Saturday, May 26, 2012

This is not Spring, House Stark was Right!

As I sit contemplating how to catch you up with my life these past couple months, my first thought turns to our absolutely unpredictable weather!
This spring, New York has been hot and cold, raining on and off like that Katy Perry Song! Ultimately, I shouldn't complain. I've managed to dodge going out for too long in the rain (except once coming back from shooting a story at "Internet Week NYC"), and I've managed to avoid getting sick for months!

This blog title refers to the motto of House Stark: "Winter is coming." If you don't know House Stark, then you probably haven't seen HBO's series "Game of Thrones", but I bring it up because, after watching the first 10-hour season in less than 24 hours, I started downloading the unabridged audio books for my commutes to work. Calling the book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, extensive would be an understatement, with each audio book clocking it at over 30 hours. This means I have had more than three months entertainment of, basically, crack for the fantasy-lover. Best of all, thanks to my brilliant, librarian girlfriend pointing it out to me, I've been able to download each audio-book, for free, from the New York Public Library, without even leaving my house! I am currently about two thirds of the way through book 4, A Feast for Crows, and since there will be at least seven books when the author George R. R. Martin finishes the series, you can be sure I won't be talking to anyone on my way to and from the office for several more months.

This also means I have been neglecting my favorite podcast, "The Joe Rogan Experience", but I managed to make up for that by finally seeing him live! Yes! I paid a fortune to buy originally $40 tickets online from "StubHub", which is basically sanctioned, online ticket-scalping, but whatever! Not only was Joe Rogan hilarious and worth the money, the show was opened by my two favorite podcast guests Duncan Trussell and Joey "Coco" Diaz! Duncan brought the house down early with his spiritual pot-head brand of humor, and Joey, a New York native transplanted from Cuba, told stories about the tumultuous "good old days" in NYC and New Jersey, and punching prostitutes "just out of respect" (His humor is not for everyone, but if you enjoy bawdy, there:s no one better!). After the show Wendy and I hung out to get our pics taken with them, so I have these as mementos!
Sir Duncan Trussell

Two of my most favorite people in the world


As soon as I returned from my vacation in Thailand, North Korea decided to attempt to launch a satellite into orbit, or as some people put it: "Test a long-range missile", funny how different two perspectives on the same event can be... But anyway, that meant long hours following their UN representatives, asking for comments, and kept my jet-lag going, basically for the entire month of April.
Work these past few months has flown by, too. Often times, the weekend comes and before I feel like I've had a break, it's suddenly Sunday night! But no sooner do I think, "Where did my weekend go?", than it's already Friday again! Here are some photos I've taken while on interesting jobs, just from the last month:
These are a few of my coworkers on the roof of our building, overlooking the Hudson:
The Space Shuttle comes to NYC
Don't forget to click on photos to see them larger.

Halfway up the new 1 World Trade Center

71st floor, shooting stand-up report in front overlooking Brooklyn

We were where the top edge of the glass stopped

Inside the first floor of 1WTC

The smaller test engine is for the Mitsubishi MRJ

At Pratt & Whitney in Hartford, Conn.

Craig Newmark of giving a speech about the internet.
Internet Week in SoHo (in between rain storms)
My reporter interviewing Krishna, a Google+ user

My first trip to the New York Stock Exchange

I got a little artistic on this one, but we were in Times Square covering Facebook being traded on NASDAQ
  Hope you've enjoyed! Tune in next time to hear about a Doctor Who-themed bar in Brooklyn and lots of photos of delicious food!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thailand, etc., etc.

Wow. The longer I am away from writing the harder it is to get back into it!
I guess I owe you the rest of my Thailand story, and then some!

So with another day in Bangkok to kill, I did what anyone would do! I went to the floating market, pet a baby elephant, went to the bridge over the river Kwai, held a baby leopard, pet some adult tigers and cubs, ate some bugs, cruised around in Tuk-tuks... wait; what? Oooh, yeah! I seized the day by the throat and throttled every ounce of fun I could from it! Behold:

Oh yeah, I ate a cockroach bigger than a frog! Suffice it to say, I would eat another frog (or meal-worm), I would not eat another cockroach. They taste like cat food.
Anyway, all of this was before I met up with my good friend Summer and we headed to Hua Hin to meet everyone for the wedding festivities!

The morning we grabbed a cab to the bus station in downtown Bangkok, we spotted a procession of 1,200 (exactly?!?) Buddhist monks marching on foot around the city, while citizens laid down pink tarp and rose petals for them to walk on, chanting as they went by!
Our "bus" to Hua Hin was actually a big passenger van, and we managed to settle in and share some mumbles, smiles, and crazy hand gestures with the driver.

One more truck-tuk (I don't know what they're actually called), and we arrived at our boutique hotel, rented completely out (ok, except one room, whatever) to guests of the wedding, including the bride and groom! That night, we had dinner on a restaurant deck overlooking the ocean beach, and then we headed back to the hotel's second-floor deck for some good old fashioned drunken debauchery!
At this point, I should stop to describe how awesome our Boutique Hotel was:
The Baan Talay Chine is a slightly more costly hotel by Thai standards, but each two ground floor rooms came with a private swimming pool, and the friendly staff always stopped us at some point each day to ask what breakfast we wanted brought to our room every morning! I cannot remember ever staying at a more lovely hotel, ever, and we spent at least two hours of every day relaxing in or around the pool with the other young, mostly English, wedding guests. I made too many friends to mention here, but it has definitely made me want to go back to England and see them all again someday! (Special shout-out to Ed and Joe!)
Ingredients for "Bucket"

Day two in Hua Hin, we rented mopeds and tooled around the city, and met up with another good friend from my study abroad days, Zoe! After a late lunch with her and friend, Claire, then it was off to the Bachelor party with Aeryn's Husband-to-be Ed!

We ate and drank at "Give Friends 100%" (seriously, name of the restaurant!) and as we ate a local band started playing and random staff started selling balls for a dunk tank. This became key as Aeryn's party joined up with us, full of cocktails, and we basically took over the outside area, fountain, and dunk tank too! Bride and groom took a turn until each were finally dunked, and when we couldn't bother them anymore we went back to the hotel for an even rowdier night than the last!

The soaked groom, Ed takes aim

Aeryn's "oh no!" face

Fountain turned into seating

Day three, needless to say, started late. After breakfast, a trip to the beach, and a massage, we took a side trip to the local night market before meeting up for the reception dinner!
(I am proud to say I got a massage every day, as planned, in Thailand, and each one-hour session never cost more than $10 dollars, generous tip included! Ok, enough bragging, back to the story.)
At the reception dinner I was reunited with yet another study abroad buddy, Annika, Aeryn's parents, and even Aeryn's host parents, the Horitas, from our year in Japan that - I have no problem saying - changed the course of my life. They have always stayed in touch, and I've visited them several times while living in Hiroshima, but seeing them only added to the warm-fuzzy feeling being so many good, long-time friends!
Once again, the party moved back to the hotel, but this, the eve of the wedding day, was much more subdued, and I met some of Aeryn's other "Westernized" Thai/English friends, who also brought the same fun, laid back, non-judgmental fun to the group.

Joe and I patrol the beach

Wedding day came, and everyone basically went their separate ways to get dressed up, or run rehearsals for the big event, and before we knew it, we were piling into vans to the event space, a campground on the beach!

Everyone at the wedding was looking their best, and many, including myself, immediately went barefoot for the rest of the night. Everything was beautiful, and the stage only got more enchanted as dusk fell and a red-orange moon came out. I will let the pictures do the rest of the talking, but one of the high points was actually Aeryn's bouquet, made of green Pandan leaves, woven into roses!

That night would be my last at the Baan Talay, and back at the hotel we partied harder than ever before, which I hardly thought possible, but lets just say there was a lot of food and play-fighting in the swimming pools and they were not looking as inviting as usual the next morning!

To end the trip, Summer and I hitched a ride back to Bangkok with two of the Thai/English friends I mentioned, Marisa and Sai. Sai lives in Bangkok and drove down, so we hit the road together and gossiped about everything possible. When we finally arrived, we all ended up going to a Japanese restaurant, Rakuza, owned by Summer's former boss when she worked in Tokyo, and some of the TBS (my company) Bangkok Bureau came too! Then it was just a quiet car service ride back to the airport, and going home was a similarly good Emirates flight watching tons of movies and being stuffed to the gills with airplane food.

In those clothes you can hardly tell they're Japanese!

Whew! That was a lot for you to read. Did you make it to the end? If you just looked at the pictures, I don't mind. They are good photos. I will leave it hear tonight, and as usual, hopefully be back soon to fill you in on my life in NYC.

Please leave lots of comments! They feed my want to keep bloggin'!