Monday, March 30, 2009

Someday...



I took the day off today. I needed a mental health day. Plus, I still felt like crap this morning from drinking too much on Saturday.

It's gotten about 7 degrees warmer in the last few days, which may not sound like a lot, but it's a huge difference to me. The coolness of Spring doesn't last long here in the Sunshine State.

I've been cooped up indoors for the last 48 hours, recovering from my over-indulgence this weekend -- so I decided to go to Plantation Heritage Park, not far from my apartment. I took the photos above with my iPhone.

I've been trying to finish reading 'Into the Wild' again, but I rarely seem to find the time to sit down and read these days. I figured since I actually have some leisure time to do whatever random things I want, I thought I'd bring the book with me to the park.

I found a solitary bench in a nice little breezy spot under a tree. It's much too hot to sit directly under the sun today, so it felt nice to sit in the shade, relax, and read a few chapters.

It's odd how when I'm in a park by myself in Florida, I don't want to be around any people. Even when there are only a few people around, it's a few people too many. But when I'm in Central Park, or even Bryant Park, I love having people around. I find it pretty odd, but it is what it is, I suppose.

So I sat down to read, and was really eating it up. I watched the film adaptation of 'Into the Wild' about a year ago, and loved it. The movie inspired me to read the book as well.

This guy, Alex McCandless, had a yearning within his soul to escape a mundane, predictable life to live a life of adventure and self-reliance, free from limitations. But what I love most about his story is that he actually had the courage to leave it all behind and follow his dream. In the face of the unknown, filled with danger and uncertainty, he broke free from a life that was leading him far away from where his heart needed to be.

Some people think he was an idiot, some guy with no sense who died for nothing and wasted his life. But I see it differently.

I read his story and live it vicariously. It really inspires me. I wouldn't exactly follow the same path he took, as it was uniquely his to follow. It's his free spirit and courage that gets me most. I think I keep picking it up in hopes that one day I will have that same courage to just pick up and go, against all odds like he did. I think there are lots of people out there like me. We desperately want to take a shot -- it's just that it's taking some of us much longer to muster up the courage.

The truth is, we may never will. But then again, we just might.

Someday.

This is from a letter Alex sent a friend (from the book, pg. 56-58), which really moved me:


"Ron, I really enjoy all the help you have given me and the times we spent together. I hope that you will not be too depressed by our parting. It may be a very long time before we see each other again. But providing that I get through this Alaskan Deal in one piece you will be hearing from me again in the future. I’d like to repeat the advice I gave you before, in that I think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing or been to hesitant to attempt.

So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one piece of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.

If you want to get more out of life, Ron, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty. And so, Ron, in short, get out of Salton City and hit the Road. I guarantee you will be very glad you did.

But I fear that you will ignore my advice. You think I am stubborn, but you are even more stubborn than me. You had a wonderful chance on your drive back to see one of the greatest sights on earth, the Grand Canyon, something every American should see at least once in his life. But for some reason incomprehensible to me you wanted nothing but to bolt for home as quickly as possible, right back to the same situation which you see day after day after day. I fear you will follow this same inclination in the future and thus fail to discover all the wonderful things that God has placed around us to discover.

Don’t settle down and sit in one place. Move around, be nomadic, make each day a new horizon. You are still going to live a long time, Ron, and it would be a shame if you did not take the opportunity to revolutionize your life and move into an entirely new realm of experience.

You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living.

My point is that you do not need me or anyone else around to bring this kind of light in your life. It is simply waiting out there for you to grasp it, and all you have to do is reach for it. The only person you are fighting is yourself and your stubbornness to engage in new circumstances.

Ron, I really hope that as soon as you can you will get out of Salton City, put a little camper on the back of your pickup, and start seeing some of the great work that God has done here in the American West. You will see things and meet people and there is much to learn from them.

And you must do it economy style, no motels, do your own cooking, as a general rule spend as little as possible and you will enjoy it much more immensely. I hope that the next time I see you, you will be a new man with a vast array of new adventures and experiences behind you. Don’t hesitate or allow yourself to make excuses. Just get out and do it. Just get out and do it. You will be very, very glad that you did.

Take care Ron,

Alex"

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

What a Great Article on NYC

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Where's the Pot O' Gold?


I've always wanted to find the end of a rainbow. Apparently, an iPhone user out there did just that. Very cool!

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I Love Rachael Yamagata's Music

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Champagne and Waterfalls

This is a photo I took just before dusk while on a Champagne and Waterfalls cruise around Manhattan, circa September 2008.

As hoity-toity as I can be sometimes, I'm apparently not sophisticated enough to really appreciate modern art displays like this. I mean, it was somewhat interesting and all. I didn't dislike it, per se. But it didn't stir the type of reaction I would get when observing something like a colorful impressionist piece painted by Monet, for example.

I think I may have enjoyed it more if I could've gone swimming underneath the waterfall itself (though I doubt I would want to swim in the East River, so nevermind!).

That said, it actually was more interesting when the light illuminated the whitewater flow from the man-made waterfall at night. The water had a luminescant glow next to the surrounding darkness under the Brooklyn Bridge, which I thought was a nice visual.

I think they were taken down in October 2008.

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Metrosexual Musings

The fact that I actually enjoy this blog adds more fuel to my ever-lingering suspicions that there truly may be something very, very wrong with me.

I say that because it's not like I can really relate to her experiences, and I can't imagine there being very many 38 year-old heterosexual males flocking to the blog to read it, much less being interested in the subject matter and actually liking it.

Apparently, I must be more metrosexual than I realized. I embraced fitting into that description a long time ago, but somehow I always seem surprised when I'm able to confirm this.

I'd say I have plenty of attributes for people to complain about, but fitting into the 'metro' mold isn't one of them. I can fit in and feel completely comfortable in a room full of heterosexual beer-drinking, cheese-eating, football-watching rudimentary buffoons just as easily as I would if I were at a disco ball utopia like the Copacabana, surrounded by eccentric, flamboyantly proud, gay male divas prancing around in purple g-strings and assless chaps.

Wow, talk about digressing.

Anyway, she has a post regarding a visit to NYC that I found quirky and amusing, which is how I'd describe the overall blog so far. I can somehow totally relate to this particular line:

"I could see myself living here and falling madly in love with it, much like I adore Coco [her dog] even though she eats poop."
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Viva Las Vegas

That saying "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" sure is a catchy phrase, and it really caught on a few years back. It's a nice marketing slogan, but unfortunately for this guy, sometimes the slogan doesn't ring true.

This photo is from a Vegas trip I took with a few friends in 2005. I don't know who this guy is, but he was sitting there completely drunk in a dark, hidden corner, away from people and away from all the nightlife action. Apparently, he had seen plenty of action prior to squating in this desolate spot.

My friends stayed at the New York, New York right on the strip, and I stayed at the Orleans, about a mile off the strip. The Orleans was a good bargain, and a nice enough place too; but I should've stayed closer to the action on the strip. There was always some interesting adventure to get into there.

We stayed for 4 nights, which is really about 48 hours too long if you ask me. Don't get me wrong, it was fun and all -- it's just that being on the back end of my thirty-something days, Sin City did a good job kicking my ass.

It really is like a sex or gambling addict's Disney World for adults. It's also like your crack addict, prostitute sister's shangri-la. I happen to be perfectly fine with anyone who is, or aspires to be either one, but for context's sake, there you go.

One thing's for sure -- gotta love the super-cheap buffets!
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

"Uhhh Negative, I Am A Meat Popsicle..."

Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I usually like to watch the sunset atop really tall buildings when I travel. I think I took this at the top of the Rock.

Much to my dismay, the place was packed with tourists. But, I claimed my spot and held it for a while as dusk settled in.

"How beautiful," I thought to myself. Then I looked around at the ridiculous mob of human bodies all around me and thought, "this is why I don't do the typical NYC tourist attractions!"

Guess I should've done this on a Wednesday or something.

Then again, knowing certain spots in NYC, it would still be just as polluted with the ever-present gaggles of carbon-based meat popsicles from around the world.
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Pinch Bar

I tend to spend most of my time in the Village when I'm in NYC. I usually walk around in random directions, wandering into the less-traveled nooks and crannies of the city, looking to discover places I've never been to before.

I believe I was on Sullivan Street, pretty close to Washington Square Park when I took this. Over to the left is The Pinch Bar, by the flag. Unfortunately, I don't know how to upload the picture in its original size, so it's tough to see the place with the photo at this size.

I have no idea if the place is still open, or if the locals even like the place, but I had a good time there. From what I remember, I really liked the ambiance. Then again, I was already three sheets to the wind by the time I got there, so I suspect I would've been happy anywhere, so long as they served alcohol.

I do recall being late meeting my friends there on the night I went.

When I got there, everyone within earshot had already become fast friends, apparently -- because the girl I sat next to already had a big, smiling grin on her face as if she knew my life's story.

"You're late!" she said.

I don't know what it is about alcohol, but it tends to induce people to raise their voices a few decibels for no apparent reason.

Without missing a beat, I playfully respond, "Welp, you may not know this about me yet honey, but that's kinda what I do..."

She laughs, "Is that so?!"

I give her my finest, charming smile.

"Aye, lass!"

I turn to the bartender with an eyebrow raised, shrugging my shoulders with my hands up, "What can ya do, fuggetaboutit..."

You know you've had too many drinks when you mix Irish and Italian accents within seconds of each other.

The bartender being on the ball says, "Soooo, you're saying you need a double then, aye?"

Considering the fact that I was well on my way to oblivion, I raise my voice a few decibels and gleefully respond, "Finally! Someone who understands me!"

"Cap'n Coke, please!"

From that point on, it's a bit of a blur...but I know we all had a great time.

Sigh. New York City. How I miss her so...
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

St. Pat's in Southie

I sure would love to be here on St. Patrick's Day!
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Butterfly World





I took these photos sometime in 2007 at Butterfly World in Florida. Having never gone before, I didn't know what to expect, other than seeing a bunch of different flutterbys, obviously. As it turned out, there were much more than butterflies there. I really enjoyed the place.

There were many different types of exotic birds, as well as other types of interesting looking insects. Great place for kids who like birds and butterflies.

Both the butterflies and birds have their own little sanctuaries where they fly around free and unfettered. There are lots of flowers and trees, not to mention the pleasant, soothing sound that comes from water flowing out of the fountains and mini-currents from little ponds in the sanctuaries.

For someone who likes to take pictures, this place was perfect. There's so much to beauty there to capture.

The photo of the two birds is one my favorites from my visit. Not for the pic itself, per se -- but for me, it was one of those rare perfect-timing shots. I really love how the moment of affection between these two little birds was captured.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Oh My...

I'm going to go ahead and indulge my rudimentary hetero-maleness for a moment to say that I really, really miss looking at the old Jessica Simpson.

I'm sure she's a wonderful person on the inside and all, but man oh man she looks good here!
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Sunday, March 8, 2009

On the Water

This looks so relaxing. I think this is in Thailand. Fantastic shot!

Photo by grantthai at flickr.com
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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Perpetually Ravenous


I don't know if there's such a thing as 'grass-is-always-greener' syndrome, or if there's an official name for it -- but if there is, I think I've had a pretty bad case of it for a very long time.

I don't know how normal it is to never be satisfied with anything.

Then again, what's the benchmark for 'normal' anyway, and who sets it? I mean, really.

I guess an argument can be made that normal is relative to whatever similarities in behaviors, beliefs, or traditions that a majority of people in a particular culture have in common with each other.

But even if that were the case, I think the word 'normal' should be outlawed and eliminated from language altogether.

I digress. Back to the grass-is-greener thing.

For as long as I can remember, I've always wanted more.

And when I've gotten more, I still wanted more than that too.

I would love to be one of those people who are grateful and content with the things they already have. Those types of people are usually able to see what they have, are thankful, and even refer to those things as blessings.

Good for them.

As for me, I just can't seem to stay on board with that program.

It's as if I have a perpetually ravenous appetite for whatever more is. And it's not so much a feeling of ambition as it is desire. It's a desire for something other than what I already have. And not just for material things, but everything.

Damn, I feel greedy. Heck, I guess it is greed.

In truth, there were a few occasions when I didn't feel like I needed more -- I've fallen in love a few times, and during those times, I actually was quite content. I didn't need more at all as far as relationships go.

I suppose I'll have to settle for that reality.

At least it's something, right? It's a start, I guess.

Welp...

Therapy session over.
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Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Wicked Lotta Beahs at Cheahs













I thought I'd diversify a little and put up a couple pics that I took from a few trips I took to Boston. Although NYC will always be where my heart is, Boston represents some very good memories for me. And I happen to love the Red Sox. Most baseball fans of the Sox or Yankees probably would probably be horrified at the fact that I love both cities, but I do. I fell in love with both cities the first time I set foot in them.

I took the first pic as I was standing in front of Paul Revere's house. I was walking the Freedom Trail that day, loving the crisp, cool 30 degree 'weathah.' The second is from Boston's Public Gardens downtown, which is a very pretty, peaceful place to relax. The third is from the Granary Burying ground, which has some amazing historic figures buried there. Boston's has so much history, which I find fascinating. The fourth and fifth are random shots taken while walking in Boston's North End, which is the Italian part of town -- the city's own 'Little Italy.'

Oh, and do yourself a favor. If you're ever in Boston's North End, you MUST have some gelato at the Gelateria. Oh. My. God. Absolutely delectable. I recommend the mango!
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