4 Feb
2014

Quick & Sloppy Interview: Kaaren Styles

kaaren-styles

Quick & Sloppy was a 15 episode series of interviews done with Miami artists and musicians.  Each episode was approximately 30 minutes in length (hence “Quick & Sloppy”), in a conversational format that also included clips from the artists work.

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3 Feb
2014

2 Angry Nerds – Replay December 2, 2012 Episode

2AngryNerds-Main

Originally aired December 2, 2012 on Jolt Radio, an online radio station based in Miami, FL, 2 Angry Nerds was a live show (which was later posted as a podcast) about movies and general life subjects.  It included elements of music, periods of conversation, lists, and social media interaction.

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30 Jan
2014

Day 15 Two Weeks a New Yorker

Day14-1

The snow that fell almost a week ago is still on the streets.  It’s amazing, it’s like this stuff never goes away.  Even worse, it’s getting packed and icy, and I’m getting dangerously close to falling right on my ass in front of a large crowd of cute girls.  It’ll happen, trust me.

Yesterday marked my two weeks in New York City.  It’s only been a short time, but I’m amazed that some things have already changed so distinctly in my New York life.

For example, when I first got here Alison walked me around the neighborhood, and I can honestly say that the place we walked through is completely different than the place I’m living.  It’s really hard to explain, but things seemed so big and unknown then, and now it’s starting to feel so familiar.  I’m developing all my own associations and memories with different places.  This is becoming my neighborhood.

Also, I’ve dropped the idea of needed a “day job” for now, and I’m fully committed to pursuing writing full time.  I can’t reiterate how staying with Alison has made this all so easily possible.  New York may be an expensive city, but being here has made it very reasonable and easy to deal with.

My favorite photo spot, riding the F-Train into Manhattan.

My favorite photo spot, riding the F-Train into Manhattan.

I know these posts are becoming less frequent, but trust me, it’s not because I haven’t wanted to do them.  Unfortunately, my day to day life has become a matter of applying for jobs, going to the gym, or running small errands.

Yes, totally exciting New York life!  But, because my main purpose for heading into the city has now all but disappeared (applying for jobs at car dealerships), I’m basically sticking to the neighborhood, while trying to pile more and more freelance writing gigs on myself.

But screw it!  I’m still a tourist, and the biggest sporting event of the year, the Super Bowl, is happening in New York City this weekend, so I’m went to Times Square to enjoy the festivities.

 

I love Times Square.  Every New Yorker hates it.  It’s pretty funny.  They complain about tourists that walk slowly and stop to take pictures, slowing down the general hustle and bustle of the New York sidewalks.

Well, guess what, I do it too.  So screw you New Yorkers.  Or screw me?  I’m not sure how it works anymore.

I didn’t stop to partake in any of the events, but it was fun to people watch and take pictures.  There’s nothing within me that is willing to wait 2 hours to ride on a plastic toboggan, that I’ve ridden four billion times at the Youth Fair before.

After that, I went to my favorite place in New York City, the 42nd Street Library, to do some writing, drink some coffee, and warm up from the cold.  Which was a very chilly 20 degrees the whole day.

Day14-11

 

After none too long the sun dropped behind the concrete horizon  Outside the window I was sitting, people were stopping to take pictures of the Empire State Building in the near distance, which was lit up against the night sky.

Day14-12

 

After getting some last moments of warmth, I wrapped up, and went back out to explore the city that illuminates the night.

 

I walked up and through Grand Central Station, past the Chrysler Building (my favorite skyscraper), and the Empire State Building.

There’s going to a point soon where I venture past the usual midtown sights and sounds.  I just love the iconic sites.  I’ve said this for years, but now it’s becoming even more real: “living in New York is like dating a really famous woman.  You may have never spent a second with her, but you know so much about her already.”

Of course, the real pleasure is in learning about the things that no one else knows, and that’s what I’ll be developing in the coming months.  Words can not describe my anticipation.

Later on that night I met up with a friend, and spent some time in the West Village.  I wasn’t necessarily going to write about this here, because I know it’s not necessarily the right forum, but things have been so incredibly easy in terms of dating and building a social life.

It’s two weeks, and I’ve already gone out on several dates with very attractive, funny, intelligent, and motivated women.  I’ve been developing a bit of a social network, thanks to my fellow relocated Miami friends, and all the people that Alison has been introducing me too.

I hate to say it, but for all the years that I defended Miami as not being a “shitty place full of shitty people”, I’m quickly being proved wrong.  Miami is shitty, but hopefully it’ll help me maintain my wide eyed wonder as long as I’m in New York.  So it’s a positive by being a negative.

25 Jan
2014

Snow, Schmoe. I’m Just Kidding, It Sucks.

Day1113

Snow covered entrance to a cemetery in Brooklyn.

Don’t think I’ve lacked in my updates for any reason other than being lazy, and occupied with other irrelevant things.  Sure, I’ve been getting my resume out as much as possible, and even went so far as building a website for my online writing portfolio (ricdelgado.com if you’re curious).  But after Mercedes-Benz wasted 5 of my days asking me to keep returning to the Upper West Side in the snow, only to tell me “we don’t accept resumes” on the fifth day, I’ve spent my days trolling Craigslist.


Mercedes-Benz wants to dick me around?  Fine, I’ll just go hang in the 42nd street library.  Your loss suckers.  I actually ended up meeting two other writers there, so it was especially good.

Truthfully, the biggest thing on my mind is the job situation, but that has a lot to do with Alison accommodating me to an almost unreasonable level.  Because of her I have a really nice place to stay, we regularly go food shopping together and cook our meals together (to save time and money), and most of all, I’ve had an instant social life.

Day113Day112

We’re celebrating someone’s birthday! I think!

I’m insanely lucky to have her looking over me as I go through an enormous life change.  I’m also really happy that she appreciates me living with her as well, and, even though I take it with a grain of salt, she says that I’m a really good cook.  I think she’s really nice.

Things are actually going so well, that we’re talking about me staying with her for longer than a month.  It would really help her out financially, plus the inexpensiveness of being here (which would make my rent much cheaper than I was paying in Miami), would make it so that I would only need a part-time job and then can focus a lot more on my writing.

Day111

The snow covered entry way to the apartment building.

Or even better, figure out a way to write full time.

It’s Saturday morning, and I’m about to meet up with another friend from Miami to go go to an event in Central Park called Winter Snow Jam.  Carolyn, my friend, has a dog which is why she wanted to go, but I’m going to take snowboarding lessons. One of Alison’s friends and coworkers that I really like, Jed, has a membership (or something) at a lodge in Vermont and has an open invitation for anyone that wants to go snowboarding with him.  For free.

If I wasn’t me, I’d be jealous for all the things that I’m getting to experience.  I’ve taken a “just say ‘yes’” mentality to my time here in New York.  It doesn’t feel real, which is easy to say when I haven’t found a daily grind of work, bills, and whatever.

I’m enjoying it for now, and hopefully I can figure out a way to keep this going, even though vacation doesn’t last forever.

22 Jan
2014

Day 7 This Is Snow?

Day 7 (2)

The warnings were abound when I told people that I was moving to New York City in January.

“Why would you move in the middle of winter?” they would ask.  The inference being that there are much warmer times of the year to try to make a transition up north.

Day 7 (4)But screw that, my plan from Day 1 was to become a New Yorker.  I’m not a Miamian struggling to survive up north, I’m a recent arrival to the city I now call home.  Is snow a problem?  Sure.  Will I make sure that it doesn’t bother me?  Damn right.

Either way, I’m going to have to learn to deal with it, because the snows came down today.  It was pretty intense.

Instead of being stupid and prideful, trying to tough it out through the elements, I layered up, and made sure that even though it was cold out, I was going to be comfortable.

Here was everything I had on today: underwear, thermal pants, pants, socks, boots, undershirt, thermal shirt, dress shirt, hoodie, jacket, cap, and scarf.

It was in this massive amount of protective body armor that I made my way, yet again, to Mercedes in the Upper West side.  I took yet another picture off the F train between the 9th street/4th avenue station, except this time it was peering down on the snow-covered roofs of Brooklyn.

Absolutely beautiful.

Day 7 (1)Unfortunately, the train got stuck on it’s way in to Manhattan, and after a 40-minute delay, we were informed that we’d have to get off the train and take a bus up a few stations to catch one of the connecting trains.  The people around me grumbled, and cursed under their breath, blaming the snow for all the problems.

Of course, my wide-eyed, naive self spun optimism thought, “they gotta do what they gotta do, and now I get to walk around in the snow.”

I popped out of the subway in Downtown Brooklyn, and much to my chagrin we were then informed that due to bad traffic from the snow the shuttle buses were going to be delayed, as well.

Anyone else think that the gods don’t want me to work for Mercedes?

This was not an ideal situation.  On the one hand, that was going to make it impossible to get to the Upper West Side anytime before noon (I had left the apartment at 9:30am).  But on the other, I was going to get to walk through the snow, which was bound to be an interesting and new experience.

Day 7 (3)Here’s what I learned about walking in the snow: at all costs do not let it touch your skin.

I was wrapped up so tightly that only my nose was poking out from behind a pair of sunglasses and muffler.  I felt like Dark Man, except not, you know, ridiculous.

With traffic stopped all around me, and the snow coming down relentlessly, I trudged up 15 blocks until I got to the next functioning subway station.  While that sounds really dramatic, it wasn’t.  I’m really just beginning to think that northerners are a bunch of complainers.

I’ve come to that conclusion after one day, and I’m sure Patrick will throw it in my face a couple of years from now when I’m complaining about the snow.

I got to Mercedes, and yet again, the one manager I need to speak with wasn’t in the office.  That makes four days I’ve gone by Mercedes, and four days that I walked away empty handed.  Da gods, de are-ah speakin to meh.

Even worse, I did it trudging through the snow, having to deal with broken trains, snow everywhere… it’s awesome!  I’m supposed to go by again on Wednesday, except this time it’s going to be 8 degrees out.  Perhaps my positive attitude will finally take a hit from that.

Doubt it.

day 7 - 7Day 7 (5)

 The backyard in the morning (left) and before the sun went down (right).

When I got home from work, I curled up with Alison’s four cats, and worked my way through a pretty intensive session of randomly sending out my resume on Craigslist.  I’m still hopeful that BMW will come through, but I need to get some money coming in.  I focused on part time jobs, and one listing, which is to work the front desk at a gym, called me back 5 minutes after I applied.

They loved that I described myself as a “gym rat” in my email.  And I loved when the woman I was talking to said, “this is primarily a woman’s gym, and I would need you to be extra friendly and social to the guests.”

Yeah.  I think I can do that.

20 Jan
2014

Day 5 Brunch, Board Games, and Football in Brooklyn

Day 5 (6)

After taking a day off, I was ready to run around New York again.  I had reached out to my cousin Eric, my sole New York family member, and we made plans to have brunch.

Day 5 (5)It was a bit colder than it’s been for the past couple of days, and I had to break out the muffler.  Walking to the place we were going to meet, I was nothing but a pair of eyes poking out from behind a muffler, cap, and hoodie.

Eric, Eric’s wife Natalie (love to say that), and I went to a Brazillian restaurant by his apartment called Beco’s Bar.  It was small, like everything, and the food was outstanding.  It reminded me of Miami.  The three waitresses were all Brazilian, which is close enough to latina that it was familiar.

Mostly we talked about my future in New York.  While I’ve been trying to focus on the same routine that I knew in Miami, i.e. day job and writing on the site, Eric told me that he could possibly help me get on the writer’s path first.

It’s a scary proposition, to be honest, because even though I’m living in a totally different city, I’m so familiar with the day job route, that breaking away from it would completely change everything I know.  It would be a truly new start, rather than moving my life up north, and substituting New York for Miami.

Day 5 (4)After eating, Natalie and Eric invited me back to their apartment to chug coffee, nosh on some almonds and cranberries, and play test one of Eric’s new games.

Coming from a family or nerds, dorks, and geeks, I’m a bit of the odd man out, because I’m not a game player.  Personally, I love to watch people play games and interact, but to be involved myself is usually my second choice.

But I finally gave in to nerdly desires and played a round.

More fascinating than the game is Eric’s unbridled passion for it.  Of course, as an artist, I can relate that there is no better joy than seeing your vision be created from the nothingness of your pure imagination.  Then again, there is nothing worse than seeing it completed, because it means the journey of it’s construction is over, and there’s nothing left to do with it.

I don’t need to get into the details, but Eric kicked my ass.  Which he should do.  Maybe it’s my internal hyper-competitiveness that can’t deal with playing games, but it was still fun.

Day 5 (2)After leaving Eric’s I walked to East Williamsburg to hang out with a friend from High School, who I literally haven’t seen in 15 years.  The power of Facebook and social media is amazing.

We spent the afternoon watching football and catching up, which is surreal because this particular friend and I were the biggest geeks in high school.  If I would’ve told the 15 year old version of ourselves that we eventually would be watching football together one day, they’d laugh hysterically calling us simpletons or some other derogatory word that’s unnecessarily convoluted.

On the way back home on the Subway, I snapped this picture of a young couple resting their heads on each other.  If that’s not the perfect analogy for how most days end in New York City, I couldn’t think of a better one.

Day 5 (1)

I also made it to the gym again, and I’m starting to develop a pattern, which is really important.  Funny “I’m a New Yorker” issue with it, though.  Where I’m staying is only two blocks from the gym, which is incredibly convenient.  It also means that I don’t have to bring a change of clothes, I just have to suffer the cold for a couple of blocks.

So when I go to walk to the gym, I’m scooting through Park Slope in shorts and a hoodie when it’s 30 degrees out, and people are looking at me like I’m a crazy person.  Rightfully so.

19 Jan
2014

Day 4 Cats & Netflix

Baby and me

 

When someone asks me, “what did you do on your first Saturday in New York?”  I can respond, “laid in bed with some pussy watching movies all day.”

As you can guess, going to the bar where your friend is the bartender can make for a completely intoxicated and vomit filled evening.  Which, of course, leads to having a totally worthless next day.

Which is actually a pretty good thing, considering that I hadn’t really been able to sleep that well since I got here, and I walked about 4 million blocks on Friday.  So I’m going to rest up, get my strength together, and run myself into the ground on Sunday.  Horray!

18 Jan
2014

Day 3 Spending Time In Manhattan

Patrick asked me to take some pictures of the subway, so yesterday when I was making my way into Manhattan to go job hunting I took some shots of my ride on the F Train, and also when I transferred onto the E in Manhattan to go to the West Side.

I passed by a couple more dealerships, dropping in to turn in my resume.  I met the parts manager in one place, which is the dealership for ultra-high end cars, like Lamborghini, Bugatti, Ferrari, etc.  He wasn’t terribly receptive, but I’ll keep pursuing him.  The other place, Mercedes-Benz, I’m going to have to go back a third time because I keep getting blown off.

It’s understandable, they’re busy people and I’m just popping in unannounced.  But it keeps reinforcing how BMW continues to be a natural fit.  I’m 99% sure that I will end up working there, but I have to keep searching because of that stupid birds in the bushes thing.

Alright, now that the important job update is out of the way, and trust me, I get that it’s important for me to focus on that, let me tell you what my day was really about.

I walked yesterday like I was Forrest Gump crossing the country to fight off facing my Jenny demons.  The high end dealership is about 27th Street and 11th Avenue, and the Mercedes dealership is on 57th Street and 11th Avenue.  Including the distance I walked from the subway station, it must’ve been nearly 40 blocks.

That was a pretty long walk, and I was eating up all the sights.  I didn’t even pass anywhere special, just a cool train yard where they kept subway trains that aren’t in use, and the entrance to a tunnel.

It’s more about the sights and the sounds.  It’s hard to describe, but there’s just always something that is stimulating your senses within eye shot.  Whether its construction workers cat calling a really attractive woman, garbagemen yelling “fuck you!  I was here first!” at each other, a small group of kids walking by, or whatever.

daily showEveryone talks about the “pace” of the city, but I don’t necessarily feel that.  Then again, I’m also partially on vacation.  It just that there are people everywhere.  There’s no break from it, and for me it’s like paradise.

I’m strolling up and down sidewalks, and watching everything.  I even passed by the studio where they film The Daily Show and stopped to take a picture, because I’m acting like such a tourist.  And I love it.

After I left Mercedes-Benz, it was around lunch time, and I wanted to go to Bryant Park, which is my favorite sit down spot in all of Manhattan (for now).

I had packed my lunch, and hiked it over.  Bryant Park is on 40th-42nd Street and 5th Ave.  It was another long walk, about 20 blocks, but it was awesome, because it let me walk through Times Square and Rockafeller Center.

Times Square

It was oddly quiet considering that it was the middle of the day.  It also looked like there must’ve been a concert there earlier, and they were breaking down a ton of equipment.

It’s funny because later on that day I was talking with Allison, the friend I’m staying with, and a couple of her friends, and she was saying how beautiful Times Square is, even though it’s obnoxious and touristy.  There is some incredible people watching there, even though I think Lincoln Road is the best place for people watching in the world.

It’ll probably wear off at some point, but seeing the lights and the bigness of the city is so enjoyable.  I guess the theme is “stimulating.”  That’s what I kept feeling over and over again.

I made it to Bryant Park around 1pm, and the first thing I spot poking it’s head over the rest of the buildings was the Empire State Building.

Empire State Building

Even though I find the Chrysler Building a much much more beautiful piece of architecture, it’s still like spotting a movie star.

Chrysler Bldg

Then I made my way into the park to sit down and enjoy a quiet lunch.  There’s a whole big area set up for ice skating in the middle of the park, and I grabbed a chair and enjoyed the scene, as well as the cool, fresh air.

It’s been in the 40s during the day, and it’s been downright pleasant.  I just can’t keep my hands out of my pockets for too long, otherwise they start getting numb.  It’s funny because I’ll try to send texts, and because of the Swype texting that I use, the words come out ridiculous and I can’t correct them.

Bryant Park

After eating, I went into the 42nd Street Library, that’s connected to Bryant Park, and sent out resumes on Craigslist.

It was around 3pm, I’d sent out a bunch of resumes, so I went back to Brooklyn to get some groceries and take a nap.

Over the past 3 days I’ve been trying to be outwardly social and happy.  I haven’t been putting in earphones, and I’m trying to start conversations when I can.  There’s this mentality that New Yorkers are cold and don’t want to talk  or whatever, but I”m having a totally different experience.

In the grocery store alone, I started up conversations with two people.  One was because Allison just bought a French Press so I can make coffee in the apartment, and I didn’t know what coffee to buy.  I’m standing in the coffee aisle, looking over all the bags, and looking to see if it says “for French Press” or if that would even matter.

This woman, around my age, starts looking at coffee, and I ask her casually, “can you help me?  I’m the proud new owner of a French Press, but I have no idea what kind of coffee I’m supposed to use for it.”

She lit up and explained all the different nuances of grinding density, the different kinds of beans, and eventually recommended going to a slightly more upscale grocery store, because they’ll grind the right kind of beans instead of something like Folgers that won’t taste right.

The second conversation I started because I overheard two older women talking about eating gluten-free, and how they thought they could eat rye bread.  I got involved in a pretty in depth conversation with them, and eventually showed them the gluten-free waffles that are my favorite breakfast food.

Anyway, the point is that people were incredibly happy to get involved in a conversation, and especially to help, or be helped.  The one thing Allison said that has been resonating in my head so much, is that almost everyone in New York City came here.  So we all share that similar experience of leaving behind friends, family, and comfort for a city that’s scary and unfamiliar.

After that, I came back to the apartment, made dinner, and took a nap.  Allison works at a bar just around the corner from the apartment, so when I woke up around 8pm, I went over just to hang out with her and get a couple of beers.

Bar Toto

A couple of beers turned into a whole lot of beers (it helps when your best friend in the city you just moved to is a bartender), and after spending the whole night talking with some of Allison’s friends/regulars we left at 1am.  It totally didn’t feel like it at all.

Two things that came out of it.  One is that we’re going for authentic Chinatown dim sum next Saturday, and the couple that invited is are Chinese, so we won’ t have to spend time awkwardly asking for the orange cream dot whatever bun that every Chinese person knows, but pretends not to when a non-Chinese person asks for it.  The other is that I have an invitation to go snowboarding in Vermont whenever I want.

Wow!  That was a lot.  Anyway, I continue to be amazed and mystified by The Big Apple.  Today I’m supposed to do a Flash Mob thing, but I’m fairly sure I’m just going to be laying on the couch hungover watching Star Trek.  Even NYC can’t pull that activity out of my system.

17 Jan
2014

Day 2 No Job, No Problem

brooklyn-winter

On the way to the Subway to head into Manhattan I had to stop and take a picture because the scene was just so damn beautiful.

From now until I’m employed, I have the myopic mission to get a job.  I feel desperate.  Even my writing is taking a slight backseat to find a job to pay the bills.  This is what can tear a person apart in this city, so I am going to work my ass off, and fight, and fight, and fight until I can find something.

Oh yeah, the first place I went to basically gave me an offer.

And they gave me an offer so hard, I felt like the girl that gets asked to prom by the captain of the football team.  Or maybe it’s the other way around, but the cheerleader asking out the class geek?  I don’t know how it works, and I feel like the analogy is losing a bit of meaning.

Anyway, I cruised car dealerships looking for work, and just as I’d hoped, the work I’ve been doing the past three years is highly, highly, highly desirable.  I was actually surprised how enthusiastic the guy interviewing me was that I had stopped by.  By the end of the interview, he didn’t want me to leave, but he couldn’t sign me up on the spot.  Corporate shit.

I met up with a friend today from Miami for a quick coffee after I hit a couple of dealerships.  After, I walked up and down Broadway and Amsterdam on the Upper West Side, just loving the sound of people and traffic.

It’s amazing how many friends are reaching out, saying hi, or just contacting me because they’re wishing me well in NY.  It makes leaving my home so much easier to know that the thing that made it important, the people, are still there supporting me.  I know it’ll taper off over time, but it has meant a lot.

Also, I made it over to the gym tonight, and got in a full workout.  I still have yet to eat out, and it seems like maintaining my exercise routine is going to be totally doable.  Honestly, that’s the most important thing that I can ask for.  All the awesomeness of New York takes a backseat to my diet and fitness.  It seems so weird since I did it for such a shallow reason.  But now that I’ve kept myself in this condition for so long, it’s important to not go back to where I was.

 

16 Jan
2014

Day 1 Farewell Miami, Hello New York

The funniest part of that video clip is that I was way more excited to do my first Vine video than I was to be moving to New York.

I keep getting asked over and over again how does it feel to have finally moved up here after all my years of idle threats and half-cocked attempts, and I really have no answer.  Even though if I think about it being medicated may be helping a little.

My first day here was relatively domestic and unexciting.  My friend that I’m staying with in Park Slope, Brooklyn, walked me around the neighborhood, and took me to get groceries and sign up for a gym.  It is way more important for me to continue the healthy and exercise based lifestyle I’ve developed over the past three years than anything that I hope to accomplish in New York City.  So the fact that these were the first things I did prove that I am fully committed to continuing it.

Tomorrow I begin my exhaustive search for a job.  Typically, when someone finds out I moved up to New York on a whim and without a job, they love to tell me how it took a friend of theirs months and months to find work when they moved to the city.  Of course, I placate their totally insensitive comments by, “well, I saved up a lot of money, so I’m not worried.”

I’m trying to think of the perfect response to make them feel stupid for trying to shit on my parade.  If there’s anything I know I’m good at, it’s coming up with great comebacks for insensitive assholes.  Mainly because I’m one too.

Truthfully, I really don’t pay any attention to it anyway.  Most people are lazy and don’t know how to go out and hustle their way into a job, opportunity, or whatever.  They sit back waiting for god, or whoever, to rain good fortune upon their heads, while the exact thing they need is sitting right in front of them, it’s just that they didn’t work hard enough to find it.

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