Thursday, August 1, 2013

Warrior Crawl

It's called Warrior Dash, but for me it was more crawl than dash. Still, we had a blast.

For those who aren't familiar with it, here's a little Warrior Dash video.

It doesn't look that hard, right? It's only a 5k course, and the obstacles look kind of fun. The thing about ours was that it was literally on a ski slope. I'd expected to run the entire thing, but halfway up the first slope of Windham Mountain, most of us started walking. I'm not making excuses, but have you ever tried running up a ski slope? Intense.

 Before I get into the photo album, I should say that I raised $1,975 for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, thanks to the generosity of these fine people who sponsored me in running Warrior Dash. A huge THANK YOU to everyone who donated! Because I raised as much as I did, I got us all access to a special tent with food and drinks where we also had access to private showers. Luxury! And because I was the top fundraiser for one of the weeks, I wont tickets to a Yankees-Red Sox game in October (I think).

Alasdair Clynes

Chris Simonetti

Christian l'Aviance

David Petruzziello

Derek Rock

Fernan Royo

Heather Shaw

Hywell+Danielle xxx

James Donegan

Jason & Caleb - Go Joe!

Jason Styka

Jeff Ragovin

John Bennett

John H

Ken Dougherty

Mark Bentley

Michael Akers

Nicholas Bell

Nicolette Pizzitola

Pablo McCabe

Rob Fuld

Rodney Hakes

Rusty Greene

Stephen Palma

Here's a little mixed media from our trip:

Pumped from the day, Everett immediately wanted to signup for Tough Mudder in October, a 10-12-mile 25-obstacle version of Warrior Dash. Considering I hobbled around with sore ankles and crazy tight shoulders for three days following the race, I thought there'd be no way I could do a Tough Mudder. I mean, look at this video and these training recommendations.

But then a friend told me that he did Tough Mudder without doing any cardio at all beforehand. So I guess I'll do it. Maybe it won't be as hilly as Warrior Dash was? In any case, I'm definitely doing a little cardio beforehand. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Soundtrack to the Fantastic Voyage

I was pretty damn flattered when Mr. Harrell recently asked me to be one of the five New Yorkers. While I’ve given a lot of thought to my first official post, it’s taken me a while to actually do anything about it. 

I’m lazy. And I blame the heat. I’m not talking about that short heat wave that got every NYer wingeing. I’m talking about desert heat. It hit 108 degrees in Dubai today. What does that look like? Picture frizzy hair, squinting (sunglasses are too fogged up), and nodding off at every opportunity.

Plus it’s Ramadan. I have the utmost respect and admiration for all my dear fasting Muslim friends, but it’s a bit of a challenging time for us non-Muslims in the UAE. While it’s not our holy time, we still can’t eat or drink in public places during the day. So you can choose to be dehydrated and hungry or stuck in your apartment. Sigh.

We spent most of last summer here and we said “never again”. But a few paperwork issues and a busy work slate have put me in the same place once again. With the other half off fishing in Africa (no words can describe the level of jealousy), I’ve been left to fend for myself over here. And all I want to do is sleep on the couch.

Just me and my furry friend surviving the heat
I really shouldn’t be complaining because in some sense all this indoor time has been great for the soul. And that’s something I’ve been missing. While Dubai is a very lively place, it doesn’t have the natural energy of NY, where all you have to do is walk around the corner to be smacked by something interesting – a great song, an important article, a fascinating neighbour, a poster for a must-see film.  Back at home I’d feel completely irrelevant if I hadn’t read the latest issue of The New Yorker. Here they start to pile up in a dusty corner (and that’s when I can find them on the newsstand to begin with). Desperate for new music, you might even find yourself downloading Selena Gomez songs. (Yes, that happened.)

Unless you are content to remain in your Top40 oblivion, you must do a lot of digging and be really proactive. And this quiet indoor time has given me that chance. Hopefully these few weeks will help me refuel and refresh – everyone needs an injection of inspiration from time to time.

But I really miss NY’s collective energy and I’m always looking for ways to recreate it here. To that end, I’m starting a little experiment during the month of August. I’m asking cyber friends to help me create a mix to inspire this hot month. The theme is “fantastic voyage”, looking at the intersection between introspection and adventure.

I’ll get us started with a song. Then I’m asking everyone to send me their suggestions. Songs can be anything – lyrical, instrumental, old, new – just try to veer away from anything mainstream on the radio today. Every day I’ll choose a song from all the suggestions and by the end of the month we’ll have a lovely little mix of 31 tunes to take us into the start of Autumn.

The first song is Andrew Bird’s “Lull”.  Give the extended version a little listen and looksee here

Please send me your suggestions and ideas. Just post a comment here or visit me on Facebook. I’m so excited to hear some new tunes and share a mix with all of you.

Now. Back to the couch. Yawn.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Busy Artist in Bushwick

My friend Christopher Stout is busy. And he's an artist. With a studio in Bushwick. Therefore, he's a busy artist in Bushwick.

Here's a picture of him.

Christopher Stout
Christopher at His Studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn
In addition to being an artist, he's an organizer. He's the founder of the Bushwick Art Crit Group (BAGC)

When he started BAGC, he talked about it as if I knew what an art crit group was. Now I do. In his words, BAGC is "...a networking and creative development community that seeks to give Bushwick artists a nurturing place to share about their work, and to receive feedback on work for which they’d like to hear creative opinions. In addition, BACG seeks to provide the gallery and curatorial communities direct access to connect with engaging Bushwick artists in an organic setting."

I recently went to see some of his work in a group show at 287 Spring Gallery in TriBeCa. 

It was a great show called Just Panic and Get it Over With in which participating artists chose a song from the album of the same name (by Derek Nicoletto) and made pieces in their respective styles,  inspired by the song . Christopher and a few other artists chose the song "Kings Are We". (You can listen to it at the bottom of this post.) 

This is Christopher's: 

And up close:

Super close:

Here are the other artists':
Kings Are We by Krys Fox

Kings Are We by Aaron Barr

Kings Are We by Luke Kurtis

Kings Are We by Thomas Elmlund

Kings Are We by Crash Hottman

Kings Are We by Brad Ouellette

And here's the song that inspired these pieces:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Transvestite Puerto Rican Cooking Show Host in Jackson Heights

Say "hello" to my new hero: Soraya Sobreidad. "I teach individuals how to cook healthy Latin food.", she says. And she does it dressed in drag on YouTube. Amazing.

Soraya is one of the Latino Americans of NY and NJ, a new project in development at WNET.

From our new site for the project: "More than four million Latino Americans call the New York and New Jersey region home. Alongside the landmark PBS series 'Latino Americans' premiering in the fall of 2013, we are collecting the stories of Latino Americans of New York and New Jersey."

Are you a Latino American in NY or NJ? If so, why don't you share your story on the site? You can upload of video or just type a few words about "you, your family, culture, history, traditions, favorite meal or any part of your Latino identity."

Not a Latino American in NY or NJ? Check out Soraya's and others' stories.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Average Rent of an Apartment in NYC is $3,017 Per Month

According to this Gawker article (Gawker=the most trusted source for real estate statistics, of course), the average rent of an apartment in New York City is $3,017 per month.

That's all. Nothing more to say on it. 

Penn Station Is the Pits, and a New One Is Long Overdue

Contrast the experience of walking through Grand Central with that of walking through Penn Station, and I can't help but feel a respect for the importance of architecture. Grand Central lifts me up while Penn Station brings me down. Grand Central gives me that rush that reminds me I'm living in one of the greatest cities in the world. Penn Station makes me sweat and wonder why anyone would want to subject themselves to city life.

Here's a great video produced by The Municipal Art Society of New York that captures what every New Yorker whom I know thinks: Penn Station is the pits, and a new one is long overdue.

A few quotes from the video:

"You're immediately leaving all of the vibrancy and life of New York City and just descending into this pit."
Joshua David, Co-Founder, Friends of the Highline

"I think people just want to get out of Penn Station as quick as possible."
Penn Station Passer-By

"I hate coming here."
Penn Station Passer-By

"It needs to become a civic space, a space that's a gift to New Yorkers and to people who visit New York."
Charles Renfro, Partner, Diller, Scofidio + Renfro

And here are a few Tweets found at #NewPenn:

One I can totally relate to:

Monday, July 8, 2013

Soul Cycle for Homeless People

I've heard that there's a new Citibikes problem where people are using them as stationary bikes while the bikes are in the racks. Hey, why not? Free exercise, and it's outdoors. If anyone actually sees this happening, will you send me a picture of it?

This, however, is taking it to a new level. I can't tell if this is making fun of Soul Cycle, yet another place for New Yorkers to spend lots of money in an attempt to look as good as their neighbors (think Equinox, Barry's Bootcamp, etc.), exercise, body-consciousness or all of the above. In any case, this guy is silly and fun--especially the self-deprecating bit about getting a chiseled body. Thanks, Danielle, for bringing it to my attention. 

Only in New York, folks. Only in New York.