Friday, August 24, 2012
Anyways, let me start where I left off, a lot has happened so kick back and get ready to read quite a bit. After my buddy left, I got an opportunity to attend a concert in Long Island thanks to my second job with Altrocklive. The review of the concert will be up in the next few days. So, I won't go over the details of the concert too much, but some of the people in attendance were pretty entertaining. The concert was for The Dirty Heads and Matisyahu, a very reggae feeling. This type of music apparently draws in a very diverse crowd. There were high schoolers and retirees bouncing to the music together. And, unsurprisingly, the interesting people in the crowd were the older people. There was a father who was trying to update his facebook status about the concert but couldn't spell "reggae" and tried multiple times and finally gave up and just said "concert." Another set of older people were watching out for their incredibly drunk friend who was making a bigger fool of himself than a fratboy at a tailgate.
Not much happened for a while after that concert. I was supposed to go to another one, but they didn't let me in since I wasn't 21, so I ended up standing in the rain trying to get ahold of the band's PR guy who finally got in touch with the bouncer to say that he hadn't heard of me, despite the fact that I was on the list. Later that week, my boss and fellow writer from Altrocklive came to a music festival in the city and crashed at my place. After they found my apartment, we walked down the street to get some subway at the 24/7 subway restaurant! (I love NYC). The writer, born and raised in Boston, mentions to the cashier at subway that he was scared to be in the Bronx. If there was a way to ask to be shanked other than saying "please shank me" that would be it. But, I guess someone up there was watching out for this kid, since the cashier sort of chuckled and rolled his eyes. The following night the guy I stayed with in Huntington, WV came to visit NYC with his friend and they crashed at my place. They had some funny stories about their experiences downtown and were clearly worn out from all of the walking.
About a week later, my friend Lisa, from Colorado, came to visit me. She'd never seen NYC before and wanted to do all of the touristy things. So, I re-opened vacation bootcamp. We made a list of everything she wanted to see, we bought the NYC pass that allowed us "free" admission to a wide variety of sites for 3 days. The first day, we do the Statue of Liberty, Battery Park, and Ellis Island. If you've ever waited in line for the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island, you know why it took us a whole day to get it done. Granted, we started at noon, but whatever, the lines were long. Yet, magically, we got to cut the lines. What should have been an hour and a half wait turned into 30 minutes. It was nice. Granted, that thirty minute wait was followed by another thirty minute wait and another fifteen minute wait, but still an hour and fifteen minutes is better than two hours and fifteen minutes. At Ellis Island, we hustled through the sites, to try and stay on schedule, but when we got outside, and saw that the line wrapped half-way around the island (seriously) we realized that whatever our plans were for that afternoon, they just got cancelled. In line, we met a mormon girl who apparently was around 26/27. I started flirting and asking her about her world travel, then suddenly the conversation halts when she drops the "my husband" line. Whoops. Since then, I almost always check for a ring first.
After we got back to the city, we hit up a restaurant that our pass got us a discount at as well as a department store, where I bought THE most comfortable underwear ever (Lucky Brand Boxer Briefs). We also went to Madame Tussaud's wax museum in Times Square. That was potentially one of the best places we went to that entire weekend. It was so much fun getting to take pictures with fake celebrities. Getting to act out scenes we wish would happen (Kissing Angelina Jolie and pushing Brad Pitt out of the picture).
That night, we worked our way up to the top of the empire state building. It is a beautiful sight up there. I love NYC. I was able to tell some Australian women which river was which, and what they were looking at. But, the downside is, the grates around the observation deck make it hard to take pictures, but it's still breath taking, especially at night.
The next day, we got an early start so we could hit a lot of sites. We started at the Intrepid, a retired aircraft carrier turned museum. It was pretty sweet, but made me realize that I would never cut it in the navy, particularly not on a sub (we also got to tour the Growler, a submarine). The World Trade Center monument was absolutely gorgeous. There was a taste of sad beauty to it. The cascading water, the peaceful trees in the bustling city. Knowing that so many lives were lost right there. It was an amazing and touching experience. Next, we hit up the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). We did the bootcamp tour, not stopping for anything. We saw Starry Night and some other pretty famous pieces, and unlike in Italy, you're allowed to take pictures, which was cool. Once we left MoMA, we grabbed lunch in Central Park and walked an obscene distance up through the park to the Museum of Natural History. By the time we got there, we were pretty delirious. All of the information, we either already knew, or didn't care to really learn. So we hustled through, motivated by a sense of obligation to see everything we could possibly see. When we left the natural history museum, I went back to the Bronx to do some work really quickly, and Lisa went to Mass at St. Patrick's (apparently the largest Cathedral in the Western Hemisphere). Quickly, however, turned into not so quickly, because, as it turns out, the train that we were both banking on taking us directly where we needed to go, doesn't run on weekends, or at least not on that weekend. So, Lisa showed up just as communion started, and what should have been an hour and a half turned into three hours.
Anyways, we meet back up in Times Square and head over to the Spy Museum, which is apparently closed. We missed it by 20 minutes. If it weren't for that stupid train! Oh well. We walk back through Times Square to Rockefeller center and go up to The Top of the Rock. It's an observation deck surrounded by Plexi glass, not fencing. It offers spectacular views of the city, including views of The Empire State building, something you can't see from the Empire State Building. Personally, I'd suggest hitting up The Top of the Rock instead of the Empire State Building if you ever visit NYC because the views are better and the lines are shorter. Also, you'll have an opportunity to practice your French. There seemed to be an odd conglomeration of French people at this building, with whom I attempted, and barely succeeded, to communicate with, in French. Anyhow, we left the Top of the Rock and walked back to Times Square to walk through Ripley's Believe it or Not. It was cool, but not that cool. Nothing really amazing, believe it or not.
The last day of vacation bootcamp was supposed to be relaxing. We set aside this day to enjoy all the free cruises around the Island that came with our pass. The first cruise was very informative. The tour guide dropped info about all the sites we were passing, but Lisa was passed out and I was too tired to care. But, when he said the deck was open, I hustled down to get some rays. I also, managed to ask an Italian woman to take a picture of me, in Italian. I was feeling pretty proud about my poor language skills, especially after she asked me where I studied Italian. The second cruise, was technically a water taxi. We sat on the top deck and enjoyed the sun and views. The third, and unfortunately final, cruise was a tall ship. A giant sailboat if you will. We spent the entire time trying to figure out if the left-handed red head on board was Julianne Moore (we are roughly 90 percent positive it was). We finished our tour of the city with a trip back to the spy museum, which was kind of a let down. But, all in all, we had a great time.
The following week was filled with a bunch of interviews with MPH programs at NYU and Columbia and long work hours trying to prepare for the end of my internship. I was leaving the lab between midnight and 4 AM for about a week in a row. But, it all paid off. The lab sent me off with a great ice cream cake and pizza for my birthday and last day at work. My mom had a cake delivered to my apartment for my birthday. And my friend and fraternity brother Scott organized a 36 hour extravaganza to celebrate my entrance into the adult world.
We started the evening of the 15th. At around 11 pm, we roll up to this American food restaurant in Manhattan and order drinks. The waitress acknowledges that I will turn 21 in an hour and says she'll bring my drink anyways. After a short period, she comes back and appologizes saying that she can't serve me until midnight, but then it's on her. I told her it was absolutely fine and that I really felt ok about it mainly because she had a British accent. I asked her about Dorsett county (where some of my family come from) and she said it is absolutely breath-taking (I hear an adventure coming up!). But I digress, the clock strikes midnight, she brings me my drink, and I am officially welcomed into the world of adulthood! The crew strikes out looking for some bars to celebrate at, and we are joined by a pretty girl and her friend from Indiana. She had red lipstick on. Game over! The rest of the night, I was flirting with her (she was actually my age, so it's ok). We ended up going to two more bars and playing pool and then shuffleboard at them. I was having a blast. The girl went home after swapping numbers with me and promising to continue celebrating the next night. I began the long trek back up to the Bronx at about 5 am (it was still dark outside when I got on the subway). When I got off the subway, at 6 am, looking disheveled, I was surprised to see that the sun was out. I must have looked like someone who has been locked in a closet for years who finally gets released only to be blinded by the light of the outside world. Needless to say, when I got home, I crashed, hard. I woke up later, feeling well rested and ready to go. All of the gang bailed except Scott so he and I walked Highline Park (an old elevated railroad track, turned eyesore, turned beautiful public park). We then hit up a bar called The Blarney Stone (because who doesn't want to be Irish)?. When the bartender carded me, she said "Sweetie, today is the 15th. You can't be in here. I need to ask you to leave" I was like "NO! It's my birthday I belong...oh you're joking haha thanks." Then Scott and I headed over to Brooklyn to meet a few girls and go to all the "cool obscure bars." At the first, we played a game trying to guess our bartenders names. Ahh my computer is about to die. I'll publish the rest soon I'm sorry!
Thursday, July 19, 2012
To explain the pain part of the title of this post, we have to jump back a couple days to the filming of the indie movie on saturday. At one point, I had to walk into the ocean with my socks and shoes on...leading to my shoes getting soaked. Which, was fine, considering I had ordered new shoes the day before, anyways, and was eagerly awaiting their arrival. However, the new shoes didn't arrive on Sunday (shocker) so I had to wear my skater shoes, which tend to cut into the back of heals, especially when I end up walking around downtown with them on. Monday, my shoes still haven't arrived, I wear my skater shoes to walk the two miles to and from work, making the wound worse. Tuesday, new shoes arrive!! But, as everyone knows, new shoes are not the way to avoid blisters... So, last night, I ended up walking from the East Village to Time Square, about two miles. By the time we arrived in Time Square, my heal looked, and felt like it had been shot. But, I fought through the pain to enjoy limping around the center of the universe.
The pleasure part of this story? Dinner, a show, and a moment. Dinner was 6 dollars per person thanks to Groupon. If you aren't familiar with Groupon, it is an online service that allows companies to get coupons out to large amounts of people. Stupidly good deal for both the customer and the company. Anyways, my first groupon purchase led us to Empanada Bar NYC. We each had a spicy chicken empanada, a curry empanada (both amazing) and for dessert, a half of a dolce empenada and cinnamon apple empanada. We were warned that the dessert empenadas were hot, but little did we know, that the server meant they would still be hot after we finished eating our main course empenada. Surprise! The dolce empenada was filled with essentially sweet molten lava. I think it was a chocolatey substance, but I couldn't really tell because I was in so much pain from the ball of fire that leaked out of the empanada and covered all of my fingers! But, it was sweet, I'll give them that.
We left the empanada bar, went to time square, where I had THE MOMENT. I was crossing the street, and a relatively attractive red head girl was crossing the street towards me. We made eye contact, I smile, she smiles, we look away. We're still walking toward each other when we both look back and smile again. Boom! Awesome moment. But, there's more. We cross paths, get to our respective sides of the street and look back at the same time and SMILE AGAIN! I chuckle, she giggles, and we both stop, grab our respective friends, and start telling them about the moment. This belongs in a Jennifer Aniston movie. As I'm talking to my friend I point and say "the ginger over there, is gonna look over here in two seconds." Side note, it's surprisingly easy to spot red heads across a crowd, even one as large as the one in Time Square. Anyways, two seconds later, she looks over smiles again and rapidly starts talking to her friend again. But, I decided, that was enough of that, and to leave the moment as just that, a moment.
Sadly, my moment abruptly turned into some street vendor trying to sell us tickets to a comedy club. "No thank...Wait, comedy club? How much?" I was suckered in. We bought two tickets and started walking away when it hit both of us. OH. MY. GOD. THESE ARE PROBABLY FAKE! We headed to where the comedy club was supposedly located and it wasn't there! Seriously? I blame the red head. I let my guard down for a minute and boom, scammed. "Wait, these tickets say the address is 300, this block is only the 200's. Let's go one block more" The address did exist, but it didn't look quite like a comedy club. We walked in and said "umm, I think we have tickets, but we want to see if these are real... this is a comedy club right?" "Oh, it is a comedy club, check with the guy out there to see if your tickets are real." So we head outside and find two guys on the stairs. One of whom had his pants unzipped and was tucking in his shirt. He also happened to be going commando...and looked a bit like the australian guy from summerland/Jason Stackhouse from True Blood. We asked the guy who wasn't exposing himself to the street, "Sir, are these real tickets." "Well, those are real tickets anyone could tell you that. They're real tickets, but not to this show. Sorry kids" My friend was so bummed, but it hits me...this is a comedy club...that is a joke...these tickets are real and this is a real comedy club. Oh thank God, it's real. I was so relieved. My friend was still trying to clarify when the guy said "Kid, it's a comedy club, lighten up. Yes it's real, come back in half an hour for the show."
We went and killed some time in Time Square (no pun intended). Came back and got seated with 8 other audience members. Of the 5 acts, not one failed to ask everyone where they were from. Therefore, I can tell you that on one half of the room we had a Philipean couple from Canada who had been married for 30 years and a couple from Brooklyn who were of mixed ethnic heritage. On my side of the room, we had a white couple from Calgary, Canada, a couple of guys from Denmark, and me and my friend. If you're picturing this scene and wondering why all the white people are on one half of the room and the non-whites are on the other side, ask our waitress, or every comedian that night, because they all pointed it out.
The poor Denmark boys got made fun of a bunch, as they were seated front and center, and clearly stood out. One guy was told he looked like he was from kansas, and his friend looked like someone from Children of the Corn. There were some funny jokes other than that, but I have no desire to share them, because I feel like they just won't be as funny the second time, especially since you weren't there.
That's about it. Pics are still on their way, including one of my battle wounded heal. Cheers to the daily adventure.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
My new roommate: Roberto Corona. Spanish name. Born in Africa. Raised in the UK. Culturally confused? He is awesome! Unfortunately, he is barely here because he has cooler friends in Jersey but, when he is here, I probe his mind for information about the UK and try and copy his accent. He's such a good sport about it.
His friend Chelsea. She is from upstate New York, currently lives in Brooklyn, with all the cool kids, and handles Roberto's jokes well. We only spoke briefly, but she seemed pretty interesting.
Becca and KiKi: I was fortunate enough to meet these beautiful ladies at the New York Philharmonic concert in Central Park. Becca and I flirted a little bit, I found out that she was a teacher, played Scrabble better if she had a bigger board, and went to church religiously (pun intended). When I revealed that I was only 20, I think I took her by surprise a bit. Best reaction ever "No your not! Seriously? No. Wow. The universe is sending you older women" Becca, you have no idea! It was a fun random interaction. We talked about our blogs, because everyone has a blog these days. You can find hers here.
Patrick V. Hackeling: This guy is pretty amazing. He is an ex-lacrosse player at Swarthmore university. His true passion lies in filmmaking, however. He wrote a shockingly deep script and had the guts to try and produce it on his own, and star in it. I was fortunate enough to have a fun, smaller role in the film and get to meet him and his friends and be part of, what I hope, is an amazing first step towards a great career for him! Whenever it comes out, in whatever film contests or festivals, you all should check out "The Thirteenth Step."
Judie: I met Judie, a fiery red head with a personality kind of like Abby Schuto from NCIS on the set of Pat's movie. She has lived quite the life, being a make up artist and hair designer in Hollywood. Two of her siblings are also in the film industry, and the other is a doctor. Judie gave me some pretty realistic track marks as she told stories of interactions with crazy celebrities and wacky film shoots. What a life she's led.
Sam: The cameraman for the second half of the day of shooting with Pat. This guy recently got married at Cold Spring Harbor Labs. This place is absolutely beautiful! Tucked away in the hills of long island (seriously), overlooking the water, this medical facility researches neurological disorders while also hosting concert series and such. Sam works for them as a video technician. He was born in England, raised mostly in the states, did college in England and came back (leading to a slight, but noticeable accent). We talked about a zombie film he is shooting and how he really likes filmography, but can't find enough time/people to do it.
But, beyond meeting new people and experiencing touches of others lives (I think I'll post again about some of the people I've met. Some who have had longer interactions with me, or who were mentioned briefly in other posts but didn't get a paragraph like everyone here) I have created some new memories with an old friend.
I'm lucky enough to have my buddy KC in town to visit me. Today, we went to brooklyn to have dinner and wound up in the getto/hipsterville/Jewtopia. It was great food and amazing view of the city. We walked back to Manhattan, over the Williamsburg Bridge, as a storm started rolling in. IT was beautiful (pics will get their own post). On the metro ride back up to the bronx, we got on the crazy train. Some woman who looked a bit like Diana Ross started clapping and singing "ain't none yo' business" and would get mad if anyone looked at her. When she got off she said "I hope you have a bad evening and a worse night." Elsewhere on the subway, a homeless man fell asleep and fell over onto a very large black woman who just started laughing away. It was a fun moment. A different mother got fed up with her crying daughter after what I imagine was a very long day. Some guy recognized me and KC from the subway ride at the beginning of the day! He remembered where we got on and said that we were sitting a few seats away from where we sat in the morning. How funny!
It was a pretty awesome experience, and I hope there will be more to come. I'm dreaming of moving back here after I graduate. I hope it works out. Cheers to the daily adventure, and the people who make adventures worthwhile.
Monday, July 9, 2012
Last weekend, I was in a Starbucks in downtown Manhattan, drinking an over priced cold drink and people watching. I realized that I could now officially be considered a New Yorker. To complete my transition to New Yorker, I was wearing pants regardless of the fact that its been in the 90s since the first day of summer two weeks ago. I meandered for a while that day, down to Battery Park and around the new WTC towers. After that, I had an incredibly overpriced brunch at a restaurant called 5 points. Located at the center of the area that Gangs of New York was based on, I could not help but chuckling to myself thinking about the contrast of this 5 points and the 5 points in Colorado (it's Denver's version of the hood). On my way home, I had to catch the train with a bunch of drunk people leaving the baseball game. Entertaining, a little annoying, but generally entertaining.
On the fourth of July, I went to a friends apartment, barbequed, played dominos then went onto the roof of the building to watch the fireworks. It was absolutely amazing, seeing fireworks go off all over the city. There was so much smoke, the moon looked blood red. It also kind of looked like Manhattan was on fire. But it was wild being higher up than the fireworks and being able to see 20 or 30 fireworks exploding at any given moment. Granted, the 4th of July, the buses don't run, so I was left to walk home, through the Bronx, at 1 AM. This goes against everything I'd ever been told! "The Bronx is fine as long as you aren't walking alone though the Bronx at night..." I called my mom and had her keep me company till I was safe home. Fortunately, nothing bad happened. Also, people find it necessary to set of fireworks around the 4th of July. So from the first until even today, I think there are gunshots or bombs going off (which isn't a radical idea, after all, I am in the Bronx) then I realize it's just fireworks.
This past weekend, I ran to work in running shorts again. Let's clarify...most of my underwear covers more skin than these shorts... I'm always half afraid I'm going to get shanked for dressing like that, but then I realize that people won't want to rob the guy that clearly has no room to hide a wallet or phone.
I have a second job writing for a music website called AltRockLive. I write reviews of CDs and soon I'll be writing reviews of concerts and interviewing bands. Potentially, I'll be interviewing Owl City tomorrow, we'll see. In fact, I'm listening to an album I'm reviewing as I write this. I was enjoying it, then all of a sudden, it got really dissonant and literally started giving me a headache. I was thinking that this was absolutely terrible. About twenty minutes later, I had to pause it to just let my ears rest. Some music kept playing. I realized, I had it opened and playing in two separate windows at two different places. Ugh, that was a miserable experience.
That's about it. I'll try and have a more exciting life... Cheers to the daily adventure, which is rapidly turning into the weekly/monthly adventure.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
My job as host was to welcome movie goers to the film and to say goodbye to them as they left, and to look good. Simple enough. Unfortunately, there were only about 20 guests and roughly half of them showed up only for the short film that was shown before the feature film that I was hosting. Oh well, I got paid regardless. Now, it was never really clarified whether I was allowed to watch the movie. The actors/only people who showed up to watch it all paid for tickets, something I wasn't about to do. I was quite content to hang out with the staff of the theater (2 hipster guys in their late twenties, one of whom was playing the ukulele). But, I bounced back and forth between watching the movie, and talking to hipster 1 and 2. (Hipster 1, as it turns out, is in love with a psychopath, literally, a psychopath. He's obsessed. He even writes ukulele songs for her. If that's not commitment, I don't know what is?) Eventually hipster 1 decided he deserved a beer and a joint while working, so I headed back into the movie, permanently.
By this point, we are waaay past my bedtime. The film has shoddy videography and some pretty bad acting, but the theme was solid. It's about a gangster kid who wanted out of the drug business who gets killed and then his body gets taken by the US army and turned into the bionic man. There's more, but I fell asleep so I have no idea what happens. But, lets go back to the point where this kid gets shot. It's a drug deal gone bad and the kid gets shot, point blank, IN THE EYE...but keeps going. I disagree, writers...one does not simply walk after getting shot in the eye. You die at that point. But, just in case there is some freak way he didn't die, he gets shot another 4 times AND KEEPS GOING. It isn't until the bad guys walk past him one by one each firing another 2 or 3 shots into him that he dies. Later, when his body is recruited, the doctors say "his brain is completely intact, as are his vital organs. Apart from a few crushed bones his body is in good shape." Excuse me? What bullets crush bones and spare organs? And in what universe does getting shot in the eye not lead to some form of brain damage? Also, they talked about downloading the kid's life experiences from his brain onto a "magnetic disc" aka a CD (which, by the way, is not magnetic. CD's rely upon light, whereas cassettes used magnetism...whatever). But, the thing that got me the most, was the scientists kept saying "neuronic" when they meant "neuronal" I know...it's a silly thing to be hung up on, but if spell check tells you you're wrong, you might want to check into it. This was especially bothersome because the director said that they tried to be as scientifically accurate as possible. Anyways, the movie ends, I wake up just in time to say goodbye to everyone and all in all had a good experience.
So, I'm walking to the subway station and cross a pizza joint, selling slices of "Little Italy Pizza" for 2.75. It reminded me of Italy and how hungry I was at that point so I stopped in grabbed a slice and headed to the train. The pizza wasn't up to Italian standards but it was pretty good. But, around the fifth bite in, a rogue string of melted cheese flips down from the pizza and latches onto my chin, scalding me. I COULDN'T GET IT OFF. I now have a pretty sweet burn and a ridiculous story for how it got there.
A few random fun stories from things you see on the NYC subway late on a Saturday night:
Drunk couples making out.
Drunk couples fighting.
Drunk single people hitting on semi-conscious or completely oblivious people.
Tweens singing "Call Me Maybe" and pleading strangers to sing along with them. (I obliged. I'm a sucker for singing with strangers.)
Some woman got angry at this guy who kept pacing up and down the subway car. He was clearly not good at interactions with people. The Call Me Maybe girls freaked him out. The woman yells at him, in front of everyone, "Just sit down or go to sleep or something. Stop pacing this car. Seriously. Stop being weird." The poor guy just kind of awkwardly smiled and literally ran away to the other side of the car, where he kept his pacing minimal and eventually sat down for a short period of time.
I love NYC. Cheers to the daily adventure and to a good night's rest.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
I was chillaxing in line at the local Rite Aid pharmacy watching this little girl run around and fall and be a major nuisance to her mother/cute as a button. The mother, a young girl about my age plus/minus 3 years, got called up to pick up her prescription a little before I did. But, there was a hiccup at the checkout stand. The pills cost 3 dollars but the woman couldn't pay for them. As she was trying to ask if she could pay with a credit card, I realized that something was off with this interaction. She was deaf. Some other woman who was picking up her prescriptions leaned over and told the checkout clerk to put the deaf mom's pills on her bill. It was great to just see such genuine kindness. The mom thanked the woman in sign language, took the medication and her daughter and headed out.
It was inspiring. It makes you want to do something for other people. I really wanted to thank that woman for being so kind, but I think instead it is kind of just contagious. Maybe I'll spread it. Maybe random acts of kindness like that will just spread naturally, kind of like Pay it Forward, but more natural. Anyways, thought I'd share the story.
Cheers to the daily adventure.
Monday, June 18, 2012
Thought you all might enjoy this story. You know how you can get water from soda fountains? I did that this morning. I was so proud. I had a new water bottls, I was being so healthy. Turns out, the water was carbonated! What is that? So now my air tight water bottle keeps burping since the gas pressure building inside is too much for the little membrane thing on top to handle. Cheers to the daily adventure. Here are some pics of central park and NYC streets.