How to cosy up your home

It is slowly starting to look like a real home.

New York I painted the below half of my entrance walls grey, it makes it look a bit more sophisticated (and will go well with pink, which is the colour I will paint my front door!). And I put up some small frames with photos of a place I like – New York (bought those small canvasses for a few euro in a discount shop – they look great though). I will add some London and Denmark bits somewhere in my place too.

Birdies
These two are tweeting around in my kitchen, holding my towel and tea towel. Aren’t they cute birdies? (They are from Qualy)

Organizing tree
This tree is located on the wall in my entrance. A good place for my keys, and postcards and other stuff. And – isn’t that a ticket for a tv-2 concert in the Opera in Copenhagen? Yes indeed it is! I am off for a short weekend trip this coming weekend. I look forward to both seeing tv-2 again (it has been too long!) and meeting some old Danish friends too.

TV-2 is playing a special release concert for their upcoming album Showtime, they play in the Opera house in Copenhagen, a really wonderful building, and reason enough for me to fly over for a weekend to go and see them. Here is their new single and a very cleverly made black and white video. Good to see that Steffen Brandt still has that grin on his face.

Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman in A Steady Rain, New York

Now this was bound to be a magical evening and it was. I am not sure if it was the fantastic well acted and intense play that this is, or if it was the two leads auctioning off their shirts at the end of the show. Tough choice!

It was a challenge to get a decent ticket for this. Not the least because Ticketmaster (the ticket company selling the tickets) gives American Express creditcard holders a chance to buy tickets one week before all others. A very irritating gesture for all other people wanting to have a ticket.

So at the day the left over tickets became available I went to through all performance days until I found a ticket that wasn’t in the back of the theatre. And I fond one, for the 19th of November.

Needless to say that tickets for this show are immensely popular (when will you ever have a chance to see James Bond and Wolverine on stage together again?). And while it seemed that most of the Americans seemed to be there for Hugh Jackman, I certainly had nothing against watching Daniel Craig too.

Both actors played Chicago cops, best friends, in good and in very bad. It was a very naked staged, two chairs, a little bit of background and one and a half hour of intense acting. (There wasn’t an interval, which was great).

I admit that I was just interested to see those two men without really caring about the play – but the play was absolutely gripping. It took a little time to get used to the Chicago accents with which both actors speak, and it did take a little more time to get used to Daniel Craig’s moustache, but I was drawn into this intense story very quickly and forgot all about insignificant details like that.

All I can say is that if you are lucky enough to have scored a ticket, you have something to look forward too.

When I saw Bill Nighy in the Music Box theatre in 2007 (which was just opposite the Schoenfeld theatre as you can see on the photo), after the play the actors would come out and sign tickets and Playbill programs. I can only imagine the mess it would create if Craig and Jackman would do this. They were fully aware of this too, and decided to use their stardom to support charity. This meant that you could buy signed posters and Playbills in stead (for quite a spicey price I must say), and to raise even more money, they took off their outer shirt (big approval from the audience!) and offered to sell their under shirt to the public. The shirt would be signed, and you would have a chance to briefly meet them backstage. The two shirts went for $12000!

Life is good in New York. A little bit of (steady) rain yesterday (nothing more than appropriate) but today the sun is out. I am just checking the latest emails, try to not be too worried that there aren’t any concrete job related ones, and then I am off to Coney Island for some sun, sea and fresh air.

Have a nice weekend!

New York – the plan

Plans are there to go and do something completely different – but this is the basic idea I have.

As you can see, Sunday is still open for suggestions. I might need a quiet day there, but any suggestions on what to do there are appreciated. I might take the free IKEA ferry and go and visit a part of Brooklyn.

Some news from the job front:
I have my first non-recruiter interview on Wednesday (next week). I have had loads of interviews with recruiters the last couple of weeks, but this is the first concrete job interview. I am exited and look forward to it. My CV has also been send to a couple of other interesting companies, I am waiting to hear if they are interested to see me.

My biggest problem is to convince both recruiters and companies that my split back ground (I am 50% techie – 50% creative – but 100% nice) is in fact a good thing. Some of them seem to get it, and hopefully in the end the right (and open minded) company is going to offer me a job.

So it is not a bad time to have a short getaway trip. I can’t really force things to go faster, I have put an enormous amount of energy into job hunting the last weeks and I think it will be good for me to have a short break from it.

I will get back to the this-is-not-an-xmas-card exchange, but there seem people enough to have a go at it again so let’s do it! I have to admit that I currently have no idea for a card yet, but maybe I will find some ideas in New York (While watching Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman perhaps? Ok probably not …).

I will make the official announcement for the card exchange when I am back. And seeing as I am a bit late this year, I might move it to January. Hey it wasn’t a Christmas card anyway right?

I will take camera and laptop and such to New York, (I need to keep an eye on my job emails) so I might post from there. Be good while I am gone!

Four things that are better in London than in New York

Chubby Checker Hot Chocolate

Four things that are better in London than in New York:

  • The queue culture. There is no queue culture in NY and I so miss it when I am there, I love the built-in politeness of the British people.
  • The language. I am a sucker for the UK English language and prefer it over American anytime.
  • The London underground stations compared to the subway stations in NY. I feel more safe in London, and I also think there are more CCTV cameras over here.

    NY does have a better service (24 hours a day) and the subway trains are quite nice in NY but the seats are hard to sit on (anti vandalism I guess). I do love the newer NY trains which show you exactly where you are on a small map with blinking lights indicating the next station.

    Oh, the Oyster card does beat the MTA card on ease of use though.

  • In London what the pricetag says is what you pay in shops. In NY they always add tax to the price when you pay for your item and I still haven’t figured out how to calculate it, you never know what you end up paying.

Four things that are better in New York than in London:

  • The skyline. I never get tired of the Chrysler building by night nor of the view of any of the other impressive skyscrapers.
  • There is more water around. I love the Battery Park area with all the piers and the view on the Hudson river and the Brooklyn bridge. It feels like you are more away from the city than you do when looking at the Thames from central London.
  • They have Taco Bell. Yes, and yes before you start – you are probably going to tell me that Taco Bell food has nothing to do with Mexican food. Maybe you are right, but I love Taco Bell food. I wonder why there isn’t one in London!
  • I love the diners. I know there are some NY diner wannabees in London too but the ones in New York are best. And hey they have the New York cheesecake and the above Chubby Checkers Hot Chocolate. I mean, who can say no to that! (And I love that formica table)

So which city do you prefer?

The credit crunch in New York and “Black” Friday

Statue of Liberty, New York

Thanksgiving Day in New York meant that all the shops were closed that day. Not a big deal really.

But to compensate for this one day shopping loss there is a concept called Black Friday. Black Friday is the beginning of the official Christmas shopping season in the US and shops open their doors with special Black Friday offers very early the day after Thanksgiving. Very early, as early as 4am in the morning. Who on earth wants to go shopping at 4am in the morning I wondered?

Well quite a lot of people. When I left the cinema at 21.30 that Thursday evening, the queue of people waiting to get into Circuit City (a big computer store) on Union Square was quite long. So people were actually queueing 6.5 hours to get into a shop opening at 4am? I found that slightly insane, but then I find the whole Christmas presents race insane and I have abandoned it long ago.

It got even more insane. Or maybe insane is not the right word here, the right word is “tragic”. Very tragic. A Wallmart on Long Island (an area near New York city) opened their doors at 5am and a lot of people couldn’t wait to get in. In fact it got so busy and out of hand that the eager shoppers tramped a Wallmart employee to death when the door opened, blinded as they were by those great Black Friday offers.

Did anybody say credit crunch? Happy Thanksgiving. And Black Friday indeed. Crazy people.

Thanksgiving day in New York

A short New York report where it is cold but sunny.

Yesterday I did the circle line boat trip (from 42nd Street) around Manhattan, and I would say that it is definitely worth doing. The commentary is great, you will learn lots about New York, you will see the island from the other side with great views on all the high landmarks, the statue of Liberty (from close by) and we passed 20 bridges. We also passed the little red lighthouse, which saved me a trip going there, it looks cute, located under a huge bridge. Recommended this boat trip, it takes three hours.

Today is Thanksgiving day in the US. Most shops are closed, but there was the famous Thanksgiving parade going on in the centre of Manhattan. It was a long parade, and according to the news, thousands of people participated but the most impressive items where huge (and I mean huge) inflatables of well known characters like Snoopy, Shrek and Buzz lightyear. Quite entertaining to watch. Photos will come later.

The thing that is a little scary here at the moment is that there has been a terror threat on New York’s railway system. There is a lot of police on the stations, and let’s hope it remains a threat. I am not too worried about it.

Seeing as most people are eating turkey with their family tonight not much is going on in the city, but the cinema is open so I will go and watch a film.

Happy thanksgiving to everybody out there!

Good evening from the Big Apple

It’s 7.24pm local time here, but I can truly feel that I am still on London time (00.25am). The flight went smooth with on board entertainment: Ghost Town (again – and I did watch it again and loved it and cried again), Inspector Lynley and I even saw bits of Mamma Mia. Add to that a bit of dozing and the 7 hours flight went relatively quick.

When we landed the streets were still wet from the morning rain, but it is fresh but clear now and the next couple of days should be dry with some sunshine. Very nice. I am planning to do the 3 hours circle tour (boat) around Manhattan one of the coming days, it is supposed to be a nice trip.

It also seems to be something with Thanksgiving here this week, and there is a big parade near Macy’s on Thursday. I will have to investigate as I don’t know much about Thanksgiving traditions in the US. (Maybe someone can enlighten me?)

I hope all is well in London and with you, in New York all is well.

And I love New York because during the long subway ride from the airport to Union Square I saw Bill Nighy posters in nearly every station. Valkyrie is coming!

Sleep well, wherever you are.

(They have new pc’s here in the hotel, so I might be able to upload some photos while I am here, I’ll do my best).

This was the weekend where I

  • Discovered that New York, or rather Manhattan has a Little Red Lighthouse. Awesome. It’s on the list, and if the weather is reasonable I will go and visit it.
  • Discovered that New York has a lot of nice cafes. I am planning to visit at least two of them: City Girl Cafe and Peace and Love cafe, just because I love the names. But hope to visit more cafes. I also hope to visit the cafe from Serendipity. It was closed last time I was in New York, but will try again. I must also eat New York cheese cake somewhere. And cup cakes.
  • booked a lock smith for Saturday. He let me wait all day and in the end did not turn up but promised me to come Sunday evening. He didn’t! The bastard. Called another one and he did turn up. It gives me more peace of mind to go away for the week now that I know that our door lock is properly fixed. Wouldn’t want to come home and realizing that Billy Mac is missing.
  • saw Ghost Town for the second time. I love that film. Ricky Gervais (a dentist) is so funny in it, and the ending has such an original last lines:

    Gwen: It hurts when I smile…
    Bertram Pincus: I can fix that for you.

    A lump in your throat I can promise you. Catch this film it is warm, it is funny and it is set in New York! There are some beautiful shots of Central Park in it.

  • found out that Bill Nighy still rocks my boat and rules my world. Swoon and awesome.
  • Burned a hole in a shirt with the ironer. It was an eco shirt and I suspect that it wasn’t all 100% cotton after all! It was amazing – the ironer just melted holes in it! Shame as I loved that shirt.
  • Decided which books to take to New York. My New York guide book, I love this book it has a lot of pictures and loads of information and is very easy to read. Unmissable for any trip to New York, I bought it when I went there the first time and it has been a good investment. Apart from that a Kurt Wallander detective (can’t wait to see Kenneth Brannagh as Wallander, very soon to come on BBC) and a romantic novel, should I be in the mood.

How was your weekend?

New York state of mind

I have three questions to you today dear readers:

  • 1. After how many pages is it allowed to decide not to read the rest of the book? I recently stopped reading a Zoe Heller novel just because it bored me to death. Should I have hold on or is it OK to stop reading?
  • 2. Which novels do I simply need to read? I am looking to take some books to New York next week. I need books that hook me from page one. Have you read any good books lately that you can recommend?
  • 3. What are your favourite things/best tips to see in New York?
    I am preparing for my trip and want to make a list of things to do and sights to see.
    (Even though it snowed in Central Park this morning, the weather looks fine next week. Cold with some sun.)

I love pancakes

I love pancakes
I love pancakes

I really do. Those ones have been indulged in Big Daddy’s in New York, a fantastic 60’s style cafe close to Union scare. And no I couldn’t help myself with the maple syrup indeed. This was my breakfast.

Yesterday night we have cut a first rough (very rough!) edit of our 60 seconds action feature film. And I have to say: it looks great. Or rather: it looks exactly like we imagined those scenes and as a whole the story works. For us that is, let’s hope it will work for you out there too – a lot is happening in those 60 seconds! I went home at 1.10am, sat in an empty bus on my way home and am still tired. We have hired a composer who is doing his best to deliver a cracking soundtrack, and we have still hope to find a special effects/animator too.

We shot some green screen sequences which is going to look amazing and generally, we are quite pleased with how it looks at the moment. Mind you, we haven’t even done any serious editing yet.

The good thing for us, but not for you, is that the deadline for the competition has moved from the 18th of January to the 11th of February. This means that we actually can have our life back for a short while, but it also means that you have to be a bit more patient.

So tonight we take the night off, I can chill on my sofa doing nothing and I will actually have time to work on my feature script this weekend. This is all good. And on Friday Dan in real Life will have it’s premiere, so guess what I will be doing on Saturday and Sunday too.

I will try to scan in the rest of the Love Actually cards tonight!

PS I love all the new gravatars popping up here!

PS2: Sorry for the enormous amount of posts about film making and this short lately. But there is not much else going on at the moment! (which is great for me, but maybe a bit boring for you)

PS3 There is no one compared with you.

Post No Bills and ghosts, the New York way

POST NO BILLS Ghosts - The New York way

I know you have been waiting for this, so here we go: Post No Bills ghosts, the New York way. I am afraid that this isn’t the end of it, yet.

Things I noticed in and about New York:

  • The weird size of the newspaper. I read a NY times, and it seems very long but less wide than our British papers. It was also a bit more boring, layout wise.
  • Most prices in the shops are ex. sales tax. Sales tax for New York city is about 8.375% (it’s different per state!), and it is not that big a deal when you know it, but just imagine prices being changed from $5 to $5.41875 (5.42) and you understand why the number of coins in your wallet explodes for everything you buy.
  • Yep, there is an excessive use of Post No Bills all over the city (good!). But what I didn’t understand, why do they write it on places you can’t reach without a very long ladder? Do they really think that I would go that far?
  • There are many angry people on the street. (Is it the President?)
  • No queue culture – at all.
  • Paul Newman’s Organic chocolate in the supermarket. If he can do it, how about …. here in London.
  • A “small” Coke in the cinema is the size of a bucket.
  • The escalator are at least twice as slow as the London ones.
  • I miss it.

Times Square, 42nd Street – New York

New York, Times Square, 42nd St

“Hi” he says.
“Hi” I kiss him on the cheek. “Thanks for picking me up”.
“Always a pleasure, it has been too long. Is that all your luggage?”
“Yes. Do you think I can take some pictures?”¨
“Sure. They might look a bit, ehrm, spacey, but try.”
We buckle up and I grab my camera.
“Ready?” he smiles.
“Ready”.
“When do you need to be back in London?”
“Oh, don’t hurry the journey at all.”

We lean back, he presses it, and while I try to capture some photos we are off.
The infinite improbaBILLity drive.

Better if it lasts for years.
Go.

Goodbye New York, for now-uh

I really want to stay in New York. Really. Stay.

I know why. Because it is a place away from daily routines, work, life and responsibilities. I know that if I would move here (the thought has struck my mind more than once lately) it would lose its magic. And then I would miss London. It’s like having two lovers. So the best way to solve this I guess is to go here once a year. That way the love and passion for New York will remain just that while London will be my faithful friend. Isn’t that how it works in real life too?

Some photos coming up tomorrow. See you in London.

Take me to the bridge

It rained yesterday, nearly all day. But as you know rain doesn’t really bother me, and with an M&S umbrella I managed to stay dry most of the time. The only thing that is a bit hard in the rain is taking pictures. So I did some indoor shopping (Cup cakes should come with a serious warning), bought the obligatory pair of Levi’s (which really are ridiculously cheap if you are used to London prices) and did a lot of walking.
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Hello New York

New York is familiair but different. I know London well now, walking around in a big city is fine, but I can feel that I am more alert walking around in New York. And New York is different. It’s good, it keeps my eyes open, it makes me more aware and it makes me want to grab my camera all the time. I love that feeling.

It has been a very long day, it’s 22.33 now, local NY time, that’s 3.33am London time. I forced myself not to go to bed too early in order to quickly adjust to the New York time schedule.

Unfortunately both (!) my theatre plays have been cancelled due to a big strike on Broadway (about everything is cancelled on Broadway, has been for some days, and will be for some days to come). I am not too sad about it, I would have loved to see Kevin Kline but there is enough to see here and I am just really(!) grateful they didn’t strike when I came here to see The Vertical Hour last time.

I just came back from the cinema and saw American Gangster. Russell Crowe is not convincing, Denzel Washington on the other hand is cracking in this one.

I haven’t been too far around yet, but walked on Broadway and winked to both the Empire State Building (which is lit in blue at the moment, my favourite colour) and the beautiful Chrysler building.

Need some sleep now so will roll into my bed, which isn’t that far a roll, I am typing this from behind a free internet pc in my hotel.

Good night from New York.

London » New York

Packed suitcase.
Charged batteries.
Loaded iPod with the right tunes and voiciliciousness.
2 paper notebooks and a couple of pens.
Camera.
Passport, plane ticket and theatre ticket reservations (let’s see what happens).
Credit card.
The need to relax and be away for a couple of days.
2 lucky coins in my pocket.
I am ready.

Irregular posting the next couple of days, but I surely will write from the Internet cafe in 23rd Street, just around the corner of the Empire State building.

See you in New York.