New York City Diary

Words and pictures from my interesting life in New York.

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Friday, February 04, 2005

The Apprentice

Today was very busy at Esquire and I wish I could write about some of the things I'm working on because there is some mild celebrity drama here and there, but it wouldn't be a good idea, employment-wise. I think the only safe work-related thing I could write about tonight is the Esquire sponge.

There's a note posted in the communal pantry advising us to wring out the sponge and place it at an angle against the faucets so it stays dry and doesn't get funky. I'm quite conscientious about keeping that whole area clean, but the sponge needs everyone's care, not just mine, and it's not in good shape. I need to start keeping a stash of clean sponges at my desk.

I left work at around 6:35 p.m. and, amazingly, stepped right onto a waiting W train at 57th and got to the dojo on 23rd with time to spare. I took a senior kata class, taught by the founder of our style.

Kata is a series of pre-arranged movements that simulate fighting an imaginary opponent, using the most perfect techniques you can. In some ways it's like a dance, because you have rhythm and cadence and you always strive to improve your techniques.

Most of the katas I do consist of 15 or 20 movements, although I'm learning a new (new to me) black belt kata called Seienchin that is much more complex than what I've learned before as a colored belt. The link goes to a website I just found. The little cartoon guy on the site actually does the movements accurately, only he never stops so you can't tell where the kata ends. I'd also add that we go deeper into our stances than the cartoon karateka does, at least we try to, and we usually do it more slowly. And of course you know that a clip-art cartoon doesn't do it justice, that's just to give you an idea of what the kata looks like.

Seienchen was one of the katas we did tonight, and I had a bit of trouble with a few of the moves but I'm really enjoying learning it. I've watched the senior black belts do it as long as I've been going to the dojo (eight years) and to finally do it myself is very satisfying. Tonight's class was really crowded, and there was good energy in the room.

I got back to Brooklyn and picked up Chinese food (steamed beef and vegetables) and beer and came home to my poor sick wife, who has a fever of 101.8 F. We watched The Apprentice. In tonight's episode, the two teams (Magna, who all have college degress, and Net Worth, who don't) had to create a marketing event for Nescafe in New York, to be judged by Nescafe executives. There wasn't as much drama in this event as there has been in previous challenges, but there certainly was some fur flying.

Net Worth (I should have mentioned that Net Worth, the non-college degree team, collectively earn more than triple what the college eggheads earn in their regular lives) did a spoof on the U.S. elections in Washington Square Park, while Magna gave away iPods in Bryant Park. Net Worth won. They took a luxury helicopter tour over New York with champagne. Danny, the project leader for Magna, got fired, even though Mike tried to sabotage their own project. Mike was negative and lackadaisical in his attitide because he had an exemption in the boardroom. He couldn't be fired that round.

After the show ended I turned off the TV. Now we are listening to classical music on 96.3 WQXR, the classical station of The New York Times. Jenn is relaxing on the couch. I made her a hot TheraFlu and it's knocking her out. Just. About. Now.

As for me, the Daily Show is on in five!

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