Brooklyn’s floribundas

Now that I’m a Brooklynite, I’m starting to check out what this new borough has to offer, apart from moustache wax and wide-brimmed hats. I took my first ever jaunt to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens near Prospect Park.  Flowers aren’t normally my thing but it was pretty darn pleasant.  The place was divided up into … Continue reading

Strike a Karate Kid pose

I finally tricked some buddies into playing my favourite party game, You Robot.  The premise is simple – the scientist tries to make the robot get their body into a certain position, using only a few cards that show body parts and arrows on them, and the audible word “stop”.  Usually you play it as … Continue reading

Give me apizza pie

I’ve been working in Connecticut recently in the “city” of New Britain.  You heard that correctly, my old comrades from the UK, there’s a New Britain.  You’re old.  The US replaced you with a new one.  That’s what they do.  It’s a rather small and unnoteworthy place compared to the old Britain, but it’s a … Continue reading

Crazy Shake Craze

Everything has to be a craze these days, particularly in NYC.  The latest one that I heard about was Black Tap NYC’s shakes.  I’d been to Black Tap a few years ago, when it was an ordinary, quiet joint with decent burgers and craft beers.  But that was before the crazy shakes. They’re all the … Continue reading

A hoagie by any other name

I recently worked near Philadelphia, in a place called Chuck-Norristown.  The guys I worked with were locally raised and had that excellently rough attitude and accent that you expect of Philly.  They showed me around and made me try some of their local delicacies like: – TastyKakes – Packaged, little angel cakes that are surprisingly … Continue reading

Vanderbilt’s big digs

I was working in North Carolina recently and went to take a gander at Biltmore Estate.  This was the forested grounds and private residence of Mr. Moneybags himself, George Washington Vanderbilt II. Built in 1895, Biltmore is still officially the largest private residence in the USA today.  It was designed as a French Chateaux and … Continue reading

The lost coffee bus

In Asheville, North Carolina, I stumbled onto this old London double decker that had been trapped, surrounded by angry pot plants and made to do terrible things.  Yes, they were using it to serve coffee.  Downstairs is for ordering and upstairs is where you sit and sip.  I don’t even like coffee but I had … Continue reading

Rise of the snowy surfer

I was back in Colorado for a 3rd visit in Jan/Feb, which is peak snow season in a very popular ski resorts region.  Despite owning zero of the necessary gear, I managed to rent everything and enjoy 2 separate weekends in Winter Park and Steamboat. It was glorious.  I rediscovered my childhood snowboarding skills quickly … Continue reading

Barefoot Bowls

You probably thought lawn bowls was for boring, old people in stiff, white clothes.  Nope; not anymore.  Australia has lately gone mad for ‘barefoot bowls’ so I had a go over Xmas. It’s just like a backyard party, where you get to hold a beer in your left hand and a lawn bowl in your … Continue reading

The source of liquid courage

I went to the Budaberg distillery which is in … well … Bundaberg.  Bundy is Australia’s truly distinctive rum.  It’s iconic advertising hook is a large, friendly polar bear (who knows why, but it’s pretty catchy).  If we’re being honest, I don’t think anyone really loves Bundy Rum, but it’s a staple. I don’t like … Continue reading

Helmet diving with Kang & Kodos

Over the Christmas break, I went on a little road trip through Northern Queensland with my sister and niece.  We had a blast stopping for a beer in each new town, sleeping in crappy motels, and peeing on the side of the road. At Port Douglas, we went helmet diving and snorkelling, which was pretty … Continue reading

Round and round the bar we go

On my last night in New Orleans, recently, I heard about the Carousel Bar, which of course I had to try.  There were no zebras or pink elephants on this carousel, just a round bar with a wooden bartop and stools which revolved slowly around the 2 barmen in the center.  I waltzed over, took … Continue reading

Voting in America

Holy crap, the politics here confuses me.  We all hear about the Democrats and Republicans, who seem to be locked in a perpetual Puerto Rican knife fight on a seesaw.  The words democracy and republic are good words with a lot of similarities but somehow they’ve been chosen as opposing labels in this strange land.  … Continue reading

Attack of the killer pumpkins

When I recently heard that there was a pumpkin tossing festival in Denver, I couldn’t resist.  They call it Punkin Chunkin.  Now throwing gourds in the air might sound like a bit of frivolous fun, but it’s a seriously competitive and highly technical competition involving heavy equipment and scientific precision.  There’s regional, national and international … Continue reading

How do you say beer in Japanese?

A few weeks ago, I went to a random brewery after work on a Friday, as I’m wont.  That’s when I bumped into 2 random Japanese guys who were working in Ohio and had come to NYC just for a beer weekend.  Seriously, they came to NYC not to see Lady Liberty and Central Park, … Continue reading

Harald the Dragon

Norway wants to pillage us all again, it seems.  They recently built an authentic-sized viking ship and sailed it over here via Greenland, where they presumably stopped to pick up weapons and raiding supplies.  Their raping and pillaging expedition of the Americas nearly came to an abrupt end when Canada’s beuracratic rules almost halted them … Continue reading

Sprinting for suds

The gun sounded and we were off running.  I’d already placed myself at the very front to avoid the inevitable mob of penguins, but staying there once the race started proved a bit beyond me.  As I quickly ran out of breath and slowed my pace, I started counting the people ahead of me: 19, … Continue reading

Jersey Murals

I was working in Jersey City lately, in the Grove St area and I spotted numerous, intricate, pretty murals everywhere.  I’m not sure why so many people make the effort to create these large murals on different buildings but it really helped spruce up the ‘hood. This was only the 2nd time in 4 years … Continue reading

Fat Val Kilmer goes tubing

I was invited upstate with some friends to try my hand at white water tubing.  It sounded sort of like white water rafting but without the raft, paddles or safety precautions.  More like jumping into a rubber doughnut and letting the river whisk you down the rapids. The TripAdvisor reviews were splendidly polarised.  Half the … Continue reading

Pizza in the far east

I finally got around to visiting Roberta’s, one of New York’s most hip pizza joints.  They’ve won michelin stars and plenty of awards but the thing that had kept me away until now was their location in the far east.  Not Asia; just Bushwick, but as a Manhattanite I can rarely be arsed to journey … Continue reading

The creation of Adam’s beer

When you walk into a random brewery in Denver and see 2 guys just posing like this … Brilliant.

The Bowie package at Red Rocks

Just outside of Denver is a picturesque set of rock formations making large, slanted walls like a stegosaurus’ plates or a waddle of penguins leaning into a brisque wind.  It’s a stunning view from the city, looks even better up close, appears heavenly at dusk, and is mesmerising when accompanied by a giant projection of … Continue reading

Top Dogs of Mt Sanitas

I was working in Colorado recently, which is known for mountains, health, weed, and craft beer.  I spent a weekend in Boulder and got up at 6am to hike Mt Sanitas.  It was quite steep and full of stony steps, and even though I powered past an elderly woman near the start, she caught me … Continue reading

Cards Against The Strand

Bookshops and libraries are for reverant, studious people right?  You’d think so but you’d be wrong.  It’s for horrible people. I found this out when The Strand (famous NYC bookstore) recently hosted a Cards Against Humanity event, sponsored by Coney Island Brewery.  This event was held in their Rare Books room, which is probably usually … Continue reading

Do the Harlem Shake

I finally paid a visit to a funky shake & burger place in Harlem called Harlem Shake.  It’s wonderfully retro and pays homage to black heritage with photos of local folk everywhere. Harlem Shake is also the name of a 2013 dance craze that you have to see to understand. Links below. My favourite Harlem … Continue reading

Old Razzle Dazzle, Ole

My sister and I recently saw Chicago on Broadway.  She was definitely the right person to see it with because we were both already in love with the movie version so we knew all of the words by-heart.  Roxy Hart was clearly a little older than the others but she was impressively vibrant and lithe, … Continue reading

Sofar Sounds

My sister is in NYC right now and we somehow stumbled onto Sofar Sounds.  It’s an event where they list intimate band nights at secret locations around the city.  There’s a strict head-count to keep things small, and you mostly can only get in by online lottery.  Best of all, it’s BYO so everyone brings … Continue reading

Stana the cowboy

My dreams came true recently when I nabbed a ticket to see the Flight of the Conchords at a small show in New York.  They’re a musical duo from New Zealand who perform hilarious songs of various styles with a comedic tone that is distinctly antipodean.  They also created a TV show a few years … Continue reading

The Little Red Lighthouse That Could

A few weeks ago, the Little Red Lighthouse had an open day.  Open Days are a New York thing where they open private buildings to the public to take a squiz inside. The lighthouse itself wasn’t much more than a steel shell with a winding staircase, but it was interesting to hear the history and … Continue reading

Tossing the dough babies

My close acquaintances know not to expect any culinary skills from me other than the ability to open the microwave or unscrew a bottle top.  I’ve probably never cooked a meal in my life except for pizza, which for some strange reason I learned how to make from scratch, by watching Jamie Oliver videos on … Continue reading

Fight at a Missy Higgins concert

Missy Higgins is a folk singer from Australia whose earthy, simple and deep music I enjoy.  She recently came to NYC to play at Rough Trade NYC, which is some kind of huge, hip record store from London with a nice stage out the back that is perfect for an intimate concert. Predictably, half the … Continue reading

Heavy auntie gaming

What are the odds that you meet up with your retired, long-lost auntie and she plays Agricola, one of the most revered, heavy, modern strategy games? Over the course of a few nights, we also played Tzolk’in, Endeavor, Notre Dame, Egezia, and Innovation. Impressive, non?

Office Space prank

I was working with a really friendly team in Baltimore and one of them had to take a few weeks off for hip surgery.  This is how they welcomed him home… His cubicle was filled with 900 balloons, blown up by an army of jokers.  They had to surround the cubicle in plastic sheets to … Continue reading

Annabel Lee

Continuing my Edgar Allan Poe craving of late, I made a journey to the Annabel Lee Tavern in Baltimore.  The tavern itself isn’t historic at all, but the owner is a huge Poe fan.  The decorations were ominously perfect for a spooky pint and a misgiving meatloaf. Poe’s Annabel Lee – http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/annabel-lee/ A neat short … Continue reading

The Twin Towers started here

Colonial Williamsburg (the one in Virginia, not the one with all the moustache wax, skinny jeans and bow ties) copped some flack recently when they streamed historic scenes of America in their Superbowl ad and included footage of the Twin Towers falling down.  People got offended because … well … hmmm … that’s what people like … Continue reading

A wise old owl

While in Baltimore, I visited a fantastic historical bar that used to be a speakeasy, named the Owl Bar.  The entrance was tucked away to the side of the Belvedere Hotel’s foyer, looking like a small coat room with velvet curtains.  Those concealing curtains led into a huge, beautiful room with ornate brickwork, stained glass … Continue reading

Master of Macabre

I’m no literary buff but when I realised that I was near the Edgar Allan Poe house in Richmond, Virginia, I figured I should have a sticky.  I read ‘The Raven’ to myself first to get into the mood of course, because it was the only one of his works that I actually knew (and … Continue reading

Dry as a dead dingo’s donger

Having been raised in tropical heat with a sea breeze, I never understood the concept of dry heat … until just recently.  Phoenix taught me, particularly when I went for my regular, weekend, outdoor run and I barely sweated.  The surrounding desert seems to suck the life out of everything.  I usually associate dry lips … Continue reading

Strangeways

My companion and I visited Richmond, the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia – who knew?! Through some twist of legendary fortitude and fate, we managed to visit 5 breweries in one weekend. The most interesting was, by far, Strangeways Brewing, who brewed a wide body of ales and then proceeded to offer a dizzying … Continue reading

Smuggling budgies in The Big City

My sister and I were standing in a subway car when a girl suddenly took her pants off and stood there in her knickers.  She got off at the next stop and then a man and his small son began doing the same thing before the following stop.  Two stops later, my sister and I … Continue reading

Cthulhu pizza

On New Year’s Eve, I visited old friends in a really old cottage in Biddenden, UK.  We walked the English countryside, played German board games, wore Star Wars onesies, drank Belgian beer, and generally mucked about aplenty.  We also took turns cooking, which gave me the chance to summon the meal that I’d practised once … Continue reading

Small Imperial Shuttle

While I was in Europe with my companion, we headed over to the UK to meet a few of my old friends for some jolly, dapper, English cottage board gaming in Biddenden.  Driving a French car on British roads proved surprisingly easy until the sun set and the country lanes became progressively thinner, with local … Continue reading

Shake It, Shake It Baby

I went to Amsterdam near Christmas and I did my best to try everything, as I’m wont to do – Gouda cheese, stroopwafels, brown cafes, regional beer, Gezellig pubs and most of all the red light district.  I loved Amsterdam’s cheese shops because of their multiple, well-stocked tasting stations throughout their stores where you could … Continue reading

99 Red Balloons

Just before Christmas, I managed to convince 2 friends to go with me to a pop-up, interactive art exhibit without them knowing anything about it.  We had to wake up early and wait in the cold for an hour but all of our doubts subsided as soon as we walked in and saw a room … Continue reading

The French Gentleman

I visited my friend’s family for Christmas again last year, which is in Amiens, northern France.  Prior to one of our many large, mandatory, well-provisioned, family dinners, we were tasked with driving into town to pickup Grandma’s sort-of boyfriend (it’s complicated).  Marcel, the charming chap, invited us to come a little early to have a … Continue reading

Paint and Jrink

My companion and I had never heard of painting and drinking classes, but when we saw one in New Orleans it just made so much sense to put the two together.  It was pretty easy, too.  All we had to do was sit on a chair with 7 other chilled out amateurs and follow the … Continue reading

Bourbon Street shuffle

My friend and I visited New Orleans recently with no expectations and no real plans other than to wander around and try whatever we found.  I tried a peanut butter and bacon burger.  She tried a deep fried Oreo and a chocolate coated Oreo.  What else do you need in life? Our best unexpected moment … Continue reading

Chasing the 46ers

Recently, we had a mid-week holiday and I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to try a visit the Adirondacks.  It’s a beautiful, mountainous area in northern New York State, popular for skiing and hiking.  If you hike all 46 of the “high peaks”, you get to join the 46ers club.  My one problem was that … Continue reading

Slots-A-Fun in Sin City

The Las Vegas strip sure is glitzy, but my companion and I were struck by how flat and empty most of the city looks.  It really does feel like a fake town built right in the middle of the desert.  You can see desert landscapes around every corner and there’s even large blocks of dusty … Continue reading

Scooby Doo burger

I finally had a chance to visit Las Vegas and the first thing on my list was a visit to the infamous Heart Attack Grill.  You may have heard of their Quadruple Bypass Burger, which won the Guinness World Record for the most calorific burger in 2012, weighing in at 1.4 kgs (3 lbs) and … Continue reading

Anything But Standard

Some weeks ago, I made the kind of journey that conjures fear and loathing in every real New Yorker.  No, it wasn’t New Jersey, but it was just as bad – Staten Island.  I didn’t just dip my toe off the ferry either, I went all the way and touched it with both feet.  My … Continue reading

Take my statisticians out to the ball game

I made a pilgrimage to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY recently and it was possibly the most informative, well-presented, decorated and organised museum I’ve yet seen.  Every display was flush with memorabilia, photos, information and stats – many, many, many stats.  The stats were compiled into interesting lists or graphs in a … Continue reading

La House of Ron

When it comes to spirits, I enjoy a rum and coke as much as the next man. Rum is my preferred spirit but I’m far from a connoisseur and I don’t really even like it straight. I’m the kind of guy that probably doesn’t belong in Antigua’s famed House of Rum, but destiny had plans … Continue reading

The Shire has come to Guatemala

About an hour’s drive away from Guatemala’s old capital, Antigua, there is a modest, tranquil vegan bar on the top of a mountain. The views of neighbouring volcanoes are stunning, the drinks sound like Middle Earth, and the front door is round, in the style of little folk. This is Hobbitenango – the perfect place … Continue reading

If the lava don’t getcha the water will

After my folks visited NYC, we all went to Guatemala for a week to chillax by Lago de Atitlan.  You can’t get much more relaxing than a nature hotel on a central American lake that is surrounded by volcanoes. Most of the towns around the lake seemed to have no other way in or out … Continue reading

The little French lady

My folks came to NYC so we did the most touristy thing we could think of and visited the Statue of Liberty.  She seems small when gazing from a boat, but up-close she’s a monster with surprisingly manly toes and facial features.  I loved her flowing robes, which looked so natural that it seemed more … Continue reading

Tassels with a D20 twist

While at the aforementioned DexCon, I signed up to watch a burlesque show. Not just any burlesque show, mind you, this was D20 Burlesque (hint: D20 is a nickname for a 20-sided die, commonly used in super geeky gaming activities). Their shtick is that all of their acts are geek-themed i.e. elves, vampires, robots and … Continue reading

The importance of cookie counting

23 strangers and I entered a wide, dark room and I noticed that 3 tables had been set as though for a dinner for 30 guests. Each of the 30 spots had a circular glow-stick resting on the table and a paper menu standing up within in. The glow sticks were our only light source, … Continue reading

It’s not weird, it’s New York

I was recently walking through the East Village when I saw 3 young, Asian girls posing weirdly in the middle of the street.  Except it’s not weird, it’s New York.  People do whatever they feel like here and, after a while, we all get used to it.  These girls reminded me of an OK Go … Continue reading

Fight like a German

Some friends invited me to try a German Longsword introductory class in the city for $10.  How could I say no?  It was really interesting but thoroughly awkward trying to follow the prescribed forms and positions that we were taught.  The sword was lighter than I’d imagined but that didn’t make it any less weird … Continue reading

Jess and Mikey sitting in a tree

My board gaming buddies, Jess and Mike, got married a few weeks ago. They both love board gaming heaps so this influenced many aspects of the day, without making it look silly. Our seating nametags were little toys with our nicknames attached, the party favours were custom-made dice, and each table’s flower arrangement was in … Continue reading

Ommegosh

A few weeks ago, I took advantage of Albany’s central location and planned a weekend trip around the wider New York state, instead of heading back to NYC for the weekend like normal.  I drove around the famous finger lakes but it was still the end of the crazy long winter, so it wasn’t really … Continue reading

The sprinkler incident

It all began so innocently.  I did some washing in my hotel and hung my clothes all around the room on armrests, lampshades and vertical surfaces.  When I got to my last pair of underpants, I had exhausted every available surface, so I had the clever idea of putting them on a hanger and hooking … Continue reading

Knocking on Harlem’s door

Some friends of friends came to visit NYC a few Sundays ago and they had an urge to see some Harlem Gospel.  Harlem is the neighbourhood in north Manhattan that’s famous for black cultural expressions like jazz and Gospel.  We picked a random Baptist church with a reasonable starting time and cautiously walked up their … Continue reading

The art of the beer dinner

Last month, I attended an artisanal beer night at my favorite pub in the downtown Albany area, City Beer Hall. This pub has an ever-changing selection of interesting beers from around the country so I was keen to see what they would produce for a night like this. They’d arranged the tables to make a … Continue reading

Dear Snow

Dear Snow, I used to enjoy your company so much. You never visited where I grew up so I had to travel for days just to see you. We’d play together with my brothers and I’d jump on top of you and throw you about. As we grew up, we learned to snowboard together and … Continue reading

Jigsaw of Thrones

This is how I spent many, many hours with my family, back home.  We finished in the wee hours of my final morning there and it was totally worth it.  Yes, there are 3 layers – 2 layers of jigsaw and 1 layer of castles.  So good.

To catch an emu

I took my twin’s kids to the local wildlife park, Currumbin Sanctuary, and we had a blast seeing all the natives.  We cuddled a koala and watched them sleepily eat eucalyptus for breakfast.  We fed plates of milky stuff to screeching, messy lorikeets.  We patted lounging kangaroos who were thoroughly uninterested in our affections or … Continue reading

Sunrise at the summit

I spent Xmas back home in Gold Coast, Australia, which was a nice time of catching up with my family and my home town.  I decided to attempt an old challenge and try my luck at Mt Warning, which is a 3100 ft high mountain that’s quite near our mainland’s most easterly point, Byron Bay.  … Continue reading

Golden Gai time

Some of my favourite moments in Tokyo were when I found myself sitting in small bar-restaurants soaking up the local beer, food and culture.  And just to confirm the stereotype, yes these places are full of men in business suits.  After sampling a few in the downtown area, I learned of a fabled little shanty-town … Continue reading

That kabuki moment

I was in Tokyo around Christmas time and I managed to make my way to the famous kabuki-za theatre in Tokyo, despite everyone’s best efforts to get me lost.  (Seriously, don’t trust directions from a Japanese local.)  The entrance was grand and illuminated but I entered through the plain side door where tourists, grannies and … Continue reading

A Turkish delight

I’ve always liked Turkey’s most popular foods – baklava, Turkish delight and kebabs – so it was natural that I would seek them out when I visited old Constantinople. While hunting down these tasty morsels, I saw all the most famous sites – the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofiya, the Grand Bazaar and the Galata Tower … Continue reading

Dead Diggers and long-haired Achaeans

My flight home for Xmas took me over Turkey so I opted to stop in and take a tour of Gallipoli and Troy.  Gallipoli is important to Aussies because the Turks buried a lot of our lads there in WWI.  Troy is important to me because Homer wrote a cool story about burying some Trojans … Continue reading

Albany gets Smacked Down

WWE Smack Down came to Albany so I was compelled to check it out, having previously loved wrestling as a kid, back when Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant were bitter foes.  The last time I saw it was when the NWO was a thing and The Rock was popular, but I’ve completely missed out … Continue reading

Icing the puck

Last month, I got picked up by a random guy in a pub who took me to a local ice hockey game in Albany. The games back in NYC cost a ludicrous $120+ so for a mere $10 I couldn’t say no. It was a minor league game but probably half of the players will … Continue reading

Terror Behind The Walls

While training at my headquarters, I joined some colleagues on an evening trip to Terror Behind The Walls which is a haunted-house-style exhibition at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philly. Yanks take their Halloween seriously and haunted houses are all the rage around October, but this particular one is known as one of the top sites … Continue reading

The Last Ship sailed

Recently, I spotted in a magazine that Sting had written a musical named ‘The Last Ship’ which was opening on Broadway soon.  I sampled his soundtrack on Spotify, which sounds nothing like his popular 80s music, but is instead full of mellow, shipyard ditties in his natural, northern accent.  I fell in love with it … Continue reading

The 3rd best city

I was recently working in Chicago and it really felt like a smaller New York. It has everything NYC has: fancy bars, classy museums, impressive architecture, distinct accent, notorious pizza, unique hotdogs, an old baseball stadium, a bike share system, a lengthy subway and skyscrapers. It has all of this but without the teeming swarms … Continue reading

Backwards pizza

Having recently spent 2 weeks in Chicago, I feel somewhat entitled to comment more deeply on their deep dish pizza. It tried it all kinds of ways: meaty, saucy, veggie, with beer, and with a meat crust. Food fads come and go all over the world, but Chicago’s backwards pizza seems to be a fad … Continue reading

Coney Island Baby

A few weeks ago, I decided to hang out at the closest beach that New Yorkers can reach by the subway, Coney Island (which by the way is false advertising because it’s a peninsula, not an island). I’d visited Coney Island before for special events like the hotdog eating championship, the mermaid parade and roller … Continue reading

Cheese’s Christ

East Village Cheese Shop, in NYC, is famous for its array of ridiculously cheap cheeses and its tacky paper prices covering the front window. It’s cash-only and crammed floor to ceiling with cheese, bread, crackers, olives and many other random party goodies. Apparently they just buy in bulk whatever happens to be cheapest from various … Continue reading

Sugar Tits

Last month, an artist by the name of Karen Walker showed a provocative art exhibition about sugar and slavery in Williamsburg. it was in an old sugar refinery that is due to be torn down soon, so seeing the exhibition was literally a now-or-never moment. I was glad that I did. The humongous sphinx made … Continue reading

The cupcake had bacon

We all know that Americans are mad about bacon. Many earthlings enjoy bacon but being American is all about being big and extreme. You can’t just like something here; you have to love it with all your heart and make a statement about it. You have to put it in a can, buy it in … Continue reading

New York Minute

Although I’ve lived in NYC for 2 years, I’ve never actually worked here because I’m always travelling around the country to visit my customers. My recent customer was in New York City, however, so for the first time ever I was working in my own city. I got to wake up in my own bed, … Continue reading

Cape Cod’s sand scam

Some Yankee friends of mine got married on the beach in Wellfleet, MA, which turned out to be a great place to lure a whole wedding party and let them frolic. For me, this was the perfect opportunity to check out Cape Cod, which I’d heard such nice things about. Indeed, it was very pretty … Continue reading

A landmark theatre

I went with a friend to watch Terry Gilliam’s Brazil at the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre. The movie’s plot was incoherent but this was made up for by the ancient opulence of the theatre which thoroughly astounded me. It looked like the kind of fancy venue that would hold ballets and operas, not plain old … Continue reading

Magic, racist beer

On my recent drive home from Montreal, I made a slight detour so that I could check out the Magic Hat brewery in Vermont. Magic Hat is fairly popular in NYC but I’ve also noticed it on my travels around the country. It’s famous for being decidedly bright and crazy looking, with bold colours, swirly … Continue reading

Beavers and curds in my way

While in Montreal, I made a concerted effort to seek out the stuff that locals eat, which of course is poutine – it was invented in Quebec, after all. I came in thinking that poutine was simply chips and gravy, but this was a gross underestimation. For a start, poutine usually comes with squeaky cheese … Continue reading

Mount Royal Frenchiness

My recent work in Albany, NY, placed me fairly near the Canadian border, so I seized my moment and dashed over to Montreal in search of maples, meese, and French ‘Mericans. Montreal literally means “Mount Royal” and this became quite evident as I drove into the city and saw the large green mount/hill looming behind … Continue reading

Capital of the Empire

My last customer was located in the capital of New York State, which you probably thought was New York City. Wrong! It’s a small city 3 hours north of there called Albany. It’s actually pretty common here in the US that the state capital is not the biggest city and this is true for 33 … Continue reading

The Maven

It’s been almost exactly a year since I last saw a NYC roller derby and it was so good to be back in my local hood, watching my local death wheelers. The bout was just as fierce as I remembered, and the derby virgins that I brought with me were over the moon about the … Continue reading

You Bred Raptors?

Last week, I got to see a local NYC band that I’ve been dying to see. You Bred Raptors? is a 3-man instrumental band that comprises of only percussion, cello and bass. They have a weird fixation on dinosaurs, always perform in a variety of masks, and have a staunch commitment to playing in the … Continue reading

Eye of the Philly

Two weeks ago, I took a weekend trip to Philadelphia, the Pennsylvanian capital of cheesesteaks, hoagies and Rocky. As is my custom, I did my due diligence on the Friday night by watching Rocky so that I’d feel ready for the city on Saturday morning. I then timed my regular Saturday morning run to finish … Continue reading

No Soup Nazi for me

I never realised that the Soup Nazi (from the famed Sienfeld episode) was a real “thing” until I bumped into his shop in NYC, the other day. I did a little research at home to make sure it was legit (and to make sure that I clearly understood the 3 rules of ordering) before I … Continue reading

More snake, less venom

I joined some friends at their house for a gaming day 2 weeks ago, and it also turned it into a beer day, seeing as they had a remarkably diverse beer warehouse just down the road. The variety of styles and tastes from around the country and world was fantastic, but my main focus was … Continue reading

The Witch City

Upon departing Boston recently, I took a half-day visit to Salem, to try and spot some witches. I didn’t see any, but apparently there is a high percentage of certified witches living there today, which must be making the previous Puritan residents turn in their graves. I loved seeing the pilgrim’s hat everywhere on road … Continue reading

Notes from the BSO

I’m not much of a classical music fan but I figured that I should check out the Boston Symphony Orchestra while I was in their home, given that’s it’s one of the best regarded orchestras in the world and one of the US’s “big five”. The programme had 3 pieces: William Vaughan’s Symphony #6 in … Continue reading

Sox & Smoots

I hit another bucket list item last weekend when I visited Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox (yes, noobs, it’s baseball). This is the oldest major league baseball park and a true icon of the sporting world. The teams were all doing pre-season training down in Florida, so I wasn’t able to catch … Continue reading

Red Cadillac

On the back-roads of New Jersey, I found an little gem of a Mexican restaurant/lounge, known as the Red Cadillac. It is named after the stylish car that the owner displays out the front, which provided the inspiration for everything inside the restaurant. The waiters and waitresses wear mechanics’ outfits, the water jugs are jerrycans, … Continue reading

Street Fair Greed

I’d just finished my half-hour weekend run, feeling a little tired and sweaty, when I was unwittingly lured into a random street fair by the kind of sign that makes women shave their heads and fathers sell their daughters – free ice cream. Not just any ice cream, either, but delicious Ben and Jerry’s. It … Continue reading