Thursday, 4 October 2012

Took a little walk through NYC on my way to work this morning

Photo courtesy Pascal Subtil, licensed CC-BY-SA
This morning I had the opportunity to walk through New York City on my way to work.  This would not be too unusual, except that I happen to live in Toronto.

Toronto is known for many things - its thriving theatre district, miles of green space and parks, and of course, for being the perfect replica U.S. city.

I know from seeing the notices and films that Toronto often stands in for New York City (see Suits, and Alphas), as well as Chicago (Red), Washington (Covert Affair), and generic U.S. cities (Nikita, Total Recall).  For some reason, my neighborhood is often the location for many of these shoots - perhaps it is the perfect anonymous location. 

I am not sure what being filmed this morning, but the alley behind my bedroom was closed off and full of equipment, and the street was lined with NYC police cars and yellow taxi cabs when I was working out on my elliptical trainer.  In fact, the alley was a veritable hive of activity, unlike its normal state.   

As I walked down the street behind my apartment to get to work I even had to step over the camera rig - - one of those mini railway tracks on which the cameras ride for certain shots.  It looks like the parking lot across the street from my place and the sidewalks along the way were being used for the shot.

As always, I was impressed with how many  people are involved in filming - - the street and alley were crowded with lighting technicians, grips, production assistants, camera assistants, electricians, drivers, caterers, sound technicians and gaffers.  There might have even been some actors out there, but I was too taken with staring at the New York City cars to notice.  Yes, it is clear that I am a nerd.

On a completely unrelated note, I will have to work out early tomorrow morning so that I can get out the door in time to walk over to my appointment to donate blood.  I haven't donated in 5 years, which is too long.  On the good side, I am now healthy enough that my blood pressure, resting heart rate and iron levels in my blood should all be normal, so hopefully donating blood will not be fraught with the same issues that I had the last time I donated.

Back in 2007 (after articling, but before starting work full time as a lawyer) I was probably not my heaviest, but I was definitely not in shape.  I was likely heavier than I am now, and I certainly was more physically compromised than I am now.  I took the bus up to the blood donor clinic, and even though the walk from the street up to the clinic was a short one, it was enough to make my heart race.  Back then, my resting heart rate was more than 120 beats per minute - - in fact, it was pushing 130 - 140 bpm most of the time.  Canadian Blood Services will not accept you as a donor if your blood pressure is too high, or if your heart rate is too fast, and at first, my heart rate was well in excess of the cutoff.

But I have AB- blood (the most rare blood type around), so the staff nurse told me to rest for 15 minutes in the hopes that my pulse rate would come down.  She blamed my elevated heart rate on the cup of coffee that I had drunk that morning, rather than my obvious unfitness, bless her heart.

At any rate, I was able to get the heart rate down to 1 bpm below the cutoff, so I was permitted to donate blood.  But the experience shook me, and I knew that I would not be able to donate blood again for a while, until I had done something about my fitness.

Fast forward a mere 5 years, and here I am.  It turns out there is a blood donor clinic only a couple of blocks away from my office, and they encourage appointments.  So that's where I will be tomorrow morning, going off to bleed for a good cause. 

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