Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tailor Made

I've been wanting to get a bespoke suit made for a number of years now, and I've finally decided to engage the skills of a good tailor.

I went to get measured the other day which was a somewhat bizarre experience. The little Italian man was barely tall enough to reach my shoulders, and as he buzzed around he converted from inches to centimetres by turning his tape measure over and over.

He also had a special secondary tape measure for my inside leg. It had a stiffened end so that he could post it towards the top of my leg without having to actually get his hand too close.

Didn't stop him from touching my bottom, though.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Guitar Man

Some of you may have detected a distinct "air guitar" theme in our lives.

We went to the national finals in the UK last year, and to the regional finals in New York back in June. This month it was time for the American national finals.

The setup was the same: one minute performing to music of your choice, acerbic judging, the top 5 contestants going through to a final round performing free-style to music they hadn't heard before. There was an enthusiastic crowd and a high density of groupies.

An interesting twist this time round was that one of the judges was non other than Malcolm Gladwell. Whilst he's not particularly famous as a proponent of the genre, he certainly seemed to judge fairly and attentively.

I found myself firmly rooting for the New York finalist, William Ocean, who put in a sterling performance. I'm very pleased to say that he won the whole contest and will proceed to represent the nation at the world championships in Finland in September.

You can't make this stuff up.

I do face a minor dilemma, however. Do I support the US or the UK in the finals?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ain't Going To Goa

We went for a curry last night. The restaurant is a single block from our apartment and we've walked past it many times, but never gone in.

As we sat down I noticed a higher than normal density of English accents amongst the patrons.

It's funny how some people revert to type when they're travelling.

Oh, and the food was pretty good.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Stuck With You

Once you start to notice them, they're everywhere.

The streets of New York are covered in literally millions of small black marks where people have discarded chewing gum that no longer has any flavour. The density of the spots is particularly unnerving in the subway stations. Just how long does this stuff last?

I've seen little men valiantly attempting to clean up the debris using high pressure hoses. Their machine seems to be reasonably effective, but the sickly sweet smell that it unleashes is equally frightening. Presumably the gum that is prised off the pavement is sent to some god-forsaken landfill to while away eternity next to a myriad plastic bags and nappies.

Given the longevity of the little skid marks, I hate to think what happens if you accidentally swallow some gum.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Deeper Underground

New York is a city that is never quite "finished", it's always undergoing repairs of one sort or another. I spotted an open manhole cover the other day, and nearby was a van from the local electricity supply firm. A very large, round man was waddling around in company overalls and looked intent on getting in the hole. There was clearly no way he was going to fit.

This isn't the first time this has happened. Last year I was walking by Macy's with my parents when we saw pretty much the same situation unfolding. Again, the man was never going to get through the hole. Or at least wasn't going to get back above ground if he did manage to squeeze through.

Unfortunately I haven't quite been in the right place at the right time to see how the endgames of these scenarios play out - but it does seem like a hazardous occupation for a gentleman of a larger than average girth.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Walk This Way

I am fortunate enough that I can walk to work. I manage to do this about 90% of the time, with the odd subway ride mandated by inclement weather, or simply by being late.

On my 25 minute walk I see a bunch of familiar faces, and sometimes some very odd behaviour. This blog entry begins an occasional series chronicling the things I see.

This evening on the way home I saw a delivery man on a bicycle. He was ringing his bell rather aggressively at a small group of people who were crossing the road in front of him when the pedestrian crossing was clearly indicating that they should wait.

Good man, I thought, until he turned the wrong way into a one-way street and was nearly squashed by a truck.

So much for the rules of the road.