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...

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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.