Sunday, November 9, 2014

November 9, 2014: CANstruction NYC

Every year this is one of my favorite events to attend: It’s CANstruction New York hosted by @ArtsBrookfield and benefiting City Harvest food bank. In this event, various engineering, architectural and other organizations create sculptures made out of cans of food (thus CANstruction). After a period of display to the public, these food items are then donated to City Harvest. Attendees are also encouraged to bring canned and other non-perishable food items for City Harvest. It’s a good cause and the sculptures are frequently amazingly creative, display impressive engineering, and are just plain artistic.

There were 27 sculptures total. A couple of them appeared to have suffered something of a disaster (that is had fallen down). Below the cut I have 11 of my favorites (in addition to awards that I made up that I’d give them if I were the one handing out awards, lol)

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13, 2014: Grand Opening of Lego Store Flatiron

So I was taking a short 'refill-my-coffee-and-check-my-twitter' break and I saw a tweet from @jonnyjlm (aka Jonny Lee Miller who plays Sherlock Holmes on Elementary). T he tweet was a picture of Lego flowers in Madison Square Park.  What’s this?  Lego flowers?  At Madison Square Park?  Well, this is clearly something I need to go see.  So, I grabbed my camera and my MetroCard (my two ‘don’t leave home without them’ items) and headed to MSqPark.

Well, it was so much more than just Lego flowers. It was a whole Lego festival-like-thang, celebrating the grand opening of a new Lego store in the Flatiron district (were the park is located).

At this event they were allowing kids to build ‘bricks’ (out of other bricks (aka Legos)), that would then be used as part of a giant Statue of Liberty made from these bricks of bricks. They also had (in addition to the giant Statue of Liberty) other full-sized Lego statues that were both fun and impressive engineering and design feats. As I wandered around looking at them (as well as the lego sculptures in the store itself), I thought of my nephew who wanted to be a Lego project designer. And I have to say…that would be a pretty cool job! So here’s to my nephew!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

May 31, 2014: Amazing Race Season 25 Kicks Off in Times Square

This post is a little late (by about four months, heh) but after the premiere of Amazing Race aired I loved seeing how they aired it (vs. how I saw it) and had fun going back and looking at the pictures I took.

So, let me flashback. May 31 of this year, a friend told me that The Amazing Race was starting it’s 25th season in Times Square. Generally, this would be an absolute no brainer for me to go see. But the catch? It was starting at 3:00 am. THREE AM.

SO, I went to bed at 7 and set my alarm for 2. I figured if I woke up, I’d go. If the alarm went off and I thought, “oh hail no!” then I wouldn’t go. But when the alarm went off at 2, I popped out of bed and headed to Times Square for another New York adventure!

It was all fun to see (especially now that the show has aired and I know a little bit about the contestants). And Phil Keogan (the host of the show) was fantastic with all the fans after the contestants were sent on their way. Best yet, I got an epic picture with Phil!

It’s Phil!!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

September 18, 2014: People's Climate Change, New York City

Today, Sunday September 21, 2014 in New York City was the People's Climate March calling on the leaders of the world to do something real about climate change.

Of course I participated.

Organizers were hoping I’d be one of 100,000.

Turns out, I was one of an estimated 310,000.

It was quite an experience.

Most memorable moments:
  • Being at the front of the march (as a spectator) when it stepped off at 11:30 am. Lots of cheering. Lots of excitement.
  • Winding my way with thousands of others up Central Park West, looking for a place we could slip into the crowd.
  • Standing at 68th Street for over an hour not moving. Knowing the march had started, and knowing that if we weren’t moving yet, this march was massive.
  • The moment of silent followed by the “Sound the Alarm”. At 12:58 all noise in the crowd stopped and people just raised their hands into the air. It was in honor of all those that had already lost their lives due to the effects of climate change. Then, from uptown, we could hear it. This cacophony. It hadn’t reached us yet but it was coming. Getting closer. Getting louder. Then it overtook us and we were in it and we yell and screamed and I blew my whistle and it gave me chills. Massive chills.
  • The chants of “Show me what democracy looks like!” “This is what democracy looks like!”
  • Passing a group of people in Central Park holding an Earth Vigil. Even as people chanted loudly and banged drums and whooped it up, these people just sat there in silence. Holding vigil.
  • All the kids.
  • All the seniors.
  • The signs. Someday, I want to grow up and be someone who can make clever signs.

Now, people need to go vote in November!

And because this story, this experience, in many ways is simply best told through the visuals of the day, I’ll just post a ton of pictures (click the READ MORE)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

September 18, 2014: Visiting 4 sets along 5th Ave in 2 hours

Because I have been traveling so so much this year, I haven’t been able to take in one of the things I love about New York: visiting television and movie sets and watching them filming… whatever it might be they’re filming.

Yesterday thanks to On Location Vacations I saw that there were no less than four TV productions filming on or near 5th Avenue in Manhattan spanning from 10th Street to 92nd Street. Well, the thought of four productions all on one avenue struck my fancy. It really emphasized the idea that New York, the city itself, really is the largest backlot in the country. I love seeing and following all the brightly colored “To Set” signs. I love seeing the movie chairs with the production name on the back. I love seeing the trailers where the stars hang out when not filming. I love all the random equipment. I love seeing just how they make TV. I do. No shame. :)

So, I decided to visit all four of those sets along 5th Ave. Just… because.

In the end, it was a long walk on an absolutely gorgeous day. I didn’t see any actual filming but I saw a lot of cool behind-the-scenes things that I love seeing almost as much as filming itself (almost), and generally had a wonderful walkabout on the streets of New York. Man, I’ve missed doing that!

So, let’s start. Here’s the location of the sets I was going to visit.


Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15, 2014: #StartWeekending Art Installation at Madison Square Park

A friend of mine, KayKay, who doesn’t even live in NY texted me telling me about this art installation in Madison Square Park… because she knows I adore cool little things in New York. And the text was enough to get me to grab my camera and walk up to the park. And I’m so glad I did!

Now, full disclosure: this art installation is/was sponsored by Visa, but that doesn’t make it less artistic or less meaningful. In this installation, a huge lined chalkboard was set up with the words, “I want to be…” written on it, and any and all passersby were invited to grab a piece of chalk and finish that sentence.

I actually grabbed a seat at a nearby table and just read the various responses and allowed myself to be alternately moved, amused, confused, in agreement, and generally entertained. Some people went deep. Some people went frivolous. Some people dreamed big. Some people dreamed small. But there was, I would say, a huge amount of just plain, honest, human truth on that board.

And yes, I added my own. :)



Sunday, September 14, 2014

September 6. 2014: Reading Rainbow Live with the cast of Battlestar Galactica!!

Several months ago I became aware of a Kickstarter campaign for Reading Rainbow. Its goal was to bring Reading Rainbow back for “every child, everywhere”. Now, I’ll be honest, I’m a Sesame Street / Electric Company / 3-2-1 Contact kid, not a Reading Rainbow kid, but after reading up on the program, it seemed utterly worthwhile. Not to mention it was lead by LeVar Buron (aka Geordi LaForge from Star Trek: TNG) and I’m a huge ol' Trekkie. And THEN when they announced an opportunity to attend a Reading Rainbow Live event with not only LeVar Burton but with the cast of Battlestar Galactica?! I mean, I could help kids learn to love to read AND indulge my geeky heart all at the same time!?

Oh yeah, I was in.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

August 9, 2014: One Day Ride Across Michigan (ODRAM)

A number of years ago, my dad did this ride called ODRAM ( (which stands for One Day Ride Across Michigan). Like the name indicates, it's a bicycle ride across the state of Michigan. Also like the name indicates, you do that ride in one day. From Lake Michigan to Lake Huron. How far is that, you ask? Well, it’s about 150 miles. And yes, one does it in one day.

I decided I wanted to do this ride.

And finally, a couple years ago I got serious about doing it. Sadly, I was in a fairly serious bike accident while on a training ride and due to injuries sustained in the accident (namely, a broken elbow) I wasn’t able to do the ride. The following year I was hampered by a bum knee. But this year… nothing was going to stop me this year.

And yesterday, August 9th, after hundreds of miles across months of training that started with a 16 mile ride in Florida in mid-March and culminated in a hilly Harlem Valley Ride century in New York in late July, I was able to successfully complete the 150 mile trek across my home state of Michigan with my dad. We did the ride in 11 hours 57 minutes, three minutes inside of our 12 hour goal. And this in spite of a pretty significant headwind the entire way! I say that because we set the goal assuming Michigan’s westerly prevailing winds would, well, prevail and give us a tail wind. Alas, they did not prevail, resulting in an (*shakes fist at the air*) easterly wind. So to meet our goal despite that? Well, we were thrilled!

The ride was an amazing experience of camaraderie, long roads (some smooth, some not so much), farmlands, orange arrows guiding our way, Gatorade, perseverance, and fun. Many thanks to those that organized it (they did an amazing job!) and to those that passed us with a friendly word of encouragement along the way. And many thanks to my mom who drove SAG for us!

Now, here is the 150 mile, 12 hour journey in pictures.