Archive for February, 2015

Nanook of the North – NYC Day 7

Posted: February 28, 2015 in Travel

Another glorious but chilly day dawned so thought why not go down to the world’s largest open space to warm up. Given that the weather forecast was suggesting deterioration over coming days thought it best to try for Central Park once more on a glorious morning. And glorious it was. However, on a Saturday morning around 8 am you need to either have a dog on a leash or be wearing spandex and running shoes or else you stand out, well like dog balls I guess. I had the Sopranos tour at 09:45 so planned to stay out until then but my Little Collins was not open today. Bloody Victorians! Luckily there was a café of sorts in middle of Central Park so ordered a fairly ordinary coffee and Ham Cheese croissant. Many cafes have bottles of mints or lollies on the counter – this one had Dog Treats. To be fair they weren’t bad. (They were free duh!). Then headed up to the Garment district to meet at the big needle and thread and await the bud. Seriously there were women bowing at the statue and praying for guidance or at least the love of a good man. Of course having been out for two hours and in this weather a bathroom break was needed before hopping on a bus tour of uncertain duration. Hard to take a pee in Central Park – unless you have 4 legs of course. 3 wasn’t going to cut it ……….. I ordered the smallest coffee I could at Gregory’s just to use the bathroom! It was actually a Cortado and pretty good.

Tour was rather full with about 60 people and unlike foodie tour this was full of every nationality. Some quite elderly people too which was surprising but when one of the oldies asked when does the singing start the penny dropped she didnt see the gun in the Sopranos title. I am amazed we came home with 120 hips intact given some of the ice around when you hopped off. The alarm bells were ringing but have to say the whole day went pretty smoothly really. The guide was a bit time/failed actor who had done a couple of scenes in Sopranos. The tour has two highlights for me – sitting in Tonys booth from the last scene and going inside Bada Bing. But before that there are plenty of minor sights to see and a lot of great info and background. After seeing a sight or two a clip is played from the show displaying what we just saw. Much like The Untouchables tour in Chicago not a lot of stops which of course would not be manageable in a suitable time frame. Mind you when we did get off the bus I reckon NJ was a good 5 degrees less than Manhattan – it was numbing. All the ties in and asides to Goodfellas and Godfather were highlighted and the time on the bus went along quickly. It was a well oiled machine really as we got in and out of the Ice Cream Parlour in 15 minutes including free onion rings (as Tony ate that night), picture in booth and buy a T Shirt! Bada Bing is of course a functioning Gentleman’s Club – Satin Dolls – and as such strict rules about behavior inside including dancing on bartops (damn), phones and cameras etc.. If u need to use phone move well away from bar or else a bouncer will molest you in case you are trying to take a photo of semi clad lady. So had a very cold Coors and watched the ladies do their thang and then thought well can move over to that dark corner and see if I can check in online. As approached corner heard some moaning and realized there were some chairs there behind a low wall – and this was where the lapdances were given! Ok, lets check in outside. Then it was time to get back on bus and head back to Times Square for drop off.

As a Sopranos fan it was a definite treat both for chances to visit some iconic sites and also get so much interesting info along the way. Now it is time to relax for rest of day – and do some washing. Next 3 days are “free” so time for some planning. Cloud should increase along with temperatures so may be a trade off but have to say last two days have been magic weather.

If the weather gets too bad I may have to find a pub or 3 just to rest in and dry off. On the outside anyway.






















Nanook of the North – NYC Day 6

Posted: February 27, 2015 in Travel

Sleep patterns are slowly stabilizing and although woken at times during the night did sleep in until 6:15 am which meant I missed the Facetime window:( I do love the HBO on Demand channel so watched some Real Time – when I wanted to! – while waiting for temperature to slowly rise. It was going to be a clear cold day – maybe even bone chilling at times. Today was Brooklyn 4 hr foodie tour ticking off at 11 am so plenty of time for a light breakfast first. Time to try Ess a Bagel on 3rd Avenue. One always tries to get the ordering lingo right in places like this because the staff are not always the most friendly I find – maybe world weary is a fairer description of their attitude. Had settled on the Bacon and Tomato bagel for $4 when out of corner of my eye saw this poster for “try our famous Reuben Sandwich” and I thought why not. The price of $12 should have been the first clue. The look from the staff was certainly the clincher – like “for breakfast man?”. So 15 people ordered and picked up before my feast was cooked. As someone who has eaten LUNCH at Carnegie Deli I know what a hunk of pastrami looks like. This was not at that level but was it still ridiculously large for breakfast. The question then becomes do I man up and admit I fucked up in a brief senior moment or just eat it all because naturally I knew what a Reuben sandwich was duh! Common sense took over and after almost eating half – and it was delicious – I sauntered slowly over to the refuse bin and emptied the rest out while scanning for the man who had served me. Our eyes locked, I smiled, he rolled his eyes and the moment lingered. Flashed him a gang sign – Maryhole Mr Mayhemers – and he quickly and sheepishly looked away. Works every time

So waddled home for a brief respite and to really test out the max weight loading on the elevator. Funny thing about this cold weather is that it shrinks your clothes. Apparently. The E train to West 4th street had me there in plenty of time to mix once more with the great unwashed. The first test passed when everyone was their on time. About 14 people on a 30 seat bus so plenty of room. Much like the Chicago foodie tour I did last year I was the only non American on board so naturally I bumped the average IQ for our group by 5 pts. First up an appetizer near but not at Katz Deli but still took opportunity for photo in case don’t get back. Then it was Polish sausages and sumting tasty before moving onto Sunset Park for a Cuban sandwich. The sandwich was great but the highlight was walking to the top of the park for the view back on what was a simply glorious day. Now, speaking of IQ limitations I was clearly aware this was not a walking tour but certainly do prefer them especially on a day like this. Could have stayed there for 30 mins but had to move on – to Pizza. And finally some alcohol. Topped off with some cannoli. Tres yummo. Hypoglycaemia was looming so we then headed to the original Jacques Torres store for some “wafer thin” delights. Bucket! Last treat was along this street, down this lane and voila – the magnificent backdrop of Manhattan in all its beauty with the bridges in front. And floating ice on the river. Back on bus to drop off point and a quick detour to Washington Park to see where Harry told Sally to piss off before one quick beer at The Slaughtered Lamb.

I said to CLP before I left. “All I want is one clear, booteeful blue sky day with snow on the ground”

Today was it.



















Nanook of the North – NYC Day 5

Posted: February 26, 2015 in Travel

After another disturbed night of sleep woke up with a start at 05:45 to the sound of dancing in the street. It was those bloody weathermen all excited that the bone chiller had returned. Cloudy, snow flurries, and a bitter wind. Honestly I reckon he was barring up – but who could tell in this weather. Which raises the question – where are the chicky babes with their own personal cold fronts to present the weather? They take it so seriously here it has to be men in suits only? Anyhoo I digress. By now CLP would have a serious case of separation anxiety so a quick facetime with my honeybuns in a slightly foggy half awake state. A quick look outside and I knew how Sir Paul felt. (Mind you I reckon Tony Abbott should have given a knighthood to Ringo Starr just for Octopus’s Garden ). Thank you very much

The apartment of course is very warm right down to the toilet seat but in my half awake state I made the amateur mistake – washing my face under the running tap water in the bathroom. The icicles forming on the hands should have been the clue long before it hit my face – now I know how botox injections must feel without anesthetic. Time to head out and work my way through that breakfast menu at Little Collins. Dressing, I was drawn back to the Piranha brothers sketch and trying to form the perfect plan. Today I went with the T shirt first, then the Kathmandu skivvy, then the pullover , then the scarf and then the big jacket. Tomorrow I am going to add pants to the ensemble to keep the legs warm as well. Today I tried the avocado smash on Toast – with chili flakes! Like most of my body parts my taste buds are petite but very sensitive. No I’m not. Yes you are . Ah, sorry where was I? Ah yes the need to add chili flakes to a breakfast item. At least they did burn off the icicles forming on my lips. While my inner body burned and my outer body froze it was time to venture out into a day of no planning and see where it led me. Unlike Maryhole, there really is nothing to do in NYC so it could be a long day

Couple of tasks first – find those T Shirts and post some cards . The transit museum did in fact sell some good quality shirts so got what I needed and in a very PC way did not go for the generic pink for Jessica. Ok ya got me, I cant work out these frigging sizes ok and all the pink stuff looked way too small! As I always say its the thought that counts and who needs well fitting T Shirts when kids grow so quickly anyway. Next stop was go postal at the office and given the line up for social interaction went for the “self help” option. Punched in for first class international to Aussieland but at only $1:15 each don’t expect to see them anytime soon folks. Then a coffee at Café Grumpy where I finally learnt something else about myself. Thought my hearing was going since in NYC but now have realized it was simply because had beanie pulled down over ears all this time. What a silly bunt.

After dropping off purchased items headed back out in general direction of NYC Library and Bryant Park. Had to check out the frozen fountain. Still frozen? Let it Go. By now a light snow flurry had started but it was not bitter. Still cold enough though to seek refuge in a Pub as lunchtime approached. Found the only pub that didn’t serve food. Still the beer was fine at Peter Dillons. Luckily the next pub I found had a perfectly excellent lunch time menu and it seemed like a Bangers and Mash day. Two beers in the middle of the day can only mean one thing – nap time!

After suitable rest watched some golf on TV – the Bear Trap is fun! Then headed out for a walk down to UN mainly for some fresh air. Cold but bearable. Now other things are on my mind












Nanook of the North – NYC Day 4

Posted: February 25, 2015 in Travel

Just for a change I thought I would wake up at 3 am and see if NYC ever does sleep. Certainly the Emergency services don’t and thinking of starting a new business adventure here – selling silent sirens. CLP and I line up our relative time zones for a Facetime early morning me ( 5 am) and early evening for her (8pm) After the first one she said that seeing a 57y year old at 5 am in the morning had shaken her badly so we gave today’s hookup a miss. Lets catch up with Dead Set Legends podcasts instead. Then it was time to see if somewhere buried in the world shattering news reporting there was a chance of a weather report. Looking at the grim face of the weather man it looked bad until I realised he was only pissed off because he couldn’t use “bone chilling” today. It was going to be a positively balmy zero degrees. My initial plans went out the window as I quickly googled “nude sunbathing beaches NYC”. Sadly it was a forlorn search so went back to Plan A

First stop was breakfast at Little Collins on Lexington – another Aussie invader. Very good and shall return. I had a 9 am booking at 911 Museum/Memorial so did the subway thang but arrived way too early and strangely the 7 foot security guys were wary of someone hanging around decked out in sunglasses, hoodie and beanie and looking pissed off. When I explained that Tony Abbott was our PM and I had suffered enough for one year they let me stay around. 8:45 rolled around and went through the security check etc and then into the museum. For people that can be over the top patriotic the Yanks can do sombre reverence well and it is a moving and worthy memorial. Maybe the absolutely wrecked fire truck was the most memorable for me but it is not the place you go looking for highlights of the tour. For family members it must be a haunting experience. So then it was time to head back home and maybe start the gift hunting for the kiddies but not a lot of success finding suitable kids T Shirts etc.

I was nervous as I approached home because the biggest challenge of solo travel in a big foreign city still awaited. The basement Laundry! Understanding washing machines is in Sheila’s DNA – they know which buttons to press and why. Luckily a man had written down some instructions and the apartment owner kindly provided a loaded card to get things rolling. Or spinning as it turned out. Of course once you start the process the next 2 hrs pretty well involves you being nearby. By now I was a tad shagged and the next several hours became a bit of a fog between just lying down for 10 mins and waking up 40 minutes later and then down to the basement. Then the process repeated. It was a booteeful day but really the hours between about 11 am and 3 pm are lost in time. The drivel that passes for daytime TV in USA luckily had a segment on the restorative powers of beer so thought would give it a go.

It worked. Suddenly the washing machine looked simple although clean clothes were becoming less important by now

Friday and Saturday have prebooked tours which leaves tomorrow as a rest day – as opposed to today which ended up being more of a zombie day. Time to walk the streets and get into some local kulture. Having been to NYC previously helps in a way as you have already seen most of the must sees but does require careful planning now or the day can be a tad wasted. The colder weather is supposed to return. Boo. Heading out for the beers at 4 pm it was so nice to just walk around in suitably warm gear but actually feel fine without the normally present biting wind. This was the weather I was expecting this time of the year but we all know what that bitch Nature, M. can be like.

Still ya wouldn’t be dead for quids eh


















Nanook of the North – NYC Day 3

Posted: February 24, 2015 in Travel

Another day, another year older. At last I had caught up to the Aussies. Another restless night of something resembling sleep before jumping out of bed to get the latest weather report. It was still dark so could not look outside. If there is one thing the Yanks like in their morning “news” it is weather updates apparently. Seriously there is one very 5 minutes and it never changes. In a late breaking development it was going to be “bone chilling cold” again. NYC, at least in my experience, is certainly different to Aussie land where it warms up as day progresses. Here it cools down as wind picks up I guess. So rugged up as best I could and looking more like an ISIL rebel than a tourist I set off to catch my first subway. Metro card worked fine so took my 3 sq inches of space in the very crowded Number 6 train to head off to Brooklyn Bridge. It was a booteeful clear day so thought it sounded like a plan. Once we got a few stations away the crowd dispersed and I was able to actually rub my hands together. It was at this point I realized I had forgotten my gloves! What could go wrong?

BB was last stop and duly alighted and headed off towards said bridge noting that birds were generally dropping out of the sky and shattering like a glass doll when they hit the sidewalk. It was brisk indeed. By now the fingers were frozen which made operating a camera interesting. Took the requisite “check in” shot and posted to Facebook just before once more the iPhone simply died like a Norwegian Blue. This could start to piss me off. Walking fast and waving my arms to keep warm I almost became airborne. Beautiful scenery all round of course as I continued the walk. I think I was walking, all sensation below the waist was dead. Not a new feeling for moi mind you …… One last photo then? Nope, the camera had seized up as well in the cold! Anyhoo after traversing the bridge thought would check out WTC and 911 MEMORIAL to get lay of land for tomorrows visit. Not the most intuitive place to find your way around but did view one of the pools. Then back on the metro to home to rest up a bit before the big event of the day – lining up for 6 hrs for a 30 minute show. As said in other media commitments my luck ran out a bit on the guest list front with Coco turning up tomorrow and I have some photo journalist. Still it is not really the guests you go for but rather Stewart himself. And a crowded line up. No better way to celebrate one’s birthday than standing around with a thronging mass of bloody tourists in freezing weather.

Early info gathering had suggested a 1pm line up for 2:30 pm ticket handout. Having a booking does not guarantee a seat. So was surprised when arrived at 12:30 to see about 30 people there. (turned out to be 39 actually) So stood around in simply bitter cold and by 1:30 pm at least 120 were lined up. The guys took pity on us and started checking ID etc and handing out tickets and we were told to return at 4:30 pm. Had also read about the pub across the road which sounded FAD to me as still had over 2 hrs to fill in. I was thrilled to discover that though a year older I was none the wiser sadly. Taking in huge volumes of fluid in this cold weather was not a great idea with a locked down studio in my imminent future. Still eh #internationalbarfly. So left the place half cut around 4 pm and walked down to where the river would be if not covered with ice. Ok I rolled down the hill. Somehow got back in time to line up and after 30 mins number 40 got called up but before this your group of 20 were informed to use the restroom downstairs now because you wont later. Good plan. It was a sight to see and a first I must admit – a line up of 15 guys for the one male toilet and 2 sheilas for the 3 ladies toilets! Only two actually and a unisex one which they just commandeered. You could tell the boys had been in the pub.
Then the security check and finally seated about 5:30 pm. The warm up guy was great and then JS came out for some QA. Very quick on his feet as you would imagine. We could take photos before all this of the empty studio. The show was simply great. A slightly dullish guest but my fave correspondent Samantha Bee was on so all forgotten. Tip for any prospective visitors. Take some crutches. Guy lining up behind me was walking on them and had his family of 4 with him. First they bought him a chair. Then took him – and family to front of line. Then put them all in the front row at time of entry. Saw him dancing down the street later on. All in all a memorable experience

It was a great birthday with bridges, beers and talking blue. To be fair a lot of my days are like that. If u forget the bridges…














Nanook of the North – NYC Day 2

Posted: February 23, 2015 in Travel

So got about 4 hrs sleep and then my body remembered it is actually 5 pm in Maryhole and it doesn’t want to sleep. The apartment is great but even on 28th floor still a lot of street noise .So what does one do in the town that never sleeps at 2 am in the morning ? Check the weather forecast of course.

Grim is a word that springs to mind. Thought I had got a knob kiss until I realised it was Farenheit ! So in Aussie lingo it looks like about -16 to -6 for today. Going to be tricky as apartment is quite warm as is always the way with central heating so one is tempted to under dress before heading out. Not much planned today and a lot will depend on how ” easy” walking is . Two chores first up is get an AT&T SIM and a 7 day metro card. Let’s hope in my sleep deprived state I don’t mix them up and my phone runs out next week but I can use the Subway until August ! Then some photos of white stuff on the ground. Must be why Karmichael Hunt is over here walking the streets .

First up a Flat White at Bluestone Lane coffee shop – one of the many Aussie invaders on the local coffee scene. The SIM all went smoothly so headed off towards Central Park. Although rugged up well you cant protect the face and it was painful at times if wind in your face. CP was covered in snow and a bit dicey walking around but well worth the effort. Amazing number of dogs out. And runners. Then it was head back home and grab a scarf on the way and see if it helped – it did. Tried to check in on phone only to discover it was dead! Apparently this happens a lot in this cold according to sales lady. An early lunch and a quick kip to allow the sun to pop through and it was back out again and heading in opposite direction towards 30 Rock et al. There was no Naked Cowboy in Times Square but a lot of roadwork around so all a bit dull. As weather was nice took a punt and did Top OF Rock observation deck and it was a nice quick process. When one arrived at top minus one’s testicles it became a bit clearer as to why not a big crowd. Freezing cold with wind blowing – but still some amazing views. Took photo with phone and about to check in and yep dead again but was able to go down and inside and rebooted it and all ok. It had been a long day starting basically at midnight and feet were also hurting so time to head home to East 48 th Street after checking out the skating rink. I was on West 48th so just needed to keep heading the other way, cross 5th Avenue and we would be in East 48th. When I got to 8th Avenue I knew I had headed off in wrong direction. Ouch!

I must have been looking old after all the walking because a lot of people have already added a year to my life. I feel a year older but actually have to wait a few more hours yet

Tina Sightings – 0












Nanook of the North – NYC Day 1

Posted: February 22, 2015 in Travel

Woke up in a cold sweat at 6 am. My itinerary said I was catching a plane to NYC from LA in 2 hrs! Then I remembered all that international date line shit and relaxed. Also explained why it was still 25 degrees C outside. Ah Brisvegas. Things were looking a bit dodgy there for a while with Marcia Marcia Marcia and it was a hairy drive down on Saturday let me tell you but needed to be done as flood waters show today. Lovely early birthday dinner with CLP at Alchemy last night. Great place, highly recommended. Woke to a clear day although cloud slowly rolled in

I have packed as directed by Weather Bureau. Yeah what was I thinking eh. They say with Winter in NYC dress in layers. I assume that means footy socks and then thongs. However in a sign of middle age rebellion, or early-onset Alzheimers, did pack the board shorts. May come in handy if sheer bravado is all that impresses Tina these days. I will leave the Gortex coat at home though. There are 2 things very unlikely to experience and add to the “try before you die because you fly” list. First Class travel and joining the Mile High Club. I actually suspect those two are closely linked. Personally I dont see why I have to wait until we get to 5000 feet anyway:) But on todays trip we can tick off Qantas Premium Economy. Qantas introduced “Bid for Upgrades” a couple of weeks ago but was not contacted. Smells a bit like a cash grab to moi but good luck to them. Apparently other airlines have done it for a while judging by the standard vitriolic attack to my innocent post in Whirlpool forums. The internet is a wonderful thang and am glad I found the time to invent it but would be noice to block the assholes. If nothing else my Facebook feeds would shrink by 50%. If the weather bureau is right, may not be the only thing in coming days …….Monday – 14 to – 7!

So check in was smooth with the kiosks at Qantas. For some reason could not book in online which was a concern but just some glitch I guess. I was hoping it meant a full body cavity search at airport but was disappointed once more.
As usual got to boarding gate just in the nick of time so only had 3 hrs to sit and wait !


Two thumbs up for Premium Economy. Service was excellent, good leg room etc and you feel like you are cocooned in your own little cabin. 13 hrs is still 13 hrs of course. Arrived at LAX on time and then the usual 4 step nightmare of getting through customs – not that I mind them being thorough. Same goes for plane leaving 25 minutes late because two clowns didn’t turn up – offload their luggage. Amazingly we “made up the time in the air” 😉 Lots of snow on the ground as we approached NYC but it was a balmy 3 degrees as no wind. The buzz word around here is ‘bone chilling cold” and that is the forecast for tomorrow as predicted


The pre arranged limo service was a tad inefficient in the pick up part and traffic was heavy but finally arrived at apartment around 7 pm and it looks great. Must be time for some snooze methinks

Thursday Thoughties

Posted: February 19, 2015 in Midlife Crisis in Maryhole

The big day approaches when one leaves this land to travel to a galaxy far far away but before we go that renowned bitch Nature, M. has decided to throw a slight curve ball

I have noted with displeasure that when I want the weather bureau to be right they are wrong and vica versa. So yesterday for golf there were some annoying scuds around just before tee off – the weather app suggested rain on the hour every hour for the afternoon so pulled out. It didnt rain until after 3 pm! So now all the models suggest this cyclone “should” have passed through by Saturday – and associated heavy winds and rain with it. This is critical with flight out booked for Sunday from Brisvegas. I see today all Qantas flights to and from Bundy and HB are naturally cancelled “until further notice” . There was a slight concern previously that NYC may have issues with ice and snow but considered that if at least got to LA the holiday had started. If I dont get out of Brisbane on Sunday though I will not be a happy chappy. Also a slight concern leaving the house locked up and secured with winds a coming as needed to at least start heading south in case of road blockages tomorrow. So presently sitting at Flashman Inc NoSunshine HQ tracking this cyclone and hoping it does not stall. Or cause too much damage for anyone. Guessing my bunkers are going to be a mess though 😦

So in the lead up to QLD election found myself watching a bit of Richo & Jones which is a surprise as generally loathe The Parrot. It is surprising they can house two massive egos in one studio. Richo aint no shy wallflower either but he should stop sprouting on other media outlets how he is going to let Jones have it tonight. If nothing else Jones knows numbers and sprouts forth confidently on a range of issues. When he started making sense on Q&A I knew it was time to go back to Glee. Bowen did himself no favours though this week when as shadow treasurer he did not know the tax thresholds and was left squirming for a minute or two. Lot of talk these days about the problem with politics in Australia so will give my 2c worth – being MY BLOG and all. Been a mess for at least 10 years. You need a charismatic leader like Hawke or a dynamic personality like Keating to get the message across. Little Johnny did ok with neither of course except simple human decency I guess. But since then governments are voted out not voted in. We want to get rid of the clown in there but the opposition does not inspire at all so you get a few cross benchers elected that screw everything up. Of course Newman showed quite well that even with massive mandate you can still screw things up if a complete tool. Abbott will lose, if still PM, but it wont be because of the brilliance of one Bill Curly.

Sporting wise the Aussie one day side make up looks good. Either Warner or Finchy blast away, Watto comes out and combs his hair and then gets out quickly so the talent can follow, Smithy may just be dropping off touch but his fielding is superb and then we get to the meat. Marsh and Maxwell are the goods. If Faulkner can get back in then he and Haddin follow and the middle is rock solid. No genuine spinner may be a problem against class side like SA but Starc is in superb form and with Mitch on Aussie pitches they should advance far. Bailey or Pup? Both have their strengths but personally would push for Bailey. So basically when Faulkner is fit, drop Watto and have Hazlewood and Cummings fight for other quickie spot. During the world cup they have had short “legend” segments on at times with Crash Craddock. While Thommo is always good value, Wasim Akram has stood out clearly so far as the class act

Next blog should be from NYC – or from a canoe on Runway 68