Wednesday, August 27, 2008

On hiatus

In case it isn't blindingly obvious by my lack of posts, I'm officially going on hiatus. Preparing for my upcoming move is taking up most of my time, so I need to focus on that. I'm hoping to be back to posting by October. Unless something insane happens, in which case I will post. But until then, thanks for stopping by and I promise to be back once the literal and metaphoric dust has settled.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire

As I walked out of my apartment this morning to head for work, I saw an Access van across the street. A little flash caught my eye, and lo and behold! Tiny flames were licking up the windshield.

I gave myself another second to make sure my brain wasn't deceiving me, and I confirmed, to myself, that the VAN WAS ON FIRE! I looked around to see if anyone was in or near the van, and it seemed abandoned. People were passing by on the street, looking at the fire as it began to build, and walked on by, either to the subway or down the street as the hood burst into flame. I couldn't believe it.


I whipped out my phone and dialed 9-1-1. I was petrified that the thing was going to blow up, and as the conflagration grew, the windows popped and shattered. Then the horn went off--the death cries of an immolating vehicle.

I ran back inside. I was asking myself whether it was smarter to be inside or outside, but I decided I'd rather be indoors if the thing blew up, presumably allowing my building to take the major blow. I didn't want to leave until I was sure the fire department arrived. From the photos I took, a friend later pointed out it looked a lot like Grand Theft Auto.

They came in about 2 minutes, but the fire continued to blaze--it was so hot I could feel the heat through my living room window. Once the fireman hosed it down, I went back outside to tell them thank you. They asked me if I knew where the driver was. I didn't, but the guy next to me said he saw the driver cross the street. Good lord.

Just another day in Brooklyn. And unfortunately, the third major conflagration I've witnessed in the past 5 years on this corner. Shudder.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Working out at home

I've been going to a Pilates mat class one night a week and spending the rest of my time exercising at home. Mat classes are usually around $17/ea., at least in New York, so that's $68/mo., which is nearly the cost of a gym membership. To save money, I've purchased several DVDs to help guide my workouts at home once I've learned the basics in class. I've found two that are outstanding.

If you're looking for weight training, I've been really pleased with Kathy Smith's Lift Weights to Lose Weight 2. (I haven't tried volume 1 yet.)

Vol. 2 features two 20-minute workouts for the upper and lower body. I've enjoyed doing one 20-min workout each morning before work. It's just enough time to see a difference in your body, but not so much time that you can't fit it in before you head out the door.

If you'd like a 45 minute Pilates routine for home, I can't say enough about Karen Voight's "Pilates Core Power: Abdominals & Back." She does some slight variations from traditional pilates moves, but everything is well-paced, and she makes sure to counter-balance all exercises with their opposites so all muscle groups are attended to.

I've done this workout at least 20 times by now, and Karen Voight never gets on my nerves, unlike Kathy Smith, who is occasionally grating with comments like, "Sue back there is looking at the camera. She's trying to steal my thunder."

I didn't know that Karen offered this DVD in combination with another, so you might want to check out Total Body Pilates instead. It features the same routine, plus an additional 45-min lower body routine. However, that routine requires that you have a magic circle.

I would stay far, far away from Jennifer Kries' Pilates Method: Perfect Mix. This video is far from perfect--the production values are dismal, and it's more like aerobics than pilates. Also, she provides no instruction whatsoever--you pop in the DVD, and off they go, hitting the mats like crazy people with no narration or instruction so you have no idea what's going on on how to keep up. Yuck.

I am looking into purchasing other Kathy Smith and Karen Voight DVDs and will post reviews. I've grown to love working out at home, and it's definitely worth the savings.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The end of the story

You may recall the Open Container Violation I was party to.

This week, two of us in our group got this letter in our mail from the NYC Criminal Court:

As of the above referenced date, the NYPD has failed to file a legally acceptable accusatory instrument with this court. There is no need for you to return to court on the summons number referenced above.

Our $25 checks to pay the fine were never cashed. I believe we are off the hook! No petty offenses on our records after all. Here's to the cumbersome red tape of bureaucracy ensuring our victory. We are exonerated!

And, if anyone out there is still trying to read this blog, I've just been too busy and not terribly inspired to write. It will pick back up again soon, I hope. Altho, my presumed impending move may keep me away from the keyboard. I'll keep you posted....