Saturday, August 25, 2012

A few days of Big Apple

Last night I got back from a few days in NYC. Before I left, F asked me if there were any climbing gyms in New York. "Yeah," I responded, "New York has a lot of everything except wide-open spaces and mountains." One of the things they have a lot of that I love the most is vegan restaurants.

Right after I checked into my hotel on Tuesday night, I headed over to Terri for supper. It's become a tradition of mine to eat there the first night I'm in town. Great-tasting vegan fast food always seems to hit the spot after half a day of airports, jets, and taxis.

The next night a coworker and I met up with a former colleague at Han Gawi, a vegan Korean restaurant. I'd been wanting to go there for a while, but it wasn't somewhere that I really wanted to go by myself. The food and atmosphere were both great.

Thursday was my last night in town, and I was feeling kind of burned out on being around so many people. So I was tempted to just hit the salad bar at Whole Foods and eat in my hotel room. But that would have left me with an evening of staring at the internet in hopes that it could alleviate my boredom. So instead I coaxed myself into walking down to Gingersnap Organics. I first heard about this place from Choosing Raw and have been wanting to check it out. But it's a little out of the way, and I was reluctant to try to drag omni' coworkers to a raw vegan place. So this was a perfect time to go by myself, and it did not disappoint. Nori rolls, a burger, and the most amazing coconut cream pie ever!

While I wasn't working or eating, I mostly spent my time reading and listening to the Enormocast. That's a fairly new podcast about climbing that I recently came across, and I'm catching up on all the episodes dating back to December of last year.

If you're even just a little bit into climbing, go check it out now. I'll wait right here for you.

I decided to send Chris Kalous, the producer/host of the show, an email to let him know that I'm enjoying it. I'm not sure I can really even call myself a climber at this point (almost all of my climbing so far has been in gyms), but I like having these virtual connections to the community. It was a very short exchange, but it caused me to reflect on a few things. And I reached the conclusion that I need to stop making excuses and letting my shyness hold me back from doing something I really want to do. So ignoring the fact that I have almost no free time in my schedule, I headed over to Mountain Project and decided to find myself a climbing partner. So hopefully I'll have rock-climbing stories to tell in the near future.

While I was packing for the trip, I grabbed two small paperbacks off my bookshelf to take with me. One was a Michael Moorcock novel - The War Hound and the World's Pain - that I picked up at a thrift store and hadn't read yet. It was a pretty good twist on the old Grail Quest theme. The other was Neal Stephenson's Zodiac, which I haven't read in ages. So it's been a real treat revisiting that one. One quote that struck me in particular, and belongs here on SPL, is this passage on riding a bicycle at night:
My nighttime attitude is, anyone can run you down and get away with it. Why give some drunk the chance to plaster me against a car? That's why I don't even own a bike light, or one of those godawful reflective suits. Because if you've put yourself in a position where someone has to see you in order for you to be safe -- to see you, and to give a fuck -- you've already blown it.

Cynical, but classic Stephenson Attitude. Love it.

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