Lunch in the Park in winter?

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Jan 082009

It’s FUCKING fridgid in NYC and I hear it’s going to drop more in the next week. I enjoy the option to work at home and wonder the neighborhood to find chill spots to people watch, read and take a break from the work day. One such spot is Vesuvio Playground on Thompson. It’s my playground for free tennis practice in the spring/summer and a good spot to watch the tourists, models and locals wonder off the SOHO strip mall. I’ll be waiting for the spring in 4 months to hit this spot again.

Unfortunately the bakery the park is named after is still closed and just last month it was found, up for sale. It will be missed less for it’s expensive coffee and breads but as a very cozy local Italian bakery to hang out in the winter time, read a historic biography or grab a classic cannoli.

The notice of apology and commitment to reopen which has still not been realized since Vesuvio’s closure in mid-2008.

Back in Business

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Jan 052009

Today was a tough one. I had been in California for the last two weeks and although I was working through the holiday, it didn’t feel like a full day of slaving since the eve of Christmas. The alarm went off on time but I didn’t roll out until the coffee brewed and I knew “In the Papers” was on the 1.

I hadn’t booked any meetings today but knew I had to prep for 09 forecast planning. Unfortunately I’m not even sure of what areas of the country I’ll be focusing on or which products. It’s all up in the air so I’m just keeping my head down and working the few projects that slipped last quarter. There still a lot of unknown out there and businesses are skeptical of the new year, reviewing every investment, project and every penny earned. Until I hear my new orders, I’m stewing in the troughs.

I talked yesterday about commitments, and here’s another one. I’m thinking about where I’m going to be at the end of Oh-Nine and I need to “put in work and watch my status escalate” (Put it down Gang Starr!).

Bob Marley & the Wailers – Work

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Gang Starr – Work [yousendit]

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Dropkick Murphy’s – Worker’s Song [yousendit]

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Ramones – “It’s Not My Place (In the 9 to 5 World)”

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A Renewed Commitment

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Jan 042009

I don’t make resolutions. I don’t believe you should wait till the end of the year to reinvent yourself or improve your life. Of course I’ve failed to make some improvements or honor some commitments that I’ll review and try to make a better attempt to realize those. 2009 will be a fantastic year if for any reason I’ll be married to the woman I absolutely love and ardor.

I do have to make a better commitment to my health. I’ve failed to keep make room in my schedule to exercise more regularly. Maybe it comes with all the travel, working from home or just no inspiration. I continue to have a borderline high cholesterol levels which I need to focus on eating better and consistent exercise. I love to cook, and getting some new kitchen supplies and cook books is putting me in that path. I just sold my gym membership to the gay friendly H Spot, so I have the cash to put into one closer to home – Like Bill Philips would say: “Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it. You can. It’s up to you. Decide to do it and follow through!”

I’ve reviewed my finances, paid my share to the bailouts and am in great standing with all my creditors. It’s time to get liquid and get even more focused on investments for the future. I’m looking to use this downturn as an opportunity to get creative and make some better money while at the same time as everyone else, save money where I don’t need to spend it.

I’ve found myself half-assing a few personal projects. The Gotham Pub Crawl group is going on three years and we either need to get out of the drinking club business all together or turn it up and make it successful. I love web and design so new versions of all three of my sites (the third is the shopping-bargain site) will be in the works including focusing back on old event tactics like personal invites, and global web promotion … on time!

I was taught early on about photography by my grandfather. He had a dark room in his large two story house on a quite school street in Pleasanton, CA. I took classes in high school and he taught me things like composition and cropping of developed photos. I even won a few early student photography awards and ever since I’ve owned a camera. I took the liberty to invest a new camera and bought my first DSLR starter camera. I’ve been researching these and ordered up this EOS XSi last week. I’m stoked that it should arrive Monday or Tuesday. I don’t think I can commit to a photo a day blog but I’m looking forward to improving my skills.

Last Day – First Day

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Jan 032009

Some people say that how you spend the last and first days of the year signify the summary and prequel to the year respectively. I don’t give much stock in foretelling my life and future by Aloysius Lilius’s calendar but my New Year’s eve and day was spent with friends and family.

The I went with some of E’s family to Jane & Roberts crib of a California BBQ; something I miss having both the property and weather to do year round. J&R know how to grill it up as I found out last year at Thousand Trails park (I think?). This eve Robert was spearing slabs of Korean marinated bbq short ribs, tri tip, rotisserie chicken, kielbasa sausages, lumpia, and chicken wings on the grill. Couple that with some sweat potatoes, salads, friend banana, egg rolls, rice, noodles and someone ordered a stack of pizzas, this turned out to be a fantastic last meal of 08.

We caught up and moved on to Adam12’s spot to hang with some other local south bay hoodrats. Joy is starting to fill out with 5 months to go and so is another friend, Linda also due about the same time. With E not drinking to avoid any DUI-legal-death issues, I was looking more like the lush of the party poping Cava, and taking back Stellas till the West coast broad cast of the NY Time Square ball drop.

While E was catching up with all the pregnant women, I was entertained by fascinating stories of conspiracy and ruling elite bloodlines from PopDz, Trip getting closer to graduation/quitting, and some rawkus games of The Pit – a card game fashioned from the energy and dealings of the stock market trading floor.

The alarm rang and we switched from the warm up tunes to the animatronic Dick Clark hosting the new year. He looks almost life like! 3…2…1… Rockband!

We started some sets of karaoke, rocking out to Blondie and Rod Stewart. I tried my hand at both bass and drums, of which the former being closer to my skill set being so inebriated. The game comes with a drum set, guitar, mike and 50+ songs to sing and rock out to. I quickly learned (from the booing) my failures to keep rhythm were causing the whole band to come down. I definitely can get into this but would need a 2nd show as I should have canceled my NYE on on being too “sick”.

This New Year wasn’t a huge party but a more mellow send off of the death of 08 and ring in of 09 with friends food and good times. Here’s to a great New Year!

Flying Virgin

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Dec 242008

Traveling for business, usually takes me to all the major east coast ports at least 4 times a month, unfortunately I’m confined to journey on the corporate sponsored airlines of they typical variety: AA, Delta and Continental. When I actually have the option to travel for personal leisure, I’m using up my JetBlue miles, my defacto airline, as I truly enjoy things like comfortable seats, tasty snacks, wireless access I don’t have to pay for in terminals and working entertainment to distract me or to drown out the annoying long island accents spewing from the neighbors around me.

This holiday season, I scowered the discount airlines on my favorite search aggregator, for tickets back to the bay and came up with decent tickets direct from JFK to SFO via Virgin America airlines. Virgin has been that elusive hot girl at the party, that’s always there when you’ve shown up the girl you had planned to go home with and yet your secretly wanting to be that guy talking to her while yours takes off for a smoke or womans needs.

Since Virgin’s inception in America I had wanted to take a ride on her and now I’m getting my shot. Just like that first time, nothing is going right headed to JFK. Our car service was not coordinated in navigating the holiday traffic and it took longer to get to the terminal than many previous trips. Our driver navigated the side streets of the ghetto east New York yet despite the education and route diversion, his route still didn’t buy us any extra time.

We arrived at the international air terminal, Virgin is the only domestic airline flying out of terminal 4 and at first the idea of this was “sweet”: I’m flying with real travelers, vacationers and not the typical corporate drones I shoulder with in security, pretzel stands and overly sanitized bathrooms. Then depression starts to set in as I realize I’m one of a few not leaving the country or venturing to something more exotic like Belize, Chile, or Monaco. We’ll I guess Hunter’s Point can be exotic at certain times in the evening.

The “Terminal” desk is tucked away from the rest of international passengers as almost an after thought, but they do have iMac check-in desks, complete with a vase of flowers and Post-it note pads for you know duplicating your ticket should you forget to check your gate. After weighting our bags, they don’t have a conveyor to the baggage pick up; here Virgin makes it passengers walk their bags to another check in. This is the most budget aspect of the flight, it’s like having to bus your own tables at any fast food joint.

Security is is thick and unruly this trip, it is the holiday’s of course, we make it through late and with a rush through the cafe line for our snacks just to get on the plane next to last. We’ve been stressed enough through the entire process so the mood purple and blue glow of the interior ambiance is actually a welcome calm. Some breaky down tempo tracks circulate through the cabin, it’s like we just walked onto an iPod commercial set.

Ahhh.. sitting down to nearly new black leather seats and being surrounded by toys, I’m ready to start this trip. Virgin has gone over the top here, with a detachable remote for creating your own music playlist (mostly Virgin record label music of course), standard and premium TV options, and flip the remote over for a game controller for new and old school video games and the ability to chat with anyone else during the flight (hello hottie in the 10th row!). When the food service starts up, you have the option to order food and drinks from the console. Additionally there’s two options to be added at a later date, electronic books/magazines and wifi to be added.

This being a British airline, of course they have a snarky delivery of the safety information. Here’s the animated version here:

The flight was considerably smooth all be it very long (7 hours coast to coast!) but with naps, games, and a few chat sessions with randoms on the plane. The worst part of this experience is Virgin’s RED in-flight entertainment system which needed to be rebooted several times during my flight and failed to resolve at least half of the available TV stations. My cherry has been officially popped.

Sagittarius babies

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Dec 042008

It’s the month of my birth, but it seems being a Sag, I’m drawn to all those that are as well. Much props to old and new friends. This time around, I’ve been stress and preoccupied with business to think about a celebration. Another day yes but I’m still trying to subscribe to the celebrate every day, not just the single ones. I did however have an excellent meal at A Voce, and every night this week I’ve been out with local friends. Happy Birthday to Lisa, Romesh, Olly, Danielle, Shantu and all others!

Sep 202008

This last evening I was able to make it out healthy enough to have a full dinner. Some friends had met one of the owners of Kellari’s Parea Greek Bistro and we stopped in last night which happen to be their Rebetika Greek Music Night.

We sampled a few apps: spanakopita, keftedes, and saganaki. The restaurant specialized in whole fish and why not partake, so I had a grilled tsipoura. We also had some Plaki (Chilean sea bass in a tomato braising), paidakia, and what they call yesterday’s lamb. Most enjoyable though was the few bottles of Tsantali “Rapsani Reserve” (Greek wine) and the atmosphere which brought me back to a few Greek festivals in Oakland. Unfortunately we didn’t get into the Greek dancing but I was fine being a voyeur that night.

Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot

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Aug 032008

Public theater is one of the oldest forms of performing art. Even when a formalized language didn’t exist, humans were reenacting events of their surroundings and expressing their emotions through public displays of story telling. In New York, the Public Theater in Central Park has become an institution since 1954. Shakespeare in the Park as it’s more famously know as, has been a great cultural event during the summers of New York. The other weekend, we stumbled upon an adaptation of this in Lower East Side: Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot

The Drilling CompaNY is putting on an urban version of Henry V from July 24th through August 9th in an empty parking lot at Ludlow and Broome. I’m not going to begin to review the play but here’s a write up from NY Theatre. Check it out if you can, Parking available but bring you’re own chair and beverages.

Two bound Mice

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Jul 272008

Monday on my lunch break, I had the fan permanently focused in my direction, sitting on the couch watching the dvr replay of Countdown from last Friday. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a gray flash under the closet door. I quickly open the closet and out scurry a small mouse darting for the fridge across the kitchen. Shit we have a mouse.

The night of the party, Olly had told me he had a mouse and when I picked up my equipment one of my boxes was open and would have been accessible to a mouse to hide in. Great I’ve acquired Olly’s guest, or so I thought.

I remember having mice come in to the house from the local fields near our house and remembering how dad took care of em: snap traps with a spread of peanut butter. Still at “work” I blocked of the access to the apt from the fridge with glue traps for bugs. Later that evening I met E at Ace and she encouraged me to buy the glue traps because she had though they were more humane (according to Peta they apparently are not).

I bought four trays of death, placing them around the fridge, office and near the front door and then waited. It was a few days before I saw the mouse pop out again, only to avoid my traps and snap tosses of Tupperware to snag the rodent.

Thursday after work, I was wrapping up the day and ready to head out to happy hour when I heard a rustlin’ by the fridge… A mouse had been snared in the trap and with one foot out of the trap was trying to wiggle free. Sweet!

Friday, however, was not so sweet. E spied another one and we resolved that one was not a fluke, we have an infestation and it’s based behind the fridge. I hadn’t known if that was the only source so we put out the traps again and on Sunday we had the battle royal.

Today, again, Mickey scurried to the closet but it would soon be his last adventure from the dusty domain of our fridge. We quickly created a rodeo ring around the French door opening with the only exit giving access through a glue trap run. Extracting all the shoes, bags and winter gear we forced the second one through the hall of death and caught him in his tracks. This one two didn’t ‘scream’ as I was told and I’m sure it struggled for a few days in the trash bin as two glue traps clasped it to it’s death. The trapped mice problem was superficial and I resolved this begrudgingly by extracting all our house appliances. With steal wool in one hand and a fat tube of cock in the others, I filled all the holes and secured our status as rodent free.

I can now rest easy with my bedroom door open to the A/C and frequent breeze.