Thursday, December 06, 2007

Holiday Month

It's holiday month here in banking world. It starts 10 days after Thanksgiving every year and goes through the week before the week that has Christmas. This 3 weeks are really easy during the day, and pretty brutal at night.

Let me explain:
Monday night was spent with BNP Paribas at the new Contemporary Art Museum on Bowery. The museum was actually pretty cool, the art was a joke (or I didn't get it). It was all sculpture, and was all like some 9 year old went into his basement with a glue gun and stuck some things together. A bicycle with bags on the handle and GI Joe figures glued to it all. Very strange, messy stuff.

Tuesday night I had drinks with Lehman Brothers, but I could have gone to Watchovia's Casino night party.

Wednesday night was our holiday party, though I could have gone to Lehman's party at Chelsea peers or Goldman at Volstead or Wachovia's ice skating at Rock Center (yes, they rent out the rink for a session).

Tonight, I'm off to the Rangers game instead of going to Citi's Party.

This is mostly me bragging, and also realizing that there's no way I'm going to be sub 200 lbs by the end of the year.

Lastly, here's an UPDATED list of things to buy me for the holidays if you didn't get me anything yet. I should register somewhere.

Smaller Items:
A spring jacket (black/generic)
A deck of cards or 4 (without my sisters picture on it)
Crazy glue (you can never have enough)
A breifcase (black/generic) (GOT IT!)
A shoe rack
More closet space (figure that one out...)
A comb
A Wall Street Journal Subscription (no Saturdays)
A gift cert to a good restaurant

Big ticket items:
New golf clubs
A gym membership
A Cezanne print of the Card Players (cash refund, I just ordered on Art.com)
A laptop

Even bigger ticket items:
A bike w/a motor (cycle or vespa or somethin)
A 2 bedroom apartment

Friday, November 30, 2007

Thinking Gobble Gobble

I think traveling with my sister, Atara, and Lilah only took about 15 more minutes than it would have traveling alone. However, I think if I had not been there, it could have taken an extra, very stressful hour.

I think its very easy to tell that you are going to San Francisco for the holidays compared to most places in the US b/c of the amount of Asian Americans on your flight.

I think I’ve done 5 Sodoku’s in my life, and did all 3 on the plane. I think the easy one took about 30 minutes since it had been over a year, I think the medium took about 30 minutes as I perfected my methods and I think the “diabolical” puzzle took about 30 minutes too. I don’t think they are that interesting because I’m not really sure I could screw them up, or have the patience, or see the point.

I think San Francisco got smaller this year. I think we drove through the city four time and to the city two other times and the trip just seemed very short and quick and easy, especially when compared to prior years.

I think the purpose of the quiet game is defeated when the people who you are sharing the car with and won’t stop talking are the people who lose quickly so they can talk. I think I learned much about non verbal communication during those 2 hours of signing and texting.

I think my family is a bunch of nuts, with underpants baby pictures, and card playing and 4x too much turkey (two times too much two nights in a row), and crazy crazy pictures. (check them out).

I think my thankfulness for the couch analogy didn’t go over as planned. I think I should leave The Giving Tree metaphor to experts like Shell Silverstein.

I think I was disappointed in the Desserts…where’s the chocolate?

I think we played these games over the weekend: Parcheesi, Balderdash, War, Memory, Ginasta, Super Ginasta, Yanive, Poker, Blackjack, Douroc, and of course Rack-O.

I think Steiny and I both felt really old playing pickup basketball with 18 and 19 year olds. At least I don't think I felt as old as David did when he has to explain how he was visiting his wife’s family and the “YOU HAVE A WIFE” response came back at him. I think I graduated college before these kids entered high school.

I think Senegalese food wasn’t anything different than other food I’d eaten, though I think it was pretty good.

I think my Ghirardelli milkshake at the Ghirardelli factory was pretty good too, though I think I’d prefer if I could tell them exactly how to make it w/my own special recipe. I think that’s why I like small non chain ice cream shops better.

I think I wish I had a video to post for this post. I think I wish I had either videotaped my mom and aunt talking (b/c sometimes they’re just crazy fabulous “100”) or wish I had taped Steiny, Sperry, and I running through a fountain in the middle of a 45 degree San Fran day just because there was a dare.

I think I’m not sure I’ll go back to SF next year. I think I have fun, but I also think this year was somewhat boring because everyone was sick. Therefore, we didn’t go out one night. I also think that I get stuffed up because of the cats and can’t breathe because of the shedding rug. I also think my 10 year high school reunion might be T-Giving next year.

I think this whole food situation on cross country flights totally sucks. They have a turkey sandwich or junk food and we’re on the plane for 7 hours. I think even the purchasable food options are much worse than the old hot food options. I think I actually pine for the days for the “chicken or lasagna?” question from the stewardess.

I think I got on a plane at 3pm eastern time, landed at 9pm eastern and had dinner at 11pm eastern going to SF and coming home, it was on the plane at 1, landing at 11:30 and skipping dinner. I think this needs to change.

I think, even though I wrote extensively about this earlier, that airlines and pilots lie to us and we need to remind ourselves of that each time we get on a plane.

I think I should add a few more rules to that list"
1) I think if they don’t show you the flight pattern on the TV after showing you the flight pattern the whole flight, there is likely something they don’t want you to see.
2) I think when they tell you that there’s a 1 hour wait to land, and they need to land somewhere else to get more fuel just to go circle again, and then 30 minutes later, miraculously, there’s no problem landing anymore, and the airports empty when you do land, that someone was just lying to you somewhere. Ok, that made no sense.

I think I like these family trips because in 5 days I spent about $20 of my own money

Here are my non trip thoughts of the week:

I think Juju provided more proof about how screwed up the mind can be from a small amount of harmless drugs. She took an Ambien and wrote me an incoherent email (which I can’t post b/c of her embarrassment) She then complained about how the Ambien didn’t work. I can’t imagine how screwed up my mind would be if I were on strong drugs after surgery or something like that.

I think I tried and succeeded at keeping my credit card balance under $1,000 even though I purchased a flight on it. I was within $10 of $1,000 when I got my refund from last month and they closed the bill.

I think I don’t get J&M but I think I’m leaning toward M’s story more, or maybe I just feel bad for her and like her more.

I think maybe I should put up a disclaimer like this guy did for my website.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Loser

Its been forever, I'm boring and a loser...I promise much much more as I'm heading to Cali Cali for Tgiving giving...and my notebook won't leave my side. That way, I'll actually be able to remember my thoughts.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Denver AGAIN!

I went to Denver 2 WEEKS AGO and I’m just posting about it now. I have no clue why I’ve procrastinated so much, except to note that the normal excuse of screwing yourself doesn’t really apply.

As Always, Here are the pictures.

Obviously, the point of my trip was to visit Josh, as I have done previously
Here
Here
Here
Here
Here
And here


We arrived Thursday night (I had a free flight!) and Natalia cooked us her famous lasagna. I don’t remember the last time ate something that was cooked by someone my own age (besides grilling at the NASCAR race). I mean, Josh and Natalia use their kitchen all of the time! It was quite a strange experience to sit at a table and eat food that was prepared by the people who were eating it. I guess that’s Denver for ya.

Friday we walked around Cherry Creek and downtown. We showed Judy the various stadiums as we walked from one end of Denver to the other. Our final stop, ESPN Zone, was by far the most fun. For 10 minutes, I remembered what it was like for me growing up. I remembered looking at all the arcade games and thinking about what a waste of money it was to play them and thinking of how I never did play them. Then Josh walked over with his prepaid cards and for the next 45 minutes, we played hockey, and air hockey, and car racing and basketball and basketball. Wow, so much fun, I kept thinking to myself, so this is what it was supposed to feel like when I was 10. Then I realized that in much of my current life, I still act like I’m 10, so I guess it’s not an earth shattering observation.

For much of the weekend, we played drinking games.

Friday night, it started with “The Wonder Years Drinking Game” which involved drinking each time the Kevin’s old man background voice came on. We happened to watch an episode where Kevin was especially confused about what was going on and thus we couldn’t really keep up.
Next, we played “Grey’s Anatomy Drinking Game” which consisted of drinking anytime someone said “Mc this or Mc that,” or when someone spoke condescendingly to an intern, or when a few other things happened (I can’t really remember what it was).

After this, we took a slightly drunken walk to dinner where Josh and I argued about normal Josh Ben stuff. Specifically, if its true that tall people can walk faster because they have longer legs. I argue against, stating that all the sprinters in the world are short. He argued for it mostly b/c I can walk faster than him! Ha.

We went to a really good Italian dinner, where Josh and Judy finally agreed on the fact that they had way too much in common and that it was getting a little weird. For the second time in as many meals, they ordered the same thing.

On Saturday we drove an hour up into the mountains to Evergreen to go hiking. It was a beautiful 65 degree day and we hiked for a bout 2.5 hours.

Highlights include:
- Getting scared out of our minds when some guy yelled “He’s got a gun! Don’t move! Put your hands up!” It turns out it was some 15 year olds filming amateur video.
- Seeing about 20 dogs
- Getting really sweaty even though It was pretty cold
- Tree Jumping
- River Jumping (check the video below). (I’ll post my video when its available)



We had lunch at a biker bar, which was surprisingly good and spent the car ride back to town devising our evening drinking game.

We invented Fox Baseball Playoffs Drinking game.
We created a list of 16 things that could happen during the broadcast and randomly drafted 4 each. 1 of those 4 included a 20 second chugging event. If one of your 4 events happened, you would have to notify everyone else to drink. If you missed it, others could make you drink. And thus, we had our simple drinking game. Here are the events:
Single Drink Events
- Strikeouts
- Walks
- Runs
- Foul Balls
- Dane Cook
- Fox Track
- Team Manager
- Pitching Change
- Non Home Run Hit
- Spitting
- Pitch in the Dirt
- Mound Conversation

The Chug Events
- Home Run
- Manny Being Manny
- Double Play
- Intentional Walk

Post the game and the Red Sox winning again (this was Game 6 ALCS) we ran through the cold rain to a few bars. Judy and I hung w/Sarah for 10 minutes and Jaime for 20 minutes before meeting back with Josh and Natalia. We witnessed some guys getting arrested for throwing beer bottles from the 2nd floor at people before we headed home. When we got back to Josh’s at 1am it was about 40 degrees. When we woke at 9am for our flight, there was 2 INCHES OF SNOW ON THE GROUND! Luckily the roads were fine and the flights were on time.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Juggling JuJu / Avoiding Eggshells

As I mentioned in the previous post, everyday I'm confronted with a new quasi relationship issue that I would not have had to deal with in the previous 27.75 years of my life. I'm not sure what to call this section yet, but since writing that post, I decided to see if I actually did have a quasi quandary every day. Turns out, I do.

Avoiding Eggshells - Saturday:
Ok, So I have 2 tickets for the Jets / Eagles game on Sunday. I took JuJu to the game 2 weeks ago, and we had a blast, but I'm kinda feeling like I'd rather take someone else this time. The game is a great time to talk to hang out with a friend you haven't seen in a while, b/c A) you can talk the whole time, and B) there are no awkward silences b/c there's a game going on. Anyway, the few people I'd had in mind couldn't make it, and I couldn't really take someone I hadn't seen in 6 months, especially if they weren't really a Jets / Eagles fan, because JuJu would want to go, and frankly, I would enjoy going w/her too. However, if I was going to spend the afternoon w/JuJu at the game, then frankly, I'd actually rather spend it with her at a bar watching football or at her/my apartment.

Thus Saturday's dilemma: I'd rather go to the game w/JuJu than most other people, but if I'm going to be w/JuJu, I'd almost rather not schlep to Giants stadium in NJ, and would rather spend the day w/her in NYC.

Selfish Sunday - Sunday:
I haven't really been home in 5 days:
Wednesday night I had volleyball until 11pm.
Thursday night I had drinks with coworkers then had plans to watch Thursday TV shows.
Friday night I had a happy hour, dinner, b-day drinks and then went to a gay bar.
Saturday I went up to the UWS for lunch w/my rents and sisters family and then went home for an hour before heading back out to JuJu's house warming party.
Sunday I spent the day at a bar with JuJu, watching football, and then hung out with my friend Dan until around 7pm. At this point, JuJu made dinner plans with her friend in my area expecting that she'd see me afterwards. She said she would just be studying, but that it was easier than taking a cab back home at that time of night.

Thus Sunday's dilemma: How do you tell someone that you want to relax, and relaxing might mean w/o them?

Relationship Question of the Day - Monday:
Today's the big day. Today a year ago, is the day I started calling JuJu mine. Apparently, it’s also the day I'm supposed to buy presents and plan something. Now I understand how girls love celebrations and getting taken care of and all that stuff, esp. on birthdays on holidays, but isn’t this technically my anniversary too?

Thus Monday’s dilemma: If today is OUR anniversary, why do I have to plan it?

Juggling JuJu - Tuesday:
So, I sent the above to JuJu for approval, since I’m not really allowed to post about her without her approval. Unlike me, she doesn’t understand the point of this whole online experience at all. She doesn’t understand how its fun to write, fun to read, and why I would want anyone (especially strangers) to know my business. Lastly, and likely most importantly, she definitely wouldn’t want anyone she doesn’t know judging her, and commenting, b/c they don’t know her.

Thus Tuesday’s dilemma: How do I convince JuJu to let me post “Avoiding Eggshells” #1, #2 and #3 without totally editing her out of them?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Oct 13th Again..

Every year, for some reason, I post on October 13th. It's weird, because obviously this isn't on purpose, but last night I was looking for something I wrote in 2003 (which it turns out I never wrote) and decided to relive a little of what I've posted.


Here's 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. 2006 is almost worthless, considering none of the links really work anymore.

I really don't have much to talk about besides relationship crap, which has been filling my thoughts for the last few weeks. Eventually I'm going to have to let it out, so beware or be ready. I'm thinking of starting a section on here called "relationship quandry of the day." Maybe I could call it "Jugglin Juju" or "Avoiding Eggshells."

I think its time to post the relationship rules.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Arizona Week

Arizona Week:

I spent most of last week in Arizona – ½ the time for a conference, half for leisure. I don’t want to write a full post about it, but here’s the idea. The conference was boring, meeting executives of big companies is not that awesome. The conference entertainment was great (Al Gore, Barenaked Ladies, David Bonderman), and the weekend after the conference was awesome.

As always, here are some pictures.

Anyway, here are some things I think about my trip:

I think my pilot was hilarious when he said “In a few moments, the flight attendants will give you a demonstration as to how to put on your seatbelt. The FAA still considers this very useful information for everyone, and especially those of you who have not been in a car since the 1955.”

I think I really enjoy meeting with executives in a 1 on 1 scenario and picking their brains about strategy, financials and whatnot

I think that the Barenaked Ladies are still one of my favorite bands. Best to watch live. I think they are just a bunch of smart, talented, dorky guys who joke and improve w/the best of them. Here's a video of the show.



I don’t think I could ever live in Arizona.

I think I needed a day at the pool, doing nothing besides mini golf and the watching an act of g-d doom Yankees.

I think I’m not going to cut my hair (or just the top of my hair) until next spring/summer.

I think Al Gore spent too much time talking about the environment and how its investor savvy to be environmentally savvy instead of talking about anything else. Despite that, I think Al Gore should run and I think I would vote for him.

I think David Bonderman’s major point was that investing in the US is no longer smart and we should move our money elsewhere.

I think I’m silly. I think I’m never serious. I don’t think I ever want to be serious.

I think getting to Newark Airport for a flight is really easy and getting home is not so much at all.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Summer Summary

This was an extremely active summer for me. So active, I focused on my day job and having fun, instead of my other job (writing) I traveled almost every weekend, did plenty of things I’d never done before, and in the process, got a better tan than the Hispanic girl I work with. Here are some of the things that made this summer this summer.

This was the summer I actually used our Pocono house, twice. One time, I went up there with Licious and my sister and her friends just to hang out, play cards and such on Shabbat. The 2nd time I used the house as a hiking base. We got there at 1am Friday night, woke up at 9am, went hiking and drove back at by 4pm. The crazy thing is, that weekend was the same weekend as…

This was the summer of my cousin’s 30th birthday booze cruise sans booze. After hitting Driving back from the Pocono’s. I met up with Licious and my cousins and some other friends and we took a cruise around the Island. The boat was supposed to have beer, but it had lost its license or something, so we made it BYOB. I didn’t mind too much, about not drinking since this was the same weekend as…

This was the summer of my first (and possibly only) NASCAR race. After the cruise, I took a train down to Belmar to meet up w/Tom, Steven and some of Steven’s hick friends from Atlanta. We stayed up until 4am, boarded the 15 seat van at 8:30am and were back in the Pocono’s by 10:30am. This was a day of beer with breakfast, then BBQ, then beer, then beer and finally a race. And yes, as you can see from the pictures, we took the seats out of the car to use while tailgating. The race itself was really loud, and being somewhat drunk did not help my stomach. The vibrations made me a little queasy, the noise made me a little queasy and all the BBQ made me a little queasy. I kinda wish I’d stayed at the van and not actually gone into the event. Here’s a video of what it was like inside.



2 hours of this is tolerable. 4 hours, not so much. We drove back, hit traffic, and finally my long long long weekend was over at 10pm. Anyway, here are the NASCAR pictures.

This was the summer I went to Denver on Memorial Day.

This was the summer I spent a weekend in the Catskills. My rents rented a house for the weekend, and so I took the bus up to the Catskills on a Friday afternoon and hung out at that house till Sunday. We didn’t do much accept read and play on the lake and play stupid games. Great times. Here are a few Catskills pictures.

This was the summer I discovered Fire Island.

This was the summer of my first (and unlikely only) horse races. Licious and I went up to Saratoga for a weekend with her parents at their country house. We spent the drive there and back, reading HP out loud to each other, and hit the track on Saturday. It was amateur hour and I was ready to bet. We watched the horses saddle up, and liked one of the horses in the 2nd race who was a 12-1 dog. I put $5 on him to pace, and he actually came in 2nd. I then took that $20 and put $5 each on 4 huge underdogs to win. A 31.5-1 horse actually won and I was up 150. I then put $4 on 6 huge underdogs to win the next race. The winner was a 57-1 underdog and I won $200 more. At that point I had one more race in me, lost and took my winnings. Quite the beginners luck at the track.

This is the summer I finally got to Montreal. It was Adam’s bachelor party, and it was awesome.

This was the summer I actually spent July 4th on my own building’s roof. The irony of this, is the last 2 summers, there was no 25 story building directly next door blocking our view of the show. This summer, our new neighborhood building is almost complete, and though that means no construction noise, it also means really bad viewing of July 4th festivities.

This was the summer I went to the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and never actually watched the episode on TV. Licious and I got free tickets (every ticket is free so it takes 6 months to get them). We waited in line for 2 hours and watched them tape the show in 45 minutes. That night, we totally forgot to watch the episode. Oh well.

And of course, this is the summer I went to France / Spain.

This was the summer I missed grandma’s club too often. I missed dinner on Memorial Day (Denver), Father’s day (Montreal), Labor Day (Europe), and a few others when relatives were in town and whatnot. I don’t think I’ve missed as many as I did this summer in the previous 5 years.

This was definitely the summer of Licious. She moved to my area for the summer, so I ended up hanging out with her almost ever day. We had a blast reading together, seeing movies together, getting away from the city together, talking trash about everyone we knew together and celebrating about 45 different anniversaries together.

This was the summer of Harry Potter. I attended the book release party at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in my “Voldemort Votes Republican” t-shirt. There were 10,000 people there, and a line outside that was sidewalk thick and extended 5 blocks. Of course, I went to Duane Reade and purchased it for $10 more w/no line. I spent the next 24 days reading the book slowly, to savor the experience for as long as possible and not rush though and miss things like I’ve done with other books I’ve really enjoyed. Wow, what a great book. I really, really love those books and I am really, really sad there won’t be anymore. We also had the release of the 5th movie, which was shown in IMAX 3-D (only the last 20 minutes) and was awesome. (See the 3-D glasses picture below) And my shirt, also seen below, is really a hit.




















Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Postcards From Europe:

Since I didn’t send any post cards on my trip to Spain and the South of France, I figure I’ll send some now.

Of course, here are the pictures.

And here’s a visual of our Itinerary (click to see bigger):














Dear Mom and Dad:
Last night we left for the airport at 4:30 and had to sweat it out to make our 7pm flight at JFK. While the plane left the gate on time, we sat in line to take off, and I barely lost a $5 bet, taking the over at 8:45pm. I didn’t think the Ambien I’d taken was working, but after saying to myself “this isn’t working, this isn't working, this isn’t wor…,” we were landing. We arrived in Nice this morning to a beautiful day and “stole” the rental car from the rental agency. I say “stole” because it was under Amy’s name, and her flight was a good 8 hours late. Tom, Steven and I decided to hit nice for the day, trying to figure out if Amy’d made her connection that she was on standby for. When I couldn’t get the information I wanted, I had to spend the time convincing Steven and Tom not to take the car and drive to St. Tropez w/o her, since this is where we were supposed to spend the first night. At 6pm we’d received a call from Amy at the rental agency “Did you steal my car?” We picked up Amy at the airport and are now headed down the coast to St. Tropez. It should be about a 2 hour car ride, on which we’ll likely stop to pick up some groceries (beer and wine).

Dear Elana and Ariel:
Last night we arrived in St Tropez at a little hotel about 2km outside of town. The decision to stay there saved us about $1,000, as hotels in the city are absurd. We stayed at hotel for about 2 hours, showering, having some wine, and sitting by our pool, before catching a 5 min, 16 Euro cab into town. We had a nice $300 diner at a small restaurant and bar hopped for a bit after getting rejected (as expected) from The Cave at Hotel Biblos, the hottest club in the world (Tom Cruise got rejected last month). We arrived at our 3rd choice, club VIP, with a rotating dance floor/DJ boot in the middle. I grabbed 3 beers for the guys for $62 (15 Euro each). Tom met a girl and decided it would be a good idea to get glasses of champagne for 25 Euro each. A bouncer breaking up a fight spilled them and he wasn’t given refills. Amy and I went home early (5am), because she wasn’t feeling well, and the 5 min cab ride was 30 Euro. I hope last night was the most expensive of the trip, because I can’t handle much more, and I know Amy can’t. Steven and Tom headed back to the Cave where Steven convinced the bouncer that his sister was inside. By that time it was mostly empty, but Tom had to get a drink there. I mean, how could you not go to the hottest club in the world and not get a drink? Today we woke up at noon and drove ourselves into town. We walked the port, looking at all the $2+ Million yachs and boats and dreamed about care free lives on the open seas. We walked up to the top of the Citadel, which was an old fort that had random art (burnt spread eagled girl) and a blocked view of the city below. Currently, we are having ice cream on the coastal road back north/east toward Cannes. Google said it should take only and hour, but its already been 2.

Dear Daniella and David:
Last night we arrived in Cannes around 8pm, unpacked our things, and squeezed into our moderately priced, slightly too small hotel room. I booked the room before Tom, and his high class needs, were coming on the trip so I don’t feel bad at all about the tight accommodations, though we are here for 3 days. While the others napped, I found an internet cafĂ© where I read hardly legible conversations you are having w/mom over Skype, But most importantly, I found a hot crepe w/Nutella; I know you guys are jealous. I woke Steven, Tom and Amy around 10:30 and we were off to dinner by 11:30pm. Steven really likes playing the whole “Europeans eat really late” card, however, some restaurants kitchens had closed. We found a suitable one b/c it had the word “Brasserie” in the title and then hit up an Irish pub for an after dinner drink in search of non French people. We walked toward the other side of town, where I’d heard there were clubs and found one when we luckily heard noise from the main street. Twasn’t anything special, except for the fashion show on the TV’s around the club which could have been considered soft core porn in the states w/the amount of nipple being shown. Amy left early at 3 and we stayed until our eyes and noses and ears couldn’t take the thick smoke and loud base of the venue. Currently, I’m writing you from the beach in Cannes. Today, Sunday, most of the country is closed, so we walked along the beach, paid a hotel $24 Euros each, to sit in their beach chairs for the day. The public portion of the beach is small and crowded, as most of the hotels control their own beachfronts (even though they are across the street). We would have needed to purchase towels, chairs and umbrellas, to enjoy the public portion, so we just sucked it up a little. My head is still ringing from the club last night, the alcohol last night, and my special alarm that’ll likely be going off all anytime I’m on the beach this trip. Hope you guys are having a great time in SE Asia!

Dear Steven:
I know you’re on this trip w/me, but I haven’t really seen you in the last day. Last night while I came back to the hotel to nap, you and Tom stayed at the Hilton Hotel bar to booze a bit. Then we all headed to dinner around 11pm for a low key night. Amy hit the local pub while we had a really good dinner up on the hill on the south side of town (Duck, Steak and Lamb, yum). Our small talk with the waiter paid off because he told us about the closing night at this massive club. We had originally figured it was a low key night, but we were up for changing those plans the second we saw all those people outside of the Palais. We were almost giddy at the site and we ran back to the hotel, changed, did a shot of absolute, and got back out there. The cover was 30 Euro, included 1 drink, and was totally worth it. I’ve included some videos from the night below, dancers and an old guy. While we met almost no girls that night, the place was insane with people; even table service was sold out. Amy left only 30 minutes before us because even though she was impressed, she’s still not club girl. Today we jumped into the car in the morning and headed to Monoco, you and Tom split from Amy and I as we traversed the small country in groups of 2. Amy and I hit the casino, the Palace (From the outside) the Prince’s absurd car collection (check the pictures), walking up and down steep hills too many times and enjoyed the day with out you! The whole town is packed with tourists groups wandering the city. I took a video of the forest fire you also likely saw, but its no good on youtube, so I'll email it you to you later. We are currently waiting for you back at the car, with ice cream pass the time. Amy’s trying to get me to play a trick on you by moving the car and leaving a note saying “enjoy the bus.” A little revenge for your almost leaving her behind in Nice, but I told her to give you until at least 6:25.









Dear Licious:
Happy Birthday! You would have really enjoyed last night with us. First, on our way back from Monaco, Amy took her vacation driving test. That means, she needed to back up several 1 way streets which I directed her into. If you were driving, you would have freaked out, as most of us experienced panic attacks. The rest of the drive featured teasing of Amy about her new boy of 2 weeks, and how he is current visiting his 22 year old ex girlfriend. When we got back to Cannes, they napped and I called you and emailed you and woke Steven, Tom and Amy up and headed out to another 11pm dinner on restaurant row. Tom and I had amazing cheese burgers that you would have died for. Steven broke out lines like “rock out w/your cock out” and “hang out w/your wang out” while we discussed the waitress and her decision to go braless. We stopped at a few smaller bars that looked somewhat lively, and met some foreigners who were touring the world as luxury boat workers (someone has to work on these $2+M boats, obviously the owners can’t drive them). Amy took off a little early, but we all followed pretty close behind. This morning we got up reasonably early, packed and then waiting 45 minutes for Steven and Tom to get the car. Yes, they forgot where Amy parked it. Apparently, I was supposed to do something during those 45 minutes, namely, pay for the hotel. OOPS! (I called them a week later and paid). Today, we headed to a peninsula between Cannes and Nice which features 2 towns, Antibes and Juan Les Pens (Juan Loves Panties as it would end up being called). We first stopped in Antibes, took in the old city and local market (I got you a present) before heading to an old fort. Steven fell inlove w/our fort tour guide and took various pictures w/her but forgot to close the deal when she gave him the “email” opening. Oh well. His life will never be the same. We headed into JLP this afternoon, because we heard there were only 3 things to do in the town; drink, shop and beach. We booked a $500 suite for the evening, for kicks, and headed to the lighthouse (which you aren’t allowed inside) and a Napoleon Naval Museum (which was terrible with a view). The boats in the port in JLP were as big and gaudy as any we’d seen. Currently, I’m writing you from our hotel room, sitting outside on the porch, while Tom’s shopping and the others are napping and showering.

Dear Beth:
Thanks so much for the advice on going to Antibes, Juan Les Pens, and Provence. Last night we partied up in JLP. Tom got 3 bottles of wine for the room, w/some cheese and crackers and though we weren’t hungry at 11, we headed to dinner, split a few pizzas and 3 more bottles of wine. After “dinner” we headed to Pom Pom, which had a live band, dancers, and tropical drinks galore. Amy left Steven, Tom, and I at that point, and the 3 of us headed towards a club. After asking around which one to go to, we decided to hit up the club with the really young crowd, as opposed to the club with the young crowd. This place was packed with 20 year olds, who weren’t drinking or hooking up. In fact, we realized that after all this clubbing in the South of France, we’d hardly seen any public displays of affection. Unfortunately, it was 4am before we had this revelation and decided to pack up our things and head home. Having finally adjusted to the time change, we were up at 9am. This may have had something to do w/telling Tom that if he wanted beach time today, he’d have to prove his desire by hitting the beach before 9am. Lucky for us, it wasn’t sunny out. We took your advice, and finally made some headway toward Barcelona, heading to Aix En Provence, a small college town that has inspired many artists over the years, most notability Cezanne. We walked the streets, split up, found a place to sleep, ate some lunch, not at all in that order. We also hit up Cezanne’s old house, which is the setting for much of his famous paintings. We also went to the natural history museum, which was comprised of ½ a dinosaur, 3 rooms, one of which was dedicated to the artic. I also took the video below of some kid dancing to his Ipod. Currently, its nap time here again as everyone is napping for the 4th night in a row. I’ll wake them for dinner at 11.





Dear Saba:
Currently, we are in the midst of a 4 hour drive from France to Spain. Last night we spent the night in Aix En Provence, deciding on an early night after sending some ladies some drinks and getting no response. This morning we woke up early and headed to wine country, or a town called Chateauneuf De Pape. We drove to the first winery, talked some wine shop, purchased a bottle and headed into town. When in town, we realized that all the wineries, while they had tasting centers in the fields, they also had “caves” in town, where you could taste and purchase. Considering no one wanted to drive, we decided to walk the town, stopping at every “cave” for a taste, and to make a purchase. Though we could only bring 2 bottles per person home with us on the airplane, we had 4 more days to drink the extras. After about 5 caves, we got lunch at a little pasta restaurant. Its amazing how much of conversation is non verbal because we read the menu, ordered, ate, and paid with no knowledge of French and w/o a French speaking waitress. Amy decided to stop drinking so that we could put some miles behind us instead of spending the night in this little small town and driving to Barcelona tomorrow. You would have really enjoyed tasting all the wines today as I know how much you enjoy them. Tonight, we just decided that rather than going straight to Barcelona, we’re stopping in a little town about 50 miles outside of Barcelona on the coast called Tossa Del Mar (Tossa De Salad).

Dear Atara and Lilah:
Last night we stayed in a small town on the beach in Spain called Tossa Del Mar. The town is really lively, full of tourists from Spain. Our 2 start hotel room had no air conditioning, but luckily it was not that hot out. Steven, Amy and Tom took naps while I found the internet and called Judy. While the busy season in this town ended last night, we found a small bar with salsa dancing after dinner. We did not stay too long, and decided to climb up the old castle instead, to see what the bright lights were at the top. It turned out to be just a lighthouse. (check the pictures). I know you are only 3 years old and 3 months old respectively, but it was very very cool up there. This morning Tom and Steven went to the beach, while Amy and I climbed the castle, learned that the lighthouse was also a museum about lighthouses (kinda like a coffee table book about coffee tables) again and went to an art museum. I’m sure you would have chosen the beach. At 2pm we started to drive to Barcelona and Amy found our hotel very easily. We dropped off our stuff, and dropped off our car for good. I just got to our hotel room in Barcelona at a really really nice hotel. There is a big bath and a big shower, with side jets. There is also a view of the beach and the pool.

Dear Grandma:
Last night was our first night in Barcelona. You would love this city, the culture, the language, you would fit right in. Our hotel was built for the Olympics in 1992 and is amazing. (Hamburgers are 24 Euro and a breakfast platter is 98 Euro). We went to a terrible dinner around 12pm before going out until 6 in the morning. I know you think we are crazy, but there was a line to get into the Jamboree club (which was packed w/Americans) when we left at 4am (so it’s not just us). We then headed up the hill to a castle/museum/club which had some very strange looking dancers (check the pictures). While the sun was almost rising when we went to sleep, in our room, at noon when we woke, it was pitch black. I’ve never seen window shades like this. Today, Steven, Tom and I split up (Amy was staying w/her friend for the rest of the trip), to explore the city on our own. I heard the Guell Park with a Gaudi museum up on the hill was the best thing to see, so obviously I did that on my first day. I also went to the Picasso Museum, which has almost 3,000 pieces of his art. I took the train back to La Rambla and walked the 2 miles through the city to our hotel, just taking in the atmosphere. Currently, I’m at the hotel next door to our original one, the AB Skipper, waiting for our luggage to arrive, since we had to move here today due to a poker tournament at our original Hotel Arts.

Dear all my other friends who always ask me for a post card when I’m away:
Last night after walking around the city all day, I stopped and sat on the beach during my usual nap time. This was the best beach I’ve ever been on, and I’m not talking about the water or the sand. We decided to make reservations at a really nice tapas place. Unfortunately, the place was so nice that our cab drivers had never heard of it and we drove around for 30 minutes before ending up at a different seafood/paella restaurant near our hotel in the Marina. The marina was hopping, but Steven, Tom, and I watned to meet Jesse and Amy out, though we were pretty beat. We took a cab to the Tibidado, at the top of the hill, and after a few red bull vodka’s, we were set to stay out well past 5am. We dance, and the DJ played some old American music mixed w/some Spanish music. We were in such a remote area that Tom and I had to sweet talk some locals who agreed to drive us home while Jesse’s friend took Steven, Amy and Jesse home. Today we woke up around 12:30 and headed separately into the city. We took in the Gaudi church, which is still unfinished after 100+ years and is still 20 years away from being done. If I’ve learned anything about Gaudi on this trip is that he’s not very good at finances and not very good at finishing a task. I purchased some local chocolates, to share w/my office and my parents, and purchased a F.C BARCA towel to wear around my shoulders for the Soccer match tonight. That’s right, we’re going, and we’re scalping tickets too! Actually, we’re leaving the hotel right now for the match, gotta run.

Dear Mom and Dad:
I’m on the plane home right now. I just took an ambient, so I’m not sure I’ll finish this and I could pass out at anytime due to lack of sleep. Last night, we went to the FC Barcelona soccer match. It was only an exhibition, which actually made it better, because the players were showing off, and actually scoring goals (Barca won 3-1). Afterwords, we grabbed dinner and then kept it as a low key night. Thought, I think Tom had a pretty good time during the 30 minutes that Steven and I were walking around the marina. I didn’t get to say goodbye to Amy, but she found us at the Airport. I can’t wait to get home to see you guys, and tell you...all...about...my...

Things I learned that I didn't know before:

I learned that Spain Spanish and Mexican Spanish (that I learned in HS) are very different. In fact, the people I met in Spain, don't even call it Spanish, they call it Catalan.
I learned how often you are supposed to call your girlfriend when out of town.
I learned that FC Barcelona will be the Football team I root for in the future.
I learned I could live in Barcelona.
I learned that I don't really like French people that much.
I learned that sometimes, it is really nice to be served by a 5 star hotel, and sometimes its really over the top and uncomfortable.
I learned that its time to rejoin my gym, or just go to someone else's gym.

Things I learned that I may have known before:

I relearned that I am way behind in my knowledge of men's underwear and cologne. I'm supposed to know that I should burn my boxers and that cologne is seasonal? Seriously?
I relearned that Amy has a tattoo on her foot.
I relearned that my Spanish is good enough for almost anything, though my vocabulary is terrible
I relearned that my French is good for almost nothing.
I relearned that I want to start taking Hebrew classes.
I relearned that my handwriting is terrible, the D I got in 4th grade was warranted and that I handwrite more on my summer trip every year than I do the rest of the year combined. I relearned that writing is not like riding a bike.
I relearned that student ID's can save you money at museums, even if it's your cousin's ID.

Next Week: Summer Summary (yes, I hardly wrote this summer, so there's much to dish)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

NYC Rules

I know its been forever, and I have tons to talk about...and will have more once I get back from France/Spain on the 3rd.

Anyway, I met up w/my cousin last night who's starting her freshman year at FIT. She's not a city girl, and she's really nice and I assume overwhelmed. I created a list of rules for her to follow in NY. I think they apply to most people:

1) Always carry at least $20 cash on you. Sometimes you need to go home w/o a subway, sometimes the bodega's take only cash, and sometimes your friend is puking in a club and you've got to take her home. You just need it.
2) Support your local bodega. On almost every corner there are little stores w/food, appliances, flowers, drinks, beer, and umbrellas. While shopping at a supermarket may be cheaper, you'll just be driving the bodega's out of business. And someday you'll need them, many days actually.
3) Don't freak out if you don't have an umbrella. Umbrellas are $5 and are everywhere. They will break easily, but they are easily dispensable.
4) Make the closest bank to your apartment your bank, or find one that reimburses ATM fees. Those fees add up, and you can save 100 a year just by avoiding them. Do it.
5) The good restaurants are on the cross streets, not the avenues.
6) Don't eat at chain restaurants. That's what you can do when you go home to the suburbs. The only exception is if your friend is having a birthday party there.
7) Keep your common areas clean. The biggest problems between roommates are frustrations over common areas. Your roommate will forgive you for not inviting you out, stealing her boyfriend, but not for leaving your socks everywhere.
8) Always have $ on your metrocard and fill that card upon EXIT. I don't want to miss a train b/c you don't have cash on your card, but I don't mind waiting on the way out as you fill.
9) Most busses go up and across, they're pretty easy.
10) If it makes you uncomfortable, don't do it. Feel free to use rule #1 to get you home safely.
11) 46th street is restaurant row.
12) The best dessert places are Lalo, Serendipity, and Max Brenner. Seek them out.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

30,000 foot, Cheating, War in Iraq

If horse owners love their horses so much they think that they have human like feelings and rights and emotions, why is it ok to breed them and not breed humans?

Personally, I think they should be able to breed humans, and like horses, I think you should be able to euthanize people when they are no longer productive, esp if they didn’t build enough wealth to take care of themselves during their productive lives. Screw social security; just knock um off like a horse that can’t run or stud anymore.

Everyone talks about looking at something from the 30,000 foot view, what did people say before there were airplanes?

Before the 30,000 foot view, there were plenty of sayings. Here is the progression:

1,000 BC: Top of the pyramid view
33 AD: Top of the cross view
250 AD: Top of the coliseum view
1,000 AD:
1,500 AD:
1,850 AD: 10th story view
1920: Empire State Building view
1940: 30,000 foot view

What's your take on cheating?

Fun times, could be exciting, bad karma, and like anything, there are levels of cheating:

I – Looking at another girl
II – Going to a strip club
III - Playing the wingman and flirting with another girl
IV - Getting drunk and flirting with another girl
V – Flirting with another girl sober
VI – Flirting with another guy
VII - Kissing someone during spin the bottle with your girlfriend around
VIII - Calling an ex and telling her you are not happy with your current relationship so get ready
IX - Kissing someone during spin the bottle without your girlfriend around
X - Getting drunk and making out with a girl
XI - Jumping on a bomb as a wingman
XII - Getting drunk and convincing a girl to go down on you in the bathroom of a bar
XIII - Getting drunk and having sex w/someone
XIV - Having sex with someone
XV - Having a relationship behind your girls back

Personally, I won’t go past level III, though I ma go to level V w/my girlfriend around (therefore it doesn’t count). Obviously, I’ve left some levels out, so feel free to fill some in. Of course, I know a guy who went to level XV, a few times, and the girl found out, and they are married. So what do I know about anything.

How do we end the war in Iraq and how could we have done it correctly?

We end it by leaving, with Arab countries contributing troops to keep the peace. I don’t think anything calms down until we leave.

America lost its edge after WWII when we rebuilt Europe and Japan. Countries are no longer scared about losing wars to us because we rebuild. What we need to do, is attack a country, and really just leave it in a dismal state. We should kill innocent people, rape their women and really put the fear of America back in the world. The next time we need to go into a country like Iraq, that country will actually stand up and fight, and we’ll be able to kill their army. This will avoid the current situation, where the army knew they’d lose, and just went home, and started using guerrilla warfare. Guerrilla warfare and terrorism won’t work if we’re killing and raping and torturing everyone.

I feel like texting Brian, do you think its because I'm horny or lonely or both? Bad idea right? He's really good at snuggling. Its almost because I don’t like him its easier to humor the idea...or maybe I do like him?!?! Nuts!

You hate him. He's a jerk who did not like you enough and you don't need that. If you are thinking of calling because you think you can do it with out feelings, you are lying to yourself. Girls don't work that way.

Is bad sex better than no sex?

It depends how hot the girl / guy is. If you are in a relationship with this person, then no sex is better.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Australia, very modern w/plenty of opportunity to pretend like you are explorers while in the country.

As always, submit your questions to askbens@yahoo.com

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Thinking About Montreal

These are my quick thoughts on my weekend in Montreal:

I think Montreal is a really fun city, I think it was young, quaint and I def didn't spend enough time wandering/exploring like normal.
I think I'll def have to go back soon.
I think I lost $110 in craps in 9 minutes.
I think THESE are my pictures (actually, like 1/3 of my pictures) from Montreal
I think we stopped at Friendly's in both directions of the drive, and both times it was awesome. I think Friendly's just announced it was being purchased on Monday, which means I'll get to learn all about that company in the next few weeks.
I think you can cross the border by ground without a passport, however, we were one of 500 cars that was asked to go inside inspection and get background checks. I think it may have been b/c I didn't know the name of the hotel we were staying at, and when I handed the agent the paper w/the address, he turned it over, and asked "what is this?" I calmly responded "That's all 50 states, with the capitals!" I don't think he was impressed.
While its my standard response to people when I don't want to talk about it, I don't think answering "finance crap" to the border agent is the proper way to describe my job.
I think paying $70 to fill a tank of gas is absurd, though I think we saved hundreds of dollars by driving instead of flying.
I think the stripper rules were unnecessary
I think this was the first fathers day I missed, sorry dad.
I think I really missed something when, at fathers day dinner, my mom saved some old guy's life. He was choking, and actually passed out, while every one just stood around (including the staff), to watch him die. I think she took control of the situation and performed the Heimlich maneuver on him and helped him regain consciousness. I think I really missed something that day.
I think I'm pumped Bloomberg isn't a Republican and I think I'd vote for him.
But I think this is funny too...

Hc619-tm
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Friday, June 08, 2007

2 Reviews

Fire Island:
This past weekend, Steven and I ditched the shores of NJ for the beaches of Fire Island, NY. Getting there and back was a bit more annoying than Belmar, but it was totally worth it. We took a van to a ferry to an island where there are no cars, and mostly 20 somethings hanging out, drinking, sunbathing and being friendly. It was the NYC bar scene transplanted on an island, in a town that resembles a small european town. We had a blast staying in a house w/15 random people, that supplied drinks and food for the weekend. We made some friends, danced a little, burned our backs, and relaxed. So much better than NJ its not even funny. We're adding a few more weekends. Anyway, here are the pictures.


OCEANS 13:
I was lucky enough for Deleware to take me to a screening of Oceans 13 on Wednesday. Let me just tell you, THIS MOVIE WAS AMAZING. I'm pretty close to saying that it was better than the first one. Clearly better than the 2nd one. I'll have to see it again to be sure, and I will see it again. You know how the first one ends w/a 45 minute sequence kinda verbally describing how they pull off the job as they are actually doing it? Well, in this movie, the last 3/4 of the movie is exactly the same style. This keeps you on the edge of your toes and the only thing that lets you relax are the great jokes/banter between the characters. Yea, I really liked this movie. Go see it.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Strip Club Rules

I’m heading to Montreal next weekend for Adam’s bachelor party. We’ll be drinking, playing poker, driving, and likely going to a strip club. IG doesn’t really understand the appeal of the strip club, nor has she ever been to one, nor does she believe all the things I told her could possibly happen at strip clubs (I made a few up). Basically, she told me that there needs to be rules for guys at strip clubs with girlfriends. Considering she’s never been, she was in no position to right the rules, and I was def not going to write my own rules, so we solicited Makeyou, who has frequented quite a few clubs in her day, to write the rules.

1) If the law doesn't allow you to do it, then don't do it. (sex w/the strippers)
2) No lap dances from girls who look like your girlfriend.
3) No lap dances from girls that have the same name as your girlfriend.
4) No lap dances from girls who are saving up to go to school to become the same profession as your girlfriend.
5) You are not allowed to have real conversation with the strippers or ask them what their real name is.
6) You can't buy yourself any lap dances (someone else will have to do that for you)
7) You can buy your single friends lap dances
8) You can buy your married friends lap dances, but only if they are over 45 years old w/o kids
9) You can not buy guys w/GF's lap dances, (its part of the "chicks before dicks" code)
10) If one of your married or single friends buys you a lap dance, you can enjoy it, but you can not cop a feel
11) If one of your married or single friends buys you a private dance in the back room, you can enjoy it, but you can not get off, in any way shape or form
12) If one of your married or single friends buys you a private dance with more than 1 girl, your girlfriend must be present
13) If the bouncer to the private room whispers in your ear the dance is $100 for 30 min, and then you can negotiate w/the girl for anything else, you are not allowed to negotiate with the girl for anything else.
14) If a stripper straps a dildo to your head, you can not penetrate her with that dildo
15) If a stripper calls your girlfriend from your cellphone, you can not yell in the background "give me my pants and cellphone back."
16) At no point in time are you allowed on a stage.
17) At no point in time are you allowed to remove any clothing.
18) You are not allowed to do body shots off a stripper, or drink a beer being pored down her body.
19) If you spend over $200 while at the strip club, you are not allowed to complain about spending money on me for the next month.
20) If you spend over $500 while at the strip club, you must buy me something of equal or higher value.
21) If you win $1,000 gambling before you get to the strip club, the above 2 rules still apply.
22) When you get home from the strip club, you must tell your girlfriend "It was nothing special, and none of the girls were as beautiful as you."
23) You can't get so drunk that you can't remember the rules.
24) Just because you can't remember them doesn't mean they don't exist
25) When you get home from the strip club, you are not allowed to roll over and go to bed, you must prove how horny those strippers made you.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Denver 07

Denver Trip Quarterback

Three weeks ago I decided, quite spontaneously, to go to Denver to visit Josh, who I had seen for more than 3 hours since HIS WEDDING.

Here are the very few pictures:

After deciding to pay an extra $150 more than I could have to get to Denver, in order to A) go at the times I wanted and B) go from the airport I wanted and C) fly directly, I arrived at the airport at 12:45pm for my 2pm flight to Denver. By 4pm, I was on my flight to Chicago, after being involuntarily bumped due to a 15 PERSON OVERBOOKING. United is the airline, if you were curious. They offered me 1st class on a 6am flight the following day (and a free round trip ticket in the lower 48), but I told them I’d rather get to Denver tonight, so they flew me through Chicago (and still gave me the free ticket).

My flight to Chicago was first class, which was nice, but nothing like other first class flights. The food was a choice between a Turkey sandwich, a tuna something (not tuna fish) and a chicken salad. When I was asked to order, they had no turkey left (this was an 8 person first class and they didn’t have enough food), so I ordered the chicken salad, picked some of the green stuff, ate the chicken and slept for the rest of the flight.

In Chicago, I talked to Makeyou, BK, and Nick, my Chicago friends about A) possibly taking a trip to the airport to hang w/me for 4 hours and B) where I should eat dinner in the airport. I wondered around for about an hour, contemplating a massage, a diabetes test, and playing in the kids zone, before deciding on Chili’s for dinner and deciding “I’m not eating alone” After 6 hours of no conversation besides asking airport information personnel where their favorite place in the whole airport was to eat, I was anxious.

When the waiter took me to my table, I passed by 2 other single travelers who had just been seated at small tables next to each other. I walked up to my table, grabbed my menu and approached these 2 people. “Any interest letting me join you and making this a bit more friendly of a meal?” Both people happily agreed and we spent the next hour chatting about our resumes (where we were from, going, what we did etc) and then we 1 by 1 left, as our planes started boarding and our frozen margaritas were finished. I’m quite happy I took the initiative and did this, one of the highlights of my trip. By 10:20pm central I was on my way to Denver and by 11:45pm mountain time, I’d landed.

To summarize: I paid extra to get to Denver on the flight I wanted, got bumped off that flight, arrived 8 hours later and another $30 lighter and got a free ticket to do it all over again before next year. Additionally, I missed out on seeing Josh’s wife (who left early in the morning for a wedding, and my friend Jamie, who also left town Sat morning. At least my luggage made my original flight and was waiting for me when I got to Denver. I love United.

Josh and I got up around 10 and headed to his bosses house for some tailgating lacrosse style. That means bloody mary’s (eeewwww) and beer and bbq at 10am during the semifinals of the NCAA lacrosse tournament. Josh’s boss is the greatest living lacrosse player and a really nice guy as well, so we drank and joked and played some 3 on 3 against Josh’s boss’s 10 year old kid and friends. We also mooched some luxury box tickets for that evenings Colorado Rapids MLS game. Headed home, played poker, made calzones that Natalia had prepared for us, and went to the game.

The game was boring, typical American soccer. The hero of the game missed 3 point blank headers before he actually scored the games only goal. If he had not made that 1, he would have been the games goat. Additionally, he killed any offence from the visiting LA team by faking enough of an injury to get one of LA’s players a red card. Great game. The whole time I’m watching Landon Donavon jog in place pretending to care about the game w/o really putting any effort into it. I’d say he was better at 16 than he is right now.

After the game, we headed back to Josh’s to change, grab a drink, grab a cab and head out downtown. We met up w/my friend Sarah, who I met about 2 years ago on a trip out there. Its nuts how you can become good friends w/someone from another city just b/c you visit that city all the time. We went to the Front Porch which was dominated by highly attractive women when we got there and ugly men by the time we left. Josh grabbed my phone, called someone, and told her that she doesn’t really exist until he’s met her. We hit LIT’s pretty hard and ended up playing poker back at home at 3am, raising the blinds every 4 hands (I do not recommend doing this).

Sunday, was our active day. We drove to the foothills of the mountains to a place called red rocks, which is an amphitheater built into the side of the mountain. Josh has seen numerous concerts there, and just walking the stairs of the venue was tiring. We looked up the mountain from the top of the seats, and decided to keep climbing. My legs weren’t tired but I was extremely out of breath after every 50 foot climb. We likely climbed around 1,000 feet from the bottom of the amphitheater to the top of our climb, and you could see about 80 miles. Def nice day outside.

From there, we headed into the mountains (via car), stopping to put our feet in freezing ice melt class 5 rapids, on the way to Black Hawk / Central City, which is an old mining town turned into a gambling venue / locals market. Twas very interesting considering we felt like we were the youngest guys there by 20 years. Josh won $50 playing $5 min / $5 max blackjack. There was a new feature I’d never seen before, called “streaks” where you bet how many hands you think you can win, and it actually pays out pretty well. I guess this is one way to combat people keeping a “count.” You can’t bet more than $5, but if you win 4 in a row, it pays 18 to 1.

Anyway, from there we headed home, played more poker, went out to dinner w/one of Josh’s former co workers, discussed how hard he works compared to how much he gets paid and how I’m a bad worker because I take some free time at work, had another drink or three and called it a weekend. It went pretty quick, but I’m pretty glad I went considering I only see the kid once a year.

Flight back was peaceful, though I had to sit through “Catch and Release” which is a pretty terrible Jen Garner movie where her fiance dies and 3 weeks later she's hooking up w/his friends.

Stat of the Week:

I purchased 11 drinks including $3 LIT’s at the Front Porch and my tab, after tip, was only $52. In NYC, especially at a trendy restaurant, that would have cost me well over $100.

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me:

While I was out of breath at around 6,000 feet up, Brazil announced this week, that its soccer team will no longer play games in Bolivia because its stadium is at an elevation of over 11,000 feet and is a huge advantage to the Bolivian team that is used to those conditions. Brazil proposed to FIFA that a maximum of 8,200 feet be used, though I still can’t imagine playing at that altitude. In Peru, there is a soccer stadium at an elevation of over 13,000 feet.

Aggravating/Enjoyable Travel Note of the Week:

As I checked into my flight, I was given the option of upgrading my seat to a better seat for $44. I figured that I was going to get on the flight, and that an upgrade to an exit row (likely one that didn’t recline), was not worth $44. Had I taken the upgrade, I would likely have made my initial flight. If only when checking in had the computer said, you are 2nd to last on our list and will likely get bumped, buy the upgrade.

Quote of the Week I:

“Do you kill yourself for your job?”
“Yes”
“Then wouldn’t you say that you’ve raised yourself to be killed?”
- Ben arguing with Josh about the merits of working hard, and how it contradicts Josh’s vegetarian belief system.

Quote of the Week II:

“I’m either going to get our waitresses phone number, or I’m going to get spit in my food.”
- At the restaurant after friendly conversation w/the waitress

Ten Things I Think I Think
1) I think soccer in the US stinks. The whole game is played at midfield, the best players don’t touch the ball, the play is uninspired, and the players are cry babies. However, I think the new made-for-soccer stadium in Denver is pretty cool.
2) I think progress is very slow in my current book “The Progress Paradox.” I think I may skip to the end.
3) I think its fun making friends in other areas of the world and staying in contact, especially if you do get to see them every once in a while. I think it can be much more exciting than making new normal friends…for some reason.
4) I think Josh’s scale said I was over 200 lbs. I’ll confirm that at the doctor next week, but if that is the case, I’m joining a gym again.
5) I think I’m not allowed to go to a strip club until I receive the strip club rules. I think I’ll have them before Montreal.
6) I think Denver in the summer or late spring is sooo much better than it is in the late fall / winter. It’s easier to get around and I even like the mountains more w/o snow than w/snow.
7) That being said, I think I need to out there this winter and try snowboarding again. Its been almost 10 years since I first tried it, maybe I’ve adjusted to my awkward body boy now.
8) I think I’m having a ton of trouble thinking of new things to say
9)

10) I think these are my non Denver thoughts of the week:
A) My job is stressing me out.
B) I found out this week that Montreal is a week after I previously thought it was, so disappointed.
C) I have no free time.
D) I’m going to the doctor for a checkup for the first time since high school next week. E) This lady on the train today with a Caribbean accent was screaming about being saved and how Jesus died for us. She yelled for about 2 minutes spraying bible quotes before stating “Jesus died for you. Who else would die for you. Your mother wouldn’t die for you. Your father won’t die for you. Your husband or wife won’t die for you.” That said, I just had to cut her off. “What kind of family did you grow up in? My mother and father would definitely die for me, and when I have kids, I would definitely die for them. If I get married, I would definitely die for my wife. Are you married? You wouldn’t die for your husband? You wouldn’t die for your kids? What kind of person are you? Jesus would be very disappointed, thank the lord he died for your sins or you’d never get to heaven.” I was energized for the day ahead.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

This is Why I'm Hot

New website feature:

Sometimes, I get the strangest songs stuck in my head. This week, its been “This is why I’m hot” by Mims. From now on, I will be decoding the lyrics of these songs, so that everyone can understand why the song gets stuck in my head.

This is why I’m hot
I’m writing a song about why I am so attractive
This is why(x2) uh
The following verses will describe why
This is why I’m hot (uh)
I’m writing a song about why I am so attractive
This is why I’m hot(x2) whoo
I’m writing a song about why I am so attractive
This is why(x2)
The following verses will describe why
This is why I’m hot
I’m writing a song about why I am so attractive

I’m hot coz I’m fly (fly)
I am an attractive person because I am very cool in a way I can’t describe with words
You ain’t coz you’re not (mims)
You are not attractive because you are not cool
This is why x2
The following verses will describe more about why I’m so attractive
This is why I’m hot(x2)
This next verse, will describe some of the many ways in which I am attractive

Verse 1:
This is why I’m hot
I open this verse with a line which describes what this verse will be about, standard writing procedure.
I dont gotta rap
I don’t have to sing to be attractive
I can sell a mill sayin nothing on the track
My listeners are not the smartest people, I’m so attractive, that I can sell them music with no words and they will buy it.
I represent New York
If you did not know, I was born in NY and call it my home
I got it on my back
You can tattoo your loyalties to your back if you want to as well
And they say that we lost it
Some other rappers are saying that I’m not a true New Yorker
So I’mma bring it back
But I’m going to show them, this is my town.
I love the dirty dirty
I like the south, including Miss, Texas, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana.
Coz niggas show me love
There are many African Americans down in the south, and they really like me too
The ladies start to bounce
In the South, there are plenty of women who like to dance
As soon as I hit the club
And they start dancing as soon as I show up
But in the Midwest
In another region of the country, known as the Midwest, things are slightly different
They love to take it slow
They dance slower, line dances and square dances mostly
So when I hit that shit
So when I’m in the Midwest, usually at a party with lots of girls and that usually leads to sex
I watch um get it on the floor
The girls like to dance in the strangest ways, and I like to watch
And if you needed hyphy
If you want to act crazy and energetic and possibly get out of hand
I take it to the bay
I move on to San Fransisco
Frisco to Sac town
Actually, anywhere between San Fran and Sacramento, you can get hyphy
They do it eryday
Any time, any where in that area, you can get crazy
Coppin to Hollywood
Sometimes, when in Hollywood, I like to take the collar of my shirt and pop it up
As soon as I hit LA
And when I get to Los Angeles
I’m in that low low
I rent a car that has an altered suspension, usually we ride really close to the ground
I do it the cali way
This is how everyone in California who’s cool drives
And when I hit the Chi
When I go to Chicago
People say that I’m fly
People tell me that I am especially cool in a way they can’t describe with words
They like the way I dress they like (they like my) my attire
Though sometimes they tell me how good I look because of my clothing
move crowds from side to side
And they get out of my way when I walk around, no one gets in my way
They ask me how I do it and simply I reply
Everyone in Chicago is so impressed with me, and they ask me how I do it. This is what I tell them.

This is why I’m hot
I’m writing a song about why I am so attractive
This is why(x2) uh
The following verses will describe why
This is why I’m hot (uh)
I’m writing a song about why I am so attractive
This is why I’m hot(x2) whoo
I’m writing a song about why I am so attractive
This is why(x2)
The following verses will describe why
This is why I’m hot
I’m writing a song about why I am so attractive

I’m hot coz I’m fly (fly)
I am an attractive person because I am very cool in a way I can’t describe with words
You ain’t coz you’re not (mims)
You are not attractive because you are not cool
This is why x2
If you didn’t’ hear the first time, you need to be fly in order to be hot, write it down, I’m only saying it 5 more times
This is why I’m hot(x2)
The following verses will describe more about why I’m so attractive

Verse 2:
This is why I’m hot
I open this second verse similar to the first one, with a line which describes what this verse will be about, standard writing procedure.
Catch me on the block
If you want to find me, I’ll likely be in the neighborhood I was raised, just hanging out
Every other day, Another bitch another drop
When I’m there, I’m usually doing girls, and doing drugs, drugs you take orally. Or I may be discussing another low ride car, it is unclear. Lets see if you can figure it out.
16 bars, 24 pop
My song, like every other rap song, has 16 bars per verse. 24 pop likely refers to really bad music
44 songs, nigga gimme what you got
I put this line in for tone and rhyming purposes, it has no real meaning at all
I’m in there driving cars
Self explanatory
Push them off the lot
I buy many cars too, because I’m rich
I’m into shutting stores down so I can shop
I’m also so rich, cool, hot, that they close stores for me, so I can shop for my cute Chicago clothes without distraction
If you need a bird I can get it chopped
I can also get you 36 ounces of cocaine
Tell ne what you need you know I get ‘em by the flock
If you let me know what kind of drugs you need, I can get as much as you want (many birds equals a flock)
I call my hommie black meet me on the ave
My friend Black is the guy I call for drugs, he’ll meet me on the main street of town
I hit wash heights with the money in the bag
I’m from the Washington Heights section of New York, on the Ave, I’ll have a bag of cash to meet Black and pay for the drugs.
we into big spending
My friends and I really like to spend money on anything
See my pimping never dragged
I’m am one of the best pimps in the world, top notch pimp here
Find me with different women that you niggas never had
I can get girls that most of you could never get, and you’ll see me with them constantly
For those who say they know me know I’m focused on my cream
Most of all, I like cash, lots and lots of cash, everyone knows that
Playa you come between you’d better focus on the beam
If you get in the way of me and my money, you’ll have a mounted laser sight gun pointed at you
I keep it so mean the way you see me lean
I’m not a very nice person when I’m doing drugs.
And when I say I’m hot my nigga this is what I mean
As a good writer, I conclude my verses with a summarizing statement. In this verse, I discussed a few of the reasons I am so attractive.

This is why I’m hot
I’m writing a song about why I am so attractive
This is why(x2) uh
The following verses will describe why
This is why I’m hot (uh)
I’m writing a song about why I am so attractive
This is why I’m hot(x2) whoo
I’m writing a song about why I am so attractive
This is why(x2)
The following verses will describe why
This is why I’m hot
I’m writing a song about why I am so attractive

I’m hot coz I’m fly (fly)
I am an attractive person because I am very cool in a way I can’t describe with words
You ain’t coz you’re not (mims)
You are not attractive because you are not cool
This is why x2
If you didn’t’ hear the first time, you need to be fly in order to be hot, write it down, I’m only saying it 5 more times
This is why I’m hot(x2)
The following verses will describe more about why I’m so attractive

Verse 3:
This is why I’m hot
My introductory statement, followed by the body of my verse.
Shorty see the drop
I’m telling the listeners to look at my low ride car, and how cool it is
Ask me what I paid and I say yeah I paid a quap
If you ask me how much this car costs, I would tell you it cost 4 oz of any drug
And then I hit the switch that take away the top
My car is so cool, it is a convertible
So chicks around the way they call me cream of the crop
Because of how cool my car is, girls really like me
They hop in the car
They like me so much, they just jump right in, because the car has no top on it
I tell them all aboard
I’m very excited these random girls jumped into my car
We hit the studio they say they like the way I record
I usually bring random girls that hop in to my car to the recording studio, most of them are impressed by this
I gave you black train and I did you wrong
I wrote two other good songs, black train and I did you wrong, and at the studio, I’ll sing them
So every time I see them and they tell me that’s their song
Now, whenever these random girls see me, they tell me that my songs are their favorite songs
They say I’m the bomb
And these girls now really like me a lot.
They love the way the charm hanging from the neck
I’ve got some necklaces, I’m not ashamed, they are masculine, and these random girls who hop in my car, love my necklaces.
And compliments the arm which compliments the ear then comes the gear
My necklaces look really good with the tattoos on my arm, and the tattoos look good with my masculine earrings, and my masculine earrings look really good with my clothing
So when I hit the room the shorties stop and stare
I look so good, that when I walk into any place, everyone stops what they are doing and stares at me and my nice clothes, earrings, necklaces, and tatoos
Then niggas start to hate rearrange their face
But the men are jealous of how pretty I am, and they give me dirty looks. They want to start fights because of how pretty I look compared to them
Little do they know I keep them things by waistside
But they don’t know that I have no idea how to fight, so I carry a gun on my side
Son I reply, nobody gotta die
I tell these guys that they don’t have to die for being jealous at how pretty I am
Similar to lil wiz coz I got the fire
And I remind these guys that Lil Wiz died from gun shots, so they should watch themselves.

This is why I’m hot
I’m writing a song about why I am so attractive
This is why(x2) uh
The following verses will describe why
This is why I’m hot (uh)
I’m writing a song about why I am so attractive
This is why I’m hot(x2) whoo
I’m writing a song about why I am so attractive
This is why(x2)
The following verses will describe why
This is why I’m hot
I’m writing a song about why I am so attractive

I’m hot coz I’m fly (fly)
I am an attractive person because I am very cool in a way I can’t describe with words
You ain’t coz you’re not (mims)
You are not attractive because you are not cool
This is why x2
If you didn’t’ hear the first time, you need to be fly in order to be hot, write it down, I’m only saying it 5 more times
This is why I’m hot(x2)
The following verses will describe more about why I’m so attractive


What I learned from this rap:
It appears that in order to be hot, you need to be fly. In order to be fly, you need people to tell you that you are fly. In order to get people to tell you that you are fly, you need to be able to sell records with no words, dance well in the south, drive a low ride car in LA/Hollywood, dress well in Chicago, wear earrings that match your necklaces that match your tattoos and your clothes, keep a gun at your side, buy a car that has a convertible top so girls can just jump in, and piss every guy off by always having hot girls with you that they could never get. I’m almost there.

Acknowledgements:
Much thanks to the Urban Dictionary www.urbandictionary.com. Without your help, none of the above would have been possible.

Here’s the music video:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Happy Unbirthday to Me

Today, I turned 10,000 days old.

While yesterday, technically, was the 10,000th day I was alive, the way we calculate birthdays is usually the day after it should be. You turn 1 day old on your 2nd day, you turn 1 year old on your 366th day (for me 367 b/c of leap year). To explain, no one celebrates their birthday the day before the date they were born just because technically that day makes 1 full year, everyone celebrates on the date they were born, which is 1 year and 1 day after they were born, and therefore, you turn 10,000 days old on your 10,001st day.

While its been over 25 years since my last 10^n birthday, and I'll likely never have another (I don't plan on living to 275 years old), it only took me 3.5 months to record my first 3 10^n birthdays.

My niece is 16 days old (this is her 17th day), and she's had more 10^n days than I've had in the last 25.

Oh, by the way, my 2nd niece was born 2 weeks go. Lilah Ruth Fishman. Here's a picture of her and her sister. (the cutest picture ever). Click it to see full sized.




















And one more of me, just so you can all like me more.


Monday, April 30, 2007

Train Karma

There’s an ancient belief that if you donate platelets, your train / subway karma improves. I know you might think this is a recent belief, but archeologists have found man Phoenician wall drawings on the subject. This theory appeared to apply to myself. Over the last 2 years, as I’ve donated platelets 20+ times, the frequency with which subways would arrive within 2 minutes of me getting to the platform would spike substantially in the few weeks after donating. The karma has gone beyond just catching trains, to timely switches, bumping into people, no annoying beggars, etc. However, for some reason, my good train karma did not appear this week after donating on Wednesday. I must fix this before the universe alters its course and the apocalypse is upon us.

Here are some things that went wrong on Friday (Amtraked it down South):
- My train in the morning to work took forever.
- In times sq, where I switch trains, the ground was flooded and the roof was dripping.
- Train down to Penn to catch Amtrak took forever. Luckily I left enough time to make the train, but that didn’t leave enough time for….
- ICE CREAM. The line was too long, and I was too late to get a milkshake for the 3 hr ride down.
- The train was sold out, so I had to scramble to find someone to sit next to (some people sat on the floor).
- I hesitated taking the seat next to a cute-ish girl and when I finally got the courage to turn around and sit next to her, some genius 45 year old had taken the seat.
- My Ipod was having major skitzo episodes, it kept freezing, and skipping to the next song after 30 seconds.
- I tried to give up my seat to someone, in order to improve my karma, but he was getting off and wouldn’t take it.
- For the last 45 minutes of the trip, there was a crying 4 year old.
- I was starving when I arrived because of the no milkshake

Things I thought about while on my first ever Amtrak ride (I like driving):

I think that was my first time in Trenton (even if only in the train station), since a 5th grade class trip I likely took to the state capital w/my mom as a class chaperone.

I think the dining car was like a frat party and some HS kids on line were getting harassed by an after work crowd that was slowly and expensively getting progressively more drunk, obnoxious, and aggressive. I know exactly why I’m not nor was ever in a frat.

I think I hate when old women dress fashionably . I get excited when I see them from behind or on the train or walking in front of me, but when I inevitably walk around to see how cut they are, I am utterly disappointed and almost outwardly upset. I think this extends to ugly people in general.

I think J-Z big pimping would be an awesome karaoke song. How great would it be watching some awkward white Jewish boy screaming at the top of his lungs “drug um, love um, f*ck um, leave um, because I don’t f*ckin need um.

I think T-9 texting will help improve spelling for young kids across the country. I think I’m still learning how to spell words properly because of it. Though I really hate when a normal word isn’t in T-9, or maybe my spelling isn’t close. Then I’m forced to guess using the normal ABC setting, and just spelling it phonetically, so that the receiver can hopefully figure out what I’m saying. Kinda like the Phoenicians and their platelet karma cave drawings.

I think I should do power hour more often, especially down the shore this summer.

Finally, I think the ice cream truck next to my building is getting some business now that it’s warmer. For a while, I thought I was the only person supporting it. I felt it was necessary to support it, so that it wouldn’t go and find a new place to park.

The Craziest Road Crossing Ever (Don't Mess w/India)