Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

To all the dads out there in the interwebs, I hope you had a fantastic day. You're awesome.

My dad is an avid train lover, as you may know from his blog or if you've been to his house, you've seen the train room, which is exactly that: an entire room just for his trains. It's pretty amazing.

So I decided to reach back to my inner kid, and create a card specifically for him:

Awesome, huh?

And we also bought him some parsley to put in his garden. We figured that parsley is easy to add to anything Italian, so they should be able to use it.


So yeah, it was a fun afternoon. Great food, really relaxed, and perfect weather. We sat and chatted outside for a while, long after dinner was done.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lazy Saturday

We went to see our friends get married down in the City today, and we ate SO MUCH food at the reception that we wrote off all other plans and came home to lounge around the apartment. And it's only a matter of time before Youtube comes on and we start watching Ellen videos, which then lead us all over the web. Here's a few of our favorite videos from today. Enjoy:



This is the coolest magic trick I have ever seen. I cannot even begin to figure out how he did this. If you have any insights or ideas on how this is even remotely possible, throw 'em in the comments.


You can stop it at 1:41 if you want. The whip one is meh.

This song is Uh. May. Zing:



If you watch Youtube, go to Kurt's page and check him out. He's such an amazing producer and film maker (he edited the video above!) and all around talented guy. We want to be his friend. And we think the three of them should tour and come to New York.

And finally, if you haven't seen Ellen scare Taylor Swift, it's pretty great:



Hope you enjoyed our lazy Saturday afternoon. How was your day?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Newark is Helpful

Isa and I drove down to Newark to pick up my parents from their trip to the UK, and it's a good thing their flight was a little late, because we took several wrong turns and got hopelessly lost in the airport.

At one point, when we stopped seeing signs for terminals/highways/exits/anything we might want to head toward, and everything around us disappeared and turned into a graveyard of rarely used planes and forgotten equipment, we knew we were definitely not going the right way. It was at that very moment that we saw a fantasticly helpful sign:


As in why on earth are you all the way the heck out here?

No map. No number to call. No radio station to tune to. No information at all. Just a subtle slap in the face and a welcome to Jersey.

We love Newark. /sarcasm

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Year (and a half) of Marriage

About a year ago, Isa and I met with friends in Central Park for our wedding reception.


We got married on December 28, 2009 with a handful of close family and friends, but we knew how expensive and difficult it is to come to New York in the middle of Christmas and New Year's, so we waited to have our reception until it was more convenient (and less expensive) for everybody. The date was set for June 5, just under six months later.

It was a beautiful (hot!) day, and lots of our friends and family were able to come out and play with us.


Isa's friend Angie made us a wonderful three-layer cake.


Chocolate, Vanilla, and a top layer of Red Velvet.
Part of that top layer has been hanging out in the back corner of our freezer for a year now, and as tradition has it, we're supposed to eat it for our one year anniversary. But it was frozen, so we set it on the counter to thaw. And when it thawed, it didn't look so good any more (I've always been kinda skeptical about eating year-old anything anyways, right?).


And since we weren't sure about eating it, we just left it on the counter. A week passed by with it just sitting out, and now we're SURE we can't eat it.

So we bought a replacement wedding cake: Oreo Ice Cream cake...


...which could possibly be the best cake on earth.


So props to us for making it through a year (and a half) of marriage! Yay!

Monday, June 13, 2011

NYC Roads Will Eat You

This is in the middle of the road right next to our apartment.


Yeah, that thing could practically swallow a mini cooper whole. And if somehow a piece of it got through, its little brother would eat the rest of you 30 feet later.


And that is reason number 26,307 that I take the subway. There are never potholes on the tracks. Unless you're at Dekalb Ave. I'm pretty sure there are a few holes in that station (see train derailments here, here, and even back in 1985. Enough trains have derailed at Dekalb Ave, there's even a punk song about it).

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bag that Tree

I saw this on my lunch break the other day:


And I would have cut it down, but I was afraid it was a Jewish tree, and I didn't want to be charged with a hate crime.

*This only makes sense if you're a 30 Rock fan. Which I am. And so I love this post. :)
(Watch this at 4:40 for a little clarity if you're completely confused.)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hotter than Hansel

Hansel is so hot right now. But New York is hotter.

Remember that feeling in the winter when it’s freezing cold outside and it feels so good to climb into a warm bed and wrap yourself with blankets head to toe and you seal off the edges so no cold air can get in and you just smile because you’re finally warm? I walked outside for lunch today and I was immediately enveloped by warmth and it felt just like that.

You see, the a/c in our office is set to arctic chill. One of my coworkers was wearing a scarf today. So when I stepped outside into the welcoming blanket of warmth that is New York City humidity, I smiled and just breathed it all in. And for a second I thought to myself that summer’s not going to be that bad. I love this feeling.

And then the warmth sunk deep into my bones. That full warmth that heats your insides, like downing a bowl of chicken noodle soup when it’s blizzarding outside but you don’t care because you’re cozy all wrapped up in your blanket sitting on the floor next to the fireplace.

But then somebody covers you with an extra comforter and three quilts and they throw some hand warmers into your underwear, and you start to think, ok, this might be getting a little too warm. Borderline uncomfortably warm. You start to sweat and you try to shed some layers but you can't. You're trapped in the sweltering heat. You're starting to get the idea of how hot it was today, but you're not quite there yet.

Then your big ol' pile of suffocating blankets catches fire, and instead of lounging next to the fireplace you decide to climb right in. That's about how hot it was today.


For those of you who don't live in a humid location, the actual temperature is irrelevant. It's the RealFeel or "Feels Like" temperature that you watch. Because 54% humidity (that's what it was this afternoon when I took this picture) makes the heat stick to you whether you're in direct sunlight or the shade. And it magnifies the heat and feels much worse than it is. There's no escaping it. Until my lunch hour is up and I go back to my 23rd floor winter wonderland of an office.

Sitka Boating (Favorite Memory)

August 2009 was a good month for us. Isa and I were falling ever deeper in love. We took a few days off from work in Juneau to go play in Sitka with Mike (Isa's dad). We went boating and hiking.


And I asked Mike for his blessing to marry his only daughter.


Isa doesn't like boating because she gets seasick. But she was a good sport and came out anyway. And Mike and I bonded and fished and caught salmon faster than they do on tv shows. And I caught the biggest salmon Mike had ever seen. And I lost it. And it broke my heart. :(

We took the boat out to Sea Lion Cove, to an uninhabited island - scratch that - uninhabited by people island.

recent bear tracks
We hung out on the beach for a while and I raced Dawson to the far side of the beach.

Isa, Dawson, and Mike 

Then we hiked around for a while, me looking for bears and Isa, the trained tracker, looking for "bear scat." Yum. We hiked along the beach and forded a river to confuse the bears following our scent. (Why else does one ford a river?) (Did I use that word right? "Forded" sounds weird.)


Our quest to track the bears proved fruitless, but our photo shoot afterwards was a huge success.

Trying to pull off an "American Gothic" fisherman parody.
All in all it was a fun trip and one of our favorite memories from the before part of our relationship.



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Never Wash your Hands with Superglue

This seems like one of those lessons I should have learned years ago.


I took that picture today. After I had washed my hands 37 times and taken two showers. I even used Gojo. Twice. I've never seen that stuff fail before. That stuff could clean the subway tracks at 125th Street. Yeah.

So, in our ongoing battle with our ninja mice, we got some foam caulk to fill the holes in the walls that they escape through.



It goes in as a foam, and looks and feels remarkably like shaving cream. Then a few minutes later, it solidifies and you can cut away the excess. It seems pretty harmless. Who would have thunk the main ingredient in this concoction is superglue? Not me. I did not read the can. I also didn't read that you're not supposed to let it come in contact with your skin. Because bad things happen. I spread it along the crack in the wall with my pointer finger. This one.


And then I tried to wash it off. But it's immune to water. It just spread to my other hand and palms, thumbs, and every finger except my pinkies. Apparently I don't wash my pinkies when I wash my hands. Who knew? But thank goodness, because I could use them when I had to change out of my work clothes. Which turned out to be pretty difficult. You try taking off your pants using only your pinky fingers. It's tricky.

So, if you think putting foam caulk on your fingers and then peeling it off would be as much fun as peeling off Elmer's glue or wax, you'd be wrong.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Baseball in the Bronx

If you take perfect spring weather (which we've had for a week now) and combine it with perfectly groomed, beautiful baseball fields...

If I wasn't sure I'd get arrested, I'd hop that fence in a heartbeat.
...(which we're not allowed to play on yet - not until Fall), you get an irresistible urge to play ball. So Isa bought some baseballs to go with the gloves that have been sitting in our closet, and we played baseball with our cub scouts this afternoon. Yay!

One of them didn't know how to throw overhand. And I'm so proud of myself, because I taught him. I showed him out to lead with his elbow, follow through with his forearm, and then flick his wrist at the end. I showed him out to hold the ball and how to stand/step forward. And he was awesome! Before long, he was throwing 30+ feet on target! And this one moment made me confident that I'm going to be an awesome Dad. Somehow, I fell like if I know I can teach my kid how to throw a baseball, everything else will be just fine.

But wait, there's more! We headed up to Franz Sigel Park, which is just up next to the courthouse, and Isa and I threw the ball around some more.


It's amazingly difficult to take a picture and catch the ball at the same time. I'm glad Isa didn't aim at me because I would have still been looking at the camera when it hit me in the chest.


Isa took several pictures of me catching, and in not one of them am I looking at the ball. My eyes were trained on the camera the whole time. So much for keeping your eye on the ball.


Isa, however, kept her eye on the ball the whole time. Because she's awesome.



I can't wait for Heritage Field to open up so we can play there. Although the fields look great, they won't let the public in until they finish the comfort station and all the facilities and pathways around the park. Here's a video of Heritage Field from the downtown 4 train:

video

Friday, June 3, 2011

A New York Minute

Seriously, people need to just do things faster.


Johnny Carson defined a New York minute as, "the time it takes from when the lights turn green, till the guy behind you starts honking his horn." Which is sometimes faster than a trained Olympian can jump off the starting blocks.

I don't want you to get the wrong impression of me. I'm a really patient person. I think I got that way from perpetually picking the slowest line at the grocery store/McDonald's/toll booths/any possible line I can get in. I've also been pretty good at entertaining myself, or just becoming completely oblivious to the world around me, so minutes and hours can go by and I'm just off in my own little surreality the whole time, so waiting doesn't really bother me.

Except sometimes it does: when my New Yorker core comes out and glares and scowls and doesn't understand how people can possibly be that slow. And for a split second, I'm completely, inexplicably, terribly impatient and seriously consider running them over.

Here are a few things that people need to do faster, or at least wait until nobody is around to do them.
  • Learn how to swipe your MetroCard. Memorize this picture.
    Not so coincidentally, the faster you swipe it, the more likely it is to work. And also, if you don't have your MetroCard in your hand, positioned correctly, ready to go through the turnstile, get out of the way of those who do. Move to the side until you're ready, then go through in one fluid motion. Do not stop in front of the turnstile. Ever.
  • Walk faster. Even if you don't know where you're going, pick a direction and commit. If you're going to walk slow/take pictures/look at buildings/read a map, move to the side and stop moving. In one of my favorite articles about New Yorkers, a writer from Atlanta observed, "the rushing crowd around me seemed better able to handle an immobile object than a slow-moving one." This is absolutely true.
See? Fast moving people can easily navigate stationary objects.
  • Know what you want from the ATM before you get to the ATM. Most ATM's have shortcuts. Use them. For example, I insert my card, punch in my pin, and hit $20 from checking/no receipt. I get my money and walk away. Start to finish, I'm there about 30 seconds. I don't mind standing in line at the bank unless I see people staring blankly at the screen, or taking a minute to make a choice? Blargh!
Side Story: Yesterday, the middle-aged guy in front of me at the ATM seemed absolutely baffled by the machine. He kept hitting buttons and at one point, everything turned Chinese. I thought, 'Well I didn't expect that from a white guy.' He stared at the screen for a minute and then looked at the person at the ATM next to him and said, "What the f***? I can't read f***ing Chinese!"
  • Ordering food. More particularly, when there's only one or two choices on the menu. For example, at 2 Bros Pizza, you don't even need to say anything. Just hold up two fingers. This will get you 2 slices of cheese. You give them $2 and be on your way. It's really not hard. It boggles my mind that people get up to the front and don't know what they want. Really? Cheese or pepperoni?
So yeah. Certain things need to be done in a New York minute. Which, by the way, is not a phrase that New Yorkers use. It actually sounds weird to me. But you get the idea.  Do simple tasks quickly. Is that too much to ask?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

We Like to Eat: Lucky's Famous Burgers

Don't tell Shake Shack that we're cheating on them.

Thanks to Groupon, Isa and I went down to the Lucky's on 23rd Street. We tried a month ago, but it was too busy and we ended up going to Dallas BBQ across the street instead (also very good). Lucky's is really fun - the inside is super colorful and bright, and (my favorite part) they were playing the Yankee game on the flatscreens throughout the store.

Today was a little less busy, to say the least.
I got the Famous Cheddar Burger and Isa had the Mini Cheddars. She thinks they're better than In-N-Out, to which I whole-heartedly disagree, but they are tasty. And the crinkle-cut fries were fantastic. Isa tried their "Lucky Special Sauce" with her fries and she loved it (I'm too cowardly to try anything but ketchup).


As yummy as the burgers and fries were, we were not quite prepared for the deliciousness that is their "Famous Chocolate Chip Cookie Shake." Holy wow! Like, good enough to steal from a baby without a second thought good. My taste buds haven't had that much fun since they were in Thailand. MMMmmm, Thai food. :)

But overall, our hearts (and stomachs) are still true to Shake Shack.

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