Tuesday, August 16, 2011

This is something I did (relatively) recently.

First, a riddle:


What has two thumbs and jumped out of an airplane?

Give up?

The answer, of course, is D.B. Cooper.

However, I also would have accepted the vast majority of skydivers, including as of June: Jesse, Kyle and myself.

Partial credit to those of you who guessed Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan.

Because while his latest film, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara did feature a lengthy skydiving sequence, Mr. Roshan actually has THREE THUMBS!


Oh I guess it's not that bad, he's a handsome, talented millionaire. Mutant.

But back to what I really wanted to talk about, I went skydiving with Jesse and Kyle.

Jesse had decided to get married and has since actually gotten married in a lovely ceremony in the beginning of July. Back in June, however, this was simply "trouble ahead" and so a bachelor party was in order.

Not just any bachelor party, a completely insane, awesome, unforgettable surprise bachelor party.

That's right. Surprise. The day of, the three of us piled into a car with Jesse driving and Kyle giving directions. Keep in mind that Jesse had no idea what we had planned or where we were going, so he grew understandably worried as we drove farther and farther into the country, away from civilization, paved roads, and witnesses.

"Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials!"

Finally we rounded the last corner and there before our eyes was the headquarters of Rochester Skydiving.

He was excited.


Oh Heck, we all were.

There were plenty of waivers to sign and paperwork to file, and then some basic instructions to go over.

Since we were all brand-new to this sort of thing, we would be going on a tandem jump. That means we'd be securely fastened to a veteran skydiver who would do the majority of technical tasks, such as keeping us alive.

I was ok with this, knowing that it is the safest form of skydiving, and also if something went wrong I would welcome the company as I rode his soul all the way to Hell.

Oh, another thing I learned: when your instructor asks you if you have any questions, the answer he is expecting is a confident "no." Failing that, uncomfortable silence is acceptable. He is not in the mood to answer your questions.

Him: Now, any questions?

Me: Now when you say arch my back and tuck my legs behind me, should I cross my ankles or leave them side by side?

Him: Did I say anything about crossing your ankles?

Me: No, which is why I was wondering if-

Him: Well now it's in your head. You're gonna cross 'em as you fall.

Me: Not if you tell me not to.

Him: You're gonna get up there and have cross your ankles stuck in your head. Just do what I tell you. You cross your ankles and land that way, that's how you break your ankles. Any other questions?

Everyone: (uncomfortable silence)

Him: All right.

and scene.

He was also nice enough to explain the proper way of boarding the aircraft, which when it came time to board the aircraft, turned out to be completely wrong.

Oh yes, this was our chariot:


If it looks kind of small, that's because it is. Including the pilot, the capacity is five people. So we had to go up and jump in two groups. But first, it was time to get suited up:




The other guys were clearly jealous of my "prettiest of all jumpsuits." This is what you get to wear if you ask questions during the initial training, I guess.

And then, no more stalling. Get into the plane and get ready to fall back to earth.

Two things. One I expected, and one I did not. First, this was the most terrifying experience I've ever had while awake.

That was expected.

But once the jump happened and I was plummeting rapidly, it was far more peaceful than I thought it would be. I expected a stomach lurching jolt, like in rollercoasters or other amusement park rides. That didn't really happen.

The terror happened at 8,000 feet, once I had been securely buckled to the guy with whom I was to fall. I was kneeling on the floor of the plane, and the side of it opened.

Suddenly I was staring out at two things: the ground, and less far far away, the metal step on the plane's landing gear.

That thing that guy's foot is on.

You see, in order to safely exit the aircraft (oxymoron alert!) I had to willingly extend my leg outside of the craft and put my weight on that step.

I did it, but my brain was not happy about it. It retaliated with an impressive cocktail of adrenaline and endorphins and fear chemicals, which are the body's way of saying "You are being a goddamned idiot."

I managed to conquer all of those feelings, and even let go of the plane itself to cross my arms over my chest, the signal to my tandem buddy that I'm ready for him to throw me into the void.

Which he did.

The freefall was incredible. About 20 seconds that felt like 2. When Jesse and I jumped, it had started to rain, so the exposed areas of my face were being stung by slow moving water droplets, while I was deafened by the rush of the air around us.

Then the canopy opened and... silence.

It was suddenly amazingly quiet. I heard a cackling, maniacal laughter that I gradually realized was being produced by me.

Though we were still dropping at 30 - 40 miles per hour, it felt like floating down like a feather. I looked past my feet at farmland and barns still thousands of feet below.

It was an incredible experience that I don't think I'll ever do again.

Unfortunately, if you haven't guessed by my prose heavy section, I don't have any pictures or video from the falling point of view. What I do have is shot by whoever was on the ground while the others were plummeting. That I took and cobbled together into this video:


Untitled from therevspecial on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Love Note to Madison Square Park

The other day I came to a realization.

I was bored.

This was a Sunday, and evidently I didn't have any more silly videos to put together or blogs that should have been updated, so I looked for something to do. Then it struck me. It had been a long time since I just wandered the streets of Manhattan, dispensing justice.

Pretty much my weekends in '08.

But then something even struckier struck me. The cold, hard reality. At no point in my life could I have ever been described as "dispensing justice." Even when I worked in law enforcement, that's not a phrase that would come anywhere near my daily activities.

Not pictured: Justice.

Be that as it may, I have wandered the streets of Manhattan with a camera, looking for things to write about in this blog right here that you're currently reading right now. Surely I could do that again.

Thus resolved, I grabbed my trusty camera and (after several minutes of internal debate) a trusty pair of pants, and headed out to the 25th Street Flea Market.

A few websites that I won't bother looking up again had proclaimed this modest flea market as a site for some great bargains and interesting items.

Though I had no intention of spending any money I decided to give it a whirl.

Let's get to flea shoppin'!

The first thing you'll notice when you arrive at the flea market is the rows upon rows of high quality merchandise, overseen by trustworthy individuals.

Just kidding! None of that is true. In reality, the first thing you'll notice is all the parking signs.


Once the novelty of those wears off, I'm not sure what to tell you. I'm sure such an establishment as this encourages haggling, which would go a small distance to explain the absurdly high prices on collections of objects that I'm going to assume people died in or on or because of.

Tables that weren't reselling the possessions of the dead had stuff you would expect in New York, including exotic looking statues you could probably pick up for much cheaper in Chinatown.


There was nothing outright filthy or illegal or smutty about the flea market, but I got the distinct sensation that it wasn't very far away. That only a thin veneer of respectability separated the innocent antique hunters from some darker underbelly...

Oh wait, nevermind, I found it.

Made in Germany.

With this discovery of an entire box of Pjur Back Door Anal Comfort Spray, I was both shocked and thrilled to finish my Christmas shopping so early this year.

Oh yes, this too, for the discerning collector:

"Sorry, cardboard box of cheap porno, I have the internet."

I decided to cut my losses and get out of there. It wasn't a complete disaster, though. I did manage to pick up a few things to redecorate my apartment:

The more I think about this picture the more I actually want all of these things in my living room.

The novelty of the flea market imploded, and I was done. That killed about 15 minutes of my day. I found myself right back at my original problem, albeit in a different borough. What else was there for a bored fellow with a camera and internet access to do?

Hmmm.... What, indeed?

Hold on a minute! The 25th Street Flea Market is on 25th Street! What is also on 25th Street? Yes, probably a lot of things, but the answer I'm looking for is Madison Square Park! Hopefully I'd find something good there.


No not him. Behind him. The whole picture. Gross.

I had stumbled upon Madison Square Eats, a month-long food market that got set up. There was a lot of really great looking food to choose from. The front runner crowd-wise was probably Roberta's Pizza.

No slices here. Individual pan pizzas. Looked great.

However, I was motivated by impatience and an almost pathological resentment of my GI tract, so I settled on this beauty:


I stubbornly ignored my brain's protestations. It was trying to remind me of the fact that the phrase "Gourmet Mexican Street Food" should be used only in the case of a robot uprising; to overpower their logic circuits and cause them to self-destruct.

You know what? I just searched for almost ten minutes for a good picture for that joke and now I give up. That's what you're getting.

I ended up ordering a "Rolled Quesadilla" which looked something like this:

They call that their "crack sauce." I choose to believe the name refers to its addictive properties.

I took a deep breath and resigned myself to two facts:

1) This food would soon be inside of me.


2) Yes, I'm one of those dicks who takes pictures of his food.

I gotta tell you, it was pretty amazing. I finished it off in record time and scanned the booths for my second course.

That'll do. And I'll get a pretzel as well.

Ok fine, just the pretzel. But what a pretzel!

Jalapeno Cheddar, I think.

That quickly followed its cheesy quesadilla brethren. At this point I figured I was pretty well into an eating binge, so I might as well let it run its course. Plus, it's a beautiful day, and did I mention I was in Madison Square Park?

That's right, I went there. To the place that's probably the closest thing to Valhalla our sanitized, non-viking-centric excuse for a culture can manage:

The Shake Shack.

The line was enormous. Had I wanted to get a shake or a burger, I'd probably still be there. Fortunately all I wanted was that frozen custard, and quickly infiltrated the B Line, and was out of there in about 10 minutes.

Oooh yeah.

All that remained was to find a bench and eat it.

And I did. And it was incredible.

That's my story. I know, not a very exciting one, but I've got one of those coming. I just wanted to share the fact that there's always something interesting to be found if you look for it, and that Madison Square Park is a fantastic place of wonderment and frozen custard and at least one magical rainbow fountain.


All in all, I had a good time in my wanderings, and I hope you had a good time reading about them.

So remember kids, if you ever feel bored, just eat lots of unhealthy food, and then beg people to pay attention to you on the internet!

See you folks later,


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Jerry Lewis - J*** in my Pants

Real blog post coming soon, but in the meantime, enjoy a video I cobbled together as an editing exercise.

A little while back I made a video for the The Lonely Island song On a Boat featuring the Marx Brothers. I uploaded it to youtube only to find that someone had beaten me to the punch by several months. Whoops. Anyway, I added that song and a few other The Lonely Island songs to my running mix, and decided to follow up by mixing another classic comedian with their contemporary (and filthy) music.

Here's what I came up with:

(Warning: Explicit Lyrics)