John Niedermeyer is a Brooklyn-based design manager and internets enthusiast at <a href="http://buzzfeed.com">BuzzFeed</a>. Previously, he was a digital designer and editor at <a href="http://nytimes.com">The New York Times</a>.
Things have been quiet around here over the holidays. I turned 31 years old on December 22, and then Lisa and I spent some time in Buffalo with our folks, where I got to see my newest baby cousin Aline.
The MASS MoCA campus was once the Sampson Shoe Company.
Then, after a few days back in Brooklyn, we headed up to the Berkshires for New Year’s Eve in North Adams – it’s not the most exciting town to ring in the new year, but we visited MASS MoCA, stayed in a wonderful hotel called The Porches, and had the best meal North Adams has to offer at the Gramercy Bistro.
I didn’t do a lot of reflecting and resolution-making, but I am thankful for my family and friends, and for how great 2008 was for Lisa and I. Lisa is fond of saying that each year has been better than the last, which is more than one can hope for in this world.
“For travelers who want to get from New York to Boston for less than it would cost for a cup of coffee at Starbucks, two emerging bus lines may have the answer.”
We’re frequent riders on the discount Chinatown bus lines, despite their tendency toward breakdowns and shenanigans. And, a while back I was excited about Vamoose Bus, which was supposed to begin NYC–Boston service with free wi-fi and a guaranteed seat. This seems to have fallen through, as there is now no mention of Boston on the their web site.
But it’s interesting to note the emergence of BoltBus and MegaBus – because both are owned by traditional bussing companies, not scrappy Chinatown startups. Greyhound owns Boltbus, and Megabus is run by Coach USA, parent of Gray Line sightseeing bus line.
Both are taking a “Southwest Airlines” approach by offering cheaper fares to those who book early, but last-minute bookings will cost about as much as Greyhound. $1 fares are nice, but I’m most interested in the free wi-fi, power outlets, and entertainment options. Those features are worth paying a little extra.
I’m not sure that I agree with this – we chose to live in Brooklyn over Manhattan, and I would argue that the neighborhoods to the north (Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill) are probably more fitting equivalents. Also, with few exceptions, Carroll Gardens is still very much a family neighborhood. Sure, it might be changing, but take a walk down our street during the day, and you’re going to see a lot of old men who’ve lived there for 50 years, as well as kids playing on the sidewalk. Err, maybe that is what the West Village is like.
Still, can’t deny that Carroll Gardens is awesome, and relatively affordable, considering the restaurant and bar options – we rarely make it into the city on weekends.
We went Apple Picking upstate, in Warwick, NY. Jason and I discovered something more challenging than chucking apples at each other – spearing them with a stick, and then attempting to fling them at each other. The one pictured above is bouncing violently towards me.
It’s been 3 years since we last went apple picking.
4 restless hours of sleep, and 1 Jetblue direct flight from BOS to AUS, and I found myself in Austin. Checked into the hotel and met up with the EchoDitto folks, and other friends. There are like 4 Jasons, 2 Justins, a John (me) — so it gets confusing.
70 degrees here, 55 or so at night. This festival totally takes over the city. Met some cool people last night, and the first panel this morning was cool — i started in “why XSLT is sexy”, but bailed for “emerging social and technology trends”. Next up, “How to Bluff Your Way in Web 2.0”, with Andy Budd & Jeremy Keith… which I expect to be hilarious.
Only complaints are that the hotel is a bit of a walk, across the river. And, i’m sick… so i’m completely groggy and don’t feel like talking to anybody. but, i’ll get over it.
Another problem is trying to explain my job, and what the Localization industry is. It comes off sounding really lame, considering everybody I talk to works small design shops…
So if you have any ideas how to punch it up a bit, let me know.
This past weekend was the Rhode Island camping rally… we rented a truck to transport the bikes, drank sangria made from 4.5 bottles of wine & 1 bottle of brandy, and had a good time scooting around, (before the drinking began). I even got to DJ saturday night, with an improvised iPod/radio setup.
Even the 90+ degree heat couldn’t keep us down – but I totally understand now the importance of shade, when you’re trying to snooze inside a tent.
I love this site, which offers tons of beer logos for download, in EPS format [via]. For some reason, this amuses me.
What didn’t amuse me, was the 20 minutes of frustration last night, trying to get a freakin’ Boddingtons at The Burren in Davis Square. I had to order twice, from the same woman, (as she must’ve forgot the first one)… and finally I grabbed a second bartender to go check on things. And, HE was the one who brought me my freakin’ beer. I realize that a lot of bartenders double-pour Boddy’s, (much like Guinness), but you’re not supposed to forget me!
JetBlue will offer introductory fares of $25 each way on what will be up to 10 flights between the cities, with fares later settling at between $40 and $120 each way, undercutting the established shuttle.
I plunked down the $15 and rode the Fung Wah to nyc to visit the new MoMA, and visit some friends. It was nice to finally get inside the museum, having been thwarted by long lines on my past two visits. I enjoyed meandering around by myself, though the guided audio tour is pretty worthless.
Saturday night, Jenna took me out with Jin, Anna, and my friend Stef from Boston, to see mazing vids at the Cake Shop in the Lower East Side. We ate s’mores from a streetcart, which made me want to go camping.
Perhaps my favorite night of our time in Vegas was Monday, when we escaped to the Strip for a bit of culture… earlier this month, Cirque de Soleil opened KÀ at the MGM Grand, so we figured, why not check it out?
We “splurged” for the cheap seats at $100 a pop. Steep, to be sure, but that still got us a decent view, cup-holders and speakers that were integrated into the headrests. Pretty cool…
This show was unlike any theatrical experience I’ve ever had—to start, there is no stage… or rather, the stage rises vertically, spins, floats and disappears, (made possible by hydraulics). The actors work above a massive empty “pit”, (an abyss into which countless actors fall), performing an astonishing combination of martial-arts, the familiar Cirque acrobatics, and even an amazing baton-twirling number.
This was all incredibly executed, but what tied all of this together into a truly magical illusion, were the lighting and visual projections… absolutely un-real.
Got back from Nevada on Wednesday morning, having fled the pouring rain, bright neon, and the sound of slot machines. We spent about a week in Nevada, which is far too long, considering we didn’t get married or lose our life’s savings… No, instead we made due with $2 forty-ounce lagers and the right to smoke anywhere we please.
It was good to be amongst scooterists again, though the rain kept us from riding except on Sunday… (when you think of desert, a constant soaking is not what pops to mind!). Morgan, aka Mr. Pants, is da’ man for hooking us up with his vintage Vespa GT to ride, (even though we swapped it for his Lammy, out of comfort).
Presley and I are off to Vegas for nearly a week, to go to the High Rollers Weekend, AKA, the Las Vegas Scooter Rally. Morgan is the man, as he’s going to let us ride his gorgeous vintage Vespa GT while we’re there.
I’ve never actually been west of Chicago, so I’m excited.
The weather, however might not cooperate. A quick glance at the 10-day forecast doesn’t make me hopeful.
Anyway, I’ll have photos and all the details when we get back. The funny thing is, my parents called to say that they would be there at the same time… which seems just not right.
After a fun New Year’s Eve time down in the Lower East Side, I of course decided to leave my beloved digital camera behind in the cab. Brilliant. I called the Limo & Taxi Commission, and put a notice on Craigslist… no chance.
We walked over the Brooklyn Bridge today, and I had to be contented with a Kodak disposable… and tomorrow morning, we’re going to check out the new MoMA.
I’m tempted to go down to E 86th street in the morning and buy a new one. this sucks…
Last summer, after we were forced out of our beloved Mass Ave apartment, due to negligent fire, we were fortunate to be taken in by some truly great people. And these people invited us to go apple picking last year, something I hadn’t done since I was a kid. It was the kind of thing you don’t do enough, living in the city.
This year, the crew consisted of Jason & Liz, Bryan & Jill, and Presley & I. We headed further up the North Shore this year, to Ipswich, MA. Seemed like a lovely town, though we spent all of our time on the farm.
How great is it that they make you take a hay ride before you can pick apples?
I caught one of these at the raffle—now I can carry a six-pack on my leg shield
Jason posted in a more timely fashion, though I severely question his assertion that “the weather was fairly nice”… I can only imagine what previous years were like. We had a lightening show all Saturday night, and I still have wet boots sitting in my car trunk.
Anyway, we’ve got 1 city rally and 1 camping rally under our belts…
Well, we survived the Gotham rally this past weekend. We met a lot of cool scooterists, and enjoyed riding around Manhattan and Brooklyn.
I think we put brought joy and curiosity (and maybe envy?) to the people of New York—seeing a hundred scooters coming through your neighborhood in a giant pack is not something people see every day. Those kids down in NYC know how to throw a good time. Too bad I didn’t win the bike raffle.
Tomorrow, we get out of work a little early, and load into the Saab for a trip down to NYC for the Gotham Scooter Rally. From everything we’ve heard, Brooklyn will be burning by sunday night.
Presley and I are relatively new scooterists, and this is our first rally. Jason and Kim of course are responsible for this… so a special thanks to them for all their help getting Lisa’s ’63 Lambretta Li125 on the road. If all goes well, next week I’ll be riding a 25-year old Vespa p200… sadly I won’t have it for Gotham, but I’m psyched, nonetheless.