Got a crapload of music before I left NY, here are a few tunes I recommend:Day Glo - Brazos
Fangela - Here We Go Magic
Comfortable, Comparable - Hooray for Earth
Wo Xiang Tanbai - Immaculate Machine
Rex the Dog - The Knife
Relator - Pete Yorn & Scalett Johansson
Home - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Of Moons, Birds & Monsters - MGMT
Oh No - Andrew Bird
And The Boys - Angus & Julia Stone
Kill This Low - Twin Berlin
My Denial in Argyle - Woodpigeon
Let's Go Surfing - The Drums
Swim - Surfer Blood
Ciao! - LushAlso listening to a lot of Grizzy Bear in general, but Two Weeks might be one of my favourite songs right now.
We're all used to the concept of public playgrounds for children - swingsets, monkey bars, teeter-totters, etc. Well check this out: a bunch of outdoor gym equipment along a running path in Malaga. I know the photo is kind of shitty, but I felt like a creep photographing people working out - so deal with it. But the guy behind the bicycle is on a rowing 'machine' and the girl behind him is on some sort of elliptical equipment.I'm not a runner, so this might exist along all the running paths in Calgary, but it blew my mind. It's a simple concept for staying fit and having fun!
- I ended up #89 on the foursquare top 100 for NYC when I left on Thursday. I know I couldn't sustain it through Fri/Sat, so its a good thing I left when I did.
- One of the final places I visited was Washington Sq. Park with a Mamoun's falafel... a good send-off.
- They served Nanton water on my British Airlines flight from NY to London.
- When I asked for wine & expected to get charged $20 for a very small bottle, they gave me 2 full serving bottles at no cost, as well as 2 great full meals (and I was in coach)
- they let you in to the show based on your arrival. I was #83 (the number of Ales Hemsky - my favorite Oiler);
- before the show they lead you in to a room where you go through security and watch Colbert highlights as Colbert himself rehearses in the studio;
- once in the studio all cell phones and cameras have to be off & there was a security guard right behind me. I got a couple of shots, but bad ones;
- I sat beside a guy who looked like a guy I used to work with named Mac (my 3rd such encounter in NYC - see him in the photo in the security room);
- we had about 45 mins of stand-up from a warm up comic before Colbert came out to do his deal with Jon Stewart. At the end of the Daily Show, Jon Stewart does a little chat with Colbert to end off the one show and lead in to the other. Stewart was on closed circuit TV, so after Colbert sat down they had a warm-up/rehearsal which lasted about 5-10 minutes where they chatted about topics from the day. This included a fairly in-depth conversation about what the guest on the Daily Show was talking about & Colbert's opinions on it. Of course, when the actual taping for the segment happened, Colbert took Stewart completely off guard by pretending not to know who the guest. The old bait and switch. I don't know if that was set up or not, but Stewart seemed genuinely dumbfounded, which was pretty hilarious;
- Colbert then went off-set and they brought back the warm-up comic, who told us it was rare that Colbert went off again (apparently go right in to taping the Report) & also thought the bait & switch was hilarious and odd... so maybe it wasn't set up;
- Colbert finally came out again and did an out-of-character Q & A. He's equally hilarious out of character, but its obvious just how much of an informed genius he is when he can talk openly about various issues. Of course most of the questions were pointless (like 'would you rather kill Bambi or Winnie-the-Pooh?'), but he gave great answers for those too;
- before the taping he launched a bunch of Wrist-Strong bracelets out in to the audience. Both people beside me got one & I did not;
- the taping was great... if anyone wants to watch it go online for January 27, 2010 at comedycentral.ca (Canada) or comedynetwork.com (US);
- I expected lots of jokes about the iPad, but he kept it rather light on that, which is fine because I'd heard it all by that time. His focus was on Justice Roberts' decision to allow corporate financing of political campaigns... he was genuinely fired up of camera as well. He talked a lot about it off camera as well, mentioning his run for President in '08 which he had sponsored by Dorrito's Nacho Cheese. He said that when they were doing it, they tried to come up with some of the most ridiculous things they could think of... and now it's actually not a joke;
- his guest was a mathemagician, who basically was this uber-nerd savant who used magic to make math fun and interesting. I'm usually not a huge fan of Colbert's live interviews because the guests usually have a hard time navigating Colbert's persona (the editing done in the taped interviews makes them wayyyy more funny). However, this one was pretty good and the guest was probably already used to people not taking mathemagics seriously;
- after the taping was done, he did a bunch of high-fiving with the audience (I was near the back so couldn't partake - but got a blurry pic where he's on the left of the shot);
- then he sat down on the ground in front of the audience and started singing Kumbaya. The audience joined in and I got another blurry pic, but his head is barely visible at the front center of the audience.
My friends left on a Tuesday. When they left I was in 82nd place for all of NY on foursquare for the week. Like I said, I'm a nerd... but being in the top 100 was something I'd never accomplished & NY is massive with tons going on (goes without saying), and foursquare was originally developed in & for NYC so the userbase is pretty solid. I got a massive geek high when I saw that.
- went to square diner for breakfast (my Phil's equivilant in NY);
- went on the Staten Island ferry to see Statue of Liberty (was a great day btw);
- walk through West Village and along High Line Park;
- Chelsea Market where we rested up from an afternoon of walking and drank some tea (they had Roibus & I mention it because they are Roibus connoisseurs and I have another friend who has an unreasonable distaste for Roibus which makes me laugh... anyways, I had Yerba Matte);
- Magnolia Bakery for a delicious cupcake - although I think Crave might make a better one;
- met another mutual friend who was in town visiting some Torontonians who were in NY on business. It was one of their birthdays as well so we all had a great birthday dinner at a place called Malatesta Trattoria. I got a chocolate mousse with a candle on it brought out for me, which was very nice;
- went to a place called the Sullivan Room, which I call "fancy" because the cover was $25 and it was a normal night. I'm the opposite of a "club" guy as I don't dance, but every once in a while it makes for a nice change of pace and I at least wanted to experience it one time in NY. Turns out the guy from TO that shared the birthday was a DJ and knew some people to get us in the back door. The cover was waived for me and him, reduced for everyone else and we got a private table with bottle service, including a complimentary bottle of vodka and champagne. I don't think the champagne ever showed up and we went through enough vodka that we'd worked up a $700 tab by the end of the night... but was a great time. There was a mural of 2 wolves painted on the wall, and I think that was what I needed to get my dance on;
- moved on to a little establishment called Cafe Wha? where they were finishing their final set;
- ate a falafel at Mamoun's... which was my second home in NY.
To define the marketing, advertising, web, and tech industries in Calgary as small would be more then accurate.The above is not a statement about the level of talent, or the potential for greatness, as some of the most talented creatives and developers that I know are based in YYC and are doing tremendous work. There are also some awesome things that are starting to incubate this growing community. However, aside from one massive interactive firm, 3-4 great agencies (all with 30 staff or less), and a couple of stock photo sites - there isn't really a lot of options for a world-class writer, programmer, designer, IA, or programmer who wants to be paid accordingly (apologies to all those Calgarians that disagree). As a web entrepreneur it has been particularly tough at times to reach the people that I need to make my business grow. The people that have "been there" in the web space can be counted on one hand and, of those, there is a high likelihood that their experience comes from the stock photography business (Eyewire, iStockphoto and Veer all started up in Calgary). I am not directly connected with any of those people (yet). In many cases when a new technology starts up in Calgary, it will go elsewhere to become successful (ex: StumbleUpon). The most common expertise in Calgary is Oil & Gas related, and the most common advice I'm able to get is "you should go on the Dragon's Den" (a Canadian "business" reality show where investors will offer up $100k for 51% of only the very best companies brought forward... usually in some sort of dramatic combined effort that will fall apart after the cameras are off). I am thankful for all the advice I can get, but I am hungry for more. I am traveling for personal reasons, not for work. Aside from sending some emails back to Canada, tinker with my Google AdWords account, and sketching out some plans for my company, there isn't a lot I can do work-wise until I'm back in Calgary. One of the things I can do while traveling is meet people, so I've tried to go to as many networking events as possible to try to meet some like-minded folks and perhaps one or two people that can help me when I make my return to Canada. When I was in NY I went to 5-6 events and met some fantastic people in the process. Anyways, one event that I went to was at Bloomberg LP. They are hiring UI specialists and had a networking event for UI, with a speaker from Amazon.com. The speaker was quite good, although the information he was able to share was a little limited. He admitted so by telling us that he knew information that would answer some of our questions but was limited to telling us information that was already public knowledge. Nonetheless, it was a worthwhile evening and just to give a sense of what a networking event for those involved in UI in NY was like... it was attended by approximately 200 non-affiliated industry people (in YYC having 200 industry folk at an event likely means 80 are made up of 2 companies), had free wine and hot food, and was held in Bloomberg's offices. Here are a couple of pics from the event and the link below is the presentation (on slideshare w audio).