26 October 2011

Drag racing

So last night I met up with a friend of a friend "FoF". Since I've moved around a few times I've done this several times.  Its like a blind date for a friend. I have friends all over the US and they have friends all over the US so there are kind of endless possibilities. Sometimes it works out great, but more times than not there is no second date. Well as far as friend dates go, last night was pretty good.

I met FoF at Churchkey a bar in my new hip hood.  Churchkey apparently has 555 different beers.  I don't think the menu listed them all, but there was a whole lot of beer to choose from.  Maybe the menu was just the drafts now that I think about it.  Since it is fall and I'm into gimmicks I went for a pumpkin beer.  I believe it was the Great Pumpkin from Heavy Seas in Maryland.  So it was a double score being seasonal and local (oh and it was tasty). The place was pretty cool too, kind of retro hollywood vintage industrial if you know what I mean (because I certainly don't).

FoF casually mentioned that one cool thing that happens each year in DC is the drag races. I think to myself "my that sounds dangerous" but didn't question it much. So we finish our drinks and FoF asks if I want to go the drag race, I say yes of course, but as we walk over I pushed for more information.

So this drag race is Men dressed in Drag running down the street in heels. Apparently it started one halloween when drag queens were running from bar to bar around Dupont and then it became some kind of tradition. More on this in a minute.

First we met up with FoF's friend or FoFF, who was also really cool and had lived in NYC so we had lots in common to talk about.  FoF, FoFF, and I went to Cajun Experience for some snacks pre race.  We had blackened alligator, assorted fried seafood, greens, and hushpuppies. All of it was pretty good.

Then back to the race track (17th St I believe). We stood towards the starting line.  These queens weren't just dressed in dresses, some of them had amazing costumes.  There were two washington monuments, several revolutionary outfits, a mermaid in a fish tank, Pan Am flight attendants, black swan and well other elaborate get ups that might not be so advantageous for running.

It was more of a parading around and then when the race started about 10 darted off as fast as they could while the others just jogged or walked to the finish line.

The race was over in less than a minute, but the party continued.  We went to Mandu for some Korean appetizers and drink, but then it was time for bed.  As I walked back to my apartment the sidewalks were still crowded with the racers and their fans.  This is definitely a tradition I can support.

I didn't get any pictures, but check over at the Post for some great ones.

22 October 2011

Moving in

I moved in to my new apartment today... well kind of moved in.  I won't move the majority of my stuff for another week.  Even so I had a pretty great day.  Why you ask?

1. I woke up to coffee and pancakes waiting for me (thanks cousin Dave).  

2. I received several hugs from my snuggly first cousins once removed (thanks Nathan and Maggie).

3. I found my new church! 

Just kidding, this is the church of Scientology, I stumbled upon it while catching the bus...

4.  DC Bus, I've heard great things about the DC buses and I hoped aboard one to make a trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Target.  I didn't have to wait long and we covered the distance in record time. I've always enjoyed the bus, but the traffic in NYC was always a drawback. Today that wasn't a problem.  Only issue was a group of like 20 greek tourists (not Greeks, but like sorority/fraternity greeks) decided to ride the bus and pay in cash.

5. Target! I think it took me less than a half hour to get to Target (walking, waiting for bus, riding bus, walking).  In NYC I was spending up to an hour to get to a Target.

6. My apartment has a washer/dryer...  Not a washer and a dryer, but a washer/dryer combo machine.  I tested it out right away, not sure if I'm doing everything right, but the clothes did come out smelling clean and feeling dry.  She's Italian, I may have to come up with an Italian name for her.

7. Whole Food's fall display.  I went to Whole Foods twice today, once to grab a snack and then I went back to do some grocery shopping.  The first trip the fall display took my breath away.  When I went back, all the pumpkins were gone and the mums were picked over, but it was still fabulous.  The store was also a ton more crowded the second time, so I'll have to remember that when picking my shopping time.

8. Neighborhood architecture and history.  There are lots of cool buildings and houses in the neighborhood.  I can't wait to explore all the streets.

9. Leaves turning. There are trees in DC and a lot of trees in Maryland!  They are starting to be gorgeous and I can't get enough of them.

20 October 2011

100 years of Mizzou Homecoming

Last weekend I went back to Missouri for Mizzou's 100th homecoming.  It was my first homecoming (and first home football game) since I graduated over 6 (!) years ago.  I took a ton of pictures on my camera, but I think my camera cord is in some box back in NYC.  So here is homecoming through cell phone photos.

My friend Kendra picked me up early in Kansas City (after an even earlier start in DC and some Dukes of Hazzard like driving by my cousin) and we headed to my sister's house to pick up my other sister and watch my niece Gretchen walk.  I was last home in mid September and she wasn't yet walking.  Now she can walk all over the place.

After we were satisfied from baby watching we headed on to Shakespeare's Pizza for some lunchtime slices.  My pepperoni slice was amazing.  


We walked all around downtown looking for new homecoming apparel, but ended up at the bookstore.  Luckily it was 25% off Friday before game day (I actually think they have a much better/clever name for this sale).  We each bought a few things.  I personally needed some stylish mizzou wear for football watch parties.

So the year after I moved out of the dorms MU built luxury suite dorm apartments.  Then right after I graduated they finished the better than Equinox recreational facility.  And just this year they opened up the new student union.  Uh so fancy.  Kids these days.  The renovation was complete with a recreation of The Shack, a close to campus hangout that burned down in the 80's.  Apparently the shack was covered in carvings, so the union had walls where the students (and alumni I hope) could add their scratch.

I couldn't resist 
Chester Brewer invented homecoming.  In honor of this he (posthumously) and his family were honored as grand marshals and the put up this cardboard statue of him.  

Will they make this permanent? 

We walked back downtown for a bit (might of stopped by Harpos) before running some errands to get ready for Saturday's tailgating.  

I convinced everyone that we had to stop by house decorations.  House Decs for those of you not in the know are these little plays the sororities and fraternities put on in Greek town.  The stages and characters are elaborately "pomped" with tissue paper, which the freshmen pledges start on the first week of school.  For as much time they put into the stage I always wonder why they don't put more time into the script...  We watched two and I got a huge bag of kettle corn for $5 (amazing).

Truman had to chase a Toucan to get the homecoming torch back?

We headed back downtown after a quick picture at the tiger fountain for some dancing.  

The next morning came quick as we had to make the parade's 8:30 am start.  The parade was full of marching bands and greek floats.  It was pretty good overall.  

We then walked to parking lot C to commence tailgating.  The game was set for 1pm even though it wasn't picked up for TV (why oh why?) so we only had two hours.  When I went to buy our game tickets, the only section showing three together was the end zone bleachers.  Although we didn't have much depth perception on what was going on the other side of the field, they turned out to be pretty cool seats.  We were one row up and right in the action (when they were on our side of the field). 

Beautiful clear October day = sunburn

We did a little post game tailgating but then crashed.  Luckily that meant we could get up early and get to Flatbranch for lunch before anyone else did.  A few other people had the same idea, but we got in and got a seat right away.  After delicious Missouri BBQ Chicken Pizza (thank you Flatbranch for never changing your menu) we did a quick campus walk around before heading back to KC.

Flowers, the Columns, Jesse Hall... beauty
Back to my sister's to drop my sister off and watch Gretchen walk some more (and to Congratulate Kristen on a wicked fast 3:40 something marathon!!) then back to the airport and back to DC.  

08 October 2011

LGA-DFW-DCA-Union Station-Penn Station

After a week of on boarding in Dallas I flew to Washington DC to look for a place to live.  My uncle and aunt were kind enough to let me stay with them while I looked.  First stop after I arrived?  The auto body shop.  Someone had scratched up against my Uncle's newly repaired truck.  Next stop, my cousin's marching band performance.

Getting ready to take the field

I'd point him out, but I never found him
On Saturday my aunt drove us to the district to start looking around. We looked at 5 apartments, but there was something wrong (or many things wrong) with all of them.  But I got a good feel for the area I wanted to go back and focus on.  

Sunday I did some research and went to a lovely brunch planned by one of my NYC friends who was in town visiting another friend.  It was nice to meet some new people in my new city.  And the three course meal + mimosas wasn't bad either.

Monday I headed back in on the Metro to see some more apartments. I had a few places I wanted to hit up, but also walked in several buildings that I passed by and got some recommendations from a few of the places. I liked several of the places but there was one thing wrong, like fabulous but too expensive, or fabulous good price, but in a bad location (like not near a grocery store!  I need a grocery store.).  I settled on a place that hit all my criteria but one... it's a studio instead of a one bedroom, but it is pretty big and has a nice layout.  I'll be living between Dupont circle and Logan circle... I think I'll like it.

Tuesday I hopped the Bolt bus back to Manhattan to meet up with my friend Matt who was visiting.  After dropping off my stuff we headed to times square to get some musical tickets and have dinner at John's pizza.  We saw Mary Poppins.  I personally watched Mary Poppins approximately 1 million times as a child, so when the musical tried switching things up and changing songs and adding characters and making the mom a wimpy character, well I wasn't amused.  Also I could see the wires and one of the tricks didn't work and the coat stand collapsed.  I still enjoyed the step in time number, but since the commercials said "even a jade new yorker" would be overcome with the magic of it all I was a bit disappointed.  After the show we hit up my local hipster bar for some observing.

Wednesday we got up early and went to the Lexington Avenue Candy Shop.  Its a little diner that has an old fashioned counter where they still make coke and milk shakes and lemonade the old fashion way.  I had a greek omelet and Matt had the cinnamon raisin french toast.  Both were delicious (the vanilla malt we split was even better).  We headed to Central Park for a stroll, I love the park in the fall.  None of the leaves were changing but it was just a perfect weather day.  Next up was running in to Tina Fey.  We were resting on one side of Rockefeller Center when he asks me if that is where all the shows are filmed.  I was like no, most film in studios in Queens, but they do some exteriors here.  Then we walk around the corner and there is Tina Fey shooting 30 Rock.  Got to admit I was a little excited to see her.

Can you find her?
In the purple hat...
We then stopped by Eddie Fischers... uh, eh I mean Fishs Eddy's for some dinnerware.  I didn't want to buy anything I would have to pack, but I still bought some 5 borough dish towels.  Matt purchased some awesome storage bowls and other assorted kitchen tools.  We rested in Union Square before heading to Williamsburg for a late lunch.  There is this rooftop restaurant off of Bedford Avenue that I always see and think "oh that looks so cute" and then I see the sign and it says "Indian Cuisine" and I think oh eh nevermind (not that I don't enjoy trying Indian cuisine every now and then).  So Matt points this place out and I go "oh yeah it looks really cool but its Indian... then I notice that the sign is for the place next to said cute restaurant.  Boy I felt silly.  So this super cute place is French.  At least I figured it out and got to eat there before leaving.  We sat in the rooftop garden seating and I had the most wonderful "Paris street hotdog"  it was a hotdog in a baguette with melted gruyere cheese on top accompanied by french fries and a side salad.  It really was amazing.  Matt got some chicken sandwich thing.  A short G train ride took us back to LIC and Matt headed off to the airport.

Thursday I was able to spend a lot of time sorting and packing.  I packed 7 bags of stuff to take to Goodwill, I think I will have a few more bags of clothes to drop off at the local drop box.   I have also thrown away approximately 10 bags of trash... yet I still have a ton of stuff.  After hitting a breaking point I met up with two ex coworkers for a coffee in Bryant Park.  The weather was still perfect, the kind of weather that makes you love NYC and love not being at work.  Dry and Sunny and crisp and cool.  Bryant Park has been a big part of my life in NYC being the only open space near my office.  I love that there is always some entertainment or promotion or presentation going on there, but there is still space to just sit and relax.  Around 5:30 I met up with my second guest, Shannon, at Penn Station.  We dropped her luggage off at my apartment and had dinner in LIC at Bella Via.  We had brick oven pizza and were joined by a film crew, not filming, just eating.  After dinner I took her on a walk along the East River in Gantry State Park.  Gantry State Park is another place I'll miss.  One of the best things about living in LIC is being able to see sunsets and the gorgeous NYC skyline.

From left to right, Empire State Building lit up in red, UN building shining bright, and my favorite the Chrysler Building

Queensboro bridge and the Pepsi sign

Friday Shannon and I set out early.  We stopped for coffee at my local shop, Sweetleaf, and then took the subway down to Wall Street.  The 5 train was packed so I got to share the true NYC experience with Shannon.  We got off and walked over to the stock exchange and the bull, but everything was blocked off and under tight police control (due to the protests I assume).  Then we went to Battery Park to say hello to lady liberty and then back up the the World Trade Site.  I had seen the progress on TV and from a distance, but hadn't been up close in a few years.  I'm pretty amazed by how much has been accomplished in the last two years.

One world trade

Next we walked over to the Brooklyn Bridge.  When Shannon listed everything she wanted to do in a half day I knew it wouldn't be a problem as they were all within walking distance of each other.  The first time I walked the bridge it had just snowed and was in the middle of winter.  It was beautiful (and not crowded at all).  I've returned several times now, but can't help to be amazed every time.

oh yeah

can't take a bad picture of you

smelled like they were doing some painting

such a sunny, beautiful fall day
I then took Shannon to have lunch at the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park.  We got there right at 12 and the line wasn't very long.  I got the shroom burger.. yummmm...  When I was in DC over the weekend I noticed Danny Meyer has expanded to DC and there is a Shack in Dupont Circle. So relieved I will not have to go without.  After lunch it was back to my apartment.  I rented a zip car and loaded up all my goodwill donations and Shannon and headed off to the airport.  Man NYC traffic is fun.  I got honked at by a city bus, but overall it was a success.  

I then met up with my friend Carrie for some seasonal beer and a trip to Lombardi's Pizza (notice a trend of pizza eating?).

Today I'm back to cleaning and packing and laundry and procrastinating by writing this post. Tonight I'm meeting up with friends and tomorrow playing one last game of NYC touch football.  Monday it's back to DC to start off for real at my new job!