StrengthsFinder 2.0: Test Your Might?

During my travels I ended up staying in California at an aunt’s house for a few days.  Much to my surprise, one of my cousins, M, happened to be staying there as well.  During one of our conversations, she brought up a book called StrengthsFinder 2.0.

I had never heard of this book.  Truthfully, I never would have even bothered with it had it not been for M.  She’s a natural charmer, highly energetic and spoke about the book with such fervent passion that I was pretty much helpless.  As the cliché goes, I fell hook, line, and sinker.  Curiosity eventually got the better of me and I decided to check this book out.  M, if you read this, I gotta say, you’d make one hell of a saleswoman!

StrengthsFinder 2.0 was published back in 2007 and written by Tom Rath.  Essentially, the book says that society spends an unhealthy amount of time trying to fix our deficiencies instead of fine-tuning and exploiting our natural abilities or strengths.  It stresses that the “you can be good at anything if you work hard enough” mentality is highly flawed and that we should instead embrace a “you cannot be anything you want to be, but you can be a lot more of who you already are” attitude.  Rath does bring up quite a few good points throughout the short read, but most of the first part of the book is spent explaining the 40+ years research process and how the assessment works, with the second half describing the 34 common strengths that humanity shares and how to best utilize them. Continue reading

On Getting The Hell Out, Also Known as Relocating, When There is Less Ire

So how hard is it, really, to drop everything, get in the car, and start a new life elsewhere? This ain’t The Grapes of Wrath , so it’s not as bad as all that, but it does take preparation. I figured I’d fill you guys in on the steps I took to get outta town while the rain hammers on the roof of my New Orleans hotel room. All the points below are important, so I didn’t bother numbering them.

Travel Buddy:

This is really important. Before you head out on a major adventure, it’s important to know that you are doing this with a person you can rely on not to bore you to death, leave you in an ugly situation, or get on your goddamned nerves. Many a friendship has been tried and found wanting by a road trip, where you are basically stuck in a small metal cabin hurtling through space, for hours, either fighting about the crappy musical tastes you just found out your friend has, or realizing that now that you’re sober there isn’t much left to talk about. This could be a friend who is relocating with you, or just helping out. Another important thing to consider is if you trust this person to drive, and drive your car in particular. Continue reading

Tripping on the Road West – Part 1

Beelzy and I set out on Monday, July 11th, after weeks of stressful packing, hysteria fits, waiting for things in the mail, putting things in the mail, dealing with well meaning people driving me insane. It was absolutely time to go. And go we did, on a month-long road trip from New York City to Portland, Oregon. The idea was to basically go west, with a huge southern bias.

Our first few stops were with friends in Maryland, North Carolina, and then South Carolina. We were specifically heading towards Sevierville, Tennessee where we planned to change our lives in a fairly major way. I mean, almost more major than selling and throwing away most of our stuff, quitting our jobs, and getting in the car homeless and unemployed with a general plan to plug in cities into the GPS and hope for the best.

As soon as we drove away I started feeling relieved. It was definitely time to move on and now we were just on vacation really, with bits where we have to spend a lot of hours driving a car, but the road is clear and the speed limit is 70 as soon as you get the hell out of the tristate area, and that too, was a huge relief. We were no longer boxed in, restrained, we could just go and go and go. So we did.

-Above is a beginning to the mighty saga of our trip out West. Irregular installments will follow.

How I Lost My Full-Body Callus at Spa Castle

Date: 6/13/11
Venue: Spa Castle, 131-10 Ave Collegepoint, NY 11356
Event: A day’s worth of sitting around in saunas, swimming, eating Korean food– to culminate in an assult by a tiny near-naked middle-aged Korean woman with scrubby pads.

The day began as many days of mine begin… with a crazy-ass workout where I do something previously assumed to be impossible (like lift 300lbs). Afterwards, I promised my aunt to go with her to a spa I’ve never heard of, but which she raved about. I’ve never been to a spa before, therefore this can’t be an objective comparison to other such establishments… but something tells me “other such establishments” are far and few between. You be the judge.

The place is called Spa Castle and is touted as a luxurious experience for an unusually low price. In fact, their slogan is “Welcome to Paradise.” $35 on a weekday ($45 on a weekend) will get you into 4 floors worth of hot baths, saunas, food courts, lounges, bars, massage chairs, rooftop bade pools with jets of waters beating different bits of you, a fitness center (for an extra $5) and an opportunity to be surrounded by naked women. If you’re a woman too. Sorry about that… I know some of you just got excited. The place is open from 6:30am until 11:30pm and you can hang out as long as you like once you pay the entrance fee. For more money you can also get a variety of treatments, mostly massages, more on that later.

It all began quite excitingly with me driving back and forth in front of the place not understanding where to park until my aunt finally saw me, and waved me frantically towards the front where an honest to god valet quickly sped off with my car to an unknown location at no charge (I got the car back, just so you know). We finally entered, paid, and were given little magnetic watches, each with a number that served as a locker key as a well as a way to keep a mounting tab without concerning yourself with things like money or cards, or pants in which to carry them. Continue reading

Hungry Fleet of New Yorkers Flock For Foxes

Event Date: May 18, 2011
Venue: United Palace Theater
Performer: Fleet Foxes

For almost every artist, band, or musician it is a dream to play the Big Apple when touring in support of an album. According to critics, Fleet Foxes’ current release, Helplessness Blues, seems to be anything but a sophomore slump. If a double sold-out New York affair is any indication of their growing popularity, then humble beginnings will turn these young kits into full-grown foxes in no time.

The choice of venue for Fleet Foxes was the meticulously restored “Cambodian neo-Classical” United Palace Theatre in Washington Heights. The performance space melded perfectly with the organic-sounding 19-song folk set.  Appearing with no projections in the background, as if to perform for a high school recital, the timorous sextet walked onto the stage looking as if they just exited their rehearsal garage dressed not to impress, but to just jam for the electrified and intimidating New York audience.

Drummer, Joshua Tillman, was placed in the center of the stage while lead guitarist, Skyler Skjelset, and bassist, Christian Wargo, stood beside him at each side. To the left, and surrounded by multiple keyboards, was keyboardist Casey Wescott. Opposite Wescott and behind a cello was multi-instrumentalist Morgan Henderson, who is responsible for most of the band’s arrangements. The last to appear on the stage was lead vocalist and guitarist, Robin Pecknold, who wore a skullcap that displayed the band’s record label, Sub Pop.

The Oregon-based group opened with their acoustic song, “The Cascades”, which sounded oddly reminiscent of “Blackbird” by The Beatles. However, in every respect Pecknold’s tenor voice echoed of Graham Nash of folk-rock band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

The audience remained calm and at times appeared hypnotized while lead singer Robin Pecknold sang with his eyes shut. However, once the band’s intertwined harmonies stopped and the entrancing spell was broken, the audience took it upon themselves to wholeheartedly shout anything from, “We love you” to, “Take off your pants!”  They even went as far as giving the group a sustained robust standing ovation after the Helplessness Blues wistful opening number, “Montezuma”. Continue reading

What? There is a thing here?

Meandering Entertainer is not dead. It is only sleeping. A few articles are going to pop up over the next two weeks, I swear! And in July we will have a video-blog series about travel, so that’ll be full of disturbing just for you!

ETL, signing off, full of promises and allergens!

In lieu of idiot cat picture, here is my favorite bird puppet leaping!

Crossfit For Your Life (#1)

Last night, around 8pm, I was at the back of what looks like an abandoned building, in a courtyard with walls decorated with such aesthetically pleasing implements such as a rusty saw, and coils of rope. Objects strewn around me included tarps, pallets, and huge round boulders. I was watching folks, their forearms covered in gooey tree sap, lifting these monster rocks, throwing ’em around, grunting, shivering in the wind, cracking jokes. Then it was my turn. My hands around the freezing stone, squeezing like hell with my forearms, I heaved, thought nothing would happen, and then felt it move, upwards! Where I wanted it to go! And upwards some more, and then up to my chest, and damnit! But I just lifted a 112lb stone, which two months ago I could barely move. A giggle, turning to mad-scientist-worthy guffaw leaves my lips in slightly hysterical ecstasy. Where the hell was I, you ask? Why, the gym.

aaaarrrggggggh!!!!muahahahahahaha. That's sound effects for you.

Continue reading