Kids on their soapbox

I recently watched the South Slope Soap Box Derby, where kids build and ride gravity-assisted carts down a local street while the masses cheer them on towards their dreams of fortune and fame.  It’s a heartwarming image to think of a father and son hammering pieces of recycled furniture together into a makeshift vehicle that … 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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

Rendez-vous

NYC’s French film festival, Rendez-vous, was on so, following my appreciation of the Jewish film festival recently, I gave it a shot. I watched all the trailers and, just as I expected from the French, all of the movies centered around sex and triangles (not the musical variety). The movie that I chose, Grand Central, … Continue reading

Jewish Flicks

Two weekends ago, I decided to try out the New York Jewish Film Festival at the Lincoln Center. Rather than commit to some random, long, unknown movie, I went to a session of 4 short films. Shorts are more rewarding anyway – they don’t have time and budgets to waste so they stick to the … Continue reading

Holiday Training

Over the Christmas season, NYC occasionally brings back vintage 1930s subway carriages and uses them on one of the normal subway routes. I stumbled upon one, so I jumped aboard to check it out and found that it was very quaint with raw light bulbs, ceiling fans and old school advertisements still up. What a … Continue reading

L5P Halloween

I was back in Atlanta and, as luck would have it, the Little Five Points Halloween parade was on. It’s one of the country’s biggest so I had to check it out. There were some great costumes and floats but my favourite costume was actually the guy standing right next to me in the crowd. … Continue reading

Here be Dragon Con

My nerd credibility took a hit last fortnight when I failed to realise that I was going to Atlanta during Dragon Con. Six of my NYC gaming buddies had travelled all the way solely for the con but I just happened to be there because work sent me to a customer. All the same, it … Continue reading

Fourth Fireworks

On the 4th of July, this was my view over the Hudson of some of the coolest looking fireworks I’ve seen – kind of like little death stars exploding.

Look Mum, No Pants

Last Sunday, I took my pants off and rode the subway for a half-hour or so and walked around a park. Just another Sunday in New York. Why, you ask? The 12th Annual No Pants Subway Ride of course! No Pants is probably the most famous recurring stunt organised by Improv Everywhere, the NYC-based public … Continue reading

Four Jolly Santas

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of bumping into Santa … all four of them. They were chilling in Chinatown on their way to Santacon 2012 – a raucous event where throngs dress up as Santa/helpers and frolick around the city all day. It happens all over the world and apparently NYC is one of … Continue reading

Graham Pfefferkuchenhaus

Apparently the tradition of making gingerbread houses has passed from Germany and is now very popular here in the USA.  Who knew?  So it was with delight that I accepted an invite to join some friends in their sweet construction project.  We didn’t bake real gingerbread, because it’s a bit of a faff, but opted … Continue reading

Fowl language

Thanksgiving is the season when all Americans are united in their common war against the bird, despite just recently being savagely divided over politics. I watched the highly-celebrated Macy’s parade of balloons and floats before attending not 1 but 2 Thanksgiving dinners, which was all the merrier for me. The 1st one, on Thursday, involved … Continue reading

Nosferatu reinvigorated

When I was a teen, I saw Nosferatu (1922 b&w silent film) and hated it. I think I’d just seen Bram Stoker’s Dracula and it paled in comparison. That was a long time ago and prior to my being reintroduced to silent films at the Prince Charles Cinema by Luke (Boris Bike novice and silent … Continue reading

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Brooklyn

A theatre festival was on here and I watched a short musical about 3 ukulele-playing Mormon wives, described as a musical comedy “about the fundamentals of big hair, blind faith, and just how plural a marriage can get.” Yes, it sounds crazy and I quite enjoyed it. Most of it featured the 3 women playing … Continue reading

1 in 64 Trillion

On Wednesday I went to a free improv comedy event in Central Park, which turned out to be really fun.  There was about 8 people and somehow they managed to consistently stay on the same page while changing the props, roles and scenarios. The show was made more enjoyable by the random bumping into of … Continue reading

Free Phil Harmony

Summer in New York is a veritable feast of free activities.  There are all kinds of free concerts, festivals, and movie screenings in addition to all the regular free things like art galleries and museums. On Tuesday I watched a Korean film at the Tribeca Cinema and tonight I saw the NY Philharmonic perform some classical pieces … Continue reading

Horsemen of the Oesophagus

Yesterday was the 4th of July, which is quite a big day for my new compatriots.  I decided to honour it by attending the time-honoured tradition of the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island. The contest goes for only 10 minutes and the goal is simply to eat as many standard hot … Continue reading

Mermaid Parade

Today was Coney Island’s 30th annual Mermaid Parade.  It’s basically an excuse for eccentric people to dress up and make floats to parade down the road amid cheers from the packed sidewalks.  The mermaid theme was applied fairly loosely so I saw everything from sea creatures to pirates and of course plenty of mermaids with … Continue reading

Goose eggs till half

A week ago I went to the baseball to see the New York Mets v Atlanta Braves.  We won.  I almost looked like a real American, with my hotdog and a beer.  It was pretty dull for the 1st half, with mostly goose eggs on the scoreboard, but then they started taking more risks and … Continue reading

NYC Fooled Me

I bumped into a website that mentioned that the 27th annual April Fool’s Day parade was happening this morning.  I’d already missed the Paddy’s Day parade so I wanted to try and catch some other authentic little display of Yank frivolity, and this seemed like the perfect occaision.  I got there early, but soon realised … Continue reading