Dec 31, 2010

Climbing video

My buddy Chris and I did some indoor climbing at Brooklyn Boulders twice this week after many weeks away from the gym. It felt great to be back on the walls and we were both a little surprised at how well we both climbed. We're no experts by any means but we did well for having been away for so long. We're regularly tackling V1+ boulder routes and 5.9 top roping routes. It's great to have the skills to conquer the tougher routes but we have a long way to go. I'm confident that we'll be top roping on our own this summer up in the Gunks. Anyway, here's a video I put together from some footage taken this week. I used a couple of old songs from back in the day that I love. Enjoy.

Dec 27, 2010

Riding in slush

I took a small video clip while riding down to the hospital tonight. When I got home I decided I'd polish it up and post it here so you can see how NYC is doing the day after its blizzard. I've been using my mountain bike to get around instead of the fixed or road bikes and the knobby tires definitely make a big difference. Anyway, enjoy. I'm off to bed. Hitting the climbing gym with my buddy Chris in the morning. Peace.

Snow; I dig it

I went to bed last night with my head at the foot-end of the bed. With the curtains up, I watched the blustering snow whirl around the corner the building while thunder and lightening crackled and flashed through the storm. It was really coming down and I drifted off to sleep imagining how crippled the city would be in the morning.

Turns out; it wasn't that crippled. Sure a lot of places were closed and a lot of cars won't be dug out for a couple of days but everyone was out clearing the side walks. I lent a hand clearing the front of our building; it was great.

When I finished I set off for Fort Tryon Park in hopes of getting to the untouched snow on the east side of the park before anyone else. I was successful. I ran into a few people out in the woods and we talked a bit about how great it was to have the snow. I love living in Manhattan and being able to bury myself in the woods of the parks that we have. Aside from the noise of snow plows scraping along the roads below, it was quite peaceful sitting in the snow high on the steep east side of the Cloisters. Chickadees and cardinals chirped and worked the branches right before my eyes. I sat, connected to and entranced by natures cold condition. Today was awesome. Below are a bunch of random snapshots from my walk through the neighborhood and woods this afternoon.

Below: MTA workers cleared the steps to the A train this morning. Plenty of people were riding the subway.

Below: Fort Tryon was a winter wonderland this morning. I opted to stick to the eastern side of the park, walking through the woods that overlook upper Manhattan (Inwood) down below.

Below: I bumped into one person cross country skiing. We briefly exchanged xc skiing stories and had a few laughs before parting ways.

Below: I thought it was really neat to watch the snow blowing from the roof tops. A southerly wind current was evident as it swept through the valley below.

Below: I was thankful for my ankle gaiters that I picked up at EMS earlier this fall. They worked great keeping snow out of my shoes and keeping my laces free of ice.

Below: A couple of Cardinals worked the bushes for seeds while I sat and watched.

Below: The Hudson River looked bitterly cold today. The wind in the park where I took this picture was quite intense and stung my face. I admired the George Washington Bridge for a few minutes before pushing on to the sledding hill and headed back to phattire headquarters.

Dec 26, 2010

NYC gets dumped on

Finally I have some snow. It's about time! NYC is getting rocked by a blizzard at the moment and I'm loving it. After weeks of arctic temperatures, nostrils sticking together when walking to the train in the morning and ice in my beard I have been rewarded with snow. In my opinion, all of those sub-freezing temperatures are just not worth enduring if I'm not going to, at least, get some flakes. C'mon I've earned em'!

And so today a foot of snow dumped down on the island. And it continues to dump. My windows are almost completely frosted over as I sit here typing. I took advantage of the snow and set out with my camera, exploring Fort Tryon Park next door. There were a lot of kids sledding in the park. Made me miss those days.

I also took the mountain bike for a ride down to the hospital to check on Harold. Lovely weather for a ride. It was tough going but I stopped and let a bunch of air out of my tires to get a fatter (phatter?) foot print and the traction was a lot better. The side walks were a little easier to ride on than the road but the snow was just as deep. Tomorrow the snow continues. I am thinking about building a snow shelter behind my building. Iffin' I do, I'll have to spend the night in it. Full report for sure (IF it happens).

Dec 24, 2010

Let's wrap this up

Life has been crazy lately. My wife's Grandpa underwent triple bypass surgery this past Tuesday. Internal bleeding had the doctors operating on his chest two additional times. Remarkably, Harold is doing wonderfully well now. We have been spending all of our time at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital on 168th Street, keeping him company. He's going to be OK. He's in fantastic shape for a 90 year old.

All of the hospital visits and a handful of other unpleasantness I've recently been dealing with, have drained me of my holiday cheer this year. I'm ready for the holidays to be over already. I've been a bit scatter brained about buying gifts for people and I forgot to buy wrapping paper. So I found myself making a late night run to find some Xmas wrapping paper. I took my Bianchi and rode down Broadway on an Xmas even quest. Luckily, I found a couple of rolls at a bodega. After leaving the bodega I popped into the hospital to say goodnight to Harold and then rode back home.

Now I find myself sitting on the couch staring at the Xmas tree which is pretty much bone dry and dead, despite religiously watering the sad thing. Still, it's better than a fake tree. It smells fantastic. There are no decorations on the tree this year; maybe next year. Just some colored lights. You should see the lobby of my building though; wow. The Super really went all out. It's like walking through Candy Land or something. Anyway, let's just get this Xmas wrapped up. I'm off next week and hopefully I'll be putting in some miles in the woods on frozen earth. We shall see.

Dec 22, 2010

P-40 Model

Kawasaki will be shut down next week. Though I'm sure I'll be working from home a few days during that time, one thing I plan to do is build this balsa plane which arrived in the mail today. I ordered a P-40 from Guillow's. As a kid I built a whole bunch of model airplanes, mostly plastic, but only a couple of balsa models. Balsa is a lot more fun yet more difficult. The structures are similar to actual aircraft with regard to fuselage and airfoils which makes it more interesting to me (as a former aircraft mechanic). After the framework is glued together it gets covered with tissue paper. You want to keep your airframe straight, free from warped & twisted pieces, and sand your glued seams so that your finished model has a smooth streamlined exterior. The smoother it is, the less drag it will have and also better lift, if you intend to actually fly it. This model is powered by rubber band but I don't intend to fly it. This will most likely hang somewhere in my apartment or in my cubicle at work.

When was the last time I built a model airplane? Cripes, I think it was when I was 12 or so. I used to stay up late at night in the basement of my parent's house, listening to oldies and drinking instant coffee. I can remember routinely calling in to the radio station and dedicating songs to girls in my class. Damn I was smooth. I built a lot of models and dedicated a lot of songs. Anyway, I'm sure it will keep me busy, and I'll post some pictures of the progress.


It's been a long while since I've blogged. This holiday season hasn't been the merriest and I haven't much felt like saying anything to the world wide web. Work is incredibly busy and stressful lately, and my wife's Grandpa is in the hospital, recovering from triple bypass surgery as I type this. But, it makes me feel better to get some gibberish out there and so here I am... surfacing for air in the interweb.

Last night Chris and I climbed for a couple of hours at Brooklyn Boulders. It's been months since I've clung to plastic holds and belayed my friend. I have to say, with all of the stress I've been dealing with lately, some physical problem solving was just what I needed. It is truly gratifying to asses a route and execute a simple ascent via strategy, determination and a lot of muscular exertion. We started off slow and easy with a few 5.6 and 5.7 routes and eventually tackled and bested a couple of inverted 5.8's. A tricky 5.8+ seemed to plateau our efforts and we've both vowed to head back next week and champion the tricky route.
After climbing we decided to explore Brooklyn a little bit in search of a great pizza. With sore fingers I poked around the iPhone and brought up Grimaldi's Pizzeria. Rave reviews and an image of steamy delight on their home page sealed the deal, and a short while later we were plowing through an insanely delicious sausage and pepperoni pie. Thin crust, excellent sauce, powerful basil leaves, tasty meats and fresh mozzarella came together to form what I think is the best pizza I've ever eaten. There is something to be said for a coal fueled brick oven pie. That something is “cripes, when are we going back?”.

Dec 14, 2010

Track Safety

This morning at work, my department had it's annual Track Safety Training. Here at Kawasaki Rail Car (KRC) we have a 1/4 mile test track where we test run the cars to check various systems prior to delivery to the Customer (NYCT, & PATH). Emphasis was placed on the 600 volts supplied to the cars through either the catenary wires overhead or the shoes on the car. Working around the cars it's easy to become complacent and brush up against the current collectors or the bugs, I've never come close myself, but there have been some dangerous instances at KRC in the past. The training is interesting though, not as fun as walking through subway tunnels like I did when I was trained by NYCT in Brooklyn. There are a lot of dangers involved with walking through rail yards. Switches can be thrown, power supplied, cars are moving and you have to pay attention to your surroundings. I just wish we could have had our training on a warmer day; it was 22 degrees F and snowing while we walked around the test track.

Merry Christmas folks

Listen to Bing, drink eggnog, be merry my friends; the holiday season is upon us. Thought I'd update my home page accordingly.

Dec 2, 2010

Undergound in DC

I love the DC metro system. It's so simple. It's a very small yet simply laid out network. Unfortunately, as I found out tonight, they do not run 24/7. Below is a quick snapshot I took at Gallery Plaza.