Thursday, December 28, 2006

Life Purgatory

I'm about to enter Purgatory, Life Purgatory. I have spoken around this topic, but have never really defined it (or named it), until today. Life Purgatory takes place between the ages of 27 and 33. I believe that most single people between those ages are almost exactly the same age. There are those people who get out of college, and get on with the rest of their lives right away, and there are those people who wait a while, and then wait a while longer. I am officially joining the second group next week.

More specifically: I have a group of friends who either met their significant others during college or right after college and got married or are close to getting married. I have a second group of friends who are single, are showing no active desire to find "the one" (though they talk like they do, they don't act it) and thus will be joining me in Purgatory soon. Therefore, I don't think turning 29 or 30 is as big a deal as turning 27. At 27, you are officially out of the "did stuff while I was young" group and are destined for 6 more years of monotony before you get off your ass and succumb to societies desires (marriage, family, etc).

This whole concept surrounds the ideas of societal norms and maturity. I've talked about this concept a few times on here, specifically about male maturity, but let me refresh your memory with my common example. Who's more mature, the 33 year old guy dating the 21 year old girl or the 22 year old guy dating the 26 year old girl? The answer is simple. The 33 year old is still not serious, or just getting serious as he exits single life purgatory, the 22 year old clearly doesn't care about age, knows what he wants, even if it's someone older, wiser and more serious.

What I've learned from those already stuck in Life Purgatory is that these people only resent being stuck there because of society. They do not feel out of place, however, they do feel that society makes them think they should. Most of these people are not lost; they just know themselves and what they want…and they don’t want anything. I was talking with a friend Sunday night who stated that she's just got more important things to do than spend 5 nights a week with the same person. I understand that. Some people don't want to focus on that part of their lives until later in life. During that time period, they want to have fun, so they bounce around from person to person, from job to job, not wanting to be tied down, not wanting to settle, and not wanting to waste time. Obviously, I've deemed this drifting phenomenon, Life Purgatory.

As always, here are some things I think I've been thinking about:

I think on Monday I'll be starting my 4th week at my 3rd gym. I think I joined NYSC for 2 weeks and have now spent 1 free week at the Reebok gym. I don't think its helping me get in shape for the wedding.

I think the Reebok gym is amazing, and I would much rather pay $200 a month to go there ($1,200 initiation fee) than $100 to go to NYSC. I thought the Reebok gym had a basketball court but now I know they have TWO (and a rock climbing gym, a sun deck, pool, outdoor track, 3 story locker room w/full amenities, spa, dry cleaner, and 150,000 sqft in total).

I think someone told me that Brittany and Lindsey go there when they are staying in NYC.

I think there are 3 things you can have at work that make working more enjoyable and I think you only need 2 of them to stay at a job. I think those things are good money, good working environment (hours / coworkers), and doing what you enjoy.

I think I have the first two and 1/2 the third, teachers have the last two and bankers and lawyers have the other two. I just don’t understand how bankers enjoy their work. I think they are too dumb to realize that there are other things in the world out there or the money thing makes them enjoy their jobs more.

I think I saw a poster on a church that read “Come over my house Sunday before the game, God.”

I think JFK was the George Costanza of presidents. If he had stuck around longer, everyone would have hated him, but since he went out while on top, everyone remembers him as being the best, just like when George would tell a good joke at a meeting and just walk out.

I think that when I see a bag of something, and only the corner is missing, that the person who opened it made a spout that you can pore the chips/cereal/candy out of. I don’t understand people who think that it means you are supposed to try to fit your little fingers inside that little hole and take something out. I think it’s a spout!

I think I heard that you can get something similar to acupuncture called ear stapling in order to lose weight. I think they staple your ear lobe and then you’re not hungry anymore.

I think I've created a page w/all the things I need to buy or need someone to buy for me. It came to my attention that some Jews, like older sisters, make Christmas lists and then give them to their parents, like my parents, and get everything on thier lists. My birthday is in 1 week, hopefully, someone, like my sisters parents, will read this before then.

I think I watched 9 episodes of the office at work today. With the other 2 hours, I wrote this.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Reviewing My Life

Movies

The Good Shepherd:

















This movie was slow, long, confusing, and not very exciting (thus slow). I was expecting a spy type thriller, and instead, I got a boring movie that confused me with all its flashbacks and flash forwards, similar looking fraternity friends and similar sounding Russians. There was one moment in the movie with a bit of suspense, and we all knew what was going to happen, and thus, it wasn’t that exciting. The most unbelievable part of the movie was that Matt Damon neglects his wife, Angelina Jolie. Maybe if it was Jennifer Anniston, you could eventually get bored and neglect her, but not Angelina, def not her. I read that DiNero wanted to cast Leo before Matt, and I understand why Leo turned it down. The character is boring. In order to fully understand this movie, I’d have to see it 3x. Too bad I don’t plan on seeing it again.

Blood Diamond:

















Blood Diamond was action packed, full of surprises, suspense, had a good story and a strong tale of morality. Leo does a great job acting, as he always does and one of my favorite small time actors, Djimon Hounsou (also in Gladiator), pulls off his role as a strong, good natured, individual quite well. My mom even liked it, though she warned not to sit in the first few rows because you might get sprayed w/blood. We sat in the first 2 rows, but that’s because the theatre was packed for this awesome movie. The only small gripe I could have is that the moral tale could have been a bit stronger. The movie argued against buying diamonds from conflict regions, but buying any diamond, does change the supply and demand dynamics of the trade whether everyone in the US asks for non conflict diamonds or not.

The Departed:



















Another Leo movie; another excellent flick. Suspenseful, thoughtful, violent and surprising. This mob movie has an awesome cast (Jack, Matt, Marky Mark), solid acting, and a few twists at the end that make you jump out of your seat. You leave the theatre thinking, “did that just happen,” then you sit at home pondering the movie for a few days while still in shock at how the whole thing ended up and how much it disturbs you. That’s what makes it a good movie.

I understand why “Happy Feet” is in the IMAX, but why is “Night at the Museum?” Hello “Blood Diamond?” Hello “Casino Royale?” Hello “The Departed.” Even “Apocalypto” would be a better choice than Museum.


Books
A Confederacy of Dunces:



















A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Tool, reads exactly as the forward says it will read. The book is about a fat, obnoxious, idealist, idiot who has no sense of reality and thinks everything is offensive and everyone is out get him. Throughout the book, you are struggling to keep reading, yet something makes you turn the page instead of throwing it in the trash. This train wreck of a book that has Seinfeldian comedy and coincidences that make it almost silly in nature. As the book ended, I wasn’t really sure why that was the chosen end of the book and why there weren’t more pages. I also wasn’t sure if I wanted there to be more pages. Not my type of book, though it did win a Pulitzer Prize, so I’d call it slightly above average.

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking:














As the title suggests, I flew through this book in about a week. The book reads similarly to a psychology book, but focuses on cases and outcomes rather than stupid psych definitions. It explores the judgments we make in the first few seconds and how an expert can be as accurate in his judgments instantly, as he would be after studying the object for years. It dives into fun pop culture things, like the taste test, and also into disturbing human behavior, like the Amadou Diallo shooting. Definitely a quick read, an entertaining read and a fun look into how the brain works and the snap decisions we make.

Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling:














This is my kind of book. It’s a non fiction history book with a 50 page reference section at the back. This well referenced book takes place during the 4 years that Michelangelo was forced to fresco the Sistine Chapel (He had no frescoing experience which is much different than painting). If focuses on his relationship with a dictator of a pope who waged wars for the Church’s benefit and though of himself as the second coming. It also talks about Michelangelo’s relationships with other artists of his time including Rafael and Leonardo. The book is full of interesting facts about life back then and side stories that are mostly interesting with a few dull ones in between. If you’re a history / nonfiction lover, I’d recommend.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Interesting...

I'm sooooo glad I found this

Arizona, Idiot Boy and TILATW

I went to Arizona last weekend to visit my friend Amy, who I hadn’t seen since she joined my family in Puerto Rico 22 months ago. She lives out there and owns her house, like an adult.

She needed a date to her company’s holiday party and so it was a good excuse for me to leave the city b/c I haven't traveled anywhere lately. :)

Speaking of which, I have not seen my roommate on the weekend in 6 weekends. The first 2, I was away for a wedding and Puerto Rico, then he went to his sister’s wedding, then I went to TG in SF, then he went to AC for a bachelor party then it was last weekend. Crazy.

Whenever I leave New York, I tell the same joke. I look up at the night’s sky, and point to the stars and say “what are those things? We don’t have them in New York?” Works every time. It’s all in the execution.

I was talking to a few of Amy’s friends when they asked me when the bars in NY close. I really didn’t have a good answer except to ask them what NY’s nickname is. When they responded “the big apple” I had to pull “the city that never sleeps” out of them physically, and then spoke condescendingly about what that title implies. Yes, the bars in NY never do close, unless there aren’t any customers. They asked where to go on a Wednesday night to get a drink and party, and I responded with “almost anywhere.” “The clubs are open weeknights; the bars are open until they have no customers. What part of this don’t you people understand?”

Anyway, flying sux, didn’t do much in AZ besides drink, rest, and this holiday party, and I only took pictures for about 4 hours of the trip. Here they are.

Anyone want to do the whole Jew Caravan down to AC for Xmas Eve? I don’t really have a desire to hit up the various Matzo Balls.

Do you think if you puked from eating too much candy corn that it wouldn’t taste that bad? What if you ate candy corn before you went drinking, and then puked at the end of the night?

Idiot Boy Side Note:

Idiot boy’s been pretty good lately. (more info here and here) He had one mishap this week. IB opened his medicine cabinet in the bathroom to put his toothbrush inside. It opens over the sink like a door, not a sliding cabinet. Anyway, the toothbrush didn’t stay inside and was about to fall into the sink, rendering it garbage when IB reacted fast and caught it out of mid air. Unfortunately and obviously, the cabinet door was still open and the sharp, mirrored, bottom corner went right into his forearm, cutting a nice little deep gash. IB put on a band aid and went to work. At around 11 he figure he’d take the bandage off and since the gash had not stopped bleeding in 4 hours, Idiot Boy got blood all over his shirt. Not so idiotic, but nothing to be proud of.

Idiot Boy’s lack of idiotness lately might be due to the emergence of Idiot Girl. Idiot boy has found his match. Idiot Girl, similar to Idiot Boy, is really, smart, fun, silly, and yet somehow the most interesting things happen to her. I’m not going to tell IG’s stories. Ok, maybe I’ll tell a few, but she’ll def be referred to in here from now on. Somehow, as IG’s mishaps have risen over the last few months, IB’s have gone down. IB’s praying they don’t even out anytime soon. Here’s a small sampling of a random message IG wrote to IB.

"I'm more self-destructive than suicidal. Spending three days reading one study guide as a way of putting off learning the stuff I don’t actually understand. Then doing really badly and then complaining about it when I get my grades in Feb. The worst part is no one believes me because I do this all the time. How many times did I need to fail an exam to get people to believe me when I say I’m going to do badly? Obviously more than 3..."

The funniest part of the whole “IB cut his arm open in order to save his $1 toothbrush” incident was when IG was pissed at herself for not making fun of Idiot Boy the way Idiot Boy playfully calls IG out about all the little idiot girl things she does.

Things I Lied About This Week:

I told someone that I saw a homeless guy w/a sign this week that said “make fun of me for a dollar” and that it was the best dollar I ever spent. In fact, that was J's story, from back in high school, and I’m pretty sure he cursed him out until the guy cried.

I told someone I was engaged and kept referring to my fiancé

I told someone my sister tattled on me for using one of those 900 numbers when I was 10, but talking to Tanja was worth it. Yea, that never happened.

I told someone that I don’t have any numbers in my phone because I memorize all of them.

I told someone the next time I saw her mom I would appolgize for judging her. I don’t think that will happen considering I’ve never met the mom.

I told someone that porno names make the best animal names. My animals growing up were, in fact, Cookie, Oreo, Sugar, Spice and Snow…but that doesn’t make them porn star names does it?

I told someone that dinner in general, was similar to vegetables, empty calories. I followed up by saying that I’d rather just skip dinner, and drink beer every night.

I'm addicted


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Airplanes and Porn

Mom: So what does it mean that you haven't written in your website for 2 weeks?

My “Ghetto” Baby Sis: whats up with no new blog entries, yo? you gotta gimme somethin to get thru the day.


I've been busy....I've been meaning to...Sorry Mom…Sorry Sis

J: Why do airlines suck?

Airlines suck because A) They never take off on time. B) They only land on time because they bake in an extra 1 to 1.5 hours of flight time just in case. C) They are not that cheep. D) There’s no room for my legs. E) Security is a nuisance and a joke. I’m going to start a new no security airline where you just have to get there 10 min before boarding. F) There is no reason to get to the airport more than 45 min before takeoff; except that they will give your ticket away if you are not there before 45 minutes before takeoff. Not once over my 8 flights last month did it take more than 15 minutes from arrival at the airport to get to the gate. G) Airlines don’t care about you. The guy infront of me checking his bags gave the attendant his ID and she lost it. She wouldn’t let him look in the garbage behind her or anything. He had to call the police. H) Airlines lie to you.

Which brings me to my next question...

BK: How can people still be getting off an airplane when the "departures computer" and the gate both say "boarding"?

Airlines just LIE to you. The same situation happened to me this week. I’m eating dinner in the food court 20 minutes before my departure time when I look at the “departures” monitor and it says my flight is “boarding.” Knowing that there wasn’t even a plane at my gate 15 minutes earlier, I get up and walk over to see. Behold! The sign behind the gate miraculously says “boarding” while the plane obviously just got there because people just started getting off. Maybe the sign meant “boarding the terminal from the plane.” I left and came back in twenty minutes and wrote this in the interim:

My Simple Rules for Understanding Airline Talk, Analyzing the Bullshit, and Just Generally Figuring Out When an Airline is Lying to You:

When you book your flight, and it tells you the length of your flight, the computer is lying. The time you are in the air is between 45 min and 1.5 hours less than the time on the ticket. I once took a 35 minute flight that was scheduled to take over 2 hours, those freaking liars.

When you call ahead to check the status of your flight, don’t check your flight because your flight is always on time. Find out if there’s a flight arriving about 45 min before your flight from the same destination you are going, and find out if that flight is landing on time. Most planes go back and forth between destinations. Additionally, they will estimate the actual time of arrival. If that flight is late, yours will be too.

When you get to your gate, the FIRST thing to do is check to see if there is ACTUALLY A PLANE waiting at your gate. I don’t care if you are supposed to be boarding in 5 minutes and the signs all say “boarding now.” The airlines are lying to you. You are not on time. NO plane = at least 25 minutes before you board.

When you get on the plane, if the doors of the plane don’t close within the 10 minutes of the scheduled departure time, you will take off at least 30 minutes late. Once a flight is already deemed late, it becomes a second class citizen to all of the other flights that may make it out on time. That flight has a different line for take offs and a different priority for taxiing.

If the pilot says you are 10th in line for take off, and will be taking off in 15 minutes, look out the window. If you don’t see any planes behind you, or in front of you, and there is grass and a parking lot next to you, then your plane is not on line at all and your pilot is a liar (feel free to point this out to a flight attendant and to the people sitting around you, it may get you extra cookies later). If you can see a FedEx plane sitting in a hanger from your seat, you are not taking off for a VERY VERY long time. The FedEx hanger is always the farthest from the correct end of the runway, even at airports where they take off and land in both directions, somehow, the FedEx hanger knows.

When on line, if the plane does not move every 4 minutes, you are not on line and / or other planes that are on time (aka priority) are being allowed to cut you.

When the flight attendant asks you what you want to eat, and you ask what’s good. Get whatever she does NOT suggest. Her job is to keep everyone happy and thus when the steward runs out of one dish, everyone is not happy. She’ll tell you to take the dish no body wants, thus, she is lying to you. Take the other.

When the pilot tells you that the plane is going to try to make up some time in the air, he is lying to you. Most planes go around 550 miles per hour. At slightly over 600, they would hit the sound barrier and break apart. On a 4 hour flight, if you are going 50 mph faster for the middle 3 hours, then you’ve made up 150 miles, or about 15 minutes. That does not make up for the 1.5 hours you lost when you left late. The extra hour they put in flight time on your ticket is why you might “make up some time.”

In the bathroom, a sign says that it may cause a safety hazard if you flush anything other than TP down the drain. I’m not sure how anything getting flushed besides a grenade could represent a safety hazard.

When you are about to get to the gate and the stewardess says to be careful when opening the overhead bins, because its contents may have shifted during flight, SHE IS LYING. I’ve never seen the contents of the bin shift enough so that when you open the bin, everything falls out like someone opening a closet on a sitcom that has been stuffed w/some kids toys after he claimed to have cleaned his room. It doesn’t happen, and if it did, show me someone who got injured, especially after a flight with no turbulence.

When you are just about to get to the gate, and the captain says, “please remain in your seats until the fasten seatbelt light is turned off,” he really means, "stand up now!" For some reason, the captain says that line exactly 1.2 seconds before he turns that damn seatbelt light off anyway. Its like he’s just fucking with you. I bet, if you heard that announcement, 9 out of 10 times you couldn’t get up before that light went out on its own anyway.

When you are getting off the plane and the staff says, “Thanks for flying with us. Have a great stay.” Don’t believe a word, because airlines are all fucking liars.

Pink: Is it wrong for your boss to show you porn?

Technically, no, he has not done anything wrong yet. However, if you think he has acted in bad judgment and/or looking at porn with him / her is not comfortable with you. You need to tell him / her that, and DOCUMENT the conversation. If that passion for office porn continues, then he has violated laws and now it is quite wrong. Understand? You have to establish that you don’t like porn.

EG: So how would you handle this scenario: you met your girlfriend through mutual friends who were dating, and now they have broken up? It’s like you're best friends w/ the boy and your girlfriend is good friends w/ the girl, and it was kind of a bad break-up. Neither of us are taking sides really, but I'm not sure how to handle future scenarios where we're hanging out and they both independently want to come meet up - does that make sense?

I love how you go from a hypothetical to giving up on the analogy and just letting us all know it’s really you. Yes, I understand, I understand all. The answer is easy one…I’ll borrow it from my pot smoking days. JUST CHILL. Take it casually. Feel free to take sides...esp. w/the girl, she’s your friend. The idea is to cut off the middle so the circle can’t be completed. You can talk to your girl; he can talk to his boy; just don’t talk about it between you, and don’t talk about your boy to her. If you do, they will both resent you. There’s no need to worry about them bumping into each other. Everyone’s an adult now, I hope, and that is their problem, not yours. You can let them know the ex may be at a party, per se, but you don’t need to baby them, or worry for them, esp. after a month or two.

IsMine: Is it possible for a parent to have a crush on one of your friends? My mom keeps telling Dan to invite Schecky to Buffalo whenever we go there. And she also always says how good looking Schecky is.

Yes, it can happen. Didn’t you see American Beauty? And FYI, that scene was totally hot and every guy totally understands that. That’s why the movie was so bad, because now every girl knows that every guy is a pedophile deep down. That’s why you want a guy who has self control, maturity, and has conformed to the constraints of society.

D: Why was the empire state building lit up in blue on Monday?

For the 60th anniversary of UNICEF, duh!!!
Click Here For Proof

Lax: Do you think its wierd to have a painting of yourself and someone else up in your living room? I mean, if I have a painting of me and my boyfriend up in my living room is that wierd? Does it seem vain? Or, is it better if i do one of him and one of me and hang them up so that they're looking at each other?

Yes, I actually dated this person, and yes, these are my readers.

To submit a question - Askbens@yahoo.com

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Writing Style and Thanksgiving in Cali

I've been writing HIGA (Here I Go Again) for over 3 years and I'm very surprised how it turned out. The site started here and evolved from boring stories about what I did on any random day to its current, more interesting form. I've developed nicknames for almost 50 people and due to most people's increasing comfort with this forum, I no longer need most of those nicknames.

A year ago, I switched from livejournal to blogger and its made my life slightly easier (I no longer need to type in HTML). HIGA also added The Glossary, which I continually update when I write something "interesting."

We here at HIGA call out what's stupid, get excited for what's really stupid, write about what really annoys people, funny stories, crazy vacations, obnoxious thoughts and basically anything that my HIGA editors deem interesting. We also answer fun questions, but that's seemed to have died a slow death. (new Steiny only entry coming soon)

HIGA takes pride in being chivalrous and honorable. This week, HIGA was presented with a particularly interesting ethics dilemma: While coming home around 11pm one weeknight, my doorman pulled me aside and asked if he could borrow $200 until he got his xmas tips and could pay me back. I reactionarily asked why he bet on the Giants on Monday (never bet on your favorite team, its a double loss when the team loses and kinda sucks), but he stated that he was going through a divorce and that his car had a lot of tickets that his soon to be ex didn't pay. What would you do? Would you have lent him the money? Would you have lied and said you didn't have it? It was quite an awkward situation. I did want to help, he is a nice guy, but I couldn't have my doorman owing me anything, that would create a never ending awkward situation. Anyway, we at HIGA sat down and thought about it for 30 minutes before walking back down to the doorman. I did end up giving him the money, but I told him it wasn't a loan, it was a gift. If he wanted to repay me, that's fine, if not, no big deal, consider it his holiday bonus. I couldn't have him owing me, and who knows if he'd ever pay me back. I didn't want to put that burdon on him, or have it be awkward for either of us. I do expect him to pay me back when he gets around 10K in cash from the people in our building this month.

I bring up this ethics question because as I sat watching Grey's Anatomy last night, all I could think about was how UNethical each character is. George with balls is the best character. The girls are all liars and whores. I don't understand why girls like watching these shows, similar to Sex IN/ALL OVER the City, the women are just horrible horrible people.

What's Stupid:
I'm fascinated by the Urban Dictionary.

What's Really Stupid:
For some reason, Brittany Spears seems to be the "ethical one." Now she's stupid and dirty and whatnot, but she claims that in order to avoid being blackmailed by her sex tape, she's going to give it away for free. Go Brit! We at HIGA fully support the free release of that tape. My safe deposit box at the bank is waiting for its copy.

Speaking of celebrities, I don't get why the word celebrity comes from celebrate. They are humorous, idiots, that happen to be hot and famous. I think we should call them idiotites or fameites. I don't know anyone who celebrates these people.

What Really Annoys People:
Does anyone ever "press 5 to page this person?" There has to be a way to turn this feature off. The only people who get pages are doctors and drug dealers and they have real pagers, not phones that get pages. I average about 1 voice mail per day, or 5 seconds wasted per day, or 6 hours over the last 10 years listening to someone ask if I wanted to page my friend who can already see my number come up on his caller ID.

What HIGA determines is interesting:
I found an awesome hot chocolate place on my block at work. That makes me so happy considering all the lunch places around me suck. I wasn't going to get an HC, but someone before me ordered it and I asked the cashier if it was any good and she pored me a lil of the extra. Made me warm inside.

Obnoxious Thoughts:
I'm really not planning on living past 60. Is there something wrong with that?
I'm going to start TIVOing Duck Tales, yea, I miss that show...maybe Alvin and the Chipmunks too. I hope they're still on somewhere, sometime.

Crazy Vacations:
San Fran Weekend:
I traveled via air for the 3rd weekend out of 4 to San Fran for our annually Thanksgiving retreat. Technically, its not annual since last year we didn't go and the prior year we went on Christmas (because we went to Israel for Thanksgiving).

Thursday we had pasta because we celebrate Thanksgiving on Friday in this family. My cousins' parents are divorced so the kids go to the dad on Thanksgiving and to the mom on Friday. Makes life easier...and friends and well, everone can normally come. Lotsa drinking, lotsa silly convo's. I took a few videos. I'm not going to post them but you can get them all from my youtube video user area.

Here are the pictures

Saw Borat on Saturday. Was ok, not great, not terrible, but funny, short, and kinda stupid. He didn't really make anyone look dumb but 2 frat guys and himself. I wanna see 007 much more.

On Saturday night we had appetizers at Stephs apartment, then dinner for 13 at an Itialian joint then saw a show. Afterwords, Steph, Sperry, and I went out in the Marina to a karoke bar so that I could catch up w/my friend Tara, who I met at a training session in Dallas 3.5 years ago. I know, I keep intouch w/everyone, but she is in my market (does bank loans too).

The coincidence behind this is that in my original post, the one referenced above, I mention someone named Jee Hae, who I also met during training in Dallas. I think she was in the Atlanta office. I have a feeling that this article and that article are the only two times I've ever mentioned somene from that trip.

I finally got to bed around 4am which means I did my sleep 2x in 24 hours thing on Sunday (4am West Coast Sat night is 7am Sunday morning in NY is 24 hours before I have to wake up 2 days later).

Continental Airlines food is terrible. I'm getting the kosher meal next time. I wouldn't even touch the microwaved ground beef sandwich with cheese on it. Same thing both ways. And of course, The Devil Wears Prada was the movie on the way to Cali (3 of my last 4 flights).

Monday, November 13, 2006

Thinking About Puerto Rico

Thinking about Puerto Rico:

I think gambling without my dad is a bad idea. I (and the rest of my family, Steiny included) just don't win without him around. I think 10 people lost $1,900 the first night of gambling.

I think a few of us almost died 5 times on this trip. Once, we put 11 people in an elevator near the ground floor and it went down 1/2 a floor and we had to climb up 4 feet when the door was wedged open to get out (with the risk of getting sliced in half, thanks for that story Steiny). Once, we got into an elevator at 10, it went down and got stuck, we wedged the door open around 6 and jumped out once it moved to that floor (yes, it was moving w/the door open). Once, I thought the manager at Denny's was going to kill us. Once, there were sharks in the ocean while we were on jet skis. Once, we went under a bridge that was about 4 feet high and any big swell could have but us into the roof of the bridge.

I think of the 43 hours i spent in Puerto Rico, 4 of them were at Denny's from 2-4ish each night. That's about 10%.

I think there were 3 Davids, 2 Robs and 2 Scotts. I think I spent 5 minutes trying to remember everyone's names but I could only get 11 out of 12. Then I realized I forgot to count myself.

I think we sprayed about 1.5 bottles of whipped cream during our time at Denny's.

I don't think I understand why we were not asked to leave.

Since all 11 guys kept asking me to call her, and get her to come out with us, and they all need to be schooled on talking to girls, (yea, even you Rob). I think this is the text message conversation I had with the waitress from Saturday night:


  • 3:38 am - Ben Calls and leaves message.
  • 3:52 am - Kelly: In bed. Glad to hear ur having a good time. Ur Spanish is very good. If its ok with you I'll call you tomorrow.
  • 4:54 am - Ben: We missed you. Sleep well. Talk to you later.
  • 2:39 pm - Ben: We are just hanging at the beach today. Join? Back to NY tonight. You will have to come visit. Send me your email and I'll send you pictures from dinner.
  • 2:55 pm - Kelly: Great day for the beach! Can't join. Have to do stuff and then work. My best friend lives in NY so we'll meet up next time I go. E-mail is xxxPRlover@yahoo Keep in touch. Safe trip!
  • 5:05 pm - Ben: Great! Tell your friend to call me too
  • 5:56 pm - Kelly: Funny!
I think each of the waitresses at our table got around a $100 tip because I think we spent over $500 on alcohol including over $370 on Southern Comfort. (Click the picture below to enlarge)










I think my coworker suggested buying The Devil Wears Prada to read on vacation and I think I'm quite happy I did NOT buy it considering it was the movie on the plane in BOTH directions.

I think all the cabs in Puerto Rico are vans, and I think that made getting around surprisingly easy with 12 people.

I think I like Puerto Rico more than Miami. It's easy, cheep, friendly, warmer and definitely not as snobby.

I think Steiny is a very good decision maker and I think that's good for my baby sister, too.

I think David and Daniella would have sat next to each other in homeroom.

I think I got home around 3am last night.

I think here are some pictures from the weekend

Jordan Doing a Little Salsa w/a "Salsa Teacher" at Denny's



Other Things I've Been Thinking About:

I Think Rutgers has Sold Its Soul. I think by bringing in a high profile coach and big time recruits, Rutgers is not headed the right direction, and has sold out to its alumni and the pressures of being in a big division 1 conference. This year, Rutgers paid millions to its football staff, increasing the football budget while cutting over 800 academic courses, dropping several sports from Division 1 status, and suspending financial support to others including crew, fencing, swimming and tennis. These programs combined represent only twice Greg Schiano’s income. ($875K guaranteed this year). I think publicity is nice, yet I fear Rutgers will no longer be looked at a strong academic institution and my degree will be less valuable. I wonder how many of those football players go to class, how many have SAT scores above the school’s average and how many have other kids doing their homework (yes, this happens). I'd bet there are some players who can't even write coherent sentences and have tutors struggling to edit their essays by attempting merely to put their words in the correct order. Actually, I know that last portion is true. Big football is fun, but not good for a colonial, academic, institution. I think I'd like to know what This Group has to say about it, too bad they are gone. Also here. and here.

I think Rutgers, in totality, has spent between $200-$300M on being in the Big East (even Football loses money every year). Boosters are so happy when a top recruit scores an 800 or 810 on the SAT's b/c then Miami won't take them but Rutgers will.

I think there is some validity to the EBITDA theory. The theory states that 2 people who both know what EBITDA is can't date. I don't think I've ever dated a girl who did.

I think its nuts that I'm going on 4 trips in 6 weekends right after I read an article that traveling often shortens your life.

I think I spent $800 each of the last 2 weekend and I don't think I can afford that.

I think my plane luck is starting to change for the worse. Or maybe American Airlines luck is different from Continental. On Continental, I'm just always sitting next to old, fat, ugly people. On Jetblue coming home from Florida, I think it was the ugliest and fattest. But now, on the way to Puerto Rico, my flight was delayed 2 hours. On the way home, the same thing. I think being a little sick didn't help either because it was hot and I was dehydrated on the way out, since we were ON THE AIRPLANE for the whole delay. I think the flight was like an El Al flight to Israel: Baby's screaming for hours, major complaining to flight attendants, the captain lying to us about being on a line when there were no planes within 1/2 a mile, 8 people across in the rows. Luckily, I don't think there was any smoking or puking.

I think I don't have enough time for life because I've been too busy living.

Friday, November 10, 2006

FL Wedding / RU / PR

Last weekend I had an awesome wedding down in Florida. The whole weekend cost me around $1,000, and a day off of work but it was well worth it. Friday night I got in and grabbed a drink w/my friend Jamie and her boy. Saturday evening was the rehearsal dinner, to which the whole wedding was invited to. Sunday I had lunch w/my old RU roommate Jessalynn and then Sunday night was the wedding. A really really nice wedding. A really nice short service. Monday morning there was a huge brunch in the hotel with omelet stations and whatnot. Sat at the pool all day Sunday and Monday just hanging out.

Here are some pictures. Since the wedding was of a former co worker of mine, I really only knew 2 people. Another former co worker and a girl who I went out w/a few times that's in love w/me. But who isn't, right?

I went to the Rutgers football game last night all the way down in central NJ. The atmosphere was electric and I didn't sit for the whole game. Here are some pictures and below are links to a few videos that I took

Rutgers Alumni Going Crazy and Singing

Rutgers Kids Getting Kicked Off The Field Because The Game Wasn't Over

Rutgers Kids Running on the Field as the Game Ended

Tonight, its off to Puerto Rico for a bachelor party...I know...rough life I've got. I'll try to do some real "thinking" this weekend.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election Stuff

The legalize marijuana senate candidate in NJ got 11,400 votes. Think about how much you must like marijuana to vote for this guy. A) you have to not really care about the election because NJ was a close race, B) you have to not smoke, in order to register to vote months before the election, C) you have to remember to vote, whether baked or not and D) you have to remember to vote for the right person. I think its amazing 11,400 people were able to do this for the sole reason of supporting the MJ guy. I mean, he took 4th place.

Over the last few weeks before the midterms, voters were told that if the election turns on issues of who can better protect the country, they -- voters -- preferred the GOP, even though pre-election polls varied on which party was more trusted on the issue, but, in any case, made clear that the GOP had lost its huge advantage that had turned previous elections. They were reminded -- repeatedly -- that the White House accused John Kerry of insulting the troops, when, in fact -- and the media made this far less clear -- Kerry, who was not even running for office, had botched a joke about President Bush's ineptitude in Iraq. The media continually stated that Kerry's comments would have a huge impact on the election. They were told by the media that Mark Foley's alleged predation on underage pages and the House leadership's alleged coverup were no different from President Clinton's sexual relationship with an adult. In an election season in which Republicans unleashed scurrilous attack ads, as well as alleged voter suppression tricks, voters were told that the Democrats were also guilty of such tactics, although, even as the media made the assertion, they were unable to produce examples of comparable Democratic "dirty tricks." Finally, on the eve of the election, voters were told that weekend polls showed that the Republicans were on a roll and had all but closed the gap on the Democrats' advantage in the generic ballot. But in making the declaration, the media ignored more recent polls that demonstrated the opposite.

And, yet, voters apparently defied the media's pronouncements, at least enough of them to give Democrats control of the House.

I'm pretty happy people saw through all these media lies. (Dems are terrorists, Kerry will have impact, Dems are connected to Abramoff, Dems are running dirty campaign, GOP has momentum, GOP strong on security, GOP strong on fiscal policy, Osama wants Dems to win)

I missed most of the election returns because I was at dinner with a friend. The way I see it, whether watching or not, it won't really change the results. Unlike a sporting event, which could be argued "why watch" for the same reason, the election results have no real excitement, no great plays, no surprises. I'm convinced people watch this stuff just because it has a winner and a loser.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Write? Why not

Is there a correlation to me people not commenting as much and me writing on here? Maybe.
Is there a correlation to me dating someone and me writing on here? Probably Not.
Is there a correlation to me having a new job and me writing on here? I don't see why.
Is there a correlation to me playing too much volleyball and me writing in here? Most likely.

The new job is stressful. I'm not really going to talk about it and I'm not really at liberty to talk about my stresses, let alone write about them publicly. That's a good way to get fired. Feel free to ask me personally if you care.

Halloween was a little crazy. I dressed up as Clark Kent...as most of you know from my character profiles...he's a pretty good match for me. Slightly reserved on the outside with a chivalrous streak, and superhero like qualities on the inside. Here are some pictures from Halloween. Friday bars were crazy and Saturday I went to a few ridiculous house parties. There were some great costumes: Double Dare girls with poles on their helmets, Gold diggers (girls dressed in gold with gold miners hats on), and girls dressed as American Gladiators (form fitting and athletic, so hot).

Mark Cuban emailed me this morning. Last night I read THIS ARTICLE. So I wrote him quickly just saying "Is this true? I'm a Knicks fan and its totally disappointing. I love your passion." He quickly responded, "Stay tuned :). I promise to make it entertaining - M." I really enjoy READING HIS BLOG, daily. His major topics include A) Basketball and his Dallas Mavericks B) The internet (where he made all his money) and C) Business in general. He's a smart man, a businessman, an entrepreneur and a dreamer.

I played volleyball on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. Next week, its just Monday and Thursday. I really enjoy it but it does take up lotsa my life. I also got a blister on the new skin which was under a blister that peeled last week. If I lose that piece of skin too, there may not be anything underneath. I'll keep the pictures to myself.

I'm having major Good Will Hunting flashes in my life. The whole "had to go see about a girl" idea. I would totally skip some huge major event in my life to go meet someone I don't even know. That's just stupid and scary. In the movie, however, the circumstances surrounded a big grand gesture. The dilemma I see has to do with recognition. If I made some grand gesture, then I'd have to publicize it somehow, diminishing its value and being seen as a bragger...and I hate hate hate talking about myself like that.

As an aside, these two paragraphs have nothing to do with "if the past tense of rewind is rewinded or rewound."

How do you do something big, something good, something special and not want recognition for it? I really wish I was - I don’t' even know the right word - actualized enough to do that. If I do something good, like donating platelets per se, I want everyone to know about it. When I make an online donation, I put my name out there and when I do anything fun and interesting, I want to brag about it. How does someone overcome that? How does someone get to the point where they are ok with doing something for themselves, and the world, w/o telling others about it. I'd like to be there eventually. A girl, a job, a family might help. Just thinking out loud.

I'm off to Florida this weekend. My former co-worker is getting married and he's having a lil destination wedding in Boca. He's from Maryland, she's from Pittsburgh, but her grandparents live down there, and pretty much own Pittsburgh, so here we all come. I'm spending $600 on just getting there and staying there. My boy said not to get a gift, but seriously. At least I'll get to see Jaime and Jessalynn.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Happy Things

On friday night, I went w/my cousins to Brewtopiafest. Here's the link to the pictures.

These things make me happy.

This

And def this video


And this girl is crazy.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Tributes

My friends and I have had the same 16 guys in our fantasy league for the last 5 years. This Saturday, The Reiper, lost his battle with cancer. He was one of those guys who was a fierce competitor, a witty commentator, and an honorable sportsman when it mattered. I hardly knew the guy, met him only a few times, since he went to Syracuse with some of my good friends. But I remember him talking sports passionately out at the bars and dancing up a storm at Dan and Christine's wedding last year. I think its important to remember, and to remind ourselves of our humanity. We have decided to rename our leagues championship cup, The Rieper Cup and we'll be donating this year's purse to the Tomorrows Children's Fund. http://www.atcfkid.com/. If you want to do something, contact me, or make an appointment donate platelets, they are much more valuable than money.

If you guys have any other suggestions on what we could do to honor our friend, let me know?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Girls Say the Darndest Things

So, I’ve been having quite a few random IM conversations lately, just thought I’d post some of the insanely ridiculous comments some girls have made to me. I’ve edited them for grammar and punctuation.

I’d have to wash my hair to go out in public. It’s been a few days, and that takes way too long.

I was asked to take the entire "I was just dry humped by a Jdate" quote down. As a participant in the discussion, I believe that I am a legal owner of it, however, out of respect to that person, I have removed the quote from this website, even though it was not attributable and anonymous. - Sorry to all of you who missed out on such hilarious writing.

The speech I got from the doctor, instead of getting Ambien, made me realize drinking coffee an hour before I go to bed in order to read is prob not the best way to get to sleep, and no coffee at night means I can’t read at night so now I have to read in the morning.

The dishes are not so hot, but I did clean last night! The bathroom even! That was the first time since I moved in.
----Me: that’s so gross. You're totally not a woman.
I know it’s really gross. Well, I like to think that I'm such a woman that I didn’t make that much of a mess to need to clean much more. Besides it was just the shower I have cleaned the rest of it before.

I know, I’m scared to walk home in the rain so I’m stuck on campus. I’ve been out of lens solution for 2 days and am dreading that extra two blocks to Duane Reade. I don’t have an umbrella is all. I did much better in the real world. The school world is the problem.
----ME: so you are regressing...I see
Totally. I procrastinate. I was so diligent at work

So you don’t understand why I don’t like the idea of you compiling a list of the ridiculous things I've said as your anonymous crazy friend?

Well, obviously I wasn't allowed to drink soda when I was little, and I decided that I didn't like carbonation. (In case you haven't noticed, I’ve developed very strange reasons for not liking things I’ve never tried before). So I never tried it.
Eventually, to fit in, I gave sprite a chance and got over the carbonation thing, but I only tried coke once, at a high school graduation party, and because it was the only thing left to mix rum with.
Needless to say, I spent the night vomiting, which I’ve since associated w the coke and not the rum. I feel the same way about sunny delight

I guess I am a 32D and not a 34C.
I didn't think my boobs were THAT big.
----ME: huh?
I have D's not C's
----ME: But your back got smaller, and you just realized this at work?
The lady at Nordstrom’s measured me.
I was wearing the wrong size.
That’s why my boobs fall out of my bra.
I spent 250 last night on bras and undies.
My boy is kind of expensive.
I'm done though...he's paying for the undies from here on out!

Oh, so I finally took off my band aids and one of the wounds reopened. I bled all over my room. It’s really gross.

I’m sitting in the library and there are these people next to me and I keep hearing little bits of this conversation and this guy is talking about the graphic details of this hook up he just had. Like, loudly.
What is going on here?
Why would he be talking about whether or not he thought some girl was willing to give him a blow job in a deposition?
"... oral sex..."
"... hand job..."
The prof next to me just left.
He looks disgusted.
Now he's talking about fantasies.
Something about saran wrap, ice, hand cuffs, a sex shop.
I think this is some joke.

I went to the shrink. Now I'm eating this nasty frozen meal.
It was the 2nd time I've seen her.
I am fine but it’s good to go.
We started to talk about my boundaries or lack there of sometimes I'm from a broken home.
I have plenty to talk about. It’s great.
I also go because I have ADD and she will give me drugs.
Weeeee.

My friend MB just stopped by to tell me about her hook up.
Maybe you should go to business school.
They have crazy Thursday night parties.
It’s very high school though.
She went home with this third year who is roommates with this first year in my small class, who peeked in on them in the morning.
So she's worried he's going to be a gossip and tell the first year class about it.
I would have freaked out.
I think she did a little bit.
And of course her earrings are still there.
So dramatic.

The first week at the local-ish bar where the first years were kind of congregating every night in the beginning some girl got wasted and was doing body shots w all these other first years.
Everyone still talks about it.

Losing

The Mets lost last night and got knocked out of the playoffs. I’m legitimately upset, and in order to recovery, I’ll be ignoring the world for the next few days. Hibernation is the key to getting over such a big loss. The reason I hibernate is because the MEDIA has no clue how to act when the home team loses. They keep showing clips on TV over and over, and they put it on the front pages of the papers. I can’t even open yahoo.com without seeing, again, that the Mets lost.

When my teams lose, I don’t want to hear about it, I don’t want to read about it, I don’t want to talk about it, I don’t want to watch it and I don’t want to listen to other people talk about it. They lost, I know they lost…why do I want to relive that experience over? I want to pretend like it never happened!

I lose often, I lost 2 or 3 times a week and I definitely lose every. I root for 2 basketball teams, 2 hockey teams 1 baseball team and 2 football teams. I also have 2 fantasy football teams and I’m in 2 other various pick-um leagues. Some are ok, most are depressing. I usually fall asleep listening to sports radio, I have been since I was 7, but I can’t stand listening when my teams lose. I can’t stand listening to them repeatedly rehash my teams losses and upset me all over again. I have trouble sleeping when my teams lose. This week, during the LCS, I fell asleep w/o the radio, just because I knew it would aggravate me.

Now, when I play a sport, I could CARE LESS when we lose. I’m very competitive on the court, but I don’t play to win. I play to have fun, I play to exercise, I play to socialize, I play to be silly, and I play to play hard. I’m always the same temperament, whether my team is getting killed, or my team is killing someone else. As long as I’m play hard, teaching the others and having fun, I really don’t care if we win and I don’t think about it for 5 minutes afterwards.

Anyway, it’s over…the Schmets lost…so don’t talk to me about it…I’m looking forward to football this Sunday, where I’m almost guaranteed to lose again.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Party - Thoughts

Here are some pictures and a video (at the bottom) from our Black Balzam (Magic) Party this weekend. Gotta love the Latvian alcholol. Pictures

Monday Morning Thinking:

I think our party was a pretty big success, even if those living on the upper west side had an excused absence due to religious reasons. I think some Brooklyn friends had the same issue.

I think about 60 people showed up, excluding our super, who made his normal 12:45 appearance. I think I know one person who always contradicts me will dispute that figure to make me feel bad, but the pictures don't lie, and that's 43 right there.

I think my roommate hooked me up yesterday with JETS box seats. It wasn't bad sitting on the 50 yard line with an indoor buffet and outdoor stadium seats. I think I didn't mind having car service there and back either.

I think our driver last night was saying sorry every time he sneezed.

I think it sucks that my roommate had to get up at 4:45 this morning to head to a factory in Wisconsin for the day, coming back tonight. Yea, that does suck.

I think it really annoys me that some people now think everything is a doubleclick. People, you don't have to hit an elevator button twice, or a web link twice. You only doubeclick when opening a file or a folder in Window's, that's it. I think these people are stupid.

I think this is pretty funny. Overcome your inhibitions.

I think on September 8th, I put "running like driving" in the notes section of my phone 5 weeks later I still don't know what that means.

I think I have a busy 3 months coming up. I think I'm going to Boca, Puerto Rico and Cali in November, Arizona in December and then my little sister gets married in January. I think I'm going to be leaving work earlier than normal on a few Thursday and Friday afternoons to get to the airport on time.

A Quick Video of the Party Scene:


Friday, October 13, 2006

Brain Drain

Since I've been having some sort of writers block I'll post other people's writing.

We are very close to catching the terrorists

So, some yale graduate made up some ridiculous resume and attached a video with it. I'm going to try to attach the resume. But here's the video. (ok, this isn't working anymore, I think his lawyers told them to stop showing it). He's like the biggest tool ever (besides me). Here's some more information.

And lastly, A telemarketers worst nightmare.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

And

Then it hit me. I'm going to be 27 in less than 3 months. WOW. 27. That's like a whole new phase of my life...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Post

I know I need to post. Been very busy.

I got some new glasses, and so here's my best clark kent impression

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Reviews

The Color Purple

Good Story, Great Acting, Good Songs. The words were not so easy to here b/c I'm not used to listening to that kind of accent coming from that kind of person. There wasn't much dialogue besides the singing and even when people were talking, there was music in the background. Slightly disturbing story. 1/2 the audience was black. For some reason I'm inspired to call Cherma and visit her.

Jewtopia

Average Story. Good acting. A Few Funny Scenes. The whole show ripped on Jewish cultural jokes and it would have made me feel really uncomfortable if I were sitting next to a non new who was laughing hysterically. Luckily, there weren't any in the whole theatre. The writer of the play spoke at the end b/c it was their 2 year anniversary and they released a Jewtopia coffee table book yesterday.

Max Brenner

Opened 6 weeks ago and I've been 2x. First time I had a toffee hot chocolate and a waffle with ice cream and whipped cream. So freaking wonderful. This time I had a mocha hot chocolate and a bagel with melted chocolate and peanut butter on it. The bagel was great, the hot chocolate was a little to thick. I needed a glass of milk on the side. I'm so happy this place exists and that they are opening another even closer to me. It always helps to have a friend who works there and gets you a discount too!

Levitra Concrete

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Getting Old

I have a few friends who are married...and one who's got a freaking cute cute kid. Aaron Marx, below.
















In other totally unrelated news, Make-A-Wish is my new favorite charity.

ICE CREAM SOCIAL

The Fifth Annual World’s Largest Ice Cream Social
Cold Stone Creamery stores throughout the UnitedStates, Guam and Puerto Rico will host their fifthannual “World’s Largest Ice Cream Social” on Thursday,Sept. 28, 2006.Cold Stone Creamery will treat gueststo free servings (3 oz cups) of Cole’s Creations from5 to 8 p.m., encouraging communities to share ColdStone treats and support an incredible organization.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Monday Morning Ramblings

My TV’s color was all screwed up when I got back from Europe. Some would suggest that I try and fix it. However, being that my grandmother got it for me when I was 13, I figured it was time to upgrade. By upgrade, I mean, hit craigslist and buy a 37 inch TV for $100. I didn’t even test it out. I saw the guy, trusted him, and now I have a new TV which is way too big for my room.

If the Iraqi war counts as fighting terrorism, then the US has spent over $100,000,000 PER PERSON that’s died from terrorism on fighting terrorism. None of that has been spent on border security or port security or chemical plant security. Good times.

I had a business meeting and was forced to eat pea soup and rice. I should have chosen the salad instead of the soup. I was scooping it with my bread so that I could be close to finishing half before they took it away. Man…I really don’t get along with my gag reflexes very well.

People between the ages of 24 and 28 are all about the same age and usually in the same place in life. In the case of a few people, that can even extend to 32 years old. But 24 year olds are nothing like 22 year olds.

My roommate proved the preemptive hookup theory by having a much more engaging conversation with my date a month ago than I ever could. He was asking the right questions and cared what her answers were. All b/c he wasn’t thinking about hooking up w/her (he’s got a girlfriend). Its still just a theory.

I think my 3rd roommate has no clue how to break up with a girl. He’s def stringing around way too many, and he’s such a catch, they’ll all wait just for the right shot at him.

There are a few more articles on my company floating around. Nothing from a major publication though. I’ll let you know.

No one has sent me an askbens in about 3 weeks. I might have to just end that publication w/o any new material. Is it that bad or are you all just growing up and running out of questions? (askbens@yahoo.com).

With the summer share over, here are my closing thoughts about it:

I think the people in my house, and their friends were awesome. I think I’m definitely happy to have some new friends.

I think Belmar is OK…and by OK…mean I think I’m fine there during the day, and at 1 or two of the bars at night…as long as I don’t have to talk to people I don’t know.

I think I like people from the “DJ” and LI even less now.

I think there were only a few crazy nights…and I think I wasn’t the best person on either of those nights…but maybe that’s why they were crazy. Actually, I think the craziness had nothing to do with me.

I think I really like ice cream and especially ½ chocolate, ½ mint milkshakes with hot fudge mixed into it as well.

I don’t think I’ll do a full share next year, maybe a ½ share in total. I’m thinking a ¼ in NJ and ¼ in Fire Island or just a ½ in Fire Island. I think I only hear good things about that place.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Job Update

Ok, so I started the new job 2 weeks ago. I've been working through construction...and I have not had that much work to do at all. While I'm trained to make investment decisions, I found myself working on the website, PR, processes, investor presentations. We're sitting on glass desks, and they are painting and putting carpeting in and doing all sorts of other things all around me. The good news is that the internet is unrestricted so far, and we're all in jeans (except when investors are visiting). That's worth like 10-15K to me. I told my last job that I'd give up $5,000 to wear jeans every day, and the internet is def worth something, too.

Here's a quick slide show of our office...and its renovations. (Snapfish this time b/c kodak was being a real bitch).

Our company has not publicly been announced, but someone spilled the beans and we can't stop getting calls from investor publications and newspapers looking for information. This is the first piece out, (click it to make it bigger to read) but there will probably be 10-15 more like this with quotes and whatnot in the papers over the next few weeks. Fun times.



















We're finally meeting with investors. Yesterday it was the President of the 3rd largest private bank in Europe. Tomorrow its the 2nd richest man in Venezuela. I hope they give us some money so I can start doing what I'm actually trained to do...that is, make investment decisions.

Ok, so my title is Senior Investment Analyst...sounds spiffy. And y'all can email me at bsteger@canaras.com :).

And here's a cutie pie video.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Street People I Dislike

7 Street People I Dislike (In Reverse Order):

7. Panhandlers – I really don’t mind ignoring these people.

6. Slow walkers – Every person has the right to walk at their own pace. While these people annoy me slightly, they can’t be blamed.

5. Fat People – Fat people piss me off, not because they are fat, but because they waddle. Its not that they are 2x wider than me, and make it hard to pass. It is that they take up 3x my space, and I have to time when I pass them, because they take one step right and one step left instead of 2 steps straight forward.

4. Preachers – These people are slightly annoying in terms of how much space they take up and the noise pollution, but usually, I find them funny. I rarely engage these people unless they have a sign that says “Jesus Saves.” If in the mood, I might (ok, I have on 3 occasions) talk to this person and tell him “Hey, I just talked to Jesus yesterday, he doesn’t save anymore, so stop lying to people.” 2x the preacher has answered. “Why should I listen to one word you are saying, you are not anyone special.” To that I simply walk away and say “And you are not special either, and thus, no one walking by here is listening to you.”

3. Joke Guys – The people who verbally annoy me the most are the guys who walk up to you telling jokes. They act like they are street performers, but in reality they are aggressive panhandlers. I’d rather they had a sign that said “make fun of me for a $1” than walked up to you telling jokes and then at the end asked you for money. They trap you and make you feel like you’re being A) cheep and B) a crook by not paying for the show when they ask you for money at the end. These people always seem slightly dangerous to me, and thus I don’t feel like insulting them back and usually do end up opening my wallet to pay for their uninvited interruption. If I had the balls, I’d say something like “You’re not original, I’ve heard that before, make up a joke right now.” Or maybe “Make fun of her, and make me laugh while doing it, and I’ll think about giving you something.” But usually, these people are acting like they are on something, and I just decide to avoid confrontation.

2. Random Walkers – The people who don’t walk in a straight line, stop at random times, back up and random times, and generally don’t look where they are walking, are the most physically offensive people to me. If these people are tourists, I let their indiscretions slide; however, these people are not normally tourists. There are simple rules we must all follow on the sidewalk. If you are going to turn left, be on the left side, if you are going to turn right, be on the right side. If your back is to the sidewalk, don’t walk backwards, If you are going to move right or left, look to the right or left. Its really not that dissimilar to driving. Bumping into someone, because you didn’t actually look where you are going is not ok and should be avoided. My confrontation is usually resigned to combining a grunt with my best dirty look. Sometimes a quick lesson is necessary; “don’t look left and walk right” or “if there are 70 people walking through Times Square behind you, you can’t stop right in the middle of the sidewalk.” In summary, they are just very inconsiderate people who think they own the sidewalk.

1. “Tele-walkers” – Similar to telemarketers, these people don’t take no for an answer, and are in your face about their produce. They include DNC Members, Tree Huggers, and Child Sellers. I don’t let these people get away with bothering me. They usually feel my wrath and sometimes I think I leave them scarred. Because they are educated, or think they are superior, I go to battle, and I’m prepared. These people fight your for eye contact, and when they get it they give you a big smile to draw you in, and I give it right back, ready to catch them offguard.

The DNC Members, who want you to sign up and vote, sign up for the party, and listen to hear them talk about candidates are easily messed with. Usually, I start with at least 3 “Why’s” – Because you need to vote! “Why? When was the last time anything was decided by 1 vote?” – Because voting is active citizenship, you need to be involved! “Why would I register in New York? New York always goes Democrat. It makes no sense why you are here right now. I hope you are not getting paid for this because you are making zero difference. Why is the DNC wasting money on New York? Did you volunteer to go to Texas? Do you know when the last time a democrat was elected in Texas? 1979. Take left wing terrorist communist crap out of my face and go make a difference where you are needed. Oh, but can I have a pamphlet” Then I take the pamphlet and throw it in the trash as they watch me walk down the street.

The Child Sellers are trying to convince you to sign up and donate $1 a day to help people in Africa. With them, you don’t need the “Why’s.” Everyone knows the “Why’s.” Usually, start off by playing dumb. “So, how much to buy an African Child? One dollar a day? Is that a payment plan? Can I just give you $300 at once? That seems really cheep. My cousin went to China and had to spend over $20,000 to buy a kid. When do I get the kid? When I’m done paying or when he’s 18? Do I have to pay him to live with me or does my $1 a day cover his fees. Can I make him do anything I want? I thought slavery was illegal. I’m going to call the police. Do you have a pamphlet?”

The Tree Huggers are just like the child sellers but with a much worse product. “Wait, you want me to give you a $1 a day and save a tree? Trees are renewable resources, when they die, you can just plant another. Shouldn’t you be working on Oil or Iron or Coal protection since they are finite and could be used up at anytime?. Did you ever read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein? I’m pretty sure the point of that book was to cut the tree down and use it. Why are you on this corner? Didn’t you know that yesterday there were people selling children on this corner? Why would anyone buy a tree over a real person? At least you can get a child to do things for you. All you can do with a tree is go visit it and maybe sit under it. You're cute, want to go out sometime? Can I have a pamphlet?"

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia

Itinerary:
Fly to Stockholm, Sweden. Fly to Vilnius, Lithuania. Drive to Riga, Latvia. Drive to Tallinn, Estonia. Fly to Stockholm, Sweden. Fly home.


















Disclaimer:
While this trip was 10, 24 hour days, we actually made it into 20, 12 hour days. Let me explain. We would sleep for 5 hours, do daytime stuff for 7, sleep for 4 hours, do nighttime stuff for 8 hours. So while many of you would say that we drank every night, in actuality, we drank every other night. The days just happened to be 12 hours. Therefore, I will be describing each day as Day 1 and 2. So, if you are my parents, read only the 1’s. If you are not, read the 2’s. Here are all the pictures. Throughout this article I reference specific pictures which I have linked to individually.

Thursday2 – Took off from Newark, a nice 8 hour flight that leaves at 7pm and lands at 9am. In order to use the full day in Stockholm, we figured we needed 7 hours of sleep on the plane which means AMBIEN. I asked my “doctor” for the drugs and we were hooked up with 10 pills. I popped 2 on the plane and woke up refreshed for a day of sightseeing in Sweden, without my sunglasses. (See Idiot Boy below).

Friday1: We walked around Stockholm, saw the Old Castle, the Royal Palace, the Armory, the changing of the guards. I won free lunch when I guessed our waitress was 20 (she had just turned 20 2 weeks earlier). Steven had the under. Obviously we had ice cream and then took a 5 HOUR NAP. Let me say that again, a 5 HOUR NAP.

Friday2: I was up after 3 hours and was forced to wake the other two when it was time for dinner and to party. This would become standard. I woke the boys up almost every morning and every evening. At 10:30, we hit up dinner at a club. Steven danced on a reality TV show (see the picture) and then asked some women to join us at our table. Of course the bill at the end of the night was 1,300, then I spent another 300 at the bar. Don’t worry, the exchange rate is 7 – 1. I talked to a girl for over 2 hours before she told me she had a boyfriend…even her friends were asking me where she went when she wasn’t talking to me…not sure how I blew that one. Oh well, there’s always Saturday.

Saturday1: We slept 6 more hours, right through breakfast. This would also become a recurring theme as we only made it to 2 breakfasts, out of 9 free European Hotel breakfasts all week. We walked around town asking people to pronounce words that had 5 straight consonant or 17 letters. Repeating the word after them was a problem. (Check the name of the restaurant we ate at). We took a bus to Skansen, the Swedish version of Colonial Williamsberg. Steven interacted with potters, and weavers and painters before we saw the animals. Then we walked to the Vasa Museum, a museum built around an ship pulled from the bottom of the water around Sweden. It’s interesting because A) it was built in 1630, and raised from the bottom in 1963, B) it sank 100 meters after its first voyage because it was built so poorly and C) because it’s the only ship from that period in a museum. I guess all the ships from the 1,600’s that were used by the Navy were damaged, destroyed or decommissioned. It was pretty much like the pirate ship from the Goonies. After, home to sleep.

Saturday2: Saturday night we met up with Jonathan’s business school friend / man crush, Braun, and his hometown NJ friends. Mike and Scotty were typical DJ and they cleaned up with foreigners. Classic loud mouths; with stories about sex and complaints about not getting into clubs. We picked up this guy Gnutt (Ga – Noot), who was obviously loaded (house in Monaco) and he took us to some local clubs. The easiest way to pick up girls at a local club is to talk English. They can’t believe you found the club. Then you ask them to take a picture of you or with you. This is what Braun, Scotty and Mike taught us. At 4:00 am the club was packed still. At 4:30 am, the streets were seemingly safe, bright, and packed with people. At 5:00 am, Burger King was full of people. (And the sun was rising).

Sunday1: We missed breakfast by 2 hours again and decided to grab a quick pizza for breakfast and take a boat ride around the archipelago of Stockholm. Why aren’t there any skyscrapers in Stockholm? It is only a matter of time. Some people want to keep it looking like a 17th century city, but when they start allowing building, it will come. We went to the center of the old town and had some awesome hot chocolate, served by a model, though every Swedish girl models on the side. We read Tucker for the first time, out loud at the café, and cracked up. Then, back to sleep.

Sunday2: Went to the Bern’s Hotel after walking around the city for an hour. It finally rained though the forecast had called for rain the whole weekend in Stockholm. Screw the weathermen. Braun and the boys met us there around 2, which was amazing because people were still out that late on Sunday.

Monday1: We woke up having figured that most of Stockholm had been completed. We hit the Nobel Museum which has everything but the peace prize (That was given to Norway because they had a better democracy at the time). We head to the airport, which says that it handles 18.3M passengers a year but is totally dead. We take a Fokker 50 propeller plane to Vilnius, Luthuania (check the picture).

Monday2: After we get off the plane, we get in a taxi and all think we’re going to die. This guy drives like a maniac and all he can say for himself is “its my job.” We go out in Lithuania and have a huge dinner and many drinks for $13 a person. We hit up Broadway bar and Prospecto pub. We meet Anna, Saran and Jeni, the English girls and drag them around with us. We meet an American marine chick who works at the embassy who’s out with her interpreter friend and we drink them under the table. She tells me there are about 100 Americans in Lithuania. This makes me feel good. The interpreter felt uncomfortable talking about parts of Lithuanian history, I will explain more of this later. Another 5am night. Everyone keeps asking me…but nothing, I swear. Prob b/c I’m an idiot!

Tuesday1: We miss breakfast and head through the 2 Jewish Ghettos. There aren’t any Jews there anymore but at one point they were gated and walled and filled with many of the 100,000 Jews that used to inhabit the city. We walked to the only Synagogue left in the city, out of 100 prewar. This was left standing because they felt if it was burned like the others, the whole old city could burn down. We walk to the Central Cathedral which was the starting point for a 2 million person 3 country chain protesting Russian occupation in 1991. People held hands from Vilnius, through Riga to Tallinn, over 600km away. The starting point is marked by a special block hidden in the square and you are supposed to make a wish and spin around on it, though it is taboo to tell anyone where it is. We had to find it for ourselves. (Check the picture) Then up the hill overlooking town and down to the Holocaust museum. The Holocaust museum is a bit off the beaten path and walking there we saw some of the poorer areas of the city and the major influence 45 years of Russian control had. I found a book store and we headed home for a nap.

Tuesday2: Around 9:30, we went to dinner at an authentic Lithuanian restaurant. The English girls showed up for an hour before we headed to Skybar at the top of the tallest building in Vilnius. There was an IBM Scandinavian outing in the bar, but Steven said “just keep walking.” So we did, and joined the party for a little while. After a quick stop at Prospecto Pub, we headed home.

Wednesday1: Took a cab to the airport to pick up our car. Only cost 120 Euro’s a day. We stopped in Trakai where there’s an island castle rebuilt from the 14th century. Beautiful place but the highlight was the shooting range and bow and arrows. Then onto Riga. Our guide book told us we would get pulled over 2 times if we were driving in Lithuania, thankfully, we only got pulled over once. Steven got in the back of the cop car and “negotiated” with the cop for 20 minutes. (check the picture). Yea, this is what you’re supposed to do. Cost us $60. We read Tucker in the car, and at the little lunch restaurant we found and then found our way to Riga. The town was crowded, bustling and parking was a major pain. You can park in the old city for $9 an hour or find a lot and walk. We found a lot after an hour of searching and dumped the car and took a cab to our hotel. The language barrier seemed to be a big problem at that point, but that was the only time on the whole trip that it was. Then, nap time.

Wednesday2: We hit up a steak place for dinner. Big mistake as dinner was A) in the middle of the town and B) was steak. Thus, it cost us $30 each after $20 meals combined in Lithuania. We actually did not go out, favoring rock star partying the next evening once acclimated with the city. Riga is an extremely sex filled city. Many strip clubs, many places where you can order whatever you want, including getting a dance from the manager, “Fire someone” for $10,000, and “destroy the bar” for $500,000.

Thursday1: We started the day by happening upon the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia. We ended up spending 1.5 hours there. It was really informational, even though it focused on 1939-1947 and 1987-1991. I guess not much happened while the Russians were there. Many people feel uncomfortable talking about that time period even though 40% of the population is now Russian. The city was very first world European. While the outskirts and rural areas are obviously poorer. The city was under major construction, with buildings and roads all being built. When these countries entered the EU, they were given $1B to fix their infrastructures. I don’t think they are wasting the money. We walked around to other sites and old buildings in town, and then to the old market. The market dates to the 1200’s and is now 5 football sized buildings which have all been connected by other buildings, just huge. You can get anything. We headed to get Black Balzams (Black Magic). It is a Latvian liquor who’s ingredients are secret (mostly roots and plants), is 90 proof, and was first made in 1752. It supposedly cures illness and can knock the hind legs off a donkey. We enjoyed it tremendously, and brought a few bottles home. (Check the picture)

Thursday2: We met some 16 year olds on the way to the same club we were going to. Yea, that kinda thing was everywhere. We hit up club essential, and then went to a dead “club” across from our hotel to talk to the “staff” and discuss the “business.”

Friday1: We get to the car, and are surprised that it only cost $30 to park instead of the $50+ we had all expected. Obviously, we aren’t that good at reading signs in Latvian. We drive to Parnu, a resort town that has hundreds of thousands of beach dwellers during the summer. To bad the summer ended 2 weeks earlier. We had lunch there, then drove to the Tallinn airport to drop the car.

Friday2: We found a place that served bear meat, the Estonian specialty, and ordered a serving for $40. It wasn’t bad, very tender, very good sauce. Our waitress was cute, exotic, and “old enough” to befriend us. We headed out to a few bars, Beer Haus, then to Club Hollywood. Plenty of young people, some were too young. We met a native who hated tourists and couldn’t figure out why. We would on Saturday.

Saturday1: Tallinn was full of tourists, unlike the previous 2 cities. Most of them were from Finland, which was just a 3 hour boat ride away, and all carrying maps and cameras around their necks. The old city was very beautiful and the streets were cobblestones. I gave the tour guide responsibilities over to Steven and he did a reasonably good job, besides not being able to read a map. We didn’t see any sites until 3pm because Steven and Jon had found out the night before that Estonia was playing Israel in a Euro 2008 qualifying match, and we spent an hour or two getting tickets. It was worth it. We got some good pictures of Tallinn, but not much to talk about. Throughout our walks around the towns, we were judging the girls and which country had better looking girls. At one point Steven and I happened upon 2 girls holding signs. He said only 1 of the 2 was good looking, but I said both were. So I got a little closer, and said, actually, I think they are sisters, and when I got a little closer, I said that I thought they were twins. I was right, identical twins. While one had short black hair and one had long blond hair, that does not mean one is hot and one isn’t…I mean, they are identical twins!

Saturday2: We had to cut our nap short in order to leave for the soccer game. It was worth it. I was pretty happy to go out. We had to skip dinner afterwards in order to get to drinking. Being that it was our last big night of our trip, we spared no expense. Beers and shots and beers and clubs and hopping and dancing and it was quite the night. I met some people. Jon met some people. Steven and Jon pretended that they were French and Italian and didn’t speak English for an hour or so. We got back at 630am.

Sunday1: We wake up hungover, at 11:45, needing to check out by 12. I request a 1pm extension but Jon clearly needs another 4 hours. We head to a café and sit there for an hour. At 2 we walk 100 meters to the town square and sit for another hour. We walk over to see if the twins are holding signs again to ask Jonathan if one can be hot while the other is not and there is a totally different set of identical twins holding the signs. Who hired these people? At 3, we walk to a 3rd place and Jon finally gets some food down, and we sit for another hour. At 4, we head to the hotel and to our flight to back to Stockholm.

Sunday2: We decide to stay in the airport hotel.

Monday1: I bump into someone from INVESCO at the airport in Stockholm and am excited to sleep on the flight. I get a reclining exit row isle and am set. A 26 year old girl from Uzbekestan sits next to me and has no book, cards or anything. She talks to me the whole flight. I find out her maternal grandmother is Jewish so I guess talking to her isn’t a total waste of time. She teaches me some card games and she heads to LA after we land.

Jewish Education:
We learned that there were almost 240,000 Jews in Lithuania at one point, and only 6,000 survived the war. We learned that in Latvia, there were 74,000 Jews before the war and only 1,000 survived (of which 400 were hidden by families for 5 years). We learned that the Baltic States had the lowest survival rates because the Russians controlled the areas first and committed atrocities of their own against everyone. The Germans, when they took over in 1941 were seen and liberators and blamed the Jews for the Russian atrocities. We learned that the Germans kept excellent records. For example, in 1941, they kept a log of each day, and how many Jews they killed and what type of person (man, woman, child). We learned they killed 134,000 in 1941.

Things I Want to Remember That Have No Meaning to Anyone Else:
I quit. I start my own hotel.
So, U cum wit me to my ho tell and we have sex now?
Great Sites.
Korean plus Polish equals Mexican.
Taking the road less traveled vs the road with the hot chicks
Have you seen the commercial?
Nutsack – Cheers
How many Ludes to a Kilo?
The Finnish Professor’s 9 year old daughter
So I was banging this chick…
Power move failure.

Things My Mom Said To Me in a 3 Min Voicemail That Were Not Accurate:
It’s impossible to find maps.
No one can give you directions.
The maps are bad.
Nobody speaks English.
You can’t read the menus.
They don’t use euros.
It’s hard to order food.
Be careful in terms of theft.
Everyone wants a US passport.
It’s very poor.

Idiot Boy:
Idiot boy forgot his new awesome camera at home. Idiot boy had to buy his cousin a new memory card for his camera, so that A) Idiot boy would have some claim to using that camera and B) so that Idiot boy could take as many pictures as he wanted with out worrying about using all the film.

Idiot Boy lost 2 pairs of sunglasses during the first 8 hours of the trip. Idiot Boy thinks the Ambien might have had something to do with him being a little “light” in the head, and leaving the glasses on the plane.

Idiot Boy got really drunk on the last night of his trip and knocked his 3rd pair of sunglasses on the ground and stepped on them. Maybe Idiot Boy shouldn’t bring sunglasses to a club at 5am. In the morning, Idiot Boy did not feel so stupid about buying $5 pairs of sunglasses anymore.

Idiot Boy left his jacket at a bar in one city, and did not realize it was gone until the next city. Idiot Boy only brought 1 jacket with him on the trip.

Idiot Boy left his book in the hotel room. Idiot Boy will probably have to buy that book again, even though he’d finished it.

Things I Lied About This Week:
I told our waitress that I might be 26 years old.
I told someone that Steven was Hungarian.
I told someone that my parents were born in Sweden.
I told someone that my favorite book was the Count of Monte Cristo.
I told my new job that I was getting back on Tuesday so I could have an extra day before starting to work.

Some Things I Think I Think About My Trip:
I think that even being in another country, it was still difficult for me to talk to people I didn’t know. I think it might have to do with courtesy, and not wanting to bother people. I think Swedish people were very friendly, especially the women (the men just thought we were trying to take their women, and they were right).

I think a Swedish girl told me her hair was so blond that she dyes her eyebrows darker so people can see them.

I think most Swedish girls have modeled at some point in their lives.

I think I saw much more diversity of people than I expected in Sweden, though there were tons of pale white blonds with blue eyes everywhere.

I think dark hair and fair skin looks exotic and hot, especially with an Eastern European accent.
I think we bet on girls ages, especially our waitresses

I think Sweden makes Vodka and Ikea and Models and that’s about it.

I think I liked wearing a watch, but I don’t think I will be wearing one now that my cell tells time again.

Other Things I Think, That Have Little to Do With My Trip:
I think while my new office is undergoing major construction, I won’t have much work to do. I think we are still hiring people and still building infrastructure. Thus, I think I’ll be getting paid to do nothing for a few more weeks.

I think I went here http://www.maxbrenner.com/ for dessert and hot chocolate and such last night. It was amazing. I think I will have to repeat because I think there is such a lack of good desert places to eat in the city.

I think I need to learn the difference between effect and affect.

I think it was my best friends birthday while I was away but he got me an awesome present. I come home and there’s a Tiki Barber signed jersey saying “To Ben, You’re the Best Man.” I think that kid is awesome.

I think this is what it looks like:














I think being able to wear jeans is worth between $5,000 and $10,000 to me. I think I would have given up that much money last year if I could have worn jeans every day. I think having all access to the internet is worth something too.