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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday - Soccerball

Due to popular demand I have decided to give a match review of my Tuesday night 5-a-side soccer team tonight. We lost. We sucked. Americans are demented. More later.

I knew today wasn't going to be a good day when I went outside for my morning breath of fresh air and sat down on my terrace sofa - which I remember fondly all of the help I had putting together from Jimmy, Lauren and Mum - did I forget anyone...? Dad, were you there? Just joking, the soft drinks were much appreciated! Anyway, back to my ominous start - so I was sitting there appreciating the fresh air and the morning sun, thinking positive thoughts about the world, when out of nowhere a dead bird plummeted down, landing with a squidgy thud about 12 inches from my feet! Again, much like my golfing adventure, I was totally alone, so I could tell you that I didn't flinch and minutes later, in a manly fashion grabbed a spade and carefully placed the dead bird into the bushy area of the meditation garden in a quaint and befitting end. Maybe I even said a few words about the bird's life and wished it well in the beyond. I didn't. It took me 3 seconds to work out exactly what had just happened one small foot away from me. When it registered I released a high pitch squeal and jumped up and ran to the far end of the terrace trying to shake off the heebee geebees and proceeded to try and work out two things - first, how was I going to get back into my apartment (the dead bird lying just by my terrace door), and secondly, would I really ever need to use the terrace again? Maybe a stray cat on the third floor of a luxury New York apartment building would be taking in some meditation and would find said bird and remove it as a gift for their owners? I was rocking back and forth as the post-traumatic stress finally sunk in, having decided to live at the far end of my terrace forever. But I am a man, and somewhere from the depths came a strength previously unknown to me (or anyone else who knows me) that propelled me forward with a dust pan and brush (luckily kept in the storage cupboard at the far end of my terrace) and I ran, emitting a low pitched moan, to the bird, swept it up, and without even thinking about the afterlife or what my many neighbors, who overlook my terrace, must have been thinking as they watched this spectacle, and proceeded to swing the dust pan in a high arc over my head, releasing the, in hindsight possibly just stunned but now very definitely dead, bird over my fence and into the meditation garden / kids play area. I shuddered, like men sometimes do when they've just finished peeing, and ran inside! Not even finishing my fresh air...

I immediately went to Jimmy for some form of therapy and quickly found out that there are two things that genuinely amuse my younger brother. The first is following through when farting - generally as it relates to other people. And the second is animals dropping dead out of the sky. Reeling from his genuine lack of empathy to my situation I decided to move on and realized I had been awake a mere 8 minutes. Time for breakfast? Eggs anyone?! (I shudder as I type).

I don't want to give the impression that the first 8 minutes of my day were the highlight of my day, but they were and there's no denying it. As predicted, my DB lunch meeting cancelled on me, so I bade my time mentally preparing for the big game.

I got to the pitch early so I could warm up my ageing muscles (more like resuscitate) - which is a strange term given that I was already drenched in sweat from the walk there and couldn't possibly be any warmer without some form of molten lava. Before I put on my team's red t-shirt I overheard two other players talking a few yards away from me, it went like this: Player 1 "I hope we're playing that team in red tonight", Player 2 "Yeah - they're sh*t", Me "I wish I could play against those losers every week". I then put on my red t-shirt and walked to the pitch. I felt like I had one-upped them in some weird way, until they walked onto the same pitch and it dawned on me that they were playing us tonight! Anyway, we didn't disgrace ourselves tonight and lost a close game 7-6, mainly due to our other non-American player, a young French player who is among other things Thierry Henry's cousin, a world famous break-dancer, a product of the French Football Association's academy and last but not least, Madonna's current boyfriend (girls, google Brahim Zaibat)! All of which is great but he could have been Thierry Henry and we still wouldn't win any games!

God knows what will happen to me tomorrow. This blogs seems to have brought unexpected events into my life as if maybe God himself is reading this blog and wants it livened up a little bit... Maybe he's my visitor from Germany! I personally hope that nothing happens out of the ordinary tomorrow as I have a cleaner coming in the morning, followed by lunch with DB (possibly...) and I don't really want any funny stories coming out of those two appointments. Love you all lots, xxxx

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday 25th

Hello all. I took the weekend off blogging to focus my time and attention on doing nothing but complain about the heat. It finally cooled today - down to bearable 23 degrees - however extreme heat was replaced by heavy rainfall again restricting my ability to roam free about the streets of Manhattan.

I did make it to the golf driving range at Chelsea Piers - I also went yesterday - and in true Bethel style I limited myself to 200 balls in 45 minutes! That is what is known as excessive and if I was hoping the law of large numbers would come to my aid and get my shots looking good, then I was as sorely disappointed as I was sore when I woke up this morning. Never one to be deterred I went back this evening and hit 200 more! I am typing this very blog through extreme fatigue and with pins & needles in both my hands...

Funny thing happened to me at the golf - the way it works there is that you buy a voucher for say $100 and you put that voucher into the machine when you get to your stall (for want of a better word... pretty apt in my case) and that $100 translates into a certain number of golf balls dependent upon whether it is peak hours or off-peak. I go off-peak - my argument being value for money, the reality is that I want fewer witnesses - and that voucher is worth like 675 balls. There are no buckets of balls here - instead a robotic tee rises up from the floor with a ball perched on top - as soon as you hit the ball, the tee drops down into the floor and pops back up with a new ball. This explains my ability to hit 200 balls in 45 minutes. To stop for the day you press a button that returns your voucher with whatever remaining balance there is left. Tonight I was absolutely exhausted after my 200th hit and could barely lift up my arms any more so I decided that I would call it a night - but because I hadn't yet pressed the button to return my voucher another ball popped out of the ground, mocking me and baiting me for one final hit. Cheeky little swine, I thought, and toweled myself down, put my glove back on and took hold of the big, bad driver (I rented three clubs - a driver, a 5 iron and a pitching wedge). I was going to teach this impertinent final ball a lesson. I stepped up, steadied myself, heaved the beastly club up behind my head and swung down with the wrath of a Greek god. It was at the very point of contact that my senses first picked up on some slippage from the club, it was a millisecond later that my senses realized that this sensation of slippage was being accompanied with a visual sensation of watching my rented golf club propel itself outwards and downwards about 100 yards down the driving range... My third sensation was audio as I heard approximately 100 people laughing at me as I crumpled into a heap on my golf mat. At this point what else can one do but put one hand in the air and take a bow? I quickly changed shoes, packed my bag and walked quickly out of there thanking a variety of Gods that the guy who I had rented the three clubs from had finished his shift and I passed the new guy my remaining two clubs with as much nonchalance as I could manage and wished him a grand evening as I ran out the door.

On some level I am almost subconsciously happy about my public humiliation as it has enlivened what threatened to be a rather dry blog today - heat, rain, golf, blah blah blah - but now I have heat, rain, golf and Bethel style humiliation - who doesn't prefer that?!

Tonight I was supposed to be going for drinks with my contacts at Lehman Brothers to try and smooth talk them into paying my company lots of money to consult on one thing or the other, but they cancelled on me this morning citing that they were ready to do a deal so a more formal meeting on Thursday would make sense. Jimmy suggested that maybe the thought of a night drinking with me at the moment was too much for them... He's probably right. However, this was my only work appointment scheduled for today (poor me I hear you all say...) and instead I focused my attention to my lunch appointment with Deutsche Bank tomorrow - again my only appointment - until I was informed that my Deutsche Bank contact had fallen sick and lunch was extremely unlikely to happen... I'm going to get a complex if this keeps up! So now all I have to look forward to is my Tuesday night soccer game - aka American window-lickers chasing a ball around for an hour whilst saying O instead of offense (or attack as I like to call it) and D instead of defense. Idiots.

Love you all lots, xxxx

Friday, July 22, 2011

Chelsea Piers Golf Driving Range

This is Danny Kincaid when he was here in 2009. I am commentating...

Happy Birthday Minky!!!

I hope you have a wonderful day like you deserve! I love you so much xxx

Friday 22nd

Hey all - it's going to be a quick blog from me tonight as to be completely honest with you I haven't done an awful lot worth blogging about - one of the quirks of blogging is this new found guilt I have when I don't do anything that I consider bloggable! It's a form of performance anxiety I guess...

Anyway, my day started off pretty well as I began with an unexpectedly funny text conversation with Jimmy that had me laughing out loud in bed and, unfortunately for Jimmy, drawing concerned looks from fellow passengers on his train as he tried to stifle his giggles. Whilst the subject of said conversation unfortunately remains a state secret, never to be told to anyone else, it was a very humorous way to kick start my day.

I began today as I have begun many days over the past 2 weeks - with my daily dose of the Tour de France and enjoyed it thoroughly as it enters its final stages. I am not sure what I will fill my mornings with once it finishes on Sunday - maybe work....? I still haven't seen any of the riders attempting a toilet break whilst still riding - which I think Emma once told me is what they do. But I remain hopeful. What I don't understand is the idiots who run alongside the riders as they are attempting to reach the pinnacle not only of a tortuously high mountain in the Alps but also of their cycling careers... I was delighted when the reigning champion, Alberto Contador - who I am growing to like more and more, actually appeared to hit one of these idiots with his fist as he was rounding one of the 21 hairpin corners on the final climb today!

After the cycling I usually find myself revved up and ready to take on the world, so I wait for that strange feeling to quickly pass before deciding what I am going to have for breakfast! And then resign myself to another day of imprisonment by weather - it peaked at about 38 degrees today, and as I am writing this at a quarter to two in the morning it has dropped to an uncomfortable 32 degrees... Crazy. I have the air conditioning on so much that my electricity company are thinking about asking me to pay my bill daily!

This afternoon I meandered through some work items and checked updates on Facebook, whilst analyzing my blog's stats - which I am obsessed about! I knew I would be because my sister mentioned on her blog that her son Kofi obsessed about the stats on her site and he and I are practically identical in so many ways that it was a certainty that I would do the same! What has interested me most, apart from the fact that I am personally the most frequent visitor to my own blog (checking my stats!), is that I have had one visitor from Germany! I like to sit and wonder what on earth he or she must have thought as they stumbled onto my blog...

This evening I watched a movie called The Adjustment Bureau which stars Matt Damon and Emily Blunt (always makes me think of my sister Emma due to the name) which was great and had the added bonus of being filmed in New York and gave me the opportunity to spot places where I have been and feel smug about it! There were numerous examples in this movie - including a taxi driving right past my building's front door, and Matt Damon coming out of a building entrance that is on Credit Suisse's building on Madison Avenue and that entrance is usually not in use and it is where I often stand whilst I wait if I'm early for a meeting with my Credit Suisse buddy Frankie D. I think that I shall always be spotting my New York landmarks in movies for the rest of my life - probably boring everyone with my "That's where I used to stand when I went to Credit Suisse" stories...

I haven't decided what I am going to do this weekend yet as the heat is due to continue throughout the weekend. I'd love to think that blog guilt will push me out the door and maybe get me hitting a few balls at the Chelsea Piers golf driving range but I have a sneaky suspicion that I may just end up playing Tiger Woods on the PlayStation 3! I guess you'll all just have to wait until tomorrow to find out! Love you all lots, xxx

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Places I have lived in New York

For those of you still interested, here are places where I have lived in New York:

My first temporary home in New York was Tribeca Green in Battery Park City, where I lived for 10 weeks in 2006 whilst I worked on a project for Merrill Lynch. I lived with Jimmy here - good times! Our apartment was on the 18th floor and we had a view of the Statue of Liberty.

My second temporary home was at 777 6th Avenue (27th Street) and I lived there for 8 weeks when I first properly moved to New York in 2007. I liked it there because the company paid for it!

I then moved to the West Village area - very cool and relaxed, and with lower buildings. The building I moved into was 130 Barrow Street and it was a converted FedEx van garage! Very cool and close to the river.

I didn't move far to my next apartment - The Archive at 666 Greenwich Street - in fact you can see it in the picture above - the red building in the background. It used to be a government archive building (hence the name) and is now a very cool apartment building. Several well known people lived there including Monica Lewinski and Blake Lively (from Gossip Girl show and is dating Leo DiCaprio).

And last but not least, my current home - The Caledonia on 10th Avenue between 16th and 17th Streets. Very cool new building and also there have been quite a few well known people here including Vin Diesel (movie star) and Leighton Meester (from Gossip Girl show - what is it with me and these Gossip Girls?! - and a recent movie called The Roommate).

Here are the two Gossip Girls... (Blake is the blonde one)

Places I have worked in the city of New York

Thought it may be interesting if I showed you all some pictures of the offices I have worked in since I arrived in New York in 2007...

48 Wall Street - first office I leased for DCG when I arrived here. It was the original Bank of New York building.

420 West 14th Street - where we moved DCG to after about 6 months on Wall Street because it is much cooler on 14th Street than on Wall Street! The building looks a bit shabby but we did a lot of construction work inside and it looked great! We had offices on the 2nd and 6th floors.

One Penn Plaza - after Sapient acquired DCG we moved to their New York headquarters which is on 34th Street and is the building with the most square footage of office space in New York. 

It is also in many movies and television shows set in New York - pretty much any shot of New York will have this building in somewhere. Look for it in future and you'll start noticing it all the time (the dark building on the right)!

My office was on the 24th floor and I had great views - those are my feet!

After I left Sapient, I joined Alvarez & Marsal who had an office at 125 Park Avenue - directly across the street from Grand Central Station. I was on the 25th floor there but alas no views for me as we all had horrible little cubicles! I'm glad I don't work there anymore!

New York Knicks

A few pics from the "World's Most Famous Arena" - Madison Square Gardens. My team is the New York Knicks of course and they made the play-offs this year for the first time in a long time. They also signed some high profile players at the end of the season and should be strong this year - fingers crossed!

Our main superstar player - Amar'e Stoudemire - he's 6ft 10in and wears glasses when he plays because he nearly lost his vision once by getting poked in the eye whilst playing basketball!

The guy with the glasses sitting just to the right of the blonde is Chris Rock - comedian and actor (was in the movie Grown Ups with Adam Sandler recently)
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Highline

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Day 2 in your big brother's house

I crawled very wearily out of bed this morning for my 8am managing director's call, after finally falling asleep last night at around 4am. For an hour we talked about what we have all been working on for the past week and what if any new opportunities we have seen. It's a quiet period of the year for consulting as most projects start in September as people are away in July and August with the school holidays. That suits me fine right now, even though it would be nice to bag a decent project or two before I head over to Europe to see everyone.

After my call I watched the final 45 minutes of the Tour de France which was exciting as there were some perilous turns on the high speed descent just before the end of the race. In fact one corner caught out two riders, including the yellow jersey holder, and they both ended up off the road and in somebody's front yard - will probably improve the value of the property if it has some effect on the outcome of the overall race!

I have decided for the first time maybe in my life to begin a healthy body regime hoping that it has positive impacts on my energy levels and endurance levels (essentially I want to be fit enough so that I never have to sub off at soccer therefore reducing the need to have an additional American on the pitch!). It would also be nice to go to the beach or pool without worrying about my moobs. So I started off with a bowl of cereal (Special K red berries) for breakfast, then a serving of melon for lunch followed by a 500 calorie ravioli dish for dinner.

I also went to the gym and signed up for my membership and set up my first training session for 11am tomorrow morning. Whilst that sounds impressive - I hear you all saying well done Tim! - I have to explain that the gym is in my building. Furthermore I have been a member for two and a half years already (membership included in my rent). Even furthermorer... there is a private resident's entrance on the third floor of my building (FYI - I live on the third floor) that means I would, at a stretch, have to walk 30 yards to get to the cycling machine without even having to step foot outside...!

As I hadn't taken up the membership before today, I didn't have access to the private residents entrance and so had to walk the 50 yards outside to get to the general public entrance... I spent the entire enrollment meeting sweating profusely as if I had abseiled down the Empire State building before sprinting the last few miles to get there! And you know what the guy said who was filing my paperwork? What would you say your current level of fitness is?!

I then came back to the apartment wondering what the heck I'd just committed myself to and decided that I couldn't get any more sweaty so I cleaned my terrace. I was wrong... I was drenched... my eye balls sweated! The only part of me that doesn't sweat is the part of my heel where all the hard skin is! And that just makes me worried that I will have some sort of sweat retention issues at a later date...

Tonight I have mainly been taking on liquids and waiting for the temperature to drop to an acceptable level - it was about 30 degrees centigrade today, tomorrow is forecast to hit 36 and Friday 38... God help me.

I am about to go for a stroll along the Highline park to take photos of a sandwich stand for Dad... So whilst I am there I will try and take some interesting pics for everyone else. By the way, if anyone ever has any requests for particular photos of anything in New York, just let me know and I will see what I can do.

That's about it for me at the moment, although I do have a quick observation on this whole blogging thing... When Mum and Dad called me to talk today I found myself wanting to not tell them what I had done today because I didn't want to steal my own blog's thunder! I find that mildly amusing... Goodnight, love you all xxx  

Spring Clean...

Just finished spring cleaning my terrace - swept, hosed and rearranged furniture... oh, and sweated like a Bethel on judgment day!

41 Madison

The black building in this picture is 41 Madison Avenue and the building to the left with the golden spire is the New York Life Building which I am reliably informed by Wikipedia consists of 25,000 gold-leaf tiles.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My first blog

Having been inspired by my sister's blog updating me on the day-to-day lives of her family and all my wonderful nephews and nieces, I have decided that now is a good time to create a blog of my own. I hope that this will serve as an interesting way to keep my family in touch with me and maybe on the off-chance that something interesting happens in my life that would be worth reading!

Besides that, I am hoping that this proves to be therapeutic for me and helps to distract me as I am going through a difficult period right now. Enough about that!

I am going to add pics and stuff to try and keep up with my sister's blog but for right now I am still working out how this whole blog thing works!

Today I played my weekly game of soccer (football anywhere else in the world other than USA...) and whilst my nephew Kofi was visiting the home of football in London, I cannot claim to have done anything that has enhanced the sport with my personal performance on the pitch tonight! We lost something like 13-4 and the fact that the scoreline was the least depressing part of our performance says a lot. I'm sure that my team-mates must get fed up with me as I continually shout instructions and ask for more from them, but alas they are American and hence genetically awful at soccer! I should accept this gracefully and stop moaning - I will try to do so from now on. The one consoling thought is that there are worse forms of the game - for instance we are better than any of the women's soccer teams from the world cup, and going even one more level down in quality is the American Major League Soccer - Beckham... Henry... Juan Pablo Angel... Dreadful.

I had a meeting earlier on today which was in a building just across from Madison Square park (41 Madison) and the meeting was on the 41st floor (I like the symmetry of that...). The view was amazing - looking directly north up at mid-town Manhattan right up Madison Avenue taking in all the wonderful buildings. The best part of the view was actually the building directly next door - I'm not sure of the name of the building but it has a gold pointed roof and I have seen this building numerous times in my 4 years in New York but I can honestly say that the angle I saw it today was magnificent - the golden roof was at the same level as I was on the 41st floor and it gleamed in the summer sun - it was a surreal experience to have a meeting where we were bathed in golden light.

Tomorrow I have a managing directors' call at 8am so am hoping to get to bed not too late. Before I sleep I shall watch one of my favorite shows on TV - Deadliest Catch - it follows a number of different crab fishing vessels in the Bering Sea (between Alaska and Russia), and on paper you would think that watching a show about fishing for crabs (or is it crabbing for crabs?) might get a little bit repetitive after a few shows... Hell no! It is in it's 7th season and it is great! The hold-your-breath moment as the crab cage is pulled out of the ocean and you find out whether they are "on the crab" or whether they have missed out altogether - I love every minute of it, and am hooked (get it?) on several spin-offs including Swords: Life on the Line (about Sword fishing) and Lobstermen. Great TV.

Anyway, not sure if anyone will even read this, but I am going to go to bed now. Love you all xxx