Sunday, August 31, 2008

What d'ya know, I'm famous

Ok, so maybe I'm not famous, but it is interesting what you find when you "Google" yourself.

The First Annual Row the Rockies Regatta, hosted by The Rockie Mountain Rowing Club was just over a year ago now and I just found the pdf that mentions me (twice no less).

Check out the my awesome apron

photo by: Christa Rabenold

The event was a lot of fun... it was my first. Unfortunately, Katie Thurstin is no longer in Colorado, so it is doubtful that I will be involved in the event again. A quick search shows that I was forgotten already... hope the burgers were as tasty from whomever grilled them this year ;-)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Big Apple Roll 2008 NY - Empire Skate

So, I had the opportunity to go to New York City to skate in the Big Apple Roll hosted by the Empire Skate Club. The Big Apple Roll is an annual skate event where people from all over meet to skate the streets of NY (yes, in traffic...with the taxis', pot holes, and all). The event was scheduled from Friday, Aug. 15 - Sunday, Aug 17th, but the two Friday skates (afternoon and the night skate) were canceled due to rain. There were 3 of us from Denver, Kim, Eric, and I (the farthest from the event[1][2] -- the 2 from San Juan, Puerto Rico missed out by under 30 miles).

I arrived at the hotel a little after 3:00am ET after missing the last train from Newark Airport due to a delayed flight. There being no other method of getting to the hotel at that hour, I was forced to take a taxi (that cost me $75 out of the gate). When people said that I better have a lot of money when I went to NY, they weren't kidding.

Friday morning Eric and I head out to the streets of NY on foot (with skates in tow) to check out the city and get some breakfast. After researching some places to eat the morning before, Eric was in the mood for a classy breakfast, so we headed out to Nroma's (in Le Parker Meridien) where I had a $20 Belgian Waffle topped with strawberry's, blueberry's, blackberry's, raspberry's, and Devonshire Cream along with a tall glass of orange juice squeezed that morning. The waffle was really good and the Devonshire Cream really made the dish. This was the first time I have ever been to a restaurant where the orange juice included free refills. The wait staff would just come by and fill it up like it was ice water... very cool (at $8, I wonder what kind of mileage per glass I got out of it).

After breakfast, Eric and I hit the roads on our skates to tour some of the city before the all event skates that evening. One of the places we went was to Central Park. The full loop around the park is in the neighborhood of 6.2 miles of fantastic pavement with some great hills. After our skate, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the afternoon group skate. Just as we were finishing getting ready, it began to rain...hard. So, we left for the Skyline Hotel (the starting location for all events for the weekend) to see what the new plan was going to be. While we waited around to see if the weather was going to turn, we schmoozed with the locals and other out of towner's' there for the skate. Among them were Brooklyn Steve and Mihai the Romanian (both locals - who provided plenty of beer throughout the weekend keeping a few of us dehydrated each evening). The weather never did turn, so we all ended up at the Chelsea Brewery where the evening skate was scheduled to end.

Saturday morning we got up early and headed to the Skyline Hotel to meet up for the first skate. On the way we stopped for a quick bagel and donut before inevitably burning it all off and then some in the first hour of the skate. While waiting for everyone to group up and get ready, there was more schmoozing in anticipation of the event. The morning skate took us to Park Ave where the roads were blocked from the Brooklyn Bridge in Lower Manhattan to the East 72nd Street entrance of Central Park for some bike event that I have been unable to figure out exactly what it was.
(Edit: I have gotten word from Brooklyn Steve that the street closure was an experiment called "Summer Streets" that ran for 3 weekends, the weekend of the BAR was the last.)

Saturday afternoon..... we gathered again. There were some new faces this time. More people were coming out of the wood work (mostly locals that weren't exactly morning people). We skated through Broadway (which had some fantastic new pavement), to the Hudson River, through Harlem and City College and Fifth Ave. At some point we stopped and watched a "street performer" - the Hula Hoop Guy, play the bongos and sing while explaining how one hula hoops. So I got the bug, what do you want. I stepped up and showed my stuff on skates and all. I was surprised to be interrupted by money being stuffed in my back pocket...woo-hoo.

Saturday after the official skates of the day were...well, officially over, Kim and I had made sure there was going to be a night skate. Saturday night was originally scheduled for dinner at The Frying Pan. It was announced earlier that the Denver Crew was going night skating. We had no plan, but were determined to host the skate since the official Friday night skate was rained out. Brooklyn Steve volunteered to lead for us and show us a good time. Thirteen people showed up for the impromptu event (which actually made things feel more like home). Because of the small turnout (everyone else was out drinking -- we, the ones from Denver, figured we were already professional drinkers and can drink just fine at home and came all this way to skate... so we did); the pace was faster than the usual Denver skates and we covered a lot of ground. This was great, but remember we had already skated in excess of 35 miles that day. We zipped through Time Square (stopping to take a few photos and stare into the lights), headed out to the Hudson River and skate down the paths this time, and unfortunately only skirted Ground Zero. From there we went to get some food and decided on a typical New York diner. After dinner, the plan was to go to the Frying Pan to meet up with the others who didn't partake..but that never happened our skate ended after midnight and another 10+ miles.

Sunday morning we met once again at the Skyline Hotel for the morning skate that would take us through Harlem and then to Central Park for the event ending picnic (this skate was actually split up into to skates - one longer one then back to the hotel so people could check out, then another to the park). At the part, after a few slices of pizza, it was off to loop do the loop once again. I then said good by and left to my hotel to head to the airport for my trip back to Denver.

While I was in NY, I saw in action no less than 4 jackhammers at street corners (and this doesn't even count the big yellow Cat machines). I am not one for stereotypes, but I felt this was kinda funny. Looked to me like the city was in a constant state of construction - here's a picture for your viewing pleasure.

I was also reminded of Boulder, CO when I swear I (along with a few others) could smell the strong odor of "wacky tabaccy" multiple times during our Saturday skate through the various parts of the city (I don't think anyone in our group would of had enough time nor energy to pull this off in mid stride).

Through my original tour of Central Park with Eric on Friday morning, I noticed the site of a scene of "The Brave One". Not that this is anything special, hundreds of movies are filmed in Central Park, but I found this to be cool just having seen the movie.

The Big Apple Roll was a fantastic event where I met a bunch of great people. I hope to be able to participate again.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

3rd Annual Patton St Block Party - Aug.9th '08

The 3rd Annual Block party organized by Jon Massongil and myself was once again a hit. There was a good showing of neighbors and their friends for the festivities. Don't have much to say about it...typical block party. The police only showed up once...

I did get a request to juggle fire when it got late. Here are the videos:

Yeah, yeah... this isn't much of a block party post; more like a shameless plug for me juggling. What can I say, the block party was a few weeks ago and this is all I got. It was a block party, people ate, drank heavily, and sang really bad karaoke.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Ode to the Denver Rollor Dolls... or something like that

Today I went to my first Roller Derby match. The Denver Roller Dolls played against each other - Bad Apples vs. Green Barrettes at the Filmore Auditorium in Denver. I got my ticket directly from Vinyl Trax of the Green Barrettes the week before.

It being my first outing to the Roller Derby (and really haven't actually seen it on TV since sometime before 1983), I was excited but really didn't know what to expect. Knowing that this venue would be general admission seating, I wanted to get there early to make sure I got a good seat. Well, I did...and I did. I arrived with Eric, and Kon found us at our spot shortly after. "seats", or patch of floor, was directly behind the Jammers on the curve of the track -- TalkOur about optimal seating! Note: This picture sucks, but it should give you a good idea of where we were sitting.

Between the plethora of refs and "Dump Truck" - the man in the diaper, there was commentary throughout the match explaining the rules and nuances of all the activity. Eric and I were rooting for the Green Barrettes, Kon I think was indifferent. Next to us was a couple who were obviously veterans of the sport (who were sporting Bad Apples ware). The rivalry was fun and they helped explain the details of the rules that were lost in translation.

The score was... well, we won't mention what the score was, but it was a great match and the girls all seemed to get along very well (considering these two teams make up the Mile High Club - the Denver traveling team - this comes as no surprise).

After the match, there was time to schmooze with the teams and even get autographs. Later everyone met at Benders Tavern for the After Party. Kon was the first to depart (knowing he was going to have to dump out his helmet and ride home in the rain). that time, Eric and I decided take a walk to find my friend and neighbor At about (Jared Emery) who had a gig with his band 19ADD down town at the Hi-Dive; yes, that was a trek. We met the band, chatted some, then left to get some food. Yes, we walked all the way back to the Filmore when we left - kind of.

On our way back to the Filmore, we ran into a group of 2 guys and a girl on bikes coming up from the Cherry Creek trail off of Spear. This usually wouldn't be unusual, but the Cherry Creek had flooded the trail and everything was underwater. The taller (and wettest) of the bunch stopped me and proceeded to ask me if I wanted his bike. Thinking this was strange, not to mention the notion of weather or not it was stolen, I gave him a look of: "Uh? What are you talking about? How much have you been smoking? Just about the time I realized there were only three of them and 4 bikes, he said he had just fished it out of the creek. At that time it also became obvious that this was no fabrication.... The bike was covered in leaves and other usual random creek debris. As I'm getting my senses of the situation and turning to Eric to see his reaction, he reaches out and says: "Yeah, I'll take it!".
So off Eric and I go, me sitting on the seat while he stands and pedals, we make it back to grab some grub (come on... it was a long walk and we had a lot of beer in us).

Pete's Kitchen
is where we ended up. This was my first time eating at Pete's Kitchen (and as you will soon see, Eric's as well). It was also my last time eating at Pete's Kitchen. I had gotten recommendations from friends as we passed coming or going somewhere in the vicinity many a time in the past. They were open, we were hungry, so why not? Things started well enough. We got seated right away, the waitress (the first one mind you) showed up in a some what reasonable amount of time, etc.... The first thing out of this womans mouth as she stared at Eric was: "You look familiar. Were you here yesterday?" Now, without waiting for an answer to this question, she began describing what "Eric" left on the table impersonating as a $20 bill. Yeah, she had just accused him of skipping out on a bill and leaving what can only be described as a poor attempt at a counterfeit 20. Please tell me who in their right mind would do this and then return the next night?? Eric of course counters with a response of never having been to this establishment before. The waitress accepts this with a "you just look very familiar". And that was the end of it... or so we thought. A few minutes later, the manager comes up to us, looking at Eric and asking him if he had ever been there before. Eric again states that he hadn't and the manager gives us both an evil eye and heads to the moonlighting Cop by the door (who had been watching this entire encounter). Knowing this was going nowhere (or more accurately, somewhere bad) Eric pulls out his wallet and produces multiple receipts that make it very clear that he was in Boston all last week (up until today). This settled it enough to get our second waitress and shitty service, but never did either of us get anything close to an apology from anyone. I would have left if I didn't feel as though I was going to pass out from low blood sugar (that and the previously mentioned large quantity of beer probably didn't help either).