am.
posted at: 12:39 | path: /blog | permanent link to this entry
iPhone and iGeek
I stopped by the Apple Store on 5th ave on my way home tonight. Mainly to check out the line for the iPhone. Greg, dubbed the "iGeek" by the press, is still first inline despite two massive thunderstorms. I got my pic taken with him just because I could. The thing I find interesting is that he doesn't even care about the iPhone too much, he just likes being first in line.
posted at: 22:31 | path: /blog | permanent link to this entry
Mid June Update
Its been a bit since my last update. Here's a brief rundown of recent events to keep you happy. Last week Artem moved in. He's taking the couch and helping with the rent. Its nice having someone around the apartment again too. I bought plane tickets to Moscow. Leaving in late July and staying for a little over 2 weeks. Hopefully some of the time will also be in St. Petersburg. If you have anything I absolutely must do in Russia let me know. I still need to apply for my Russian visa, but hopefully that only takes the claimed 10 days.
posted at: 17:15 | path: /blog | permanent link to this entry
Bicycle Fetish Day
Yesterday was Bicycle Fetish Day, a yearly event in presented by The City Reliquary in NYC where all different kinds of cyclists get together to hang out, race, do tricks, and show off their bikes. It was like a big street party with bikes as the theme. They shut down Havemeyer streetin Brooklyn between Grand and Hope streets for the festivities. There were food, drinks, bike vendors and lots and lots of bikes. There was a judged bike show for different types of bikes, track, handmade, cruiser bikes, commuter, lightest bike, heaviest bike, BMX, and more. I gotta say, Puerto Ricans have their own thing going on with bikes, its almost like a crazy motorcycle gang with big chromed out cruiser bikes usually sporting a crazy loud air horn. Best news is my bike won best track bike! I gotta thank Tony for building what is definitely one of the hottest track bikes in New York City.
The Alley Cat was pretty sweet too. I raced as Team DQ with Rodrigo and Andres as Team DQ from the Queens. We finished in 15th, 16th and 17th individually, and were the 2nd place team. The race was fairly short, about 15 miles. It started in Brooklyn, we all dashed across the car lane on the Williamsburg bridge, then hit the various checkpoints in Manhattan, and made raced back to Brooklyn. Our team I think was the only one that came back across the Queensboro bridge instead of the Williamsburg. I'm pretty pleased with our teams planning and how we stayed together. The two things that kept us out of the top 10 were running into a street fair for 4 blocks on 6th Ave, then getting slowed down on 40th street heading east across town. Great fun though.
After the race and bike show, there was a pretty good after party at the City Reliquary. Good music and cheap PBR. Again, good times with good bike folks, followed by more beer at Barcade, where I made the discovery that the video game Frogger is pretty much an Alley Cat simulator. The day was capped off with some 3am burritos, and a ride back to Queens.
posted at: 17:28 | path: /blog | permanent link to this entry
Yankees vs. Red Sox
Last night a few of us went to the Yankees vs. Red Sox game at Yankee Stadium. Tickets were courtesy of one of our computer vendors so that was a bonus. It was my first game, and was a pretty good time. Beer is expensive, $8 for a plastic 16oz Miller. Red Sox won (yay!) 7-3. The game is a lot more fast paced then on TV and its cool to be RIGHT THERE instead of watching it on screen. Maybe next I'll go to a Mets game sine their stadium is just 2 miles from my apartment.
posted at: 12:04 | path: /blog | permanent link to this entry
Weekend in Maine (Tour de Cure)
I spent last weekend in Maine. Good times, good times... Flew from JFK to Portland on Saturday night. The plan was to meet up with Bernie, Emily and Jen and go to bars, but my flight was delayed 2.5 hours so I didn't get into Portland until after the bars were closed. We went to a house party where we may have drank Meyer's dark rum out of the bottle. Might I add that Bernie is recently returned from China/Tibet (hence the photo of me in the Tibetan prayer robe) and she's an ice cream truck driver!
Saturday we returned to Maine and I headed off to Bar Harbor to camp out before the Tour de Cure. Marcie and I had dinner at Rupinini's, and then joined some other Woodman's bikers around a fire for some beers (malt liquor). Sunday was quite rainy. 55 of the 60 miles were in the rain. Was still a good time, and amazingly I hung with the same really fast rider that was a struggle to keep up with last year. Below are pics of the camp site, the muddy starting area, my bike, coastal view, a twisty wet road, and a steel drum band that did an awesome cover of The Numa Numa song.
I rounded out the rest of my trip with some family time, visiting old IT coworkers, and a trip to Dysart's. Monday afternoon I got a late start back to NYC in a rented truck filled with my bicycles and some of Artem's furniture. Got in at 2am, then got up at 6am to return the truck to the airport. Especially brutal because now I'm going to the Yankees vs. Red Sox game (my first baseball game ever).
posted at: 16:54 | path: /blog | permanent link to this entry
Graduation Weekend at UMaine
I returned to Maine last weekend. Flew from La Guardia to Bangor, which is a pretty good way to get maximize the weekend, only a 1 hour flight instead of a 10 hour bus ride. Artem was graduating with an MBA and I went to represent and celebrate. Below are some pics from graduation and Artem's graduation party.
Here's a pic of Artem and Max, who was visiting from Volgograd. Had a great time with him and Artem in NYC, but after this week I need to take a break from bars. Below is a pic of Nick, Sandy and Artem. Nick and Sandy, Mila's former host parents, flew in from Oregon for graduation. I ran into them randomly at the Bangor airport at 5 in the morning on my way back to NYC. Maine's a pretty small place.
Here's the spread from the party. Somehow we wound up with 3 kinds of potato salad. That baby might also be the cutest baby in the world. I know Tamara checks this site to, so here's a shout-out to her (and Gohar) Hi! Here's a shot of Tracy, Tyler (who let me crash at his apartment all weekend), and summer.
I visited my grandmother at Dirigo Pines. Man, that place is crazy! Like a resort hotel complex for old people. Its expensive, but no more so then your typical caribbean resort, only with less beaches and booze. I gave Summer a big ugly doll too.
Last night I went with Sejin and a few others to the Amon Tobin show. VERY good show. It rocked pretty hard, but had me thinking a lot about the Explosions in the Sky show I recently saw. Both artists/groups have moments of crazy rocking out then go into more transcendental type moods. Amon Tobin had some great DnB and great use of samples. I also think that was the loudest show I had ever been too. My whole body was shaken by ample bass beats he was putting out. If you do go to see Amon in the future, do your ears a favor and bring ear-plugs. I also picked up a great deal on what may be the only double-vinyl version of his Foley Room album available for the whole tour.
Today was a decent day at the track. Highlight was getting a 2nd at one of the Prime's during a mass start sprint. Another highlight was not crashing after knocking bars with another rider in different mass start event. For the weekend I had 9 points, which put me somewhere in the middle of the Cat5 racers. Not bad I guess. For my first weekend at the track. No pics from the track today, as I forgot my memory card. Too bad too, as there was motorcycle paced Keirin style races.
Kissena Velodrome Opening Weekend
Just got home from racing in day 1 of the 2 day opening weekend track racing event at Kissena Velodrome. It was a good time, and I found out that I don't totally suck at track racing. I'm in the lowest Men's USCF category, Cat5, but the competition was still good.
Today there were 3 events at the track. The Individual 2000m Time Trial Pursuit was first. In the individual pursuit one rider starts on the front of the track, and the other rider starts on the other side. The race is 5 laps and your goal is to catch the other rider or to have the best overall time. Times from this race are used for placement in tomorrows events. I won my individual pursuit, but my time wasn't incredible. I was still glad to win my first event at the track.
The 1200m Team Pursuit was next. It is similar to the individual pursuit, but you choose a team of 2 other riders. The event is 3 laps long, one team mate leads the others for a lap, then pulls off to the side. So on the 3rd lap there is just 1 rider left for each of the 2 teams. Like the individual pursuit the two teams start at opposite sides of the track and try to catch the other team and have the best overall time. My team, which had a younger guy named Justin, and a big hulking bike messenger guy named Carlos. We won our match, but I don't think our overall time was good enough to place high in the end results.
The final event was the 800m Group Sprint. In this event, 3 riders start at the starting line, and the person that drew the inside starting position has to lead the first lap. The event is 2 laps long, but a lot of strategy goes into it. Everybody will go as slow as they can (rules say you have to maintain a walking pace, and can only stop twice for 30 seconds each!). Basically, you want to plan when you are going to try and break away from the other two, and do it in such a way that they cant catch up. I made my move too soon and was overtaken going into the final straight.
A very fun day hanging out at the track. I'll let you know how tomorrow goes. Now I'm off to see/hear Amon Tobin.
April Fools Alley Cat
I just got back from Philly. The $20 round trip Chinatown bus is a good thing. I stayed at Brian's place in South Philly, an interesting part of town where it seems anything goes. Most notably you don't have to stop at stop signs and you can park pretty much anywhere you want, like on the striped center divider between lanes.
Allison and I raced in the April Fools Alley Cat. There were about 300 bikers, mostly riding fixed gears but a good amount of road bikes, and a few tandem and mountain bikes thrown in too. Race started at 3, and there was a list of about 40 locations/tasks. Each place on the list was worth a certain point value. Further locations would be worth more points, and the person that got the most points in 3 hours wins. Since the theme of the race was "April Fools", some of the checkpoints were fake and you wouldn't know it until you got there and there was nothing there. Allison and I got spoofed by a couple fake checkpoints, and rode fairly cautiously as we were in it for the good times not the victory. At some of the stops you had to do a task, like do a ring toss over a beer bottle, write an essay while being held captive by some hotties, do a chain of leapfrog with a group of people, make a shot with a basketball, or just buy someone a beer. Toughest part about riding in Philly crossing is the road trolly tracks scattered around town, that and there's more cobble stone streets.
We survived the race and made it to the afterparty. The after-party was held in a big warehouse in North Philly in Germantown. Tons of free PBR, a big Caddy to chill in, good music, and an ice cream truck stopped by. The winner got a whole lot of free stuff like a new Fuji track race frame, a messenger bag from RE Load. There were prizes for first female, first out of towner, lightest bike, heaviest bike and more.
The next day in the pouring rain I took the bus back to NYC. Took a bit longer then normal as there were several rain induced detours. Also the Queens bound subways weren't making local stops, so I decided to ride my bike half way. Man that was wet! Like riding in the shower. Amazingly all my gear/electronics stayed dry. Basically, a really good trip and fun time in Philly. Here's some pics.
posted at: 22:06 | path: /blog/photo | permanent link to this entry
How to get to Moscow
Its easier then I thought to get to Moscow. My friend Allison pointed me to these easy directions in Google Maps. Only hard part is Step 23. Directions to Moscow from NYC
posted at: 13:30 | path: /blog | permanent link to this entry
Visitor from PA
We had a 3 day weekend to celebrate the rising of Zombie Christ. Mila is now back in Russia for six months, so my old pal/roomie Allison came up to get me drunk and buy me cupcakes. Here's some pics from the weekend.
posted at: 22:14 | path: /blog/photo | permanent link to this entry
Its a long story, but Mila's going to Russia for 6 months to settle some visa/immigration issues :( On the down side, I'll have a lonely apartment in a big city until October. On the plus side I'll get to go to Russia for 2 weeks in August to visit. I'm going to have to work a lot harder on my Russian before then. Here's a few photos from one of our last days in NYC. We went to Central Park and then to the American Museum of Natural History to see the Dinosaurs (fossils).
Its March and the weather is looking nice. Here's a rundown of the last few weeks events. My memory is spotty, so I may leave out a few details. There's probably some shit you don't need to hear either. A few weeks ago Mila, and a few coworkers and friends went to Culture Club for some good times and dancing. It was a pretty good time, I highly recommend it if you like dancing to cheesy 80's tracks. Later that week we were visited by some friends from Maine, Gohar and Tamara were in NYC on their way to/from Chicago. We went out with them for Italian food in Brooklyn Heights with some of their friends. The next night we had them over for a massive pizza/cake dinner party. It was nice since we'd barely had any opportunity to do any entertaining in our apartment. In NYC since it takes so long to get anywhere you usually meet out for dinner then go to a club or some other event.
This next paragraph is about my bicycle, so if you aren't into bikes you should skip to the next paragraph. My bike seems to have an English sized Italian threaded bottom bracket shell (aka, backwards). This results in the normal forces of peddling loosening the bottom bracket. Last fall I had a new bottom bracket put in at Bike Stop, the local bike shop. This bottom bracket was fairly rare, and had lockrings on each side, and was installed using Loctite. End result, this bottom bracket finally wasn't going fucking anywhere. Unfortunatly the spindle was too long so my chain angle was way off, and it started creaking and clicking fairly soon. Since this was the 3rd bottom bracket I'd had a shop put in I set about getting the tools and parts to do it myself. Unless me or Rose Bike puts it in, I don't trust it anymore. Only problem is this bottom bracket seems to be the only one of its kind in existence. Nothing from Park Tools, Pedros, Hozan, anywhere, would fit in the splines. I was forced to take it back to Bike Stop to have it taken out. Because of the less then stellar attitude, poor service, and plethora of scratches that I get from this shop, I was not too excited to take it back there to get it taken out, but at this point it was my only option. Gus (the only guy there that seems to know what's going on) broke 2 tools getting it out, put some new scratches in the frame, and still wanted to be paid for the time, despite the fact that the $100 BB he removed was destroyed in the process. Anyway, I probly wont be going back there again, and I've put in a new Campagnolo BB on my own and now have all the tools to service it myself. I also put wider Sylvan Touring pedals on. Bike is riding like a champ now, ready to hit the streets and race in the upcoming April Fools Alleycat in Philly.
I found that pronunciation is key when wishing good luck in Russian, one wrong stress and you're telling someone "no fart, no steam" instead another phase that means good luck. The person I was wishing well was Mila, and she seemed to still do well in her task, which was the The NASD Series 7 Exam. This was 6 hour test that she had been studying for non-stop for 2 months. Her hard work paid off and she passed. There was much rejoicing, some hi-fiving. Passing the test should help her career and upcoming visa application too.
So much more has happened in the last 2 weeks. Artem came for a visit, we went all over town. We saw two comedy shows. One show was at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. The show was pretty cheap, but not amazingly funny. The next night we happened across a comedy show at "Jimmy's No. 47" in the East Village. We were going to Jimmy's anyway, and there just so happened to be an excellent free comedy show going at the same time. We got to participate/heckle the comedians a lot since we were in front/center and I was wearing bright blue and tend to stick out a bit since I'm 6-foot-huge. We also saw the musical Chicago, which was pretty good, but not as amazing is I had anticipated. Bebe Neuwirth (Lilith Crane on Cheers) was Roxie Hart, and while interesting to see her in that role, I think others may have been better suited.
posted at: 06:41 | path: /blog | permanent link to this entry
Tour de Cure part deux!
I had so much fun at last year's Tour de Cure that I'm doing it again this year. I'll be flying to Maine Friday May 18th, hanging out Saturday, riding Sunday, Camping Sunday night and returning to NYC on Monday May 21st.
SummerTime in February
Last weekend I got a visit from my sister Summer. She took a combination of bus/train down from Maine after missing the flight from Portland. The Sunday of her arrival we caught the aftermath of the Chinese New Year celebration in china town, man that place was trashed with confetti and garbage afterwards. On Monday we headed into town for some shopping, cappuccino, and exploring. Monday night was the concert that Summer came down for. We found the venue, The Warsaw (Polish National Home), in Greenpoint after wandering around in the wrong direction then taking a cab. Me had missed dinner on the way because we were running late, but fortunately they had some bitchin pierogies (only $5!). The place was pretty funky, and I highly recommend it as a concert venue. The concert was pretty rocking too. It was Explosions in the Sky, which is sort of a instrumental "post-rock" band. It was one of the more trancendental music experiences I'd had. The band was pretty subdued until they reached the crescendos of the songs, at some points only the bass player was standing as the two guitar players sat down most of the time, rising only rock out on occaision.
When Summer was leaving NY, my parents were on their way. Sadly my Dad's old college friend Shelly died after a brief but intense battle with leukemia, and the funeral was on Long Island on Wednesday. Under the circumstances it was sort of a bittersweet visit from my mom and dad, but still nice to get to see them. They also treated us to an excellent Greek meal at a local Astoria restaurant.
On other news, here's our new couch. We rented a van a
few weeks ago and went to Ikea. It was in the "as-is" section, meaning it was a discontinued display model, and was only $99.50. It folds into a bed,
so now we can house guests in style and comfort!
posted at: 13:32 | path: /blog | permanent link to this entry
Happy Valentine's Day!
More excitement in the last few weeks here in NY. Last week was Fashion Week, and one of the fashion crew got me into the Custo Barcelona. It was a pretty cool experience, and my first fashion show. There were free drinks from Chambord, lots of skinny models, and some outrageous outfits.
Next we had some visitors from Maine and Oregon. Andrei was in NYC for a few days, and stopped by our apartment for dinner on Friday. On Friday we were also joined by Mila's host mom Sandy, who had just flown in from Oregon. Sandy stayed with us until Tuesday, and gave us a good excuse to go all over the city and do all the touristy things that you dont normally have an excuse to do.
Saturday I rented a car for the day. LaGuardia airport is just a short bicycle ride away from our apartment, and having a car would allow us to cruise all over in comport and style. Taking the train is alright, but if you want to get all over town, a car is still best. Now that I'm 25, renting is cheap(er) too. First we went to Park Slope to get some coffee/tea. Next we went to Brighton to stock up on Russian goods and have lunch. After that we went to Brooklyn Heights where I had a hot toddie then we froze our asses off on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. We made a quick stop at Mila's office, then we went for some EXCELLENT desserts at a greek restaurant in midtown, sadly I can't remember the name of the place.
On sunday I returned my car, and was very pleased to discover that nobody had stolen my bicycle while it was chained up outside
of Avis at the airport. In the afternoon we took the Roosevelt Island Tram, which was a very cool 5 minute trip to Roosevelt
Island in the East River. Its free with a Metro pass, and gives you some great views of Manhattan and Queens. Amazingly on the way
back a young guy climbed on the roof when we were at the tram hanger, and rode it all the way back! The driver of the tram
explained it like this in a Russian accent "Do not mind the guy on the roof, he is our mechanic". I dont know what intrigued people
more, the fact that there was a guy standing not strapped in on the roof, or that the tram needed a mechanic right then. Next we went
for Ethopian food, and then to the Blue Note to catch Earl Klugh play some excellent jazz.
posted at: 18:11 | path: /blog | permanent link to this entry
Its finally getting cold here in NY. 24 degrees today. For the last few days we had a guest staying with us, which is always a good excuse to get out and do some different things. Friday we were joined by Lola and went for drinks at the Russian Vodka Room. That's a picture of their homemade cranberry vodka, very tasty and a 2oz shot is only $3 during happy hour. Its a dark bar with serios soviet era atmosphere. I dont remember what was going on in that picture of Mila and me, but I'm trying to look not amused :) After the Vodka Room, we went to a party in lower Harlem. It was hosted by some of Lola's Peace Corp friends and the theme was "Tacky Sweaters". We didn't stay too long, but it was a pretty good time with some nice people. Its good to find other people that aren't totally caught up in the NYC rat race. On Saturday we went to Spa 88, a Russian bath house downtown near Wall Street. It was a very unique experience, and very fun. They had 3 sauna rooms. One was a steam room at about 120 degrees, another dry heat room at about 140 degrees, and a larger dry heat room at about 180 degrees. Mila brough back some sauna hats from Russia, that we wore. There were other people with the wacky felt hats too, so we fit right in. Some had horns, others had hammer/sicles or red stars. There was also a cold plunge pool that you jumped in quickly after being in the heat. We spent about 4 hours there, relaxing in the saunas (where you beat yourself with oak leaf branches to infuse your skin with the hot air), ull size pools, hot tub, beating ourselves with oak branches in the sauna, and just lounging eating cookies and fruit. I hightly reccomend it. Go with a Russian though, as you'll get the full experience and some things are a bit confusing.
One of the perks of working for Dennis Publishing is getting to attend the occaisional party. Last Friday Mila and I got to attend the Maxim Hot 100
party. It was sponsored by Jose Cuervo, and held at Ultra. It was a pretty good time, with lots of people. It was friggin cold that night, and it took
forever to get our coats into the frigid coat check. I'm still having trouble adjusting to $13 vodka tonics in NYC. Was still a fun time with some people
from work, and some celebrities (but they were holed up in the VIP rooms with the Hot 100 girls).
posted at: 16:58 | path: /blog | permanent link to this entry
I've been slacking on the blog so far in 2007. Where to begin, and what to say? I've been working a lot, 9-6 Monday to Friday. Sadly my office has no windows, and the sun goes down at 5 still so I don't see much sun. Its also gotten too cold to ride my bike to work and still look presentable. Tough to wear multi-layer thermal gear then change for the office. I'm getting to know the ins+outs of Dennis Publishing, Maxim etc pretty well. With 300+ employees spanning 5 floors it takes a while to get familiar with everyone.
Outside of work there's been a lot of stuff going on too. Mila got back from Russia on the 10th, just in time for my birthday on the 15th. She gave me
a sweet laptop bag and took me out to dinner at a pretty cool lounge called Zanzibar. I also want to thank everyone that sent me cards, IM's, gifts, and
other greetings for Christmas and for my birthday. Artem stayed here on Tuesday night, on his way back to UMaine from Russia. Sadly he had to leave early
and didn't get to enjoy the Broadway show that we had tickets for on Wednesday. Mila, her coworker Eugene, friend Eka and I saw The Producers. The show
was pretty good, and we got upgraded seats because it was a Wednesday night and the theater was only 1/3 full. Although good, the show wasn't quite
awesome. I appreciated the fact that Tony Danza (Tony Danza!) was the lead actor, but the singing and acting seemed to be sub-par and the energy of the
cast and audience was pretty low. I have a feeling the show was much better with the original cast when it opened 6 years ago. Must be hard to maintain
quality of acting for every show almost every day for 6 years.
posted at: 20:31 | path: /blog | permanent link to this entry
End of 2006
I'm back in Queens. Saturday I flew from Portland with Summer and Emily. Was nice to fly again, hadn't been on a plane in a few years. Its crazy how much warmer NY is than Maine. Was snowing like crazy when we left Portland, and it was 55 and sunny in NY. Allison drove up from PA and met us at my apartment. The four of us then rocked in the new year together. Saturday we ate some good greek food in Astoria, then went out to Galapagos and Zablonski's in Williamsburg.
Sunday I got a slow start on account of the drinks from the previous night, but I decided to go to the Alley Cat race in Manhattan. I'm glad I did, as the race was super fun! There were about 100 bikes hanging out at the polo grounds on Christie Street, and some people playing Bike Polo. There were 7 check points scattered from the South Ferry to 86th street. Each checkpoint had a little challenge, here's the rundown. Checkpoint 1, Staten Island Ferry Terminal; write your new years resolution. Checkpoint 2, East river @ 22nd street; three tries to sink a hole in mini golf. Checkpoint 3, 86th street; choose between eating 2 pieces of dry catfood or 5 cloves of garlic (I chose the catfood). Checkpoint 4, 72nd street in central park; capture the flag from one of three guys in short game of tag. Checkpoint 5, 69th street pier; hold your bike over your head for 5 seconds. Checkpoint 6, 34th street by the Javits Center, do 15 pushups, but what they did when you started was actually give you a wedgie. Checkpoint 7, Trackstar shop at 1st Street, roll a dice to either shotgun a can of Sparks energy booze, or kiss a dude there. I shotgunned the beer and evidently I was the only one to finish it completly. They then gave you a medium sized FedEx box to deliver to the finish, which was the Lakeside Lounge bar. I had to split as soon as I got there to go meet up with Summer and company, but Mattio later told me that I won the prize for best shotgunning of a can of Sparks. Which in my book makes up for the fact that I came in 55th out of 71 in the overall standings. I attribute my dismal position to getting lost on my way to Trackstar, and between the ferry and 22nd street.
For New Years Eve we decided to forgoe Times Square and go to the biker afterparty at Home Sweet Home. The party was pretty cool. Only in New York could you fill an underground club almost entirely with hipster bikers.
Today we had crepes, did some shopping, then sent Allison on her way back to PA. Tomorrow Emily and Summer fly back to Maine, and I go back to work.
Happy New Year everybody!
posted at: 21:16 | path: /blog | permanent link to this entry