Archive for the ‘Activities’ Category

Blue Surge

I just got back from a long afternoon.

Ran over to do some hot yoga at Yoga To The People – hard work, and I can see that I am improving, slowly, and that it’s gonna take a little time. Perseverance.

After that, I rushed over to the East Village, where I watched a new show – Blue Surge (details here: http://www.extantarts.org/play.php?playid=10 ).

Show was directed by a friend of mine, and it’s an interesting picture of a storyline that might seem cliché, but they put a pretty interesting spin on it.

It’s playing for the next couple of weeks. Go on out and see it.

A Secret Improv Mission

A little while ago I participated in another wonderful secret mission with Improv Everywhere.
We all got together and made a difference.

You can read the full article, and all the details along with stills here.

The rush is so great.

So for those of you following my life, you may know that I went skydiving last fall.

Since then, I’ve taken up the Accelerated Freefall Progression (AFP) course, which constitutes a standardized course that takes a beginner skydiver to a level of competency that most drop zones will allow self-supervised jumps upon its completion.

This typically takes about 10 jumps total, including a few tandem jumps, but mostly jumps with instructors jumping next to you, making sure that you can do what they expect you to do, as well as make it down safely.

It took me a little longer, due to a long winter break, as the weather was just not cooperative, with all the storms, snow, and other nastiness.

This past weekend, I left New York City with fellow skydiver Jen, in a hot yellow Pontiac G5 (thanks to the rental place only having conspicuous cars for me) and drove down to Skydive Cross Keys, where I’ve been jumping all along.

It was close to the end of the day when I finally got in the air, along with my graduation jump master Richard, a seasoned Aussie skydiver who’s been doing this for the past 28 years. We planned my skydive and then jumped it. I did what I needed to in order to graduate, and also learned that I have to focus on some items like legs for stability, etc.

In any case, watch it (more…)

Catching up

So after my last post, I actually tried to catch up on my emails.

I did, and now have some time to tell a story.

This past weekend, I spent the day out white water rafting with a group organized by ZogSports. A bunch of coworkers and I joined a group of about 50 young persons and headed to the Lehigh River, where a Class 2 rapid awaited us (Rapids of moderate difficulty with passages clear. Requires experience plus suitable outfit and boat).

None of us had any experience rafting (as far as I recall) and we spent a couple of hours on the bus there, and then some more time waiting around for organizational things to be dealt with (that could have been performed on the bus. Once we actually set out, I was in a 7-person group, 4 co-workers and myself, and two ladies we met and joined ranks with.

We set out, and paddled hard, and moved along the river, and got a feel for it, but not nearly enough. As we progressed along the river, not very far in, we picked up some speed and rammed into another raft that was stuck against some rocks, bounced off them, and then our raft flipped over, throwing us out. I got flung clear, and went under for a second, life vest bringing me back up, my shades still nailed to my head. I turned backwards, fighting the current, and saw that my pals had either surfaced and were being pulled in, or someone was looking after what was going on back at the raft’s location. I turned around, and saw people in boats, and they seemed to chant to me in unison, “swim for the shore”. My brain wouldn’t process their message, and another raft paddled up and hauled me in.

My new family, a group of boy scouts and a couple of dads, seemed to have an ongoing war with another couple boats, with water guns, and use of the bailing bucket to toss heavy loads of water on the rivals. It was fun, for a while, but got old after a while, but as a guest in their raft, I didn’t complain.

We rode a few pretty crazy rapids, got stuck a few times, and even once required external assistance getting off a pair of huge rocks. That had everyone piled up in one side of the raft – literally piled – as someone wedged the raft over the edge of one rock and then switch for the other side.

We hung back, and followed other rafts, watching their progress and learning from them what not to do – a solid strategy to adopt. This helped us make a nice ride, while not getting stuck on anything.

After a few hours, we finally stopped for lunch, where we all broke out the sandwiches and had something to eat. At that point, anything was better than nothing – no matter what it was. I had a PB&J, and wanted more, bu more wasn’t to be had. Ah well.

Re-formed with my raft crew, and met Ed, who joined. Ed seems to have a grip on things, so as we progress down the river, we all have a good time, slipping by the rapids, moving somewhat smoothly over treacherous terrain. The water thrashes you and it’s a lot of fun riding the bumps.

Finally, we make it back, get the bus back to the starting point, and grab a shower (mildly warm), dress in dry stuff and get on the bus home. On the bus, beer was distributed to those that wanted it, and our chaperon treated us to some horrible jokes. At some point, I fell asleep for a bit, only to wake and have a spirited conversation about reality tevelision with someone whom I believe watches way too much TV in the first place.

I can’t wait to go again next month!

Cold and wet isn’t all that bad

So some of you might remember that I have done some secret IE missions here in NYC.

It’s always a ton of fun joining a bunch of people to do something a little odd.

This time, we congregated in the Brooklyn Bridge and took pictures of the Manhattan Bridge. In the rain. And cold rain.

There were tons of us – about 700 – and we lined the bridge. I came early to the meetup location, and randomly met Matt, who had ridden in from CT on the train and needed somewhere to dump his travel bag. I offered my place, with a provided his bag wouldn’t tick or something like that.

We headed back to the meeting spot a few blocks away, and join a huge group of people, hear the instructions, and head across the bridge. In the meantime, we find Matt’s lady – Autumn – and we all set across the bridge and find a spot about in the middle to stand.

And wait.

And wait.

It seem that it took a little too long to get a large crowd organized, and then even longer to get the event rolling.

IE BrooklynBridge

Some people left, as it was, after all, cold and raining.

But the effect itself was pretty cool, once it happened, and gave us a lot of cool pictures to show the world.

I stuck with my newfound pals, and we had a lot of fun talking and playing in the line, arguing with someone else whether Pi is a real number (or just not a whole number).

After taking a bunch of pictures, we all headed over to the Beekman Pub, where we had some drinks, and I regaled my captive couple with my (newfound) knowledge of NYC. I felt like a “real New Yorker”.

We split from there to Two Gold Street for food and more drinks, and then after that ended up in my beloved Fresh Salt, where we played a resounding few rounds of Apples to Apples with th bartender and two other patrons.

All in all, lot of drinks, good company and shared experiences make it all worthwhile.

The IE event page is here – there’s even a short video. See if you can find me (hint: I’m in the first 30 seconds!)

My spring pilgrimage

So when I moved to New York almost an entire year ago, one “condition” was that I must come back at least once – if not twice – a year for a familial get-together.

Amazing that these times that I fly coincide with two major Jewish holidays – Pesach (Passover) and Sukkot (Feast of Booths, and it has nothing to do with trade shows :) ). Totally unplanned, right? Wrong.

In biblical times, Jews would take a journey to Jerusalem three times a year, to visit the Holy Temple, bring offerings and sacrifices, and if you think about it, throw down and party.

Yes, in a ritualistic and holy manner, but party nonetheless.

So I am doing the same. I am flying to Israel, arriving on the 16th, and will be all over – i.e. no plans written in stone, other that having the Seder at my sister’s, and the following Shabbat with my folks. Oh, and sorting out numbers computer issues for them all. ;) So I’m open to suggestions.

I’m hoping to rent a car, and be a little less reliant on public transportation, as if my memory serves me well, Egged still ain’t up to MTA times and schedules. So there’s options for everything.

Drop me a line with an idea, a place, and meeting time and a number, who knows? I might just be there.

See you next week!

Feeling a little cold?

So after I got my hair cut, I decided to join the No Pants 2k8 subway ride. I didn’t initially think I’d do it, but timing was right, and I figured, what the hell. I’ve participated in other ImprovEverywhere events, and this one seemed like it’d be fun, but I was a little concerned about the over-publicity of what is supposed to be a prank. Last time I did one and didn’t write about it, Devo found me and posted about it. I wondered how long it would take to be found, and it wasn’t long at all.

So I headed to Foley Square, where I joined up with some one thousand people, where we waited around, talked a bit, and I ran into two colleagues from work (is that supposed to be embarrassing?), and we stuck more or less together and got on the same train (6 train from Brooklyn Bridge, car #1) – but we kinda split in the car and got lost soon into the event.

Little did I know that this would lead to a large group of people sitting around, itching with anticipation, and the subway car had to be the quietest place on earth – as we were directed to not interact. so sitting here, waiting for the doors to close and the train to get underway, you could feel the anticipation in the air, so thick, you could slice it with a knife.

This goes on for a bit, so it’s cut here. Continue, at your own peril! (more…)

It starts now

So today started like most days, and I woke up.

Nothing too spectacular about that particular aspect of the daily ritual, other than the fact that it seems to happen wth some regularity, and to a certain degree of predictability as well..

Lazily lounged around, watched some recorded American Chopper and laughed at the destructiveness of a couple of people that get fairly angry in each other’s proximity. Finally got up and did some morning things.

Went out and got a new mouse that I wanted – nice little thing, and it does the job.

Beat the lunch crowd by a few minutes to the local diner, and got my late brunch, and sat downa nd relaxed for a bit.

Tried to reach a friend on Skype, but I guess the wireless spot I was connected to crapped out on me. Oh well.

So now I’m off to find the Astor Place Hair place – I hear good things about it. I need a hair cut as well as a good shave, so I figure I’ll sit down, close my eyes and let them go to town.

Wish me luck.

Fresh Salt! Get yer Fresh Salt here!

I may have written about this place before, but I’m going to again.

Sunday night, I headed over a couple blocks towards the South Street Seaport, and on the way, there’s this nice little place that’s pretty unobtrusive, a great little neighborhood place.

Fresh Salt is its name, and it has great little neighborhood feel, in an area that has precious little neighborhood feel to it.

Once there, comfortably at the bar, I ordered a beer from Maggie, a lovely young 20-something behind the bar. She was running the iPod playlist with great music, some oldies but goodies, some more modern, and then fell into a complete album of Sweet, which was enjoyed by all.

She had mentioned that her friend Katie would be coming by later, and had requested that Maggie mix her a cocktail, including tequila and grapefruit juice. So she consults Mr. Boston, and comes up with a couple of drinks – neither of which sound all that great.

So after another few minutes of contemplation, I offer up a mix of my own, on the spot creation, as I have been known to do before.

  • 3 parts tequila
  • 1 part Cointreau
  • 3 parts grapefruit juice
  • top off with Sprite/tonic/seltzer (to individual’s sweet tooth level)
  • splash of Grenadine

She made a taster, and liked it enough to make a couple for Katie and Annie when they arrived.

So I met the two ladies, now drinking “The Katie” and they were joined by a couple of other guys, and then I was regaled with not one, not two, but three great stories from the three ladies. One was about Katie’s neighbor – Rick something – and how he’s pretty odd. Then Maggie told us about the time her roommate passed out and locked her out of her own apartment. Finally, to close off the evening, Annie told one about a friend (?) of hers that had crapped his own pants, bought a new pair on the way home, and managed to lose both of them while trying to change pairs in between moving subway cars.

Ah, the memories.

Now, at this point I had probably too much to drink, so I proceeded to close my tab, and stumble off home.

Here’s to next Sunday!

Weigh, Hey & Up She Rises!

So last night I went to see/hear a a band in a bar.

Now, you may ask – “What’s so special about that? Band play in bars all the time!”

Well, this one was a little different.

The band – Scythian – are a lively bunch of young guys from DC, who apparently like to have a good time, while playing a mix of what you’d normally see in a rock band – and what you weren’t expecting, like a couple of fiddles, an accordion and even a ukulele.

They played three consecutive sets (I only stayed for two) and they put a whole lot of energy into the room. At one point, one guy comes down and dances the length of the bar while playing a fiddle. They played a lot of variations on traditional Iris and Scottish tunes – including the ole fave – Drunken Sailor! My cousin and her friend were a little amazed that I actually knew the words, and that I knew more verses than the band played.

The venue for their monthly show – Stout NYC – leaves a bit to be desired. It got VERY crowded very fast, and there’s just not enough room for people to finish a drink and then make it up to the bar and get back to their friends. And I think the sound guy may have had it in for everyone there, as when I left, it took a good twenty minutes to regain some semblance of hearing. So turn it down just a notch! But other then that, it was a great layout for this kind of performance.

The band played on a little balcony above the bar – in full view for almost any angle. They seemed to be having a good time, as did most of the crowd. So it was a good time had by all, and a merry night ’twas indeed.

I’m planning on seeing their next performance in NYC on Oct20th same place, you’re welcome to join me.