Soweto Train Surfing

July 29, 2009

This is just nutters:

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One of the coolest videos I’ve seen lately. Enjoy.

2008 – The Year in Photos

December 28, 2008

The end of the year always comes with a glut of lists…best of this, best of that. Most of them suck. Fortunately, I found one that doesn’t suck – the Year in Photos list from “The Big Picture Blog” via the Boston Globe. Do yourself a favor and take a look at parts ONE, TWO and THREE. I’ve included a few of my personal favorites below.

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Samuel Peter from Nigeria receives a punch from Vitali Klitschko of Ukraine during their WBC heavyweight boxing world championship fight in Berlin, Germany on Oct. 11, 2008. Klitschko won the fight after round nine due to technical knock out.

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A solar eclipse can be seen above the Jiayuguan Fort on the Great Wall of China in the town of Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, China on August 1, 2008.

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Drummers perform during the Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics at the National Stadium on August 8, 2008 in Beijing.

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A man in a traditional “Perchten” costume performs during an Austrian league soccer match in Ried, Austria November 12, 2008.

Walking home tonight, I passed by the Tribeca Grand, which for some reason reminded me that as a kid, I used to love staying in hotels. I think this was due to the fact that most times I was on vacation and didn’t have to worry about homework. But there’s just something about those beds and pillows that’s so inviting. First, the sheets are crisp and white and smell so fresh, even if they’re not. I also love how the pillows seem to swallow your face. Then of course there’s the showers, which usually have fire hose-like water pressure, and towels that could double as blankets. And inevitably you make off with a half-dozen mini shampoo bottles that you’ll never use, a couple pens and a shower cap, just in case. I still love hotels, they’re swell. Here’s a cool song by Serge Gainsbourg that has Hotel in the title. I don’t speak French, but Serge sounds like he enjoys hotels too.

Serge Gainsbourg – L’Hotel Particular

I was really looking forward to this weekend. With a trip home to the cozy confines of Charlottesville, VA on the docket, I was anticipating a few days full of nothing. I planned on catching up on sleep, eating some good food and basically just basking in the glorious laziness that generally accompanies life on the home front. As it turns out, the comfort gods had other plans.

It started with a delayed flight. Fine, it’s not like I’ve ever flown out of LaGuardia on time anyways. So what’s an hour delay? Or two. Or three. Or four. A flight that should have had me home by 10PM, careened down the runway in Cville at close to 2AM. Good times.

Home at last, all I wanted to do was to pass out and forget about the trip. Again the powers that be scoffed at my arrogance. I awoke fully nauseated at 5AM and spent the rest of the night in the john. As it turns out, the meal I put down at LaGuardia’s finest Asian establishment “Simply Asian,” had no intention of staying down. One might wonder…why on earth would I eat Asian food at an airport? Hindsight is 20/20 my friends. When the other options are McDonald’s and a crusty-ass burrito joint, chicken and broccoli begins to look like ambrosia.

Food poisoning sucks, especially when my duty for the following day was to stand in line at the DMV to renew my driver’s license. Miserable. I guess the lesson to be learned is never eat anything remotely complicated at an airport, specially anything called “Simply Asian.” More like “Simply Fucked.” I rarely use this space to indulge in my own personal rants, but I had to bitch to someone. Sorry.

Kingda Ka

July 14, 2008

Last Wednesday, I joined my coworkers in a company getaway to the Mecca of theme parks, Six Flags Great Adventure. I highly recommend going, if only for the obesity and bad tattoos. What made the afternoon particularly sweet was that we purchased the “Gold Flash Pass,” which allowed us to forgo the atrocious lines that inevitably accompany all the good rides. It was the first time I’ve ever had the privilege of employing such a pass, and I must tell you, it feels great to leave the other minions in the dust. But you mustn’t look them in the eye…their loathsome glares will singe your retina. It’s almost like ostentatiously flaunting your wealth, akin to wearing a Rolex the size of a tennis racket. I’m allowed this moment of self-righteousness…the next time I go on my own, I will no doubt be sweating and bitching in line with the common folk.

All digressions aside, the reason for this post is to praise the beast that is Kingda Ka, aka the nastiest roller coaster ever constructed. This thing will tear your face off. Utilizing a hydraulic accelerator, Kingda Ka launches your sorry ass from zero to 128 bloody miles per hour in 3.5 seconds. Since the rider never knows exactly when the launch will occur, waiting for the start is liable to induce cardiac arrest. Not to mention the fact that you have to wait in your car as you witness the train in front of you get launched into oblivion. If you survive the launch, you climb straight up to reach the apex of 456 feet only to come careening back to earth seconds later. When it’s all said and done and you can feel your limbs again, you realize that you’ve ridden the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world. When I finished riding the thing, I couldn’t stop laughing for several minutes. I have no idea why.

Check out this video that someone took while sitting in the front row. How they held on to the camera and avoided the decapitation of the passenger behind them is a miracle. I get nervous just watching them about to launch.

Hong Kong

July 2, 2008

Boasting a spectacular skyline, tropical climate and cosmopolitan sentimentality, its no surprise that Hong Kong has earned a spot in the pantheon of iconic metropolises alongside cities such as New York, Paris, Milan and Tokyo. Having visited once before several years ago, my return last week on vacation confirmed that Hong Kong is without a doubt one of my favorite cities in the world.

As soon as one steps off the plane, one can sense a tangible vitality and spirit of progress. As my buddy informed me, the airport itself is a feat of technological prowess, resting on a man-made island. Like any great city, Hong Kong has great nightlife, (particularly Lan Kwai Fong, where the bars are known to spill into the street, Mardi Gras style), culture and shopping (the high end retailers in Central rival any of those in Midtown Manhattan). Being a financial and shipping hub, Hong Kong is also a city of tremendous wealth—it’s not uncommon to find yourself gawking at the Ferraris and Lamborginis that seem to drive by every several minutes. And let’s not forget that the fashion industry in the city brings with it boatloads of beautiful women. If you’re one of those people who isn’t overly enthusiastic about Asian women, I challenge you to visit Hong Kong and return with the same mindset.

Yet beyond all of these elements, what sets Hong Kong apart for me is the city’s topography and breathtaking skyline. Hong Kong is a mountainous tropical island and seeing massive buildings jutting out of the side of lush green mountains is a site to behold. Furthermore, taking the ferry across the bay to Kowloon provides a panoramic view of the coolest and most colorful cityscape on the planet.

If all of this isn’t enough to convince you, Hong Kong even provides the backdrop for the most anticipated film of the summer The Dark Knight. See the movie, then save up your dough to visit the city where it all went down. Or better yet, see the movie in Hong Kong. You might even get one of those cool new water proof ten dollar bills as change when you pay for your ticket.

For a little eye candy, here’s a new trailer for The Dark Knight. Peep the IFC 2—the tallest building in the city—in the beginning and the end.