Thursday, March 29, 2012

Food and Furniture

So I wanted to update you on that apartment I finally found!
It has gone through quite a transformation since I moved in last October.
Besides being covered in dust, cat hair, food and toys in every corner and behind every...well everything, I had lot of shopping and redecorating to do.
Here is how it looked my first night, and after one month:
Just moved in!
Note the laptop and empty shelves! "THIS. IS. SPARTAN!"
 Step One: Buy bed sheets!

After that, between work and everything else, I didn't do much around the apartment but clean, clean, CLEAN, every weekend! Fast forward to December...
I found a wild Wendy!
Now, the introduction of girlfriend to my habitat precipitated lots more furnishing and cleaning, but the rug pictured above was UNSPEAKABLY saturated in cat hair and what I can only guess was kitty litter sand. I bought a new, beautiful, black rug, for about the same price renting a carpet cleaner would have cost, then I got something my job was as happy to hear as my girlfriend!
TV! Note again the shelves and TV location, they will change again...
So here are the fruits of my 6 month labor: My bedroom and living room will probably stay much this way until we move out to find somewhere that will let us have a cat:

Final Desk:
Note the Japanese owl noren, added shelves full of stuff, Lupin III bowling pin, and Wendy's Maru calendar!

Final Living Room:
You can kind of see my new carpet... what? The Moomin-looking chair? Well... let me tell you aaaaall about it...

The handsome gray chair, is actually a Japanese Massage Chair, the result of five years of dreaming!
The massage chair, made by Panasonic, massages your neck and back, and instead of a foot rest, has a pop-out foot and calf massager! Living in Japan, paying off student loans, I could never have bought this. Even if I had, I would have had to do something with it when I moved back to America.
This didn't stop me from visiting the massage chairs at electronics stores all over Japan (sometimes more than once a week!) to try all the various brands and models, and after a year or two, I decided this one was my favorite, and one day I would have it. Oh yes. It would be mine...
Now with my job and lovely neighborhood, I finally felt like I deserved a present, so I got on-line, spent the money, and now I have it!
(By the way, I am skipping a bitter details of a story about how it took two months of delays to get it finally delivered, but whatever! It's finally mine!)

 Final Bed Room:

But the inside of my apartment is only one great aspect of my new dwellings!
If you REALLY want to know my favorite thing about living in Astoria, it's the intersection I live on! Immediately outside my apartment is a corner store, complete with sassy, orange cat that wanders in and out; a private high school, with a big green lawn and trees where adorable squirrels frolic happily; a Greek, family-owned laundromat; a Mexican-run Italian restaurant with cheap, delicious pizza; and two restaurants owned and operated by Costa Rican who grew up in the neighborhood, knows everyone and is just as happy to say "Welcome home!" as you walk by, as he is to welcome you into either place. The first, Fatty's Cafe, is a fun, laid-back diner with a diverse menu and big portions, and friendly bartenders who make masterful Mojitos and offer amazing brunches.
But my favorite spot is the second, neighboring bar Crescent & Vine:  
Wendy and Brian ham it up for the camera
I was also lucky enough to see SAKURA (Japanese cherry blossoms) in my neighborhood, and even more in Central Park, donated by Japan exactly 100 years ago this spring!

But getting back to FOOD... maybe one of you can tell me where this tradition came from, but on the first day of spring, everyone at "C&V" was trying to stand a boiled egg on it end, like so:

And just to brag about how great living with my girlfriend is, here are a couple lunches she's made me for work! <3
The first is spam musubi and a fruit salad, the second, stir-fry, white rice, pickles, and carrot sticks!

And the 3rd, bonus "F"... FIGHT!
( I took this photo in a subway station!)

I think I mentioned before, but about 2 months ago, I started taking Brazilian Jujitsu. But right after I started, they moved!
Here is the newer, larger, studio, with double the showers! Since I usually go at 7a.m. before work, more showers is definitely worth the extra 5 minutes added to the commute.


And here is a parting gift:
Blog ya later!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Oh Hello Blog, I Didn't See You There...

I blinked, and six months past.
Sorry about that... heh heh.

Often times I use the phrase "I've just been so busy at work", but let's face it, that is not all I have been busy with! I have made some great friends here and bonded over a Dr. Who themed bar and several awesome game nights; spent many a cold evening across the street at Crescent & Vine, enjoying the regularly changing menu of fine craft beers; I bought a TV, cable, internet, and another surprise for a future blog post; I located, tried out, and enrolled myself in Brazilian Jiujitsu; oh, and did I mention my girlfriend went from never living in the same city, to living in my apartment?!?
One of the many awesome board games I've gotten into

Even still, more than everything that has filled what little downtime I had, I haven't written a blog because my lifestyle has changed completely, and one of the habits that has been hard to reestablish is blogging (and jogging... perhaps I shouldn't bother to attempt clogging?).

I went to Kentucky to cover a hacking convention and interviewed Kevin Mitnick!
Not to downplay or dismiss work too much, because it truly is one of the most fascinating parts of my life now, Here are some pictures of me or things I've snapped with my phone these past few months:

One of many days spent with Occupy Wall St.

Left to Right: Mayor Bloomberg, Director of MoMA, an aide, UNIQLO CEO Yanai, Susan Sarandon?!?... Yup.

This is less than one fifth of the TVs in our office.
Our reporter interviews the Japanese Ambassador to the UN

I went to Florida for work too, but I can't tell you why!

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon with the Governor of Hiroshima (I still think of him as "my" governor), Yuzaki

Some of my Hiroshima Int'l Affairs Coworkers came to New York with the governor!

Nobuyuki Tsujii, a blind pianist, playing Carnegie Hall! Imagine memorizing multiple 20-minute long sonatas!

Another huge Occupy Wall St. Protest after they were "evicted" from Zuccotti Park (a public, 24-hr park)

A wreath at the N. Korean Mission to the UN for Kim Jong-il and the Rockefeller Xmas Tree light-up
Some concept cars at the Detroit Int'l Auto Show
Getting on a bus to MCAS Miramar in San Diego. That day, I rode an Osprey!

Our reporter with Uggie, the star of Oscar-winner, The Artist, on top of the Empire State Building!

Snapped this at the Giants Parade!

Media Circus outside Whitney Houston's funeral

Whitney's Hearse (Aren't hearses supposed to be black?)
My old Brazilian Jiujitsu Dojo (They just relocated! More pics soon.)
Only Japan would spend money on thanking America for donating to their recovery.

Our reporter did an awesome live report where he threw on a Lin jersey!

A Japanese musical performance inside the UN General Assembly Hall

Cameramen killing time at a stake-out. After a few hours of doing nothing, everything is funny!

I know this can seem like a dream job of endless interest and excitement, but remember, this is just the highlight reel! I'm not showing you the many hours of sitting in the office, researching stories, and studying new topics. Still, I do love my job.

I know what I want to do in life (work, blog, jujitsu, etc.), and really, I still haven't found a harmonious balance, so now I have to follow through. I promise to blog more frequently!
But also, I fly to Thailand at the end of the month!
Now, I am bragging!

Love, Peace, and Chicken Grease!