• amusement,  nature,  new york,  ocean

    The Ides of May

    It’s been an amazingly full weekend.  On Friday, I started off right by reorganizing my office at work.  I’ve long felt unproductive in there, because my desk was oriented towards the wall, leaving my back to the office.  In order to see what was going on, I had to sit with my feet propped up on another chair (working for a dot com has perks) and ignore my desk completely.  So I turned one of my tables and voila, I can do both, which will undoubtedly help resolve some backaches I’ve been having.

    On Saturday, I took the train into Manhattan to take a professional test.  Having passed that and acquired some new letters after my professional signature, I went over to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.  I made it there five minutes before noon, so snuck in through the gates for free, which was nice.  It was a beautiful day and I snapped a lot of photos.  My best one was of a bee landed on an ornamental onion, but now that I’ve looked at it on a computer, I can see some areas for improving.  So I’m thinking about whether or not to go back this weekend and try again with a little more knowledge.

    Sunday I took my new kayak out for her maiden voyage, which was a great deal of fun until the wind picked up.  It was at this point where being on an inflatable boat wasn’t such a great thing.  I paddled myself over to a beach and was resting (and waiting for the wind to die down) when another kayaker decided I needed rescuing.  It was a little silly, since I could have easily deflated my kayak and walked back to the car from where I was (perhaps 300 feet away from where I’d parked), but I hitched a ride back and had some fun kayak conversation.  I have blisters now, because I stupidly forgot my gloves,  but the freedom of moving around on the water was just amazing.  I think I’m addicted, which is unfortunate, because I’m meant to be training for a bike ride, not a paddling event.

    They do have kayak races in my neighborhood, though…so it might be worth thinking about for next year.  With a hard shell kayak!

  • amusement,  new york

    The 5 Boro Bike Tour

    This weekend, the same day that someone tried to blow up a car in Times Square, I dragged my bike into Manhattan in order to particulate in the Boro Bike tour, which is a 42 mile bike ride though the five boros of New York City.  The ride starts in lower Manhattan, below Wall Street, then goes up 6th Avenue and over the Third Street Bridge into the Bronx.  From there, it’s back into Manhattan to race down to the 59th St/Queensboro bridge to hop over into Queens.  The tour goes through the incredibly Greek Astoria, then it’s onto the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, a truly terrifying highway, into Brooklyn where the bikes hit the streets until they reach the Belt Parkway, which provides a salty breeze and views of the big cargo ships leaving New York harbor and heading out to sea.  Then it’s just a few neighborhood blocks until the riders go up the steep onramp to the Verrazano Bridge, where the tour crosses over into northern Staten Island.  After a stop in which the riders are forced though a ridiculous festival clearly designed by marketing staff, the riders are allowed out, where they bike a couple more miles along the coast to the Staten Island ferry, which shuttles ’em back to Manhattan, at nearly the point where they started out.

    It was awesome.  I wish I hadn’t been too exhausted from actually biking 42 miles to take pictures.  Riding through the neighborhoods of New York was like walking through the memories of my six years here.  And,  being me, I naturally had to careen through the 42 miles at a speed that was far too fast to maintain, so I ran out of steam around mile 30, but forced myself though the last 12 miles anyway.  By mile 42, I never wanted to see a bike again and somehow managed to fall asleep on the Staten Island ferry while holding my bike upright.  Today I’m looking at joining a cycling club.

    Still, my favorite New York moment on the ride came when someone cut me off and clipped my front wheel.  I managed not to go head over handlebars, but I did slide off my pedals onto the ground, so I stopped in the middle of a crowd of bikes.  Somewhere behind me, someone shouted out, “Hey!  You’re supposed to stop on the *side* of the road!”

    Boy, do I love this town.

  • new york,  ocean,  relationships

    The Season

    New York has something called The Season, which I’d never experienced before moving here. It starts on Memorial Day, lasts until Labor Day, and means that you go to the beach as much as possible. You sip teas and take things slower. You go to your timeshare on Fire Island or in the Hamptons or Montauk. You wear white and walk the streets of Manhattan slowly, languorously, browsing sales and famers’ markets.

    You smile a lot more.

    But still, I think the thing I love best about The Season in the town where I live are little things like going out to fancy restaurants and finding that everyone is still in sandals and flip flops, because you just can’t bother to put on socks for any occasion.

    I just adore this time of year.

  • nature,  new york,  ocean

    The Lonely Road

    It’s been a misty sort of day here, which translates into thick fog when I’m near home, since I’m so close to the ocean. We’ve been covered in fog for most of the last week, a very soft fog, the sort that covers you over like a soft blanket. You can see, but perhaps not much further than a block. Standing on the boardwalk, you can only hear the ocean.

    It is the most comforting solitude I could imagine. You are alone, sequestered in fog, but not alone, since someone can be around every corner.

    Tonight my walk home was absolutely lovely, as the fog caught the chirps of the birds that have returned and pushed the sound down and around my head. I wandered through my neighborhood, absently reading a book as I walk, as usual, but comforted by the presence of spring all around me.

  • amusement,  new york

    Photoblog: The Weekend

    These pictures are crappy quality because I took them with my cell phone. However, they wouldn’t exist otherwise, so there.

    First, the one woman who has zero business teaching children about cooking, Ms. Paula “I use butter because I can” Deen, discovered in the book section that caters to dieting at a Bed, Bath and Beyond:

    Second, proof that the Internet is returning English to a Germanic language via the use of word squish – the Beefburger:

    (found at our favorite local diner)

    Unfortunately, there were no nutrition cops around, just Spidey:

    (Okay, so that last one was a few weekends ago. But, y’know. Spidey.)

  • new york,  politics

    The Economy: We’re All Doomed

    I’m not sure if this is national news or not, but here in NYC, we’re seeing two hospital closings in Queens as a result of financial difficulty.

    In addition to the horrors of even fewer medical facilities in Queens (and, having lived in Queens for five years, I sadly have some personal experience with this), the MTA, which is public transportation into, around and out of New York City, has proposed a 23% rate increase . My absolute favorite part of the proposed plan is their intention of doubling prices of transport for the disabled. Because, of course, people who already have to live on public assistance due to disability are just rolling in the money and can really afford the largest percentage rate increase of any of us.

    They are out of their heads. Not only are they proposing the largest rate increase in MTA history, they are also looking to cut back services at the same time. My monthly fare will be increasing by $80, which really hurts, but I also will now have to pay an additional $3.50 per ride to ride the buses by my house, since the two monthly tickets I already buy will no longer cover Long Island bus service.

    Something has gone desperately wrong in the world. How is the recession affecting you?

  • art,  feminism,  new york,  ocean,  relationships,  travel

    Patton Oswalt, Stomp and the Opening Comedian

    red-wineThis weekend was very busy, since I was entertaining a friend that was visiting from out of town. The highlight was seeing Patton Oswalt who is an absolutely brilliant comedian from Sterling, Virginia (Virginia pride, whoo!). You probably wouldn’t like him if crude language offends you, but he has some very smart things to say. It was cool to see him live.

    Less cool was the opening comedian, who referred to all the women in his jokes as bitches, which was particularly depressing since most of the audience responded well to it. Apparently jokes about how completely stupid and useless women are are still in. I’m prefer smart comedy, not just meanness, so he was kind of a boring boor. But a boor with a very happy audience, which made me want to hide my head in the sand for the rest of my life. It made me drink far too much Shiraz, too.

    Fortunately, we went to see Stomp before my hangover, which was pretty cool. The idea behind it is that you can make rhythm from the most ordinary objects. Once you have enough people involved, this becomes really cool. Rhythm is such an essential part of being alive and is absolutely everywhere when you stop to listen for it – in language, in the sounds of our vehicles, in the waves of the ocean. Being able to hear and respond to rhythm is so intrinsic to what makes us such amazing creatures — when we can manage to treat each other with respect, that is.