Sunday, April 17, 2011

Crushing the Guard!

Roar! Not too long ago the last great arcade in New York City, Chinatown Fair, closed its doors! It was a sad day here in NYC. Now where will people go to put money down on Robotron?! Luckily, a few days later the owner of Chinatown Fair opened a new arcade in Sunset Park, Brooklyn! The arcade isn't officially open yet but this past Wednesday they were having a Super Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 tournament so I went over there to get a sneak peak at the new arcade!
Here I am outside Next Level Arcade! It still doesn't look like much on the outside but there sure was a lot of action happening inside these doors! Let's check it out! Roar!
Here are some of the best Super Street Fighter IV players in NYC! It looks like everyone has got their game faces on. Get a look at how fast their hands are moving! Woah! Was that an Ultra Combo?! Roar!
Here are the best Marvel vs Capcom 3 players in the city! Since MvC3 is still a pretty new game there aren't any arcade machines yet so the arcade has it running on a custom XBox360 set up! Talk about neat! Again these guys are so good -- their hands are a blur! I wish my claws were that fast! Roar!
Right now there aren't many other machines at Next Level Arcade. They did have this King of Fighters machine, which is all right, but I really wish they had Primal Rage! The only problem with SSFVI and MvC3 is you can't play as a dinosaur, though maybe they'll fix that with some DLC! Roar!

I had a lot of fun visiting Next Level Arcade and I can't wait to see what it will be like when it's done! They say they will even have a bubble tea bar! I love bubble tea! Roar! 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Roar! The Shuttle is coming the NYC!

Roar! Tuesday was a seriously space themed day! Not only was it the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's legendary space flight but also the 30th anniversary of the launch of the space shuttle. For the occasion NASA was also making it's announcement on what museums will receive the decommissioned space shuttles! The Intrepid Air and Space Museum over on pier 86 has been vying for a shuttle and Tuesday they were offering free admission to anyone who showed up wearing space themed clothing! I just had to take advantage of their offer and show my support for bringing a shuttle to NYC! So put on a classic space pin and boldly went where no dino has gone before!
Here I am in front of the USS Intrepid. The Intrepid served as an aircraft carrier during WWII and the Vietnam War. She was also responsible for recovering the Mercury and Gemini space program capsules! Clearly she'd make a great home for one of the shuttles! Roar!
Here is a model the museum had set up to help bring a "Shuttle2NYC."Right before I got to the museum NASA made an announcement that the Intrepid would be receiving the prototype shuttle, Enterprise, named after the famous ship from Star Trek! This is the shuttle the US astronauts trained on! I'm pretty excited that it's coming to NYC and I'll get to see it first claw!
Here are a couple of the Mercury and Gemini capsules they have on display! Above you can see what it look like when they retrieved the capsules from the water! It's just like fishing! Roar!
I know what it's like to sit inside one of these babies! Too bad there isn't a mini golf course anywhere around here... Roar!
There were a lot of cool things to see and do in the museum! Here is a reproduction of an Intrepid life boat! Roar! Sit down! Sits Down! You're rocking the boat!
There was also this neat reconnaissance helicopter that you could climb into! I wonder what it would be like to take one of these babies for a spin!
Here is one of the old propellers from the Intrepid! It sure is big! Roar!
Here is a TBN-3 Avenger which served as a bomber during WWII! It sure is an awesome looking plane! Roar!
This is the bell that was used in the decommissioning ceremony for the Intrepid on March 15th 1974. During the ceremony the bell was struck 8 times to signal the end of the last watch. That day when asked for whom the bell tolled, it tolled for INTREPID! ROAR!
Here I am up on the flight deck of the Intrepid! Just get a look at all of those sweet airplanes! Roar!
Here I am in front of just some of the sweet planes on display at Intrepid! To the left is a F3D-2 Skynight used during the Korean War. The Skynight was the United States first jet propelled all weather air-craft! But can it fly in asteroids?! Roar!
Here is a F11F Tiger! This one was part of the Blue Angels squadron! Tigers flew off the intrepid from 1958-1960. It must have been really cool to see a Tiger fly but I wonder if there are any pigs around here... Roar!
This is an A-12 Blackbird. This super sonic aircraft flew reconnaissance missions for the CIA. They were later replaced by the more famous SR-71 model! This is a really awesome looking plan but it sure is big! I doubt many of these would fit into a pie! Roar!
Here I am in front of a MiG 15. This is the same model airplane that Yuri Gagarin flew before he joined the Cosmonaut program! It sure was cool to see it on the 50th anniversary of his flight!
There were too many sweet planes to keep track of! To the right is another MiG! This is a MiG 21 which gained notoriety as a fighter during Vietnam. The MiG 21 has also been flown by over 50 countries, including India and Poland! Roar!
Here are some helicopters that flew during the Vietnam War! The one on the left is even painted the same way it was during the war! Woah, is that a sky shark! Roar!
Here is a fighter plane from the Korean War. It's a pretty neat looking airplane! Roar!
Speaking on neat planes, the Intrepid also has a Concord Jet on loan from British Airways! These super sweet super sonic jets could cross the Atlantic in 3 hours! They flew until 2003 when high costs and lack of ridership forced them into retirement. Now it takes 6 hour to cross the Atlantic! Oh how times have changed! Roar!
Roar! Here I am in the captains chair pulling into pier 86! Hello New York City!
Roar! All Stop!
The Intrepid also had a submarine! This WWII Growler is a grayback class cruise missile submarine! It looks so cool I can't wait to go inside and check it out! Roar!
Woah! Look at this old submarine toilet! I hope nobody clogs this baby!
ROAR! RED ALERT! Someone put paper towels in the toilet! We're going down!
FIRE TORPEDOS! We need to get it unclogged! Roar!
Outside the submarine there was this Rolls Royce engine on display! This type of engine powered all the Russian MiG's that flew throughout the Cold War. The story about how the Russians got their hands on one of these engines is pretty funny. The story goes that when a Soviet engineer toured the Rolls Royce factory he challenged the head of the company to a game of snooker. The Russian engineer hustled the head of Rolls Royce and convinced them to sell Russia an engine. The Soviets quickly reversed engineered it and put the engine in all their MiGs! So the fate of Cold War aviation was decided over a game of snooker! Roar!
After leaving the museum I went over to the Ben and Jerry's at Rockefeller Center for Free Cone Day! I got Half Baked Frozen Yogurt! It was delicious! What a sweet end to such a cool day! Roar!

Friday, April 8, 2011

I've Got the Moon on my Mind at the NY Unsound Festival!

Roar! Last year during the first Unsound Festival I went to a sweet talk at the Wyoming Room where Morton Subotnik talked about the invention of the buchla and his goals for the medium of electronic music. He even autographed my copy of Silver Apples of the Moon! Well now the Unsound Festival is back and so is Mort! This year he was giving a live performance of Silver Apples of the Moon over at the David Rubenstein Atrium in Lincoln Center! I just couldn't miss this opportunity to see one of my favorite pieces of music performed live!
Here I am inside the David Rubenstein Atrium. It's a pretty neat space! There were all the these cool plants growing on the walls and there were these wild skylights full of different colored lights. I guess they were really trying to set the mood for the performance! Roar!
Here is Morton Subotnik working a vintage bucla! Wow just look how fast his hands are moving! I never realized how complicated Silver Apples of the Moon is! I can only imagine how hard Golden Apples of the Moon must be to play! Roar!
Here video artist Lillevan, can be seen providing live accompaniment on his Macbook! It was pretty sweet to see him live mix all this cool experimental video while Mort worked the bucla!

Here is a short video I took of the performance so you can hear the music and see what the visuals were like. Subotnik's new version of Silver Apples of the moon was really cool. Not only were there new versions of parts 1 and 2 but also two whole new parts that were similar in style to some of his more recent work. It was really cool to see the progression of the piece! I just wish I could have taken someone from the moon with me to share it with them! Roar!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Visiting Green-Wood Cemetery: More Than One Tree Grows in Brooklyn!

Roar! Friday morning I went over to Green-Wood Cemetery to go on a walk with a fellow blogger and explore all the different trees and plant life that thrive in a place where humans eternally rest! Now that's what I call poetic! Roar!
Here I am outside the main gates of Green-Wood Cemetery where I met Katie who writes Green-Wood Cemetery Trees. Those sure are some fancy looking gates! Even though the cemetery was established in 1838 those sweet, Gothic gates weren't built until 1861. They were designed by Richard Upjohn who also designed the current Trinity Church!
As soon as entered the cemetery Katie started showing me all sorts of cool things I would never have noticed on my own! Here she's showing me a flowering katsura tree. You can even see the stamen and anthers! Roar!
Here I am checking out a type of shrubbery commonly called Andromeda. Woah! Get a look at those crazy looking flowers! They're totally out of this world! Possibly even galactic! Roar!
Next we passed by this crab apple tree whose base was completely hollowed out! It reminds me of a story I read one about a human boy that went to live in the woods and made a home inside of a tree! What a crazy story! Still, this tree is pretty comfortable... Roar!
Next Katie and I passed this beautiful budding beech tree. Try saying that five times fast! Roar!
There are a ton of famous people buried in Green-Wood Cemetery. Here I am hanging out on the grave of Bill the Butcher! He was a member of the Bowery Boys who was made famous in the movie Gangs of New York. That movie was about the rivalry between gangs of "native" New Yorkers and arriving immigrants. It's was a lot like what's happening in Collect Pond Park right now!
"Boss" William Tweed is also buried here. He is probably New York City's most infamous politician! Tweed  stole up to 200 million dollars from tax payers and died in jail. Since this was before the consolidation of the city in 1898 I'm guessing no one wanted Tweed to be buried in Manhattan! So instead he was interred here in Brooklyn! Now that's justice! Roar!
One of the trees Katie wanted to find was this hardy orange! The hardy orange is a seriously thorny shrub whose fruit smell strongly of citrus. Unfortunately it's the wrong time of year for fruit otherwise I would be able to give them a try. I guess I'll have to come back in the future and plunder the Green-Wood C. Roar!
Here are some crocuses that were coming up in a planter in front of a headstone. The crocus is a sure sign of Spring! They are always the first flowers that I see come up once the seasons start changing!
There are a lot of beautifully crafted tombstones at Green-Wood Cemetery. This chair marks the grave of a child. Look at the detail of their coat draped over the arm of the chair. Not to mention the tassel from the coat. I can only imagine how beautiful it must have looked a hundred years ago when it was new.
Here I am in front of a Dawn Redwood or, as Katie called it, Metasequoia. The Dawn Redwood is actually a living fossil! I used to hang out in the shade of these trees back during the late Cretaceous! It was so awesome to see one of these guys again! Roar!
Next we headed down to one of the many pretty ponds located in the cemetery. Just check out this lovely spot under one of the willow trees! Katie told me that willow trees can actually be an invasive species in some places! I never knew that! I guess I've just always been in love with the iconic beauty of the weeping willow and never thought about how they might fit into the local ecosystem.
We passed this budding cherry tree on the other side of the pond. Since it didn't have its famous blossoms I didn't even realize it was a cherry tree until Katie pointed it out to me!
Not to far from the Cherry tree was this headstone. I hear this guy just loved cherries when he was alive! Roar!
Here I am under a sweet maple tree! Get a look at those bright red blossoms! I wonder if I can come back here and get some syrup? Roar!
This is a baby maple tree that had sprouted from a seed. Katie says the maple is pretty resilient. There were maple sprouts all over the cemetery. None of them will grow into full trees though, these guys won't make it past the first mowing of the grounds! Roar!
I love the way plants have grown all over the old Mausoleums! Above you can see one that has been over taken by ivy! I guess ivy is pretty common in cemeteries but I don't expect to see any lizards around here! Roar!
Next Katie and I headed over to the pretty pond! It was really beautiful! It reminds me of how before public parks, cemeteries were used by the public as green spaces. I could easily spend an afternoon lounging in the shade around this pond! Roar!
On the hill above the pond was this gorgeous Blue Atlas Cedar! With a big strong tree like this around I won't need to beware of the darkness! Though I definitely don't want to be standing underneath it if it decides to shrug and drop all its cones! Roar!
Next Katie and I passed by this neat ring of graves! There are so many interesting sites to see in the cemetery but I'm glad I'm here during the day. I don't want to run into any ghosts after all! I'm still afraid that Charles BOOs might get me! Roar!
Here are some sweet looking Sweetgum balls! Wait a second! These don't look chewy at all! And... Blargh! They're not sweet either! I should have asked Katie about them first before I decided to try them! Roar!
Next we came across another living fossil! There was this ring of Gingko trees that had fused together. I guess there must have been one large tree in the center and it fell down. Then the new trees sprang up from the roots and formed a ring! Talk about neat! Now if only I could find someway to toast the nuts without having to handle the fruit. Roar!
Towards the end of our walk we passed by the monument to Charlotte Canda. Katie said Charlotte is a real Green-Wood celebrity! She was only 17 when she was thrown from a carriage and tragically killed. Her family spared no expense erecting this beautiful monument to her. People would come from far and wide just to see it. To the right of the monument is the grave of Charlotte's fiance who sadly committed suicide after loosing Charlotte. roar...
Katie and I had come to the end of our walk. It was really awesome of her to let me explore the cemetery with her. She is going to be leading a walk through the cemetery in May. Definitely come check it out if you can! On the way out of Green-Wood cemetery I noticed a group of parrots that have made a home in the spire of the main gate. There are a lot of urban legends about how they got there. Regardless of how it happened it was neat to see that there were more than just plants thriving in Green-Wood Cemetery! Roar!