New Decade

It was kind of cool to wake up to the sounds of fog horns on the East River Saturday morning. It was one of those days where it never really rained, but everything was wet all day. It has officially been three weeks since surgery. I’ll be starting regular PT week after next. I have enjoyed the steady return of my mobility, and decided to capitalize on it Saturday after spending some time with PJ. I drove to the Tarrytown reservoir and took a lap on the reservoir trail. I wished so badly that I would have brought my real camera with me. Instead, all I have are these mediocre-ish cellphone snaps. The fog transformed the depressing dead-looking winter woods into a nearly silent ethereal dreamscape. I felt like I was walking through an Isabel Stahl photo.

Switching gears completely — One of my 2020 goals is to get back on the horse creatively. As a part of my end-of-year and end-of-decade reflections, I became painfully aware of  how drastically my time spent being creative has waned over the past several years. One decision that I have executed to proactively kickstart said goal, is taking a break from Instagram. I disabled my account shortly before midnight on Dec 31. It was an idea that I had been leaning toward for a while (since the app was acquired by F@#$book).

When the app first came on the scene, I feel like it actually may have helped my creative juice via the inspiration I gleaned from the photographic works of my peers and acquaintances. In the past couple of years it seems to have devolved into the same torrent of internet diarrhea that is F@#$book. Having so much additional down time lately while recovering from surgery has intensified my awareness of how much time can be wasted mindlessly scrolling absolute nonsense (yikes!). Some people do dry January. I’m doing ‘gram-free January. So far I don’t miss it at all. I’ll re-evaluate on Feb 1. In the meantime, perhaps I’ll find the juice to expand the content on Jake.News beyond monthly playlists and the occasional book review, hehe. I realize that the ‘blog’ as a format has been dead for a while now … oh well.

For now, please enjoy this set of photos from my walk through the woods in the fog.

 

Q4 2019 Running Update

Me waking up from anesthesia vs. me waking up from anesthesia.

For the more punctilious readers of Jake.news, it is probably apparent from the photo above that I was not able to achieve my 2019 goal of running 1000 miles. No, indeed I fell short by exactly 181.3 miles. For those who perused this update, the injury that I mentioned ended up being a core muscle injury coupled with bi-lateral inguinal hernias. So, yeah, it took more than an little PT to fix that problem. I opted for a surgical repair, which occurred mid-December (a/k/a six days ago). I’m very glad to be on the other side of that event, and on the way to recovery. I still won’t be able to run for a while. But by the time the weather warms up, if all else goes according to plan, I should be able to start logging some easy miles again. I have guaranteed entry to the upcoming NY Marathon in November. I’m told that it should be a possibility. So that’s what I’ll be working toward … from scratch. Happy New Year!

Costa Rica – Winter 2019

Playa Avellana

Nothing like spending the holidays with family. It just so happens that we have some family in Costa Rica, and had the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving with them. It was my first time setting foot in the country and I cannot wait to get back there. We flew into Liberia, which is a chill little airport to the north of San Jose. We spent a week eating, swimming, golfing, surfing and relaxing. Even though I brought an SLR on with me, most of the photos I took were with either with a GoPro or my Fuji range finder (FujiFilm X100-s). Here is a short list of places I can recommend:

  • Sentido Norte— Excellent sunset views from this place (see image directly below). The food and drinks were also top notch. I recommend the tuna sashimi.
  • Patagonia del Mar— We actually ate here twice. It is a newish spot in the area (although the owners have two other similar restaurants in nearby towns). It was bumping both times we ate there. They had a fantastic selection of locally caught fish and Argentine beef. I was impressed by both the surf and the turf offerings. Supah affordable, as well.
  • Playa Avellanas— Delicious waves, offshore breeze and surfboard rentals right on the beach. This beach is also home to Lola’s Bar, which on its own is reason enough to visit. The bar is home to a giant pig named Lola, giving the joint its namesake. Seating is right on the beach under a manicured group of mangroves. Food and drink were tasty and affordable.
  • Reserva Conchal— This is where we stayed, and it is also where we golfed. The course is the prettiest one that I have ever played.
  • Frijoles Locos— Awesome little surf shop near Playa Grande. Believe it or not, I forgot to pack board shorts. This shop saved the day.

Some additional photos-

Sunset from Sentido Norte

GoPro Selfie at Playa Avellana

Playa Brasilito

Playa Conchal

Sporting my best Gilligan look (photo by Britt)

Typical Costa Rica: brainy babes reading on the beach and beautiful sunsets.

Another sunset shot from Sentido Norte

Moto ‘Camping’ Columbus Day 2019

Columbus Day is one of those weird holidays. When I say “weird” I’m not even referring to the controversy surrounding the question of why it is even a holiday anymore. I’m talking about the fact that, even though the federal government and the banks are closed, only some businesses observe. Further, is the fact that the weather could go either way in the northeastern US. Some years it is still beach weather on Columbus days. Other years, there is snow on the ground. This year was one of those rare times when Columbus Day weekend in the tri-state area had exactly the weather that one would expect it to have; it felt like fall.

One of the local Brooklyn motorcycle shops (Union Garage) put together a ride to rural PA for an overnight glamping trip. I had been on a few rides organized by these guys before, so I knew that I could expect a mellow, no a-hole type of crew. I roped in my buddy Mike (from this ride), who also rides a Monster, to join in.

We met at the shop in Red Hook around 7 AM on Saturday and rode all day, taking back roads and enjoying the fall foliage. We even did a few surprise offroad miles. It wasn’t ideal for the people riding bikes with aging street tires, but everyone made it back to the pavement in one piece and it definitely made for some great stories. Mike and I skipped the last section of the local route and opted for highway, since daylight was fading and he only had a very tinted visor. Mike and I rolled into the campsite with about 30 minutes of daylight to spare. We were the first ones to arrive, and as result, were able to tap the keg and enjoy the sights and sounds of the rest of the group rolling in.

Dinner was prepared and served by the camp owners. This was followed by a bonfire, and a super legitimate firework show. A lot of the guys did full-on tent camping. Others (including myself) opted for the bunkhouse. In the morning, we woke up to the first frost, and it was a thick one. There was a nice coat of ice on everyone’s saddle. After breakfast, the crew split off into smaller groups and headed back east. We had a really great time. It was a great way to cap off the 2019 riding season. I hope I can do it again next year.

Some of the photos from the trip–

Q3 2019 Running Update

This update is not a rosy as the first two from March and July respectively. The last couple weeks of July, I started experiencing a lot of pain after runs. Eventually the pain was too much to run at all. A visit to the ortho doc confirmed that I was injured. I’m still working with a PT on recovery. It has been over eight weeks without any running, and I’m definitely going a bit nuts. In the meantime, cycling does not cause any pain or aggravate the injury. So I’m trying to supplement my cardio with some miles on the bike to stay in shape. Unfortunately, I find that I have to do about 4x as many miles to burn the same amount of calories as running. It is super time consuming. Cycling is definitely a lot more fun though. So I’m taking the good with the bad.

I have logged 818 running miles on the year. So, to the extent that I can start running again by November 1, it is possible that I can still hit my 1000 mile goal for the year. Fingers crossed.

Madrid – Sept. 2019

B in checking her analog map on the Plaza de Colón, while a local enjoys a relaxing phone call in the background

We recently spent a long weekend in Madrid. It was my first time there. We stayed at 7 Islas Hotel, a chill hotel on a side street in a cool part of town. The common space is awesome, and so are the rooms. It was designed by Kikeller, which also has a showroom (and not-so-secret speakeasy) in the neighborhood. More about that, later. We left NYC on a Wednesday night and arrived in Madrid early on Thursday morning. The flight was only a little longer than getting to LA. from NY. The Madrid airport was super easy, as was ground transpo. We got to the hotel around 10 AM, dropped our bags and hit the ground running.

Thursday was our only rain-free day, so it is good that we didn’t waste any time. The city is very walkable, and there are rental scooters, bikes, and e-bikes available as well. Everyone eats late lunch, then takes a siesta in the early evening, and heads back out around 7 or 8. Dinner time is 9 or 10. The siesta is something that should be universally adopted in my opinion. Not only did it mitigate the jet lag, it also made it very easy to stay out until the early hours of the morning and still wake up with the sun. One more general observation before I get into the details; even though everyone there speaks pretty good English, the people in Madrid were very patient with my crappy Spanish. Instead of forcing me to speak English, they would coach me through, to make sure they understood what I was saying/asking. Here are a couple of notable spots that we wandered into-

Mercado de San Antón– It’s like a multilevel Chelsea Market, with a rooftop bar and art gallery. There aren’t a lot of non-hotel rooftop bars in Madrid (that we found, anyway). This one was okay. It was worth checking out, just for the local flavor.

La Austriaca— We had breakfast here twice (mostly because of proximity to hotel). It was super chill. No tourists. Excellent coffee and food.

Zombie Bar— This is one of the many spots that we wandered into on Calle de Pez. There were a ton of interesting bars and decent food on Calle de Pez. This spot stood out because of its decor. They had a bunch of throwback 80’s skate decks on the walls, together with Basquiat prints, and skate trucks as bar hooks. Great selection of drinks and interesting menu.

El Salton— Britt wrote this description– “drinks and tapas good not amazing but all locals and cheap.” I agree with her assessment.

Vaccaciones Bar— Chill vibe, nice decor. Lots of great cocktails and food. Definitely some tourists go here.

Macera— We had a consensus on this place for best cocktails in Madrid.

Cuatro de Ocho—  I thought this place was cool. Here is what Britt had to say- “drinks nothing special don’t put on list.”

Ojala— This place has an awesome outdoor seating arrangement. The food, was so-so. But the ambiance was very interesting. The basement is definitely worth checking out.

La Colmada—  We dipped into this place in the late afternoon just as it started pouring rain. It was already bumping before the downpour. No tourists. Totally unpretentious. Awesome prices. In Britt’s words- “best everything.” We had various types of tapas, and a few drinks each. The check was less than the price of two salads from Chop’t.

Stop Madrid— Awesome late night spot. Great selection of tapas. No tourists. Great value.

Bodega Ardosa— This place is super old school. It feels like going back in time, hanging out in this place. We were there late at night, but here it what the outside looks like during the day. There is a restaurant in the back that you have to duck under the bar to get to. No music here, just old school vibes and scores of locals.

Fabrica Maravillas— This place brews their own beer. We tried a few types, and they were all great. We walked by a few times, and it was always busy. It is a very communal atmosphere. At one point someone ate all of my olives and accidentally grabbed my beer. No harm, no foul (the olives were free).

Clarita— We went to this place around 11:30 PM, and it was bumping! We sat in the bar area. No one spoke English. But it was rowdy enough that everyone was just kind of pointing and doing hand gestures to order anyway. We loved the vibe and the food was excellent.

Kikeller— Last but not least, this is a design showroom with a late night speakeasy in the back/downstairs. Awesome cocktails. Awesomer space.

More photos-

Palacio Real de Madrid. We didn’t have time to go inside. But we will next time.

Britt bloqueando the salida de emergencia.

The organ at La Almudena Cathedral

Smiley babes on basically every street in Madrid.

Some Jesus art inside the church

Sweets attract sweets.

A detail from the church door

Out of focus, but I loved the light in this one.

A statue of Joannes Paul that time he said “whaddya want from me anyway?”

Typical Madrid- umbrellas and babes

A statue commemorating the first time an angel fell in love with Madrid (in 1906).

B thinking about a joke that she heard one time

Lots of statues of dudes on horses around Madrid. This one is in Plaza Maior. Historically significant and worth checking out.

Some dope public architecture, and a babe.

Reversing roles, Britt got this one of me.

 

Q2 2019 Running Update

Left: waiving at Britt after a rare evening race. Right: looking behind me before an early morning race.

This post is just an accountability update from my report at the end of March, where I announced to the innanetz my running goal to hit 1000 miles this year. Unfortunately, I got sick of running midway through April and gave up on that goal. I’m totally kidding about the ‘giving up’ stuff. To date, I have not fallen short of my 25m/week goal, nor have I had a month wherein I did not exceed the 100m/month goal. I have all of these mini goals to thank for keeping me on track for the 1000 mile goal.

For this quarter, I decided to do some races. I have kept them all short and sweet. The shortest has been 5k, and the longest, 10k. Running these distances in a competitive setting a couple weekends per month has proven to be incredibly fun. Since I don’t really have expectations, or (for the most part) anyone waiting at the finish line, the pressure to do well has been incredibly low. I have always loved the energy of road racing. To be honest, the NY and Chicago marathons are tied for the time I experiences the most euphoric ‘runner’s high.’ The beauty of running these shorties (esp the Central Park ones), is that I’m generally done, showered and, home ready for the rest of the day by 10 AM. And I mean, since I’m doing a few races, may as well do the 9+1 next year’s NY Marathon, right? I thought so, too. Two races to go.

What I have learned about myself and running in the past 90 days:

  • Cold weather running, while harder to get motivated about and requires more gear, is much easier on the bod. Running in the heat hurts a lot more and takes longer to recover from. In the past, I had always quit running once it started to get cold, and would pick up again once it got warm. This year is the first time that I have ever experienced the sharp contrast between the two seasons.
  • Consistency is key. I have done a million different training programs for a million different races. Not until I had this 25/m per week goal, has running ever truly been a part of my routine and felt easy.
  • Ambiance is nice. One of the things that turned me onto running in the first place, is enjoying all of the scenery and things happening around me. I found it much less boring than the gym. For a long time I was not able to run with music, because I would sweat-to- death every device (early MP3 players, iPod nanos, you name it) that I brought running with me. I also hated the headphone cable being constantly glued to me with my own sweat. Since the advent of waterproof bluetooth headphones, life has been different.  While I now run with music a lot (esp if I have a new playlist or need some extra motivation), I still enjoy switching it up and going no-jams a few times per week.
  • Stretching, rolling and strength training is necessary for old guys. I never did this conditioning/flexibility crap when I was younger. I eventually had knee problems in my 30s when my IT bands started to calcify. A few months of recovery PT taught me some habits that I still employ. Even though I don’t stretch after every run, I do at least every other time. I also foam roll my ITs, glutes and lower back once per week. I mix in strength training whenever it is too rainy outside to run.
  • Sleep is important. It doesn’t seem like is was as much of a factor when I was younger, but I definitely notice a huge difference these days when I don’t get a solid sleep before a run.

If I was perfectly on track with my goal right now, I would be at 500 miles for the year. As it stands, I broke the 700 mile mark last weekend. I’m feeling okay about the whole situation and enjoying running as much as I ever have. Crossing my fingers and toes that I’m not somehow jinxing myself by publishing any of this nonsense. Knock on wood that I can stay healthy and injury free for the rest of the year (and the rest of my life, haha). Hey, shoot for the moon, land in the starts, right?

Left: the most brutal foam roller I have ever used. Right: pre-run selfie in summer gear, 17 lbs lighter than Jan 1.

Beyond the Streets NYC

Hadn’t shot anything for Snob in a while. When I saw that “Beyond the Streets” was coming to my neighborhood, I raised my hand. I was able to get in the Thursday before it opened to the public, and it was mostly empty. There is a lot of good stuff from some of my favorite contemporary artists, many of them local. I would highly recommend checking it out, if you are into this sort of thing (or even if you are just dying to see what it looks like inside of that gorgeous new building at 25 Kent). Here are a few of the snaps.

Faile

The shark is by RISK. It is nicely juxtaposed with a tribute to the late great NEKST.

RISK

CR Styek III

Parla

Futura 2000

Bill Barminski

KATSU

Craig Costello

Bill Barminski

Takashi Murakami

Futura 2000

Summer Wristwatch (2.0)

My left hand (and part of my left arm at 5 to 7 PM) with a time piece that I endorse.

I stated the case for a summer wristwatch a few years ago. I’ll admit that these little guys don’t usually last that long. But, that is part of the point, right? It is the watch that you put on when you are doing some sort of activity where there is a (high-ish) possibility that it gets smacked against something, or massively scratched while doing some manual work on something. No? Just me? Anyway, I was reading a certain website the other day and saw a deal that I could not refuse. This Japanese built, solar powered gem is the summer watch of my dreams. It comes with a chronograph and a sub-4 hundo pricetag. To be clear, this is not sponcon in any respect. In further honesty, I used to have an aversion to non-swiss watches with chrono. But, dude, I have had this thing for a few days now in gross NYC summer weather, and I fully endorse this piece. That’s all.