Incredible 2011 NBA Finals

I’m not a big basketball fan. I rarely watch during the regular season. However, the NBA finals are fantastic every time I watch and this year was no exception – loved it! Energetic, passionate, and incredibly talented play. Jason Terry was my favorite player in the end. His performance in game six when Nowitzki had a tough night was inspiring.

Congrats Mavs!

Goodbye iPhone, Hello Nexus One

I got an iPhone 3G two years ago and I loved it. It was fast, easy to use, and beautiful. Since then I’ve fallen out of love and every time it takes the phone 5-10 seconds to show a new text message I have to resist the urge to smash it. I was never very pleased with my high cell phone bill or the accompanying contract, or the fact that it’ll probably be a long time before I’m allowed to run Firefox on the phone.

I thought long and hard about getting an iPhone 4 because it would solve some major problems (speed, screen quality) and despite the other issues the user experience is just amazing. However, I decided to go with a solution that also solves the other problems. In total I wanted better phone performance, a nicer screen, better network service, the ability to run Firefox, I don’t want a contract, and I want to pay significantly less for service than I do now. I chose to go with a Nexus One from Google on T-Mobile and so far I’m pretty happy.

The T-Mobile plan I chose has no contract, 1000 any time minutes, unlimited text messaging, and unlimited internet for $70. The AT&T plan I had has a 2-year contract, 900 any time minutes, 1500 text messages, and unlimited internet for $105. T-Mobile reportedly has great service in New York City, so this is an easy choice.

The Nexus One is sold unlocked, it’s fast, thin, has a beautiful screen, gets Android updates quickly, and runs the only two third party apps I really care about – MLB At Bat and Firefox. My only two issues are that the Android OS is generally less polished than iPhone’s iOS and MLB At Bat for Android is junk compared to the iPhone edition.

Getting Ready for the 2010 Birkebeiner

I’ve decided to do the 2010 American Birkebeiner (skate course) despite the fact that I live in Brooklyn and I haven’t done any serious cross-country skiing in eight years. It will be a fun challenge and I got some of my more athletically-inclined family members to join me. I’m really looking forward to spending the weekend skiing with them.

The race is on February 27th, 2010, in Cable, Wisconsin. It is 50 kilometers (31 miles), with a total elevation gain of 1,398 meters. The average low temperature in Cable, Wisconsin, on February 27th is +13F and the average high temperature is +34F. The record high is +42F and the record low is -20F. Last year the low temperature on that day was -16F, with a high of +8F.

The race has an interesting history:

“It started in 1206. Birkebeiner skiers, so called for their protective birch bark leggings, skied through the treacherous mountains and rugged forests of Norway’s Osterdalen valley during the winter of 1206, smuggling the son of King Sverresson and Inga of Vartieg to safety. The flight taken during the Norwegian Civil War took the Birkebeiners and prince from Lillehammer to safety in the town of Trondheim.”

Unlike the Norwegian version of the race, skiers in the American Birkebeiner don’t typically carry a 3.5kg bag simulating the weight of an 18-month-old baby.

I train most days in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, though sometimes I run a course through Red Hook where there is little traffic and some other nice parks. Prospect Park is beautiful and full of smiling people, I always look forward to my time there. I’ll spend 2-3 weeks before the race in Duluth, MN, so that I can actually train on skis.

French Lop House Rabbits

I was recently in Arcata, CA, and I met some really awesome rabbits named Gilley and Chumley. Gilley, the girl, is 13lbs and Chumley, the boy, is 10lbs. They stay in the house and even use a litter-box. They’re super happy, especially when they get bananas for a snack in the morning. They like to play in the kitchen because the floor is slippery and they slide around. So awesome – I had no idea that people had rabbits like that for house pets! These pictures are of me feeding them bananas. Gilley licks the plate clean.


Sunday in NYC

New York is a fantastic city. I spend a fair amount of time there and today was just such a nice day I feel like writing about it.

I woke up this morning at a friend’s place in Spanish Harlem, the sun shining brightly through the windows – it was a beautiful day. We walked to a bakery and got coffee and croissants, then we walked to a nearby park and watched a largely Puerto Rican baseball game for an hour while we drank our coffee. The players were probably 14 years old and having a lot of fun. A guy rode by on a bicycle flying about ten Puerto Rican flags, honking a little horn constantly and smiling at everybody.

After the game I walked South, from E 112th & 2nd to around E 78th & Madison. It is a nice walk, interesting because you get to see the transition from Spanish Harlem to the wealthy Upper East Side. My friend is a teacher and she was recently talking to her kids about health. She suggested focusing on what food is readily available on each block of the walk. Nutrient value, pricing, cuisine diversity… speaks volumes.

Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side has a lot of fashionable clothing stores and some great people-watching. I ended up having lunch with Hal Hackady at a diner near there, where he introduced me to rice pudding with whipped cream and chocolate sauce and gave me some good advice about new strolls through Central Park. Hal also drew a picture of me on a napkin while I was staring off at something:

Drawing of Josh by Hal

I like that he didn’t use a clean napkin.

After Hal and I parted ways I headed into Central Park and watched people sail little boats in the pool near 75th on the East side of the park. It is a busy part of the park on weekends, but sitting there on weekdays can be really peaceful.