Memories of 2015

Having said ‘adieu’ to 2015 and survived my first week of 2016, I pause for a bit of reflection and wonder what I have accomplished so far with WhereNYC, a project that began six months ago.

After toying around with various ideas for months, I settled on creating a personal blog format, where I’d give more than just a list of events because there are tons of sites that already do this. I coined the term, “Metronaut” or an urban socialite who wants to explore the city.

Although it hasn’t yet exactly gone to plan, I look it as a work-in-progress, where there’s always room for improvement. I’ve gotten a bit of a following, but I hope to get more on board this year. Writing, however, has never been my strong point, having to write almost every day has forced me to confront my darkest fears.

Otafuku Okinomiyaki Talk & Tasting with Chef Morimoto @ The Japan Society

Otafuku Okinomiyaki Talk & Tasting with Chef Morimoto @ The Japan Society Jan. 2015

I can’t thank my friends and family enough for giving me the courage to put myself out there and share what I know. Any time I find a new group or organization that puts on cool stuff, I add it to the metronaut list.

Spirikal, l'ambassadeur

Spirikal, l’ambassadeur

A special shout out to my family and friends: Kaori, Rohit, my mother, Ian, Terry, Hideki, Julien, Tenzin, Michelle, Anna, Alexandra, Zo, Sonya, and Dira and anyone else I heartlessly forgot to mention. You’ve all given me tons of inspiration and support, which I’ll never forget. And of course to my readers, I send my deepest gratitude.

Edible Escape, 2014

Edible Escape, 2014

Writing this event blog has given many rewards. I’ve gotten to see so much of the city. Places that were once unfamiliar to me now have become my frequent destinations. No matter how exhausted I felt from my job or evening classes, getting out into the city was a real tonic.

Art reception at the Germain Consulate

Art reception at the Germain Consulate

I’ve gone to countless receptions, expos, meet-and-greets, shows,  tasting events and launch parties, meeting new people from different walks of life.

out of scale with the Taiwanese ambassador at the TPECC.

Out of scale with the Taiwanese ambassador at the TPECC.

Of course, these events brought me in contact with different cultures, languages, cuisines and some great booze.

with Ariane Daguin from D'Artagnan at the Best of France fest at Times Square

with Ariane Daguin from D’Artagnan at the Best of France fest at Times Square

The places I’ve discovered or I should say ‘detected’ know no bounds, social class or ethnicity. Every event, reception or meet-up has taught me something new.

The more variety of things I chose to see, brought new experiences, people and new ideas.

Some were informative, cultural and literary.

 

And there was some great dancing as well.

Rinsed Halloween Bash 2015, now that was fun!

Rinsed Halloween Bash 2015, now that was fun!

And somehow at these events, we socialize and sometimes become friends. However long or brief, meaningful or not, being around people gives me energy. The biggest thrill for me is just seeing everyone enjoy themselves.

Is this not the cutest couple you've seen?

Is this not the cutest couple you’ve seen?

And how about these lovely gals?

Girls'night out with wine, cheese and art.

Girls’night out with wine, cheese and art.

Being a blogger with a ridiculous pen name like Spirikal has its perks with getting the occasional press pass , although the NY Times still needs convincing of my creditials. Give it time I say.

with Julien @ The French Cheese Board

with Julien from the French Cheese Board

It did however come with some negatives. Certain events weren’t that great, albeit horribly planned while some of my friends have disappeared entirely. Nevertheless, my duty to my blog requires me to go anything that might be promising. Sometimes it didn’t work out. But with every experience, good or bad, I try to make the most of it or it’ll be time to move on to other things.

Some events were painfully lame and it showed.

Some events were too painful, even with the smiles.

But there were good ones.

Pretty in pink at the DMochelle Breast Cancer Awareness and fashion show

Pretty in pink @ the DMochelle event

Running a new and virtually unknown blog also had its drawbacks. While many of the organizers and event-goers have been generally very kind and helpful for my reviews, certain remain unmoved even suspicious of my intentions when I introduce myself. The strangest was the Harney & Sons anniversary party in SoHo when I asked the store workers if I could take some snaps of the beverages for the blog. Commodious was definitely not the word I’d have used to describe them.

Running a blog’s actually a lot more complicated than I had imagined because it’s so much more than writing. You’ve got to make it accessible by adding links, photos and organize the events’ details. Plus, using WordPress has become more of pain in the backside than beneficial because I find myself limited.

The appearance skins from WordPress are also constricted and often full of flaws. Take the calendar for example. Why the hell can’t I adjust the times for events that run after midnight? The calendar simply refuses to publish them unless the activity finish time is 11:30pm. Do we all sleep before midnight or risk turning into pumpkins afterward?

The pic's format changes depending on the phone or computer you're using.

The pic’s format changes depending on the phone or computer you’re using like this example of the Fantasia Fantasy Show.

Formatting on WordPress is also problematic because the photos appear differently on the mobile and website editions. On the computer, the photo is twisted on its side or cut off. What will the readers think if they see the featured image of just a girl’s panties? Perverted? Perhaps so, but simply ridiculous that the formatted image is so distorted. Some of the pics; however, I’ve no explanation other than sheer nudity.

Different device, different compatibilty

I’ve noticed on my Facebook page, the events appear out of order depending on the device you use, which I discovered when a friend showed me the jumbled events on the WhereNYC Facebook Page when she used her Samsung Galaxy  . So reviews I wrote back in September are mixed in with things I posted just a couple weeks ago. Why?

Social Media is an onging learning experience.

I admit that I’m not as young as I ought to be, but apart from Facebook, I’d rarely used anything else.  I’m not even sure what some of the social media sites are for – like Reddit for example. I know people read it, but I’ve no idea who nor why.

Meeting Madhur Jaffrey at the Greene Space

Meeting Madhur Jaffrey at the Greene Space

Through trial and error, I’ve gotten a bit savvier and a bit bolder on how I share. Now every preview or review I write for WhereNYC, gets transported to Google +, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, Facebook, and more recently Pocket – the latter still a mystery to me!

with Fabrice Jaumon at the Bilingual Education Fair, Hunter College

with Fabrice Jaumon at the Bilingual Education Fair, Hunter College

I’ve gone through the Internet rites of passage encountering my very first troll on Reddit. The NYC fashionista subgroup on the same site also banned me after I posted a review of the Heaven & Earth swim wear fashion show @ the Empire Hotel. Was it something I wrote that irked the Nurse Ratched leader?  It seems everyone has rules, however pointless.

My writing has improved, but I still have yet to find my groove. Many rightfully say that my reviews are too long and wordy, but I never seem to have time to write a short article. “It’s a work-in-progress,” I say.

There were of course events that I chose not to write about simply because I didn’t have the time nor the energy to do so, and didn’t have enough pictures to warrant real interest beyond my own. The Savoring Gotham book launch party was great, but I was only there because of a special invite.

with Garett Oliver of the Brooklyn Brewery at the Savoring Gotham launch party at Oxford University Press

with Garett Oliver of the Brooklyn Brewery at the  at Oxford University Press

The other was the 934 Conference at the French Consulate. The discussion was interesting, but the consulate omitted the usual cocktail reception because of security concerns, following the deadly attacks on Paris in November.

French Consul Bertrand Lortholary pauses while reflecting on the Nov. 13th massacre in Paris.

A solemn moment. French Consul Bertrand Lortholary reflects on the Nov. 13th massacre in Paris.

For my new year resolution, I will make this website even better and find new adventures to share with you.  Stay tuned on my for more reviews and my first updates for 2016. Don’t forget to check my calendar for upcoming stuff. January is looking fantastic.

Thanks and god bless.

Spirikal