The 2012 NYC Marathon was canceled. With respect for all that suffered during Sandy, we ran it anyway. I wasn’t just running for myself, I could sense most runners that day were carrying heavy hearts. Full video to come shortly
Georgia… She was a time in a place.
I’m glad I got to give her this song. I’m not sure where she is now? I hope she’s happy :-)
Last week I moved to Austin Texas. I replaced martinis in Manhattan for 2 stepping in the desert! Chapter 2 of my American adventure has begun. New York was great but I’ll be honest with you, I was ready to leave.
All my life I dreamt of living in the big apple; now I can say I did it! It was great. I met some incredible people and had some truly unforgettable experiences.
That’s what New York was to me, a magical city, and I’ll always have a love affair with the place, but it wasn’t all great. Long term it’s not for me.
I was right there in thick of it, living the New York life! Riding the subway, jogging through Central Park, drinking scotch in jazz bars until 5am, you name it, I rocked it. But after I while, I knew I wasn’t born to be a New Yorker.
I’m a fairly simple guy and extremely grateful for the gifts I’ve been given. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you this but not everybody has the same sense of gratitude. Gosh, if I had to hear one more over privileged girl complain about her life, I would have lost it! Most people lack perspective and travel is the best remedy for this.
At times New York brought me down a little, so now I moved. Austin Texas, the live music capital of the world J
I’m over half way through my last year on earth and so far I’ve had the best 6 months of of my life. What’s the next 6 months got in store? I don’t know, why do I get the feeling it’s gonna be awesome?
It’s been 1 year since the day. That terrible day Lee Lost his life.
To say the very least, a lot has changed for me, I live in New York city, and i love it. I owe it all to what I learnt that day.
I know your looking down on us mate, I’m so grateful for what you taught me.
I’ll keep doing all the living you don’t get to, that’s a promise.
Below is a tune that means a lot to me these days.
Rest in peace Lee.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 8 years to get that many views.
I’m sure some of my buddies from home hear about my acting adventures and laugh! They have watched me start my adult life as a committed musician, then move
into radio and TV presenting, and now I claim to be an actor…. C’mon Ryan, who are ya kidding mate ;-)
I’ll tell you a secret, I know I’m not an actor, well not a REAL actor. My limited experience on film sets has taught me this, there are 3 types of people acting attracts:
1. Real actors.
2. People who like the idea of being an actor.
3. Part timers that like to show off every once in while.
I had an acting gig yesterday for a TV show called Mysteries At The Museum. I played 3 different rolls, an engineer from the 1920’s, a bar tender (ridiculous wig and stash!) and a miner. Basically I just did a few re-enactments. It was great fun but wow! I wish you could have met the other “Actors”.
I did one scene with a guy named William, who falls under Real Actor. I chatted with him a lot, mostly about films. My movie knowledge on the topic is basic at best, but William seemingly knew everything about every movie. If he wasn’t telling me about his favorite directors he was throwing me interesting facts, for instance did you know Brad Pitt was meant to play the lead in Shawshank Redemption? Crazy.
William has a degree in acting, and attends 3-4 auditions per week. Just waiting for his big break. This is a REAL actor. No glitz and glamor, just a deep love for the art. Plus he looked a little like Bruce Springsteen! That’s not important to the story, just an awesome fact.
My favorite category of “Actors”: People who like the idea of being an actor. Most people I’ve met in the New York acting scene fall under this description. They are either uptight snobby women who carry on like they’re the stars of the show even when in actual fact they’re just extras! Or overly flamboyant gay guys, who you can tell just like being the center of attention more then anything else.
The gay guys are hilarious! They’re always really nice but it must be said, most of them have acting skills similar to my 5 year old niece Jades, she gives very passionate confident performances (cartwheels and singing included) but she could work on her subtlety – sorry Jade. If the Gay guys aren’t bursting into rooms yelling and screaming they’re flirting with each other. Believe it or not, this isn’t the norm in Australian country towns. Being a minority because your strait is definitely an eye opener!
Part timers. This is where I live. Somewhere in between the devotion and commitment it takes to become a genuine actor, and the song and dance that is the gay guys and drama queens.
I’m not a real actor, and I never will be. To think I was would be an insult to William (The Boss). It would be like somebody telling me they’re a musician because sometimes they sing in the shower.
The thing I take from my acting days is this, I’m not one thing, I am many things. I started adult life as a musician and that will always be where my greatest passion lies. But I’m not just a musician, god never decided that was all I could be. I’m simply just a creative person who likes performing. If acting caught my eye before music, I might be another ‘William’. But it didn’t.
I love the saying “Make peace with who you are.”
I can say without any doubt, you would rather watch me sing then watch me act as a 1920’s engineer, but I loved it! And that’s all that matters.
Ryan the actor.
I set off from Melbourne a little over 7 months ago with the intent of seeing as much of South America as I could. However, as is often the case on the road, I have found myself spending far more time in places I hadn’t planned, and consequently, I am yet to even reach the continent.
Currently, I am in Nicaragua, living deep in the jungle, in a Treehouse hostel. We are surrounded my monkeys, lizards and bugs, and can boast the best sunsets I have ever seen.
I have been in the Treehouse almost three months now, and taking some time off from the long periods on the road has some serious benefits.
Firstly, it’s a real pleasure to not have to play possession Tetris every couple of days when trying to repack, stack and carry my life on my back.
Secondly, it has given me the opportunity to forge longer term friendships, rather than a quick, ”where you from/going/been?”
One such friend is Pablo. Pablo is a young Nicaraguan that lives in the village below the treehouse. I think he is around 21, but the Nicaraguan fellas tend to keep a baby face until about 35, and I have often found that guys that look significantly younger than me have 3 kids, out of school.
Pablo actually helped build parts of the treehouse, and so he comes up for a rum or 10 during the parties. I’m not going to pretend that my Spanish is better than bad, but we are able to have plenty of laughs discussing our common interests of international cycling, and girls. It also always surprises me how my Spanish improves later in the night too. Strange.
Last week, Pablo was kind enough to invite me along to one of the big baseball games being played in Granada. A remnant of North American intervention (along with some pretty horrible fashion) is that baseball, rather than football is the national sport, and it attracts a lot of interest.
This particular game was Managua vs Granada, and held at the decent sized stadium in town that Pablo sarcastically dubbed “Yankee Stadium”.
It is important to note that the game was on the Saturday before Election Sunday, and alcohol was comprehensively prohibited from being sold for the entire weekend. Despite this, everyone was hammered. Clandestine plastic bottles of Joyita, the lowest of low end rum, were discreetly passed from hand to loose lips well before the first pitch was thrown. The baking sun afflicting only those in the cheap seats ($1USD in the sun, $2USD for the shade, naturally we took the cheaper option) only increased the inebriation and carnival atmosphere.
It seemed the locals were in for a long afternoon when the second pitch of the day was sent sailing long and straight for a Managua home run. However, after some sloppy fielding from the visitors and some cheeky stolen bases, Granada lead 6 – 5 at the bottom of the 5th.
In typical Central American fashion, a sudden drop in temperature and gusty winds foreshadowed an imminent downpour. The players and officials managed to scramble off, and get some covers on, before the darkened sky unloaded on those worried about sunburn only half an hour earlier.
Stuck in a heavy rain that showed little sign of abating, mob rule took over and a locked gate into the covered area was broken down. We spilled in and took refuge as the brass band died down, and the rum dried up.
A drunken crowd with no entertainment is a dangerous thing, but fortunately one gentlemen was obliging enough to put on a show far more entertaining than baseball in my humble opinion.
Dressed in baggy jeans and a filthy red shirt, a middle aged man stormed the vacant field to the rapturous applause of his now captive audience. He stood on home plate as security watched on, enjoying having something to look at as much as everyone else.
Full of a delicate mixture of rum and confidence, he took off for first base, winning further adoration, and some half-hearted music from the band. Approaching the plate, he threw in a stutter step and then a long, mud aided slide to arrive a split second before the imaginary first baseman.
Surprisingly impressed, the band took it up and notch, encouraging our drunken hero to make for second. Needing little persuasion, he made the turn showing some serious signs of fatigue despite having run little more than 50m. Not wanting to disappoint his new found support, he somehow performed an incredibly athletic, full length dive, sliding onto the plate with centremeter perfection.
With the band in full swing now, and Pablo and I exchanging astonished glances, the sodden drunkard ambled towards third, barely managing to keep his feet. Clearly needing to up the ante, he decided that a “people’s elbow” circa WWE was in order. However, with judgement impaired by rum the quality of rubbing alcohol, and an artificially inflated sense of athleticism, our muddy muppet overshot the plate and landed square on his back from a decent height. The music stopped.
He lay face up in the mud, lifeless and limp for no shorter than 30 seconds before security reluctantly came to his aid. Initially, I assumed that his lack of movement was due to equal measures of embarrassment and pain. However, once he was picked up and dragged off the field, I understood that he was in a deeply unconscious state. His head bobbed and rolled as he was sent back to the stands.
I sincerely thought that this would be the last I would see of the red shirted man. However, in a testament to his resolve, approximately half an hour later he returned to the arena, apparently suffering little from his earlier blackout.
His agenda this time, was to critically oversee the soaking and mopping of the ballpark. Doing no work himself, but finding plenty of fault in the scooping techniques of the officials, his presence was tolerated for a short time until he became involved in a physical struggle for a broom. By this stage, some of the more serious fans began to roll their eyes, as they had tired of such antics, and just wanted to see play resume (I was not part of this group).
The previous hours hero had turned villain, and was demonstratively asked by a very large guard to leave. In a display of his increasingly volatile nature, our clown took deep personal offence to such a request. He stripped his shirt, threw it to the ground, and raised his fists, striking a humorously pathetic pose in the shadow of the guard.
The crowd was now in two minds. On one hand, this man had given us some seriously good laughs only an hour before. On the other, anyone stupid enough to pitch invade twice in the same match deserves to be knocked out, twice. This was exactly his reward as the man mountain socked him one right in the chin. He was unceremoniously dragged lifeless from the field, for the second time that afternoon.
Due to continued rain, there was no further play, but it was (half) a game I will never forget. Despite some language barriers, rough weather and some cultural differences, Pablo and I were able to share some laughs and build our friendship.
If this was my last year on earth, I couldn’t think of any better way to spend it.
Nicaragua – South America
The last few weeks will go down in my history books as ‘tough ones’. To summarize; I returned from a 5 week family road trip penniless, I had no job, bills on the way, and I’d been slightly screwed over by somebody (also money related). Not to mention I had a marathon coming up! I was homesick, feeling a little useless and very alone. Not the New York adventure I envisioned.
I’ve always wanted to be a musician, so a long time ago I accepted the fact that I might not live the most glamorous life. Some of us become rich and famous, but most of us just get by, relatively unnoticed and underpaid. Such is the life of a musician, I’m used to it. I don’t do it for the money, It gives me something far more valuable. So the fact that I was penniless again wasn’t what was depressing me, I was just feeling beaten, beaten by big bad Apple.
Wondering what to do next, I was practically begging local venues for gigs, unsuccessfully.
But then… I got a call.
I occasionally sing for an events agency here in New York, they’re fun gigs, singing at weddings and other functions. A week ago, in the middle of my woes, the agency offered me a full time management position. They’ve put me in charge of expanding the company into Texas. Basically, I work my own hours, get to see a lot of the country and work with great musicians in the process.
I’ve done my best to take it all in. All of a sudden, I can afford to survive. That might sound silly to you, but to me, it’s massive. I still had unpaid bills, but I’d figure it out.
I decided to check my bank account to see if I could shout myself lunch. To my surprise there was money my account, money from my parents. They had bailed me out, and in the payment description on my netbank account were the words ‘You never walk alone’.
I’m 26, I know realistically I should be able to bail myself out, and for the most part I do, but this act of kindness from my parents was enough to make all my worries go away. My bills were paid, and thanks to my new job, I can pay my future bills.
Needless to say, I was pretty dam happy. In an instant, my problems were solved. In that moment, it almost felt like somebody was watching over me, and this was their big chance to help out, steer me in the right direction.
Before calling home, I went for a ceremonial stroll around Brooklyn. I grabbed my iPod and searched for the only song that would suit the situation, a song I’ve put on every time I’ve felt like giving up, a song I’ve put on every time I miss home.
“I wont back down” by Tom Petty.
Well I know what’s right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around
But I’ll stand my ground and I won’t back down
I was warned before I came here, this city will take you in with open arms, make you feel invincible, and then pull you down lower then you’ve ever been. And it’s 100% true.
I’ve had massive highs and lows here in New York. I’m blind on a worn road, but I know one thing, life is being lived, and I’m so excited about the future!
Ps. I almost forgot! Then I ran a marathon :-)
Yesterday evening I heard the news, no more New York City marathon. I want to start by saying that I agree with the decision, there are far more important things happening right now. New York is still hurting from hurricane Sandy, hurting really badly. It’s desperate times for some, neighborhoods have been completely destroyed, and not to mention over 40 people have lost their lives. Nobody is to blame for the cancelation, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still really disappointing.
The 47,000+ people that were set to participate in the marathon had one of the biggest milestones of their lives upon them. Preparing for a marathon is something that can take years, the amount of effort and sacrifice that goes into it cannot be measured. My marathon journey has taken me to the other side of the world, not to mention the effort that went into raising $3225 for charity along the way.
Even though the race is officially canceled, tomorrow I’m still running the 42km. I feel it’s my responsibility. I owe it to everybody that donated money to my charity ‘Team for kids’, I owe it to all my ‘last year on earth’ followers, I owe it to my family, but mostly I owe it to myself.
My run will be without the hype and excitement that was in store for me in the ING New York City marathon, but that wasn’t the motivation. I need to prove this to myself, so that’s exactly what I’m gonna do.
I’ll be joining a bunch others doing laps of Central Park. Thank you all for the ongoing support. I’ll be thinking about all the emails and words of encouragement you guys have given me alone the way, it will be an emotional run for so many reasons.