22 September 2011

Time for a new start...

Well, my friends... I know it's been a while since I've posted. I've hesitated starting blogging here again, since, well, I am no longer in the big city!

As such, it only seemed appropriate to start another blog elsewhere. Big life changes and I'm starting many things anew.... care to join me for the journey?

Here's my new site... looking forward to seeing you there: http://bethaleen.blogspot.com/

14 April 2011

Isn't that dangerous?

. (Digging out some old blog material I never published. This one's from January, 2007)

Last night, after working a particularly grueling 13-hour day and anticipating an early call and stressful morning today, I arrived home at about 8:30pm, totally wired. It was too late to go to karate and I was too cabin crazy to stay in and do a workout video. (Plus, I try to do my embarrassing workout videos during the day, when the naked gay couple across the street are less likely to stare at me while I gyrate in bizarre motions alone in my living room.)

So last night, I decided to go for a run. Overlooking for a moment the fact that it was 'snowing' (I use that term loosely since it was mostly ice chunks and rain), and that it was about 36 degrees outside, I'd been cooped up in an overheated office with overheated workmates for too long and needed to vent some energy and get some air, even if it was frozen air. I live in midtown Manhattan, on the East Side - what's considered a very safe neighborhood (or, as safe as it can be with millions of people literally living on top of one another).

The few times that I've actually run in my neighborhood, I prefer to run north on Park Avenue because of the wide sidewalks (that are well-kept) and minimal pedestrian traffic. Third Avenue is more convenient, but the pedestrian density in front of the popular after-work bars is often challenging to navigate, and the twisting and dodging risks a broken ankle or full-body impact with someone who's had too many beers. Ew. Lexington has the shops and tourists who believe that walking down the street with their eyes closed is a good idea. And riding the subway to Central Park to run at night is just dumb.

I also have it worked out that 20 blocks is approximately a mile, so I can also easily keep track of how far I've gone. And overall, Park Ave. is a pretty good route that is only plagued with some slight inclines around 68th street - but it only lasts about two or three blocks.

Of course, the last few times I've had the bizarre urge to go running, I went during the day. This was the first time I was going to jog at night, and honestly, I thought nothing about it. Until I called the elevator. When I got in, I asked the doorman if he could hold on to my key, because I was going running. And I told him my route - go up Park Ave, and then come back down Park Ave. At least this way, someone will know where I am, right? (See? I'm not totally clueless.)

To this commentary, my doorman looked me up and down (in my uber-baggy ripped sweatpants, lint-laden hoodie, bad-hair-inducing wool cap, and super-cozy and super-unstylish mittens) and said to me worriedly "Do you think that's safe?"... and then, before I could reply, he shook his head and said, "Oh, never mind. You'll be fine. You take karate."

I take karate. And therefore it's okay for me to be on Park Avenue alone on a Tuesday at 8:30pm in my sweatpants with uber-ugly hat hair. And if I didn't take karate, would it be unacceptable? It's a compliment, I think, for people to be watching out for you and telling you to be careful... and that they worry enough about you to warn you of what they think may be unsafe situations. But the interaction got me thinking... what if I didn't take karate? Would I therefore be unsafe? More or less at risk?

I kept track of who I passed along the way. There was a fine selection of upper-East-side fare, including the puttering mini-grannies with their matching mini-dogs; the dapper couples out for a stroll after dinner in long furs and clippy-clop high heels; groups of businessmen finishing up post-work networking cocktails, walking in long-wool-dress-coat herds towards a subway or Grand Central to tardily join in the commute; a few boxed-up homeless folks that were sleeping in stair alcoves in front of churches. So far no one who deserved any karate-chopping.

I did pass two other runners, and we nodded at one another, acknowledging that a) we were committed to our health, and b) we were stupid idiots to be running in the freezing rain. The only people that actually said anything directly to me were the more-than-a-few doormen standing bundled in front of East Side high-rises and hotels who told me to "go for it" or asked me "who are you racing?" One guy in front of the Bentley car display window asked - as I passed - if I could buy him a car. (I told him I'd forgotten my wallet.)

But heck, there aren't even any bars on Park Avenue for drunkards to come out of and bother people. It's just not that kind of Avenue.

But after running for a few dozen blocks, I couldn't help but realize that if someone came up behind me with their mind set on clocking me over the back of the head with a tire iron, no amount of karate training could possibly do anything about it. After all, if I'm unconscious on the pavement at 72nd street and Park Ave., karate isn't going to do much to help me out. Perhaps there would be a few puzzled faces at my funeral saying things like "It's too bad they never taught her any moves when it came to people attacking her from behind with a tire iron on Park Avenue" or speaking in low tones saying, "Which karate studio did she go to? I hope her family gets a refund...")

But this really comes down to my observations about 'safety' in New York City. Sure, there are some truly stupid things to do, like taking out your wallet and counting your twenties on the subway at 3am. Or picking a fight with a man who is muttering nonsensical profanities on a street corner. Or trying to jump a taxi line by going 1/2 a block further up from the person that's been trying to flag a cab for 15 minutes. Now those are the ways to get hurt in NYC.

(Not that I want to seem insensitive to those who do get into trouble, like the woman who was raped in her apartment last week. I am certainly aware of these things as a single woman in New York, and I think here, one is more cautious purely out of habit. After all, when someone approaches you on the street in New York City and says "How are you today?", the first reaction is "What do you want, and why did you pick me, and if I ignore you will you go away? And if not, I can claim self defense, you know." If this happened in pretty much any other part of the country, the response would more likely be, "Fine, how are you?" It's just the way the city works.)

But the true threat comes from the taxis running yellow lights, and potholes that can suck you and your ankles down faster than quicksand in the Amazon basin, and the buses who apparently think that pedestrians have point-values in some twisted video game. There are the few people who try to "get out of your way" by dodging right into your path, or the tourists who stop short in front of you to do some window shopping.

Running at night as rather satisfying, knowing that you're ending your day with something healthy, and allowing yourself to vent out the frustrations of the day by sweating a little bit. I found the whole experience rather soothing, to be honest.

All in all, the most terrifying part of my evening run was when one woman at a corner nearly poked my eye out... with her umbrella. But there was nary a tire iron to be found... and I was looking.

On a plus side of the training regimen, adding a bit of paranoia and fear to your running routine does up your pace a little.

17 February 2011

Rep. Chris Lee In A 3-Hour Flash Scandal

Rep. Chris Lee In A 3-Hour Flash Scandal

By Beth Ameen, February 11, 2011 8:23 pm
Guest post for Jazz Guns Apple Pie

Representative Chris Lee (R-N.Y.) resigned from the House of Representatives this week following an email flirtation with a woman he met after responding to an ad in the “Women Seeking Men” section of Craigslist. Sadly for him, the woman also knows how to use Google to look up people’s names, and how to send emails to Gawker.

And while it’s remarkable what 24 hours can do to damage the life of a politician with high libido, low impulse control and a camera phone, I want to – instead – look at one particular sentence that the Washington Post wrote in their article covering the incident:

“The familiar cycles of a Washington sex scandal were compressed into a blur of tweets and news alerts.”

This sentence is remarkable to me in so many ways. Take the first part: “The familiar cycles of a Washington sex scandal…” Can you feel the fatigue in that sentence? The implied “here we go again” sigh? The list of scandals pepper the headlines of the past: The obvious Clinton-Lewinsky saga, Newt Gingrich’s affair with aide Callista Bisek, Elliot Spitzer’s foray into, well, whatever it was. And just recently, new allegations about Speaker John Boehner having multiple affairs (reported by The Enquirer, but possibly coming closer to being printed in a more reputable news source soon.)

But even the San Francisco Chronicle’s online version of Lee’s recent misbehaviors asks of the many scandals, “Is anyone keeping count?” The answer is, yes. We are. The same way we keep track of celebs who are dragged to rehab time after time. There’s an equal mixture of distain and train-wreck-curiosity that simultaneously makes us want more juicy details (Are there more photos? More women?) while also claiming we’re above it all.

Let’s also take the second part of the Post’s sentence: “…compressed into a blur of tweets and news alerts.” Within hours, the man’s dalliances were posted on thousands of websites, and tweeted relentlessly (not without some humor, mind you: “cellphone camera is the worst thing to happen to men with bad impulse control”). The story broke at noon, and by 3pm, he had resigned. That is astounding to me. Pre-Internet news, this would have taken weeks to formulate and resolve itself. Now, a man’s career is over in 3 hours (barring any further revelations, which I have an inkling might be lurking somewhere in Rep. Lee’s email box.)

So, as another politician’s sex scandal flashes through the headlines, this time it’s not the weeks-long-affair (no pun intended) of news days gone by. Within hours, it’s published, denied and verified. Capitulations are made, leading to the astoundingly rapid resignation of a rising politician. The news cycle gets faster and faster, thanks to emailed photos, online news distribution, fast-forward Twittering, email tracking, Google, and Gawker. This was the 3-hour flash scandal. Do I hear 3 minutes?

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t over. The former Rep. Lee will definitely write a book, possibly get a divorce, and may even be offered a talk show on a cable news network depending on his level of charisma. He may even make his lie come true and become – as he stated in his emails – a lobbyist.

Then again, maybe it’s better if he just disappears. The statement on his website,“I have made profound mistakes,” leaves me – and undoubtedly a thousand tabloid reporters – asking one question: Why is the word “mistakes” plural?

You can follow Beth on her blog and on Twitter.

19 November 2010

Suburban warfare - it begins

I just moved to the suburbs two months ago, and I am already planning the first war with the neighbors.

Apparently in suburbia, when you rake your leaves, you put them in big brown bags and then place them near the road for the city to pick up during designated days. My new house is lucky - I have woods in the back so that I can dump them there without bagging. Yay!

The neighbors aren't so lucky. Boo. So they filled up about 10-15 huge bags and then proceeded to leave them for pickup... on OUR lawn. Not just touching the border, but on the grass. Now, I'm not a suburban expert yet, but I know this much: This is Not. Cool. Border disputes can cause serious casualties. Just ask Europe or Asia.

This current infarction comes after months of (illegally) parking in front of (and sometimes on) our lawn instead of in their driveway, so we already dislike them and may - I admit - be a bit biased towards them.

As such, I have devised several potential options for handling the leaf-bag situation. Please feel free to vote or write in alternate candidates if you feel so moved:

1. Asking them nicely to move their trash off our lawn (ugh, that's SO yawn. I live in NYC - I prefer the passive-aggressive approach. Or just the aggressive one.)

2. Returning the leaves to their original positions...spread out in a nice, even layer all over their lawn. This is most effective if done the night before the town's pickup schedule date. (Downside: time consuming and would have to be done in wee hours of the night.)

3. Stacking the bags around or on top of their illegally parked cars, sandbag-style, so they have to move them to get into or drive their cars. (I like this one best so far.)

4. Moving the bags in front of their house's doors so they are blockaded in. (Fire hazard, but not sure I care.)

5. Stuffing tailpipes of said cars with tightly-packed, wet wads of said leaves. (Might be too subtle, and unreliable results may nix this one.)

6. Krazy-glue leaves all over said cars (very effective, but may have unwanted legal ramifications).

Hmmm... now that I think about it, this may be how the whole Hatfield/McCoy thing started...I am not sure, but I would sympathize with them if it was.

10 November 2010

Sweater shopping FAIL

I went shopping for a sweater today. what a stupid experience. I saw a sweater in the window that I really liked. I'm not often an impulsive buyer, so I have seen it there for a few weeks, and today I decided to buy it.

I went inside, searched, and was unable to find it in the vast array of clothing racks... so I asked a salesperson for some assistance...

me: hi! do you see that sweater in the window?
her: yes.
me: do you have any of those i can try on? I can't seem to find them in the store.
her: let me check. (she checks) looks like we're out of those.
me: oh, bummer. how about the one in the window? what size is that?
her: medium.
me: oh! can i buy that one?
her: no.
me: um. why not?
her: it's in the window.
me: can you take it out of the window?
her: we take it out when the windows are changed.
me: but it's right there... i can touch it. it's not hard to get to.
her: no. you can't have it. it's in the window.
me: so... you have a sweater, in stock, that i want to buy... but you're refusing to sell it to me? i just want to get that straight...
her: um... well... it's in the window...
me: you realize that makes no sense, right?
her: it's in the window....
me: nevermind. goodbye....

You know, I never really liked that sweater anyway. So there.

02 November 2010

On this election day...

Yes, I voted. No, I'm not crazy.

And in honor of this this amazing right that I have to vote in my country, I would like to bring you some of the best signs that were displayed at the "Rally to Restore Sanity" on Oct. 20th. (thanks to Huffington Post)

08 July 2010

Drowning doesn't look like drowning

This is reposted without permission from the following site: http://mariovittone.com/2010/05/154/

Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

by Mario on May 18, 2010

The new captain jumped from the cockpit, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the owners who were swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine, what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. ”Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not ten feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, “Daddy!”

How did this captain know, from fifty feet away, what the father couldn’t recognize from just ten? Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television. If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s all of us) then you should make sure that you and your crew knows what to look for whenever people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” she hadn’t made a sound. As a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, I wasn’t surprised at all by this story. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for, is rarely seen in real life.

The Instinctive Drowning Response – so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC). Drowning does not look like drowning – Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene Magazine, described the instinctive drowning response like this:

  1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.
(Source: On Scene Magazine: Fall 2006)

This doesn’t mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble – they are experiencing aquatic distress. Not always present before the instinctive drowning response, aquatic distress doesn’t last long – but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in their own rescue. They can grab lifelines, throw rings, etc.

Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water:
  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs – Vertical
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Ladder climb, rarely out of the water.
So if a crew member falls overboard and every looks O.K. – don’t be too sure. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them: “Are you alright?” If they can answer at all – they probably are. If they return a blank stare – you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them. And parents: children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.

29 April 2010

NPR on the train

I note of advice to everyone - don't combine NPR and a train ride. Here's why:

I was listening to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" (the podcast) on my iPod last week. For those of you who don't know, it's a comedic game show of sorts, which airs on NPR. It features various columnists and other news junkie celebrities talking about the events of the past week. It's hysterically funny in a nerdy, NPR-geek kind of way - think Jon Stewart only without all of the words requiring bleeps.

It's a funny, funny, show. And I laugh at it regularly. Sometimes, I even laugh out loud, but usually it's a chuckle and I try to restrain myself from making too many overt snorts.

During some portions of the shows, they have call-in contestants - listeners who answer questions about what was in the news in the last week. Sometimes, it's obvious stuff. Sometimes, it's not.

During one call-in segment, I was listening to someone who didn't know the answer to the question...and he should have known! (I would tell you what the questions / answers were, but then you'd inevitably label me a news snob. I'm okay with the label of "news junkie", but "news snob" is too much.) He had three questions, and got all of them wrong. It was heartbreakingly sad - if you call a news show, you should at least watch a little news that week. During the final question, when he said he didn't know, I was fed up with him, and sighed, rolled my eyes, and I flung a general look of exasperation.

Usually, I laugh at the show, and fellow riders either move away from me (thinking I'm out of my mind) or chuckle at me (realizing I'm laughing at something I'm listening to.)

However, on this particular occasion, as I was rolling my eyes and making a distinct look of much disgust (at the caller), a perfectly nice gentleman was taking the seat next to me. As such perfect timing goes in these types of situations, he caught the full brunt of my eye-roll at the exact moment that he was sitting, and incorrectly assumed that I was passing judgement on himself for sitting!

Realizing this faux-pas, I laughed out loud (now he thinks I'm nuts) and took my ear buds out. I apologized immediately, and explained to him that I was listening to a radio show, and my look of disgust was definitely NOT meant to be flung willy nilly only to land in his direction! He laughed and said "Wow, thank goodness. I almost took that personally!"

The sum result is that a) I don't have a poker face. Never have. Never will. b) It's a dangerous combination, riding the train and listening to a comedy show at the same time. People might think that you're crazier than you really are.

15 April 2010

Online obsessions

Okay, I'll admit, I'm a Facebook fanatic. I'm not too crazy with the farms or fish, but I love the little voyeuristic peek into people's lives, and staying in touch with the people I love... it's awesome.

But I have a few other online distractions that maybe aren't as socially accepted as Facebook. So I thought I'd share some of the latest ones with you... none of these are obscene, so don't worry about that. Well, unless you count some foods as obscene... but I digress...

Chris Kimball's Blog:
Most of you know my obsession with Cook's Illustrated(and if you've never heard of it, trust me - it's awesome. Every recipe is perfect, directions are flawless, and it's totally unbiased. Love it!) The blog is even better - recipes, anecdotes, equipment reviews, tales from the test kitchen... this place is heaven, and Chris... well, he's just one truly awesome dude.

Stuff I Ate
Continuing the foodie theme, my most awesome friend & co-worker Lori has set up the Stuff I Ate blog, a great collection of insider NYC food tips, and some recipes that blow your mind, categorized under titles like "Recession recipes" and "Comfort Food". Her recipe for kale chips is to DIE for - and I hate kale! She also has the exact same camera that I do, and yet she can take photos of food that make your mouth water, while mine make food look like I pulled it out of the dumpster outside. Lori, I bow to your foodie-ness, and your food-photo abilities! (pass the kale.)

On the flip side, if you're looking for inspiration to stick to your diet, here's your new favorite site: This is why you're fat. It's pictures, submitted by fans of the site, of the most fattening, horrifying, calorie-and-fat-laden foods available all over the country. Dishes like the Flatline Burger (Double bacon cheeseburger with peanut butter deep fried and served with two sides of chipotle mayo), Cheetos coated in strawberry glaze, and The Chimmy-Dean (a pork sausage wrapped in a flour tortilla and deep fried, topped with maple syrup, bacon pieces and cool whip.) Yep, that's definitely why you're fat. It even includes a link to my next favorite food obsession:

The world of marshmallow Peeps meets the world of sushi... to create, Peepshi. The "rice" is Rice Krispy Treats, the "fish" is Peeps, the decor is... I'm not sure, maybe strawberry licorice? I don't know but it's kinda strange and cool looking. I wouldn't eat it... but it might blow up nicely in a microwave.

LOLdogs and LOLcats
Hysterically cute, sappily captioned amateur photos of dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens. It's almost as bad as Daily Squee for over-the-top, girlie, gooey cuteness that most males will avoid like the plague. Only go here if you are a) ready to admit you like cheezy cute sites, and b) not embarrassed by cheezy cute sites. Even the people who make comments use their own funny "LOLspeak" language. Awesome? Ur doin it rite.

Rules of the roads

There's been quite a dramatic shift in the traffic patterns of NYC in the last year, and I have to say, it's really throwing me off kilter.

I can deal with the 4-wheel traffic - the uneasy relationship between pedestrians and cars/trucks has struck a kind of agreement in the last oh, 50 years of psychotic driving in NYC. Cars agree not to run over me when I'm crossing the street, I agree to (mostly) avoid crossing the street completely against the lights. Even jaywalking is acceptable, as long as the block before you is stopped at a light, and the only oncoming traffic is that turning onto your street. (Those of you that live here, you get what I'm saying.)

Very rarely do pedestrians and vehicles clash openly, unless a) there's a tourist (driving) who believes that they have the right of way when turning (you don't), or b) there's a tourist who tries to jaywalk (Hint: Don't. It takes years to perfect.)

The issue I'm starting to have is with 2-wheeled vehicles. Bikes - I'm talkin' to you.

I've seen a bike take out a pedestrian walking (with a "Walk" sign) in Central Park. And when I say "take out", I mean blood dripping from a head wound and broken bones. Not cool. I will admit that some pedestrians are rather thick when it comes to crossing the street, but dear bicyclists, a red light means "stop" for you, too. I don't care if you're training for a race, timing your laps around the park, or wearing minuscule matching spandex - God gave you brakes, use them when the light is red. If you do that, I will happily take full blame when you hit me at full force when I try to stupidly walk across the path in front of you while you're sailing downhill in Central Park.

The uneasy relationship breaks down further on the new bike paths around the city roads (i.e. Broadway).

NYC pedestrians are trained to observe light patterns, walk sign patterns (I know exactly at what point in the blinking "Don't Walk" phase I can make it, and when I can't.) But now, on Broadway and other streets, there's a new bike lane, with it's own set of lights! Retraining us concrete-brained pedestrians to unlearn the habits of crossing the streets is difficult...and dangerous.

I apologize to the several bicyclists that I didn't see and stepped out in front of. I'll admit it - I deserved those choice words you shouted at me. And that Evil Eye that I gave you was purely a knee-jerk reaction that I give to everyone - nothing personal.

But at the same time, most of the time, the bikes don't stop at red lights anyway, and come barrelling down those bike lanes with the wrath of God behind them. Once, I even heard a lady shouting "Get out of the way!" at the top of her lungs as she ran her bike lane's red light. Her red light was even shaped like a bicycle. It's a light for illiterates. Did her brakes burn out, like those runaway trucks on highways? I doubt it. Here's a hint - if you hit me, it'll hurt both of us, no matter how loudly you're yelling. Slow down (especially when you're legally required to do so) and we'll both be happier.

It's going to take a while, and now that the MTA is cutting off subway lines, I'm hoping that more bicyclists will take to the streets. But I'm also hoping that we can decide, together, that we can get along a little better. I promise to (for the first time in 15 years) try to look BOTH WAYS before I cross a one-way street, if you promise to STEER with your handlebars, and USE THE BRAKES instead of cuss words when something happens in front of you.

Can you imagine if, when a car sped towards an idiot crossing the street and not looking where they were going, all the driver did was yell "Hey moron, move!" and just kept going at the same rate of speed? Can you say road pizza? Do you see where I'm going here?

You are moving at approximately 20-30mph. If you hit me, it will suck, mostly because you will *keep moving* at approximately 20-30mph until the pavement halts your flight through the air as I keep your bike tangled around my legs about 10 feet behind you. Pavement and you - it's going to hurt.

Take a lesson from the bike messengers around the city. Learn to steer, learn to brake, and learn to dodge. Yelling won't help, nor will it slow you down or steer you around your obstacle. That's what those things called "handlebars" are for.

Thanks, and have a nice day.

14 April 2010

Whoever said that there is no such thing as a stupid question never worked in media production.

It was 6pm when my work cell phone rang. As I'm at work by 5:30am every day, I try to finish up work by 3 or 4pm every day. A 6pm call is never good news...

"Hello, this is Beth"

"Hi there," (a very young, intern-like voice) "this is Amber, [name removed]'s assistant. I was just going over the details for tomorrow with [name removed]. It's at 7am?"

"Yep, 7am."

"That's 7am, Eastern time?"

"Yep, 7am Eastern time. I think I covered this in the logistics sheet I emailed to you a few weeks go, yes?"

"Do you realize that 7am Eastern is 4am on the West Coast?"

"Um, actually yes. Yes, I do know that." (and I'm thinking by the rather shocked tone in your voice that you did not realize this...until just a few minutes ago. I'm also thinking that you're right on the edge of a panic attack right now.)

"That's really early."

"Well, yes, yes it is. And that's why I sent the email 3 weeks ago to confirm that you were OK with the time. It didn't seem to be a problem then. Is it a problem now?"

"Well, um. It's just really early. I thought it was at 7am pacific time."

"Let me pull up the email that I sent. Yep, March 25th, I sent you the logistics and it says 7am eastern time. Is that going to be a problem?"

"Um. No. Well, okay. If it's a problem I'll call you back."

Now, I feel sorry for assistants, I really do. Especially those who are assistants for assistants for celebrities. I have worked with enough publicists, assistants, assistant assistants and celebrities to know what types of people you risk working for when you take on a job like that. Undoubtedly poor Amber was tasked with the menial job of typing up the final version of [name removed]'s schedule for the next day when she realized that it said...7am Eastern.

Now, I don't feel too badly for you when it's your own fault for not reading, but I do give you a speck of respect for realizing that there actually is a time difference between the East and West Coasts. And for what it's worth, I'm really sorry... that's a harsh lesson I'm sure you're learning the hard way on the other end of my silent phone. This will be a bad day for you, and you'll probably have a drink or three on Friday because of it. I honestly hope you don't get fired for spotting what no one else on your staff seemed to recognize three weeks ago.

Now it's 7:15pm...an hour after I received the call. I haven't heard anything at all from any assistants. But I'm assuming that in California, someone is getting yelled at, if not by [name removed], then by [name removed]'s higher-level assistant who had to break the news.

In any case, see you at 7am Eastern... (4am Pacific...)

05 October 2009

Bryce & Zion, 2009

Here are a few photos from my trip to Bryce & Zion National Parks. It was an adventure trip! Full of hiking and biking (and eating.)

The trip started with a bike ride... downhill... to the base of the mountain I was standing on when I took this photo. The red rolling rocks below are petrified sand dunes... we'll hike them later:
The first ride in Utah... downhill to the sand dunes:

Petrified sand dunes... hard as rock, but look like mounds of marshmallow... and red. Very cool:

Token tourist shot:

The "painted" rocks... the strata of oxidized and limestone rocks:

The non-petrified, normal sand dunes, made of sand! We know we're in the desert now!

Hiking up to see the red rocks later that afternoon...
Fall foliage on the morning bike ride:
On the overlook our morning bike ride down into Bryce:
The first glimpse of Bryce (on the right) from our hiking trail (on the left):

Our most awesome tour group: Michael, me, Peggy, Matty, and Lisa... arrive at Bryce:
Pretty views... many many more to come:

Some of the unique trees... this one's roots were exposed after erosion...

This tree is several thousands of years old... and "kills" off parts of itself when water & nutrients are scarce... very cool:

The next day we hike into Bryce itself...

Little tree... long roots...

Very red rocks, very blue sky...

Heading down down down...

And then back up to the top ridge again:
Little me, big canyon:
Windows in the rocks...
I love the trees here...

Littler me, bigger canyon...
Back up to the top rim, saying goodbye to Bryce...
One last arch, and then we leave for the ride to Zion.

Biking through Red Rock Canyon, on our way to Zion:

Our ride into Zion, we see the first glimpse of the Court of the Patriarchs... the three mounts known as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Our first little hike in Zion...
Through caves... beautiful stuff:
Our guide, Matty, leads the way towards Angel's Landing... that's the peak in front of us. Time to go UP!
About half way up, a gorgeous view:

Matty picks up a hitchiker that rides all the way up to the peak:
We made it!
Well.. almost. Technically that over there is the top. But do you see that skinny part? I'm totally NOT hiking over THAT:
Our guides, Michael and Matty (and the hitchiker) surprise us with ice cream at the top! How cool is that?!
What goes up, must go down...
and down, down, down, down...
The next morning we headed for the Narrows hike. Rented special boots so we could hike through the water. The air is about 60 degrees, and the water is about 55...
...and that gets REALLY cold when it's this deep!

A waterfall. Not sure what we're celebrating exactly... but um, YAY!
Trying to warm up in the sun before it ducks behind the walls of the canyon:

We hike deeper and deeper into the Narrows. I try to keep a person in the photo so you can see the scale... can you spot the peoples?

We leave the Narrows and head back towards St. George. On the way, we have a gorgeous bike ride through the countryside:


A pit stop in a cave on the way shows us some thousands-year-old petroglyphs painted on the walls:

keep on rollin'
one last goodbye to Michael and Matty... bye bye!
our van and bikes... spent some quality time in / on these things!!
the flight back to NYC... we went right over the Grand Canyon: