I’ve been recently looking at many of my pictures as I keep working on perfecting my Travelogue section of this site. Lately I’ve been meandering in my Paris pics from the 2007 trip I took with Susan and Jeff and I just can’t help but want to go back there right now! It’s such a beautiful city and the fun and food you can have there while taking in the beauty is so wonderful. Anyway, this ad is simply stunning.
I have been going through a steady and slow process of converting my old site’s HTML pages into WordPress entries because it makes things much easier to search and the ability to display photos with the Shashin plugin is fantastically more user-friendly and the photos can be seen in their full glory. You have no idea how much work I’d put in to minimize the size of all my photos to be “web-friendly” as back in the day, I was working under disk space usage thresholds and considerations for those on dial-up connections. I’ve been blogging for a while. 🙂 Anyway, I’m at the point in my life around late 2007 when I’d just recently arrived to New York/New Jersey. Stumbled upon my first pic I took in Central Park and I just fucking love it. Makes me miss the place immensely:
Up front, I admit I don’t have any real good tales to tell, and let’s be honest here, does anyone here actually read what I’ve got to say? Now that Facebook and Twitter dominate the scene, anything beyond a few sentences elicits a tl;dr almost immediately from anyone. Regardless, I can’t help it and will write up a storm anyway.
Lots of pics to get through, so let’s not dilly-dally, alright? I’m going to go in reverse chronological order for this, as frankly, the new stuff is stuff I’ll remember better. As I was updating my local picture cache, I was shocked at how much actually has happened since last I posted here! I also realize that I have quite a bit of work in uploading all the stuff from my old site still. I’ve been working backwards there too, and I think I’m at 2005 now. I was looking for my Berlin pics recently and found I hadn’t put them up yet. Travesty!
Mid-Century Living Room…Complete! Dec 20, 2012
Well, even if we managed to put some art up on the wall the day before the apocalypse, it was worth it. Completely worth it. Just because it took us 2 years to do it…so what? Larry & I have been toying with what to do with this giant living room wall the entire time we’ve lived here and finally, finally, it was done. Larry seized upon some children’s book travelogues that had some very cool artwork of different cities throughout the world – we chose the author’s Rome, Paris, San Francisco and NYC books and Larry got these images. The final result is AWESOME. Also, you may notice that we also added a nice new recliner/ottoman to the mix too. Yep, that’s an authentic Eames chair. It’s Amazing. Capital A Amazing.
We had gone to Room & Board a few weeks back after I finally realized I wanted to get a “real” chair and not a knock-off as we had been contemplating. The knock-offs just were clearly inferior. On Thanksgiving I had noticed that Room & Board was having a sale on Herman Miller furniture, which is much appreciated even if the sale price is still a LOT. But hey, we now have a true piece of designer furniture. Comfortable designer furniture at that too. Yay.
Room & Board Visit on Nov 25, 2012
Back to NYC, Day 1 – Nov 12, 2012
Alright, let’s now fly back to shortly after my birthday. I headed back to NYC for work (mainly for the CCWorld convention which ended up being quite useless) for a week and Larry came along with me. He was able to work at Strategy Farm so it wasn’t as if he was bored, that’s for sure. It was great to go back and see my team as well as the rest of my boss’ group, not to mention a chance to see Larry’s family. Thanks, NBC! Also it’s always great to visit the city. Love that place. Miss it still, but having wonderful space to live in LA isn’t easy to push off to the side. So here are my pics from the trip back east.
I had a window seat on the flight back, and awesomely enough, the route followed I-15 to Las Vegas, then I-70 to Denver, effectively retracing much of my steps when I drove to Colorado Springs. Felt a little like going home. We ended up getting back to NYC in the evening around 7pm, then took a black car to the Sanctuary Hotel, which is ridiculously convenient to 30 Rock, as the hotel is right on 47th St near 6th Ave. Awesome.
Back to NYC, Day 2 – Nov 13, 2012
The Sanctuary Hotel has a rooftop bar of its own. It’s ridiculously expensive. The gimmick is cool though and the views are nice, although I’m sure it’s a bit nicer when it’s not covered in plastic. But for the time of year, without the plastic, it would be effing cold. Yet the fact they charge automatic gratuity on a party of one or two is a bit silly, and the prices are high, even for NYC. I’m happy to schlep somewhere else for drinks, that’s for sure. But we made it there at least once.
Back to NYC, Day 3 – Nov 14, 2012
No trip back to NYC for me & Larry is complete without at least attempting to go to Blue Smoke for dinner. Sweet Jesus, their mac&cheese is other-worldly. I took so many pictures of Larry not because I love him so much, but in my drunken state, I could have SWORN that Anne Hathaway was sitting behind him. In the light of sobriety, I see I was wrong.
Back to NYC, Day 4 – Nov 15, 2012
This night, we met up with friends in NYC down in the Murray Hill/Turtle Bay area for some Chinese food. On my way there from Rockefeller Center, I took some pictures of 30 Rock. Then I went to Grand Central to see the new Apple Store. Of course I went there after work when it’s rush hour. Probably not my best move, as it was super packed with people. There’s nothing like it though that’s for sure.
Back to NYC, Day 5 – Nov 16, 2012
Ah, Friday nights in the city. I had been dying to hang out with some coworkers from NBC, Alison & Jessica (now of AMC Networks), for the longest time. Even when I lived in NYC, we had meant to hang out but never did. So we rectified that situation. We first met up and had dinner at the funnest Mexican food place in Hell’s Kitchen, Arriba Arriba. Le sigh. Love LOVE that place. The food is pretty good but what really makes this place worth it is all the HOTNESS in room. You see, the waiters are almost all uniformly hot. Charming, and hot. It’s wonderful. Our waiter was probably one of the cutest/hottest we’ve ever had too. So there’s that. Also, their margaritas are fantastic, and of course, I knocked back a few. Michancy would be proud. The music in the place is almost always crowd-pleasing and ensures a fun party atmosphere. Wonderful place. Oh, so to backtrack a bit, we first had to wait at the bar for a while, during which time Alison & Jessica met up with us. We finally got a table with a hot waiter, got suitably blitzed on food and drink, then made our way to a new(ish) gay bar in Hell’s Kitchen called Flaming Saddles. Yep, that’s its name. As you’d expect, it’s a gay country-western bar. And it’s awesome. The pics below are from the sexy bartenders dancing on the bar. Turns out I understand the allure of Coyote Ugly after all. I just needed ridiculously attractive men up there, not women. Who knew?
Back to NYC, Day 6 – Nov 17, 2012
On our last full day on the East Coast, we spent the day with Larry’s family, specifically taking the time to go to New Jersey where his sister and brother-in-law, Alyssa & John, now live and where they’re raising their daughter, Stacy. We got the grand tour of their new home and it was amazing, especially considering that they had an already swank place in Hoboken. But Hoboken money translates into even more amazingness when you go further away from the city. It was crazy to also see how much Stacy had grown even in just the few months we last saw her. I had started the day a bit hungover from the previous night’s excitement, but as the day wore on, I was able to recover and enjoy alcohol yet again. We also watched the UCLA v USC football game (UCLA won, bitches!) while there and then went out for sushi with John & Alyssa. It was a great way to spend a Saturday.
Oh yeah, also seeing these pics again, I forgot that Larry & I had the chance to walk from our hotel uptown through the UWS, passing by where we once lived. My name is still on the buzzpanel. Miss that place a bit, but yeah, I think I like having plenty of space. It was a beautiful day for walking around, that’s for sure.
Did I say I was gonna go reverse-chronological? Anyway, during Thanksgiving, our great friend Michancy came down to spend it with us. Yay! Always a blast to drink and laugh with her. She came with us to my stister Stacie’s house for Thanksgiving, along with of course my mom and Harv. My mom ended up giving us a frozen turkey too, which we still need to do something with. That’s a huge amount of our freezer that’s occupied now. Cool story about going out to dinner with Michancy the Friday after T-Day: we went to Lares, our favorite Mexican food place in Santa Monica so far, and while dining, Michancy casually mentions that at the big table, John Slattery is eating there. Holy shit, Roger Sterling from Mad Men is right there! It was pretty cool to see him as well as the fact that he was properly shitfaced. NICE.
Wednesday, Nov 21, 2012
Thanksgiving – Nov 22, 2012
Friday, Nov 23, 2012
We Put Up Our Christmas Tree
Not much to say except that it was the right weekend to put up our (fake) Christmas Tree. Yay!
Sunday, Dec 2, 2012
Who Loves 5Ks?
I don’t want to jinx things, but working out steadily and safely while also adding running into the mix has resulted in my back not being a total fucking bastard. Knock on wood. So I’ve been entering some of the races that Larry has been doing too. Our first one was a repeat from the one we both did last year, the “Say No to Drugs 5K” held on the Universal Backlot. Last year, I had to walk it as I was still in the throes of my sciatica being miserable. This year, I was able to run it….well, mostly. There’s a part at the end as you return to the starting point where it’s ALL uphill. Had to walk after a point. Oh well. Still did it. The following weekend, there was a Christmas Run held just a few blocks from our house along the Santa Monica/Venice shore. Quite a bit of holiday spirit by the participants, that’s for sure! (quite a bit of hotness there too….)
Say No to Drugs 5K, Sunday, December 2, 2012
Here’s my results:
Overall Place: 282/753 | 37.5%
Chip Time: 34:08.5
Age Group: M 35-39
Age Group Place: 16/31 | 51.6%
Christmas Run 5K, Saturday, December 8, 2012
Here’s my results:
Overall Place: 649/1704
Chip Time: 29:39.3
Age Group: M 35-39
Age Group Place: 59/88
Male Place: 357/614
And finally….my last set of pictures. Whew!
Ugly Sweater Christmas Party
A coworker and friend at NBCU threw an Ugly Sweater Christmas Party at her and her boyfriend’s downtown LA loft this past weekend. It was a lot of fun, although I must confess I don’t really remember much of it past a certain point of time. That time = when I got close-to-blackout drunk. Oof. I’ll rewind a bit though. First, Larry & I had to go get an ugly sweater, as our wardrobe collection is always refined and always in good taste. 🙂 We ended up finding some good stuff at Urban Outfitters, although of course it wasn’t cheap. Fashion never is, though. My drinking started in earnest there, as we were at the Santa Monica Third Street Promenade and after shopping, had to stop at La Sandia and have a few margaritas. That night, we then headed to DTLA early so we could grab some dinner in the city. Many of the trendiest places had no reservations and rather than chancing waiting, we found availability at Wokcano, a few blocks from the party. We also wore our ugly sweaters proudly, which definitely garnered a few bemused looks. While dining, I heavily partook in hot sake. Yummm. Finally, headed over to the party. It was great to see this loft, as it was very spacious although it was truly a loft as the only doors were found for the bathrooms. I’ve been very fascinated with one day living in DTLA just because it has a lot of similarities to NYC life. One big difference though is that at night, DTLA still gets quite empty compared to NYC. Anyway, lots of fun was had at the party, at least that’s what I’ve been told. I think I had quite a few whiskey and cokes, made by others so who knows what the proportions were. Happily, the next day I really wasn’t all that hungover. One good vomit and I was good! TMI? Eh, too bad.
Party Time! Saturday, December 15, 2012
I’ve been at NBCUniversal (formerly NBC Universal – yeah, there’s a difference) now for 5 years, as of yesterday. It’s kind of stunning that it’s been five years. I won’t pretend to say that the time flew by. It really hasn’t. These 5 years have felt like 5 years, so for me, it’s not that it flew by, but that so much has happened.
Just over 5 years ago, I had separated from the US Air Force. It was a happy time for me, honestly. I had become more and more discouraged with where my career was going, especially when it seemed that I couldn’t escape supervisors and commanders that I had very little respect for. It’s hard to focus some of that back on to myself, but it needs to be said. When you constantly get the same problem – perhaps the problem is me. I freely admit that I was good at some aspects of being an officer and lacking in others. Faced with this being my future in the Air Force combined with the seemingly unending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, I was in misery. When that Voluntary Separation Pay offer came up, it was a no-brainer. Buh-bye. Especially once I had been hired by NBC and was set to move to New York City.
My life while working at NBC Universal was and is an amazing experience. I’ve managed to luck my way into a dream organization, with a great boss and a mission to create new systems and software in a hectic yet effective pace. The people I’ve met have changed me. Living in NYC was a dream come true. I got to start dating for the first time in my life and eventually met Larry, the love I never knew I was missing. I’ve moved almost as much as I did in the military, amusingly, from Colorado to New Jersey to Manhattan and then back to Los Angeles/Santa Monica. I’ve worked with some impressive people and I’ve been put through a lot of stressful challenges, and for the most part, I think I’ve managed to not only survive but emerge stronger. I don’t know if I’ll be with NBCU for another 5 years, but I wouldn’t regret it if I did.
So here I am – about to turn 36 in just over a month. Very excited to see what happens in the next 5 years. If it’s anything like these past 5, it’s sure to be an adventure!
This past weekend was a whirlwind of travel and excitement, as I flew out on a red-eye flight on Friday night from LAX to Newark. Why? Because Larry’s mom, Fran, was getting married to Joel! Couldn’t miss that, now could I? It proved to be exhausting as well, as red-eye flights mixed with time-zone changes and a bit of too much drinking don’t add up to too much sleep. Totally worth it though as not only did I get to see this wedding, I got to see Larry again. He won’t be back in LA till the end of the month and while I might be able to get back there again this month, it’s not a definite thing.
On Saturday, after getting picked up at Newark by Joel and Larry, it was still too early to go the W Hoboken where we were all staying, so went back to Fran and Joel’s place where I ended up napping a bit. We headed to Hoboken in the early afternoon and checked in, working with the hotel clerk to not only ensure the rooms were ready but finagling some improved lodging. Even Larry & I got a bit of an upgrade with a sweet 9th floor view of lower Manhattan. Anyway, grabbed a few drinks at the bar with Fran and then went for a walk in Hoboken. It was hot there. Very muggy and made me miss Santa Monica’s wonderful climate, although the heat definitely followed me back. That night we had a group dinner as well with those who came in that night (almost a rehearsal dinner, but this was not a formal affair by any means), followed by a nice walk back to the hotel in a much nicer temperature. Here are the pics from that first day:
Saturday, August 4, 2012
The wedding itself was actually on Sunday and was being held in a fancy public room at the Maxwell Place condos which is where Jon and Alyssa live. Fran & Joel had toyed with other venues but when they saw the view that this room had, it was a no-brainer to have the wedding there. You can see for yourself in the pics below. It was a great ceremony with the children (Larry, Alyssa, Heather & Jackie) holding up the huppah and a wonderful cantor who spoke beautifully and sang very powerfully. After the ceremony, the kids each spoke to the newly married couple, and then there was a great photo slideshow of the memories made thus far. It was a very nice way to have a wedding, to be honest. Not overly formal but also still very memorable. After the ceremony, we all went to the fabulous restaurant that is a favorite of the group called Anthony David’s. It’s a favorite for a reason as the food is spectacular. It was also very plentiful as it was literally a surprise to me (probably because I was very very buzzed from all the wine we were drinking, on top of the champagne from the wedding – I know, I know, mixing is bad, mmmkay) when a third course of food came out. Totally forgot I ordered that! It was a blast though as I got a chance to talk and catch up with Larry’s cousins, including Brad & Tina (and their great kids Jake and Zach) and Jamie (who lives the amazingly unreal NY lifestyle. Hate him. ;-p). There’s a certain point that night though where I entered DrunkTown, and some of the pics I truly don’t remember taking. Oh well. Yay for parties! Jon and Alyssa did a fantastic job with planning this whole thing out and big props to them. Also, the Greenberg ice cream cake was unreal. Some things are just better in NY. What do you do when you’ve been eating and drinking all day and night? Drink some more! So we had a drink or two back at the W Hoboken bar, encountering some interesting locals in the process. Good times!!!!
Sunday, August 5, 2012 (Wedding Day!)
That final day I was there, Monday, was basically a psuedo-recovery day, although I wouldn’t really say I recovered much. Like I mentioned, drinking a lot and jet lag do not add up to rest. That final day everyone basically left and went home, so Larry & I got a chance to hang out just the two of us. I was flying out that evening and heading into NYC wasn’t really a feasible thing so we ended up going to the movies (Total Recall), eating a late lunch/early dinner at Baumgarts (a Chinese food restaurant), and finally heading to Newark with Larry driving us on the perilous NJ highway system to drop me off. It was sad to go but it had been a really great visit. Ridiculously brief, but very eventful and memorable. Hope to head back soon! Here are some random pics from that last day.