Winter Storm Jonas 2016

Snow:New York :: blue:sky

What gets me going is when the city “shuts down” over a bit of snow. As a New Yorker that has been here for a good 20+ years, blizzards and winter storms aren’t my first rodeo. So here comes Winter Storm Jonas and everything comes to a standstill. Broadway? Shut it down! Mass transit? Shut it down (albeit only above ground EL service)! Roads? Shut. It. Down! No one should be traveling on the roads, your government has decreed it. Who cares if you have to get to work or come home from work? You should be glad that the government cares enough about you to tell you what to do and stay home (don’t expect them to compensate you for any loss wages, however). It’s for your own good, remember that.

The only good thing is that walking around was not banned, but recommended that you not go outside. Not one to shy away from snow, of all things, we opted to walk around the neighborhood and check just how much plowing went on (not much). We were out for a good 4 hours, and NOT once did we see a DSNY plow or salt truck. The air was crisp, the snow wasn’t heavy, and traipsing around made me feel like one of those foxes in the Nature specials, jumping in the snow for field mice.

While at some junctures, the snow did come up to my knees, it really was no threat nor obstacle for my overprepared self. Nothing like a good set of layers and good pair of boots (Bugaboots by Columbia, what is cold?) to help you tackle Mother Nature’s wintry fury.

 

It wasn’t the worst blizzard I’ve walked in, but it was pretty enjoyable for a day off and something to do. Take in the sights and frolic in the snow like a kid again.

The Titanosaur!

Much like many things in New York (1 World Trade, Empire State Building, Manhattan Bridge…) we do things large and in style. Our museums are no different. Grand, magnificent displays, intricate and detailed dioramas, classic descriptions of the days old, the American Museum of Natural History have unveiled their latest and greatest display– the Titanosaur.

The Titanosaur– a dinosaur so enormous that it does not have a proper name– is now the newest resident of the museum’s fourth floor, right with its other dinosaur brethren.

Disclaimer though, the skeleton currently on display does not contain the actual bones, but a fiberglass replica, as the fossil bones were too heavy to be mounted. They do have an original bone, a femur, for a limited engagement at the museum that is on display. The display itself is awe inspiring. The Titanosaur is so big that its head sticks out of the entrance. A very apt welcoming indeed.

According to the display information (click here for more information from the AMNH), the Titanosaur spans an impressive 122 feet across, and in its heyday, weighed 70 tons.

To put that into prospective, for example:

  • An elephant weighs 11,000 lbs, or 5 tons. A Titanosaur would be equal to 14 elephants, roughly.
  • An Orion VII transit bus weighs 42,540 lb, or 19 tons. A Titanosaur would be equal to 6 Orion VII buses.
  • The Brooklyn Bridge weighs 14,680 tons. The weight of 210 Titanosaurs would equal the weight of the Brooklyn Bridge

Boggles the mind. That and the fact of the existence of this gigantic beast. It drew a huge crowd on its debut, so I wasn’t able to take many pictures but I did manage to get some nice ones as seen below. The exhibit floor was pretty dark, they were showing a movie as well at the time. Lucky for spotlights and the occasional flash.

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Panoramic of the Titanosaur (click to expand)

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Hello there!

I will definitely be making a return visit hopefully with a better camera and get more pictures of the Titanosaur.

Review: Inspire your Inner Cat Lady/Man with Neko Atsume (Android/iOS)

I stumbled upon this game when I was reading Kotaku one day and they reviewed it. Either I’m not as unique as I thought I was or that there are more people like me out there (I’m leaning towards the latter).

Neko Atsume is a game that is low maintenance and pretty darn rewarding. You play as an unknown person that leaves food out for stray cats who visit and leave presents for you. It’s very cute and the fact that you don’t have to check in every few minutes is a huge plus. That way you’re not tethered to the phone (as if you needed another reason to these days) and you still get rewarded compared to someone who checks it religiously.

Note: the game is in Japanese, but it’s very easy to play once you get the hang of the icons. Trial and Error helps in this case.

Without going into a full walkthrough (instead check Welcome to Wonderland for a very comprehensive walkthrough), this is just to touch upon how fun this game is.

When I first started out, it felt pretty empty. After a week I think I attracted 2 or 3 cats. It felt pretty sad and I thought maybe I did something wrong. Just keep leaving food however, more cats will come. As long as you keep the food coming, so will the cats. The more cats that visit and the longer that they stay playing with the toys you leave out, the more fishes they leave you. More fishes = more currency to purchase higher value foods and toys. You have a choice of using real money to purchase in-game fishes but the way that it is, you really do not have spend your money as long as you’re patient. Suggestion: when you start amassing gold fishes, start saving up so you can buy an extension to your house to hold another food bowl and more toys (price: 180 gold fish for extension, 280 gold fish for different remodeling types).

After a while of attracting “regular” cats, “special” cats started visiting my yard. These cats are uniquely looking. You’ll know it when you see it. One looks like a Musketeer, another looks like what I would imagine if Anna Wintour was a cat, another is a Sphinx cat. It’s a treat whenever a unique cat visits your little yard. In addition to taking care of the little cats, you also have the ability of taking pictures of them and storing those photos in an album. The toys that you put out has different interaction scenes with the cats and it’s animated as well; if you experiment, you can get some of them in some nifty poses. Special cats that are only attracted by one type of unique toy will only have one unique pose, however.

The only drawback I found to this game is that you can only take pictures in landscape, and you can’t rotate the camera in portrait to take pictures of some cats that stand vertically (eg: the samurai cat, the noble looking cat, the mountain climbing cat). You end up cutting some part of them out of the picture. Other than that little pesky thing, the game is overall pretty fun.

Some screenshots:

My first yard...

My first yard…

First house extension

My first house extension

Coraline

Individual cat file: Coraline in the cowtube

Pandacat

Individual cat file: Panda(cat) with the little butterfly tether toy

Netflix and Being Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Isn’t it weird to have something for so long and never really use it?

That’s me. I’ve had Netflix for a little under a year and have never really used it much. Nothing really, just never had the inclination to watch anything. I did use Netflix to watch old staples such as Frasier. I really liked that I didn’t have to dig out the ol’ DVDs. I never watched anything else, either because my Netflix search skills suck (or their search sucks, one of those) or because they didn’t have what I wanted to watch.

This weekend, I am pleased to say that I officially binged on Netflix. I don’t recall watching as many movies/series as I had in my history of having it. The downside is that my whole day went because of it.

And it all started with Poirot. I watched one episode last week and got a little hooked. That led me to watching it from the start (which was a bit disappointing, because in the episode that I watched he seemed really nice, but then he wasn’t in the beginning). Those first few episodes weren’t really notable to be honest. That then led me to jump around and find some other shows. I ended up watching Death Comes to Pemberly, which if you are a Jane Austen fan, you may enjoy for it continues the saga of the Darcys. The acting was good and the plot was believable. BBC makes such great shows (such as Doctor Who– which I tried watching the classics, but just could not get into) when you think about it. They make you think and keep you on your toes.

Segueing from that, I watched an Indie Comedy just to spice it up. Ended up watching The Station Agent, starring Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones), Patricia Clarkson (Claire from Frasier), and Bobby Carnavale (Vincent from Will and Grace). It was a really good movie, despite its seemingly disappointing ending. Being conditioned with watching your mainstream movies, I kept watching and waiting for the romance to happen only to find out that everything was truly platonic, a rarity in films these days.

All in all, just like how you can get sucked into the rabbit hole in Youtube, you can get sucked into one on Netflix too. Don’t even bother with worrying about the time and just enjoy the ride. You never know what you may be opened to and who knows– end up liking.

2015 is upon us!

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Just like 2014 and the years past, resolutions are made and are rarely kept. That’s me right there. I barely kept any of my 2013 resolutions is partly because I had gotten a job. Suddenly the time that I had allocated for all those niche activities were now spent getting up, commuting, and working, then the reverse commute back home, sleep and be all ready to rinse and repeat for the next day.

I will however say this: I will definitely try to accomplish at least 1 out of the multitude that I have on the list this year.

With that, shall we see what we had for 2014?

  1. Learn to code (js, c++, html, ruby, completing any one is acceptable) – 2014: Started HTML around Oct of 2013, slowly but surely learning. 2015: Have been working on this in 2014, yay Codecademy! 32% down! Hopefully will finish this year
  2. Use the Yashica more (and look for better developers as well) – 2014: Took a few pictures in 2013, but haven’t yet finished that one roll (did finish a roll… but kind of screwed up and lost all 24 pics). 2015: Hopefully the camera will be used moreso this year. 2014 was an LG g3ography year.
  3. Hang with friends (even with all my time, hanging out is rare) 2014: Total fail. Hung out with absolutely no one. Damn work. 2015: Now with a car, maybe a road trip is in order to visit dear friends?
  4. Use a sewing machine (no more needles in my fingers!) 2014: Moved, so no access to a sewing machine. Did use a needle to sew a button on a sweater though. We’re going to strike this one out for good.
  5. Take Trouble to the park more – 2014: Moved, now I walk cats. 2015: Still will walk cats. Maybe will walk Trouble once a week.
  6. Learn to crochet – 2014: Did learn to crochet, but haven’t picked it up since I moved. 😦 2015: That bag of yarn will become something, dammit.
  7. Learn to knit other patterns (learn to read patterns) – 2014: Haven’t crocheted, haven’t knitted. 😦 2015: See above
  8. Learn a new language (Spanish & Mandarin, completing any one is acceptable) – 2014: Started using Duolingo to refresh my Spanish and after, will start to learn French. I still refuse to pay for Rosetta Stone. 2015: Continue with Duolingo
  9. Be more positive – 2014: Working in the new job where it seems positivity is something that definitely gets you through the day. Accomplished this in 2014 for the most part.
  10. Update this blog more 2014: Total fail, haven’t really updated since starting a job. 2015: Aiming to update more
  11. Volunteer more (but don’t spread self too thinly) – 2014: Fail, haven’t volunteered at all in 2013. 2015: This could go either way

So what really am I aiming for this year?

  • Job: either move off the phones to somewhere that I have more responsibilities (and freedom) and can stretch my legs, or move to another job path – DONE, was promoted off the phones. Couldn’t be happier.
  • Spend more time with my family now that I don’t see them much – WIP although attainable
  • Spend more time with my SO – DONE for the most part
  • Work more on #s 1,8,9,10 from last year

Queens Museum (of Art) Visit

Ever since hearing that the Queens Museum is being renovated (as well as checking their Instagram for progression pictures), I was so excited to be able to visit it. As the museum is housed within the Flushing Meadows Corona Park, it’s always a bonus to check out the surrounding sights while going to the museum.

For those who aren’t aware, Flushing Meadows Corona Park is a very important part of history. It was the site for the famous 1964 World’s Fair. If anyone has ever seen the gigantic globe of the world and never knew where it stands, now you do. It’s inside the park. It’s a magnificent piece of art and through time, come to be synonymous with Queens, NYC.

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1964 World’s Fair memorabilia.

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World’s Fair Globe.

But without much ado, to the museum!

Queens Museum front

Front of Queens Museum and a lovely gazebo.

 

Some of the exhibits were pretty interesting, although to be honest I was a little disappointed that not many were about Queens. However, they are still in the progress of renovation and putting up new exhibits so I’m hoping to see more permanent ones revolving around Queens and NYC.

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Gigantic mural of the 99% that greets you when you come into the museum.

 

One of my favorites is the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) Watershed exhibit which teaches people on where their drinking water originates from. (See below) There is a room sized display of NYS and it shows the various watersheds and paths that water flows into the city. They also have quite a few pictures donated by the DEP that shows watersheds, natural falls, as well as old historical pictures of the workers that helped create it into the system it is today. My only gripe is that there are descriptions next to the pictures but not very clearly labeled.

NYS Map of Watersheds

 

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The People’s UN exhibit. The clock is a piece made entirely of old casings and guns.

 

 

The rest of the exhibits were very nice, but I have to admit the only reason why I wanted to see the museum was due to the fact that they house a larger than life sized diorama of NYC with all properties. It is so amazing when you think about all the work (and time) that it took to create such a masterpiece.

Diorama of Manhattan

Part of Manhattan in perpetual darkness.

When you come in, it’s all platformed and you walk around looking at the city below. Part of the platform had glass flooring so you can see below. While I really loved seeing this, I hope that part of their upgrading would be to address some minor issues of the exhibit, such as how part of Manhattan is in darkness (please change the lightbulb there). I did have a lot of fun trying to locate old homes, workplaces, and generally just seeing how everything used to be (I believe locations are current as of the 70s) before condos and highrises were taking the city’s skylines over.

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NYC has a lot… of projects (seen as tall red buildings).

The museum is really nice overall, it’s clean, airy, and made in a way that lets a lot of natural light into the building. What I’d really love to see in the future should they consider it, is to include artwork from local Queens artists in the museum. Not that I’m an artist, but just seeing the other exhibits that they had (one about Skid Row in LA and artists from LA), it would be nice to showcase local talent.

 

MF’in Franklin Delano Roosevelt – a movie review (FDR: American Badass)

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FDR: American Badass Poster

Ensemble:

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Barry Bostwick: Spin City) – The main character of the story. Then-Governor FDR contracts Polio from a Werewolf attack and that spurs him to run for President and get involved in World War II in ways that you did not read in the history books.

Louis (Bruce McGill: MacGuyver) – FDR’s companion and right hand man. He witnesses FDR’s attack as well as assists him in his reign as President.

Eleanor Roosevelt (Lin Shaye: There’s Something About Mary) – FDR’s supportive Wife and mother of their 6 children.

Douglas MacArthur (Ray Wise: Reaper) – Aka Dougie Mac. Gen. MacArthur assisted FDR in fighting back the soldiers from the Axis of Evil.

Abraham Lincoln (Kevin Sorbo: Hercules) – Ol’ Honest Abe gives FDR a little bit of advice in his time of need.

Cleavon Buford (Ross Patterson: FDR: American Badass) – A ‘Repube” that assists FDR in gaining the state of Georgia in his run for President.

Plot:

America has been infiltrated by Werewolves where any area that you’re bitten by a Werewolf you contract Polio. FDR goes on a hunting trip and encounters a werewolf that gives him Polio. We follow FDR’s journey into acceptance and making the best of the situation by taking matters into his own hands and going after those responsible. We meet various characters along the way, such as Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito from the Axis of Evil as well as Winston Churchill, who engages America in Lend-Lease to fight the enemies.

Verdict:

I can’t say when I’ve watched a movie so absurd that it tickled me so. The humor of this was very similar to Anchorman where it seems the characters had Carte blanche to say whatever popped into their minds. The movie with its cast of veteran actors (that you’ve undoubtedly have seen in many shows throughout the years), as well as the ridiculous story plot and lines, really come together and make this a flick worth watching. The humor was so wrong and if you’re one who cries about how un-PC things are, you should avoid this movie. All those who are looking for something to fill their 93 mins with, should watch this movie.