Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Open House, Bollywood, knocked up and well-hung bulls?

So... it's not looking like the open house this Saturday will be in too much danger of being overcrowded to say the least. Oh well, I can't say I'm too surprised though.

I went door to door and knocked on the doors on my floor, the floor above me and the floor below me... which people have told me I'm crazy for doing, but oh well. "You can't do that in New York," "It's not a dorm," and similar assertions have come up in conversation, often.

I'm pretty sure most people thought I was trying to sell them something (possibly wacky weed?) and ignored me. The very few people who did answer the door were actually pretty nice, but most said they probably wouldn't be able to come by.

The realtor in the leasing office said she might swing by... but she likely has to at least say that as part of her job description. (That's right, I mentioned it to her when I paid my rent.)

There were a couple of people who seemed pretty cool and sounded like they may swing by... so we'll see.

One person asked if I was the apartment who's always throwing parties on our floor... so that means I'll definitely have to find that apartment at some point.

Either way it will be fun. Lisa will be here, and a few other people I happen to know in the city may swing by, so no matter what we'll have a good time breaking in the apartment...

Much to the chagrin of my future-cop friend, I left a little mini-flier on my floor (which has about six rooms)... he thinks I'm going to get killed. I guess if he's right, I owe him a coke.

Also, I forgot to write in my last post about a debate from this past not-so-sobertastic weekend... How many people have really read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen?

My buddy from Philly, we'll call him, ummm... either Filly or Thanatos (I'll let him decide), says that everybody has read the book. I told him he was crazy, since the book is old and smelly. Plus, I noted that I hadn't read the book, but apparently I don't fall into the "everybody" category since I'm either too cool or I'm an avid non-reader... something like that.

So I decided to punch a hole is in feeble theory through an impromptu drunken text-message survey... I won and now he totally owes me a KFC dinner. Mmmm...

Though, out of curiosity, I'm going to put a poll here and see if more than just one in a million people have actually read the entire book. Remember, watching the movie doesn't count - not even the Bollywood version - which, of course, is a musical in case you didn't know.

That's the only version I've ever seen, not entirely of my own will. Though it is where I found my absolute favorite Bollywood song ever!

This song is actually on my iTunes and frequently appears on my iPod... it's just so fun to sing along with the refrain. I'll have to put learning the dance they do onto my "to-do list."

So also, my friend from Alabama totally got knocked up... but it was by her husband of several years, so it's not too off-the-wall I suppose.

They're starting to get a nursery ready, and I suggested they consider a mural similar to the one they painted in Carla and Turk's nursery on Scrubs...

Anywho, they are both great and I'm totally happy for them. They even started a blog, which I've added to my "blogroll" to the right.

File this one under totally random... apparently the high school I went to spent $8,000 to put a giant, anatomically-correct (read: well hung) bronze bull in front of the school a while ago, and apparently someone just bajanked it.

Sidenote: I've always used the term "bajank" as a synonym for stealing... but according to, its definition is "The act of intercourse with a girl who is loose, and odorous." I guess we all learn something new everyday. I like how for the word "bajanked" to be appropriate, the girl in question needs to have been "odorous." I guess that's to prevent any confusion.

So, back to the bull, they're saying it could have either been pranksters from another school, or scrappers looking to make money by junking the bronze.

Sadly, I'd bet a KFC dinner that ish is headed for a scrapyard, if it's not already at one.

Well, whether folks show up or not, the apartment is really starting to look clean and orderly. I've got most everything put away somewhere... except for about 25 or 30 bottles of booze I still haven't found a home for. Too much booze? Crazy talk! I'll figure somewhere out, even if I have to arrange them on the floor stylishly lined up against the wall of the living room or something. I'll figure it out.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bullets from a fun weekend...

So some friends were in town this weekend and we relaxed, had a few drinks, behaved ourselves and philosophized about the current state of the civilized world and whatnot.

Well, sort of.

Another way of looking at it might be that we drank all weekend and went all over town from bar to bar causing varying degrees of trouble. We really did go all over the place, so I'll just mention some of the more random things (that I can remember)...

* So bar hopping was a little interesting when we were near NYU... because they tend to card more. Normally presenting ID isn't an issue, but when I recently applied for my New York state driver's license they made me surrender my old license... leaving me without a picture ID.

What I did have, as far as something government-issued that had my birthday on it, was my draft card.

In case you were wondering, about half of the bars on Bleecker Street near NYU checking ID at the entrance let me in using my draft card (draft cards don't have pictures on them in case you didn't know). The other half hate America.

It definitely made for some interesting conversations with the bouncers, most of whom had not registered with the Selective Service System (despite the fact that the law says, with a few exceptions, all males 18-25 must register). Then again, we were right by NYU, so I shouldn't be terribly surprised I guess.

Overall though, it didn't come up too much, since there wasn't too much carding throughout the weekend.

* We went to one bar that had a family of mice living behind the bar... but don't worry, I'm pretty sure they were friendly mice. The bartenders were friendly too, even though I could tell they were a little miffed when they came back from the bathroom to find me heading behind the bar trying to catch the mice. I figure they would make good pets, right?

They were also none too pleased (but still nice) when I pretended to try to get a drink from the Corona lava lamp... come to think of it, they had the patience of saints. Hmmm, if any of us remembers the name of the place, we'll have to go back.

* We went to the home of the best General Tso's chicken in Chinatown for lunch Saturday. Next time I go there, I'll have to get a side order of something we noticed that kind of stuck out on the menu... "duck's blood with yellow chives."

Part of me says it will probably be inedible, like the jellyfish we got there last time, but the other part of me is just fascinated, so we'll see what happens with that...

Sidenote - our fortune cookies were served to us on a bed of sliced oranges... which I had never seen before, there or anywhere else.

* I was exposed for the first time to Concrete TV, which is glorious. Oversimplified, it is this public access show in New York where all kinds of totally random scenes are mashed together into these crazy montages and set to music.

The clips are all over the place, they range from scenes from Barney to people getting run over by cars to porn scenes to newscast snippets to absolutely anything you can imagine under the sun. Hell, I think they had a snippet from JEM and the Holograms.

This is just one random sample... DO NOT WATCH THIS AT THE OFFICE! (along with the random stuff, there's naked folks interspersed...)

An old roommate from USF who lives in the Upper East Side had the DVDs of the show. it was great. He even had one episode that was entirely comprised of essentially just people getting hit by cars and set to a cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic "Crosstown Traffic" and Chumbawamba's "Tubthumping" (I get knocked down..., that one).

For some reason, (though admittedly we weren't even close to sober at that point) I couldn't get enough of clips of people being hit by cars. I couldn't stop laughing and was in tears watching it... the other guys might have been a little worried at how much I was laughing at those clips.

I was kind of like when Homer had to watch the Troy McClure video of car crashes at traffic school ("Here's an appealing fellow... in fact, they're a peeling him off the sidewalk.") Everybody else is mortified and Homer is cracking up ... "It's funny cuz I don't know him." Truer words were never spoken.

* I'd be sad if I forgot to mention that Lisa and I resumed our epic Blades of Steel rivalry. My Toronto Maple Leafs, of course, dominated his feeble Montreal Canadiens.

* We did go to the nipple-burger bar near where I work, but nothing crazy happened. The bartender from before wasn't there then. We just had some uber-cheap PBR's and hung out, it was relatively early and thus quite.

* We also had some beers at the microbrewery under the Empire State Building... that was kind of cool. FYI -they have really good cheese fries. We also learned there's a KFC right near the Empire State Building too, which is comforting to know.

* We went to the site of the old CBGB's punk club, which is now an ultra-trendy designer clothes boutique catering to the (with those prices, apparently well-to-do) hipster crowd. The situation is really kind of sad.

Along with the stunningly overpriced shirts, they sold mint condition used records selling for around a $100 a piece. Some looked pretty familiar, since I have copies at my apartment (though admittedly many are not in good enough condition to be considered sold as "collectibles" like theirs). They also sell antique (read: used, and old as crap) stereo receivers, like the 1975 hand-me-down receiver I use. They ranged from $500 to $1,000. The same ones probably sell at Goodwill for $10... but the world is filled with very, very stupid people with too much money... so why not try to get some of it, right? I'm going to try to sell the store my receiver and maybe some records too and see what happens with that.

* I really need to remember to bring my camera everywhere with me. Today's subway ride home was interesting, to say the least. Toward the end of the ride, a high school drumline and group of dancerettes got on the train... which isn't too strange... unless they're all dressed in hospital-themed costumes. The musicians were all wearing scrubs, and the dancers were all wearing matching naughty-nurse outfits (maybe it was good I didn't bring my camera then... since they were all teens...). The teacher/band director was wearing a white lab coat and stethoscope.

One stop away from them getting off, they just randomly decided to all start drumming and salsa dancing on the train... it was incredibly strange - and loud.

There was also a homeless guy on my train for a while begging for money... which is also not too unusual... but he decided to keep things interesting. He basically approached guys individually and would half whisper "Hey, you look like you've got a big dick," and then he would present his change cup. (I assume it was an attempt to flatter some money out of riders. I know I was flattered... but not flattered enough.

I assume either he had some serious issues in the head or that he was totally faking it... sad either way I suppose.

Besides, I had already exhausted my money-for-strangers-on-the-train budget for the day by giving a dollar to an a cappella group that did a really fun version of "Stand by Me" on the 6 train earlier.

The 6 train is on the East side... so the East side apparently gets performances of golden oldies while my train on the West side gets homeless people commenting on my girth... I guess that's the difference between the East and West sides.

Well, I guess that's all I can think of off the top of my head... it's bedtime anyway... we didn't go to bed terribly early these past couple of nights to say the least.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I took a quick picture of the view from where I work...

This is the view from an office right across the hall from mine. We're on the 21st floor.

I, of course, have no view. My coworkers and I have an interior "office" with no windows. I put the word office in quotes because we actually work in a large storage room that has been retrofitted with cubicle walls.

Anywho, that sums it up for this post... an old buddy of mine is coming into the city this weekend so I need to go do some serious liver prepping!

P.S. I checked my MySpace and there are no new professional basketball players in my friends list yet... :(

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A couple of quick things from today...

I actually hadn't planned on posting anything today, but in New York City, weird stuff just keeps happening....

So I checked out this dive bar I've been meaning to try for a while. I noticed it near the office and had read good things about it online. It was actually pretty cool. It was laid back, with cheap food and drinks (cheap Pabst by the can - always a plus). I got the summer intern in the office to come along with me too, which was cool.

I'm not going to lie, the first thing I noticed when I walked in was the bartender, who literally had breasts the size of your head. Judging by her look and accent, I want to say she was like Croatian, or some other kind of Eastern European.

Now, a ridiculously endowed bartender is really not too uncommon, but this bartender wasn't content hiding the gals away behind her sports bra (masquerading as a "top")... she periodically let them out for air, which was a surprise to say the least.

We were first treated to them as we tried to order some cheeseburgers from her.

I guess we stumbled on the bar's secret code, apparently cheeseburgers = ta-tas. Makes sense to me.

So we order the burgers, and the bartender (in her broken English) tried to explain to us that they were small, like sliders. We were confused, so she decides to use a visual aid and tells us they're "very small, like these..." then she proceeds to flash us and point to her nipple as a size example.

She didn't lie. Sure enough, they were indeed nipple-sized sliders.

I'm pretty sure after that she showed them off to various other groups up and down the bar.

I'm going to hazard to guess she generally does well in the tips department.

Even without taking into account the exhibitionist bartender, it was a cool little bar with good prices and we shot the shit with the other guys who came in and had a lot of fun, so I think I'll be going back. Plus the bartender was a goofy bonus.

I wonder what was going through my coworker's head after I invited him to this bar? I'm sure he thinks I'm the pinnacle of class, right? Oh well...

So after having a few drinks at the bar, I decided to go grocery shopping on the way home.

All I have in my kitchen is some spices, booze and some water in the fridge. I figured it's about time to start stocking up on some actual foodstuffs and the like.

So I finally went to the big grocery store in my neighborhood... it was kind of strange though. Until today, I've been the lone non-Dominican everywhere I've visited in my neighborhood... but at this grocery store I was the lone Gentile.

At least that means I probably was getting a decent deal, right? (I'm going to hell, and I know it... oh well...)

My main purpose was to get the basics for cold cuts, so I went straight to the deli counter.

It was a little counter run by a kid with a yarmulke... after I noticed that, I noticed that I was totally the only guy in line without one.

I was the lone naked-headed weirdo. I wasn't styling and profiling at all... maybe I'll have to add one to my wardrobe.

It turns out it I was at the kosher deli... I didn't realize until I was heading out that it wasn't the only deli in the store. There was apparently also a whole other regular deli counter on the opposite side of the store.

No matter, that just means I'll just have much more blessed sandwiches for the next couple of weeks.

Also, it turns out the grocery store is where all the beautiful girls in the neighborhood are hiding... so that's a good thing to know.

I'll have to study up on Lethal Weapon II for tips on how to pick up women at the grocery store... though Mel Gibson himself might not be overly welcome at this particular store.

Well, just another day in the city...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The WNBA might be a cheaper way to see Madison Square Garden than a Knicks game... maybe

As I was walking by Madison Square Garden the other day, I decided I'm going to try to see a WNBA game... since I technically have a home team now, the New York Liberty. It seems like it might be a good, and cheaper, way to see an event at Madison Square Garden... though I've heard Knicks tix aren't too hot a commodity around here...

I actually think it will be a lot of fun.

So I'm looking at the Liberty's schedule, and there are like no good games for the rest of the season! No, I'm not being facetious either.

I would love to see Diana "Taurasi the Destroyer" Taurasi (she was sent from the future to destroy all comers in women's basketball... but that's a whole different thing) and her Phoenix Mercury, but nooooo... they aren't coming before the end of the season.

I've totally had a little crush on Sue Bird from the Seattle Storm since her days dominating at UCONN.

So are Sue Bird and the Storm coming to New York? Of course not... it's ridiculous.

Some people talk about Lauren Jackson from the Storm a lot too... but psht - she's totally no Sue Bird. Besides, she's Australian and as discussed earlier Aussies can lead to trouble...

P.S. I totally friended Sue Bird on MySpace after I Googled her for a link to put in this post... and I couldn't stop giggling for like five minutes after I clicked the "are you sure" link (no, I'm not drinking... yet). I'd be flattered to say the least if she accepted, but I'll let you all know what happens.

I guess I'll have to get tickets to see the Detroit Shock, and their head coach... Bill Laimbeer! No, I'm not kidding either. Bill Laimbeer, of "Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball" fame, is the head coach of the Shock!

I don't know about you all... but hearing the intro music, and then the actual gameplay music totally sent chills down my spine... I am so playing some combat basketball after this post is up.

Anybody else notice that the balls in the SNES game look a lot like WNBA balls? Coincidence or clairvoyance? Hmmm...

For those who are confused, the game is quite possibly one of the most ridiculous games ever made. Just watch the clip. It is so bad... it's good. Everything in the game is done with the same button, passing, shooting and attacking other players. This of course leads to trouble since the game doesn't always do what you wanted it to when you press "the button," but it is so awful that it becomes addicting.

Anywho... do you all think Bill Laimbeer would sign my SNES cartridge? Dear God I hope so.

I guess there's really only one way to find out...

Well, it sounds like I've convinced myself to try and go see the Shock when they come to town.

He may not be beautiful like Sue Bird, or a terminator robot like Diana Taurasi... but Bill Laimbeer is a pretty damn cool dude. I hear he even played in the NBA some years ago... and made a solid reputation as a "Bad Boy" in Detroit.

Maybe that's why Detroit hosted a WNBA on-court brawl last night...

Maybe they'll bring some brawl with them to Madison Square Garden... who knows?

Either way it should be neat... or at least interesting, right?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I think I'm going to throw an apartmentwarming party next weekend

Nothing too exciting today... but I did decide that I'm going to throw an apartmentwarming party/open house next Saturday.

That totally means I'll technically beat my brother and his wife who moved into their house in January and haven't had one yet. Ha!

I figure I'll extend invitations to the various people I already happen to know in the city, my coworkers and all the people in my building and see what happens.

This way I have a sort of artificial deadline to finish setting up my apartment... and since I find myself being lazier and lazier when I get home every day, I think I really need the deadline.

The apartment is slowly but surely coming together though... I've got the kitchen in usable order now, which is exciting. There are still lots of things to finish before it's "ready to show" though.

Who knows... maybe I'll have curtains on most of the windows by then. So far, I've just done the kitchen. And maybe I'll have an A/C unit by then... if people actually do show up it could get pretty hot in here... but that's only if people stop by of course.

Oh yeah, this was kind of neat... I guess I didn't look completely clueless on the subway on the way home today, which is pretty cool. Throughout the ride a couple of people asked me if I knew what stop the train was at... which is pretty normal... but then a couple asked me how to get to Yankee Stadium from the A line (much to their surprise, it is not on the A line).

Now that I think of it... I hope they didn't think I was a Yankees fan... ewww. Either way, I behaved and didn't make any "vag-ankees" comments (I'm pretty sure they were tourists).

The best part... I actually knew the answer! I even checked the directions I gave them when I got home and they were right. I even knew the name of the train they needed to transfer to and which station they had to transfer at (lucky for them, it was the station we had just passed).

I wonder how pissed would they have been if I sent them to Shea Stadium? The Mets are actually playing there tonight, so that would have made it even more interesting... but that would of course be so wrong of me... and I like to think I'm not a bad person. At least that's what I tell myself.

Someday I'll actually know my way around this damn city and won't get lost every day.

I'm making steady progress. Heck, I didn't make a single wrong turn going from the subway to K-Mart and back today (about two blocks each way... but a victory is a victory). Those of you who know how awful my sense of direction is know that really is kind of a big deal for me.

I'm the guy who still needs directions home from the drunks when he's the DD.

Also, I added a little thing on the right of the page that should show the current front page of the New York Post (if it works right, which is questionable). Their front pages are usually pretty entertaining. They can be hit or miss though... but there are definitely some hilarious ones.

Anywho... back to working on the apartment!

Monday, July 21, 2008

I stumbled on the remnants of Little Italy

So in my daily lunchtime venture to Chinatown, I stumbled upon Little Italy... or what's left of it at least (keyword here being "Little")

As nearby Chinatown has been expanding, it has taken over most of Little Italy... which I guess makes Little Italy kind of like Tibet, right?

What, too soon?

Anywho... after work, I decided to go back to Little Italy and explore some more and sift through the touristy Italian-themed gift shops to look for somewhere to have a nice Italian dinner.

The whole time I was totally imagining what it would have been like 75-100 years ago when it was really an Italian neighborhood and organized crime was taking hold (of course my imagination looked eerily similar to the flashback scenes in the Godfather II... but whatever)

Holy crap... no wonder Little Italy is shrinking... except for a couple pizza places, the average price for a meal was about $20! They're pricing themselves out of existence. I could walk a block over and get some amazing Chinese for a third of that... but I wanted to try some damn Italian.

I did find a little dive bar in Little Italy that was kind of fun. The folks inside were nice and we heckled the evening news together... but the beer I got ended up being six bucks... which is not conducive to hanging out and throwing back several drinks. Plus, they didn't have food.

I eventually found a relatively cheap little place for food and wandered on in. The sign outside advertised a beer special, and the windows were decorated with "wine and beer" written in three-foot tall letters.

When the waiter eventually comes by, I ask what they have on tap.

"We don't serve alcohol," the waiter tells me. That should have been a hint to leave... but I'm not that smart.

I give him a baffled look and point to the aforementioned "beer and wine" window... about five feet away from where I'm sitting.

He looks at it, kind of surprised, and tells me they're having liquor license trouble... Hmmmm...

So I figure whatever, and that not ordering a real drink will end up saving me money anyway. The food was actually pretty good, but overall the service was slapstick slow.

It literally took about 15-20 minutes to get my change back after paying the bill. I think they thought I would give up and just leave the waiter am 80 percent tip... despite the fact he was awful and slow.

What should have been a 30-minute dinner ended up taking a little over an hour.

Oh, and by the way, I was literally the only person in the dining area for all but the first five minutes I was there, so they weren't too busy or anything (another hint I should have picked up on).

As I was waiting (and waiting) for my change, I couldn't help but think "this gets my lowest rating ever... seven thumbs up."

On the way home, I wandered around the Bowery and SoHo and got lost and came across a free Onion box... which I hadn't seen in a while.

The front page story about Obama for some reason just cracked me up. It was about "Time" publishing the most definitive fluff piece on Obama ever.

I actually burst into loud laughter on the train... and got some pretty strange looks to say the least. Most people just sort of keep quiet and to themselves on the train.

I think I also mortified the guy on the other side of my paper (most people on the train will intently read the back of somebody else's newspaper or brochure no matter what it is if it's in their line of sight...)... while I was reading about Obama... his view was of one of the fake columns on why controversial art exhibits are great.

It makes reference to several (I hope) fictional exhibits featuring things like "a guy in the East Village who's going to vomit Cheerios into a piggy bank and smash it open with his penis" and seeing "someone drink glow-stick fluid and vomit onto a canvas covered with pictures of Nelson Mandela."

It was a very strange and hilarious little column... and I might have laughed out loud while reading that one too.

Well in honor of the neighborhood the post is about, I'll close with a random fun Overheard in New York post from Little Italy...

"Fat Italian guy in velvet running suit: Everybody fucks... We all fuck... But did she have to fuck a guy with tits?!

--Little Italy"

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A quick tour of my "under construction" apartment

My apartment is starting to look like someone lives here... it's crazy.

Along with tons of other random things, I spent a good part of today trying to make all the moving parts in the ubercade-lite (or entertainment center for weird folk) work right. It should all run now... except the Atari... I didn't even bother to mess with that one yet. I'll eventually see if that one has anything left in it.

Heck, I barely got the NES to work. I had to repeatedly try every classic trick in the book (most of you know what I'm talking about) to get Batman to run smoothly... including run it with the Game Genie.

I was eventually successful though, and consequently killed about an hour and a half of my morning fighting the Joker and his goons in honor of the new Batman movie...

I also rigged it so the NES comes through both the TV and the floor speakers, so I was rocking out to some awesome classic Nintendo music.

I tested the record player out too with some Elvis... "Hound Dog" of course.

As for the radio... it works but all I can get are the weird cha-cha music stations that are always playing in the bodegas and such in my neighborhood.

Well, here goes with the down and dirty tour of my new apartment.

Here's a quick view of the whole living room as it is now...

Here's a quick view of the hallway... this is what you would see walking straight through my front door (the living room is immediately to the left as you walk in)...

Click this picture and look at the top right to get a better look at my absolute favorite piece of art. Ever.

You can sort of see the "guest room" through a cracked open door in that picture. Right now, it is basically filled with random boxes and junk... and a naked twin bed.

I only actually have one full set of twin sheets.. I don't even have a mattress pad for the guest bed yet. I was at K-Mart getting some random things for the apartment and I was pretty tempted to get the most ridiculous set of sheets for the guest bed I could find. They had a nice set of Hannah Montana sheets for pretty cheap.

You can see the Scotch rack to the right in that last picture. Here's a better look at it in a picture taken from the end of the hall toward the front door...

I've started finding places for the booze, like the Scotch rack, a wine rack in the kitchen and my super-secret place for all the top shelf stuff... but as you can see in the photos there is still a lot more stuff to find a home for. I'll figure something out for the booze though. No need to worry there.

Here's a picture of my upgraded sleeping arrangements...

And for good measure, I'll throw in a pic of my massive kitchen...

In case you're wondering... yes, the refrigerator door hits the sink if you try to open it all the way.

Well, that's my home sweet home. Hopefully some of you will come see it in person. Just tell me when is good for you. I've already got a variety of visitors tentatively lined up for parts of September, which should be a lot of fun.

I'll try to have sheets for the extra bed by then... however, I make no guarantees on what or who might be on them...

Well, I'm off to enjoy a second night in a real bed!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My stuff came this morning!

The movers brought my stuff this morning, so I've spent the whole day unpacking and trying to get the apartment all set up and organized. Working on that all day (combined with no A/C) has got me pretty tired.

I was hoping to have everything all laid out and the place looking like a furnished apartment before I went to bed tonight (instead of the warzone it looks like now)... but that's totally not happening.

I'm too excited about going to bed (keyword being bed) so I shan't be postponing that too much... I can't say I'll miss the awesome setup I've been rocking for the past week...

That floor is at least as hard as it looks... but it's all good because now I've got a bed... I also have a shower curtain and a bathmat too! It really is the little things sometimes.

Everything came without much trouble. A couple of random Wal-Mart glasses broke... but I was probably going to get rid of them and their matches anyway. A person only needs so many sets of (non-bar related) glasses anyway.

Speaking of which, the bar made it all in one piece... now I just have to figure out where to put it all...

You know what I just though of looking at the picture? It looks kind of like an alcoholics version of the Sgt. Pepper's album cover. How about I give a prize to whoever can correctly name the most bottles in the picture?

I've also managed to get the ubercade-lite set up for the most part. This incarnation features the NES, SNES and Xbox. The Atari is also there... but I haven't tricked it into working... yet. So I'm not fully counting it yet.

I also still need to hook the speakers up... I'm stalling on that since they have to use copper speaker wire (I hate messing with speaker wire with a passion).

On the bright side, I guess that's a good thing since I'm hooking them into my circa '75 stereo receiver (it was my dad's in college). Gotta love the hand-me-downs. If it ain't broke... right?

I at least finished opening all the boxes, many of which haven't been opened in eight months. There were plenty of surprises, like the all-too-common thought of "I thought I threw that P.O.S away... I guess I moved it across the country instead. Go figure."

I thought that several times as I dug through boxes.

Not remembering what was in what boxes made it kind of exciting though, like unwrapping presents from me to me. It was totally Christmas in July.

Tomorrow is all clean up, finding places for stuff and "decorating."

Well, it's time to sleep -- on a bed!

As for showing off the apartment... no matter its state, I will definitely show off the new apartment tomorrow night on the blog before I hit the hay.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm a member of the 21st century again, hooray!

So my apartment is now hooked up to the Internet... so that's a big plus.

I did my last post sitting in a downtown Starbucks with my little white Macbook... yeah, I was totally that guy.

Getting hooked up to the Internet is pretty much my big news of the day. I did some wandering around my new neighborhood and found if I go about six blocks south I hit an area packed with stores, restaurants and pretty much anything else you can think of. I even found a Staples... right next to a little titty bar... well, actually judging by the signs it looks more like a big titty bar, but whatever.

Come to think of it.. immediately north the Staples is an elementary school and playground and immediately south of the Staples is the bar... hmmm. I wonder if they have guest speakers for sex ed?

Sidenote... the playground is open to the public and along with basketball courts, which are always fun, they have some mad crazy four-square areas painted. Mmmm... four square.

I also picked my favorite nearby (within a block or two) restaurant, aptly named "No. 1 Restaurant." They specialize in Chinese and Tex-Mex. Makes sense, right? They share very similar cultures and cuisines, right?

It is run by a Chinese family, and I've had their Chinese a couple of times and been pleased. Originally I hesitated to order from the Tex-Mex side of their menu, but today I tried a shrimp burrito from there and it was honestly pretty damn good. I thought it was better than Chipotle.

Their main competition was disqualified. I'm pretty sure I brought a cockroach home with me from the Chinese restaurant across the street from them. I've only seen one roach in my apartment so far and it was wandering around the bag I brought home from there... I haven't been back since.

I also walked to the George Washington Bridge... which I could walk across to New Jersey if I ever had the urge for whatever reason.

I thought this was kind of funny when I saw it... it kind of ties back to my last post, about the All-Star Game. I saw this clip in a post on a sports blog done by the New York Daily News and thought it was pretty funny.

Apparently Mr. Met wasn't too excited about Yankee Stadium hosting the big game and decided to make his feelings known during the parade through downtown...

Also, I saw a few more of those "rodenticide" posters today, all at Penn Station and all saying the station had been sprayed just last week... so maybe that's why I hadn't seen them before. That's the only other place so far though.

The movers should bring my stuff Saturday (Oops, I had Friday in my original post... I guess it was wishful thinking, hehe), which I am so excited about. I can't wait to have a bed! A couch! My bar! A microwave! A damn shower curtain! My bar! The list could go on and on. I can't wait to start getting my place all organized and not spend my evenings on the hard floor.

That means the doors will be open to anyone wanting to see the big city pretty soon!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The MLB All-Star through the eyes of a commoner - a photo essay

So I got home from work Tuesday and figured, "What they hey... why not hop a subway train over to Yankee Stadium where the All-Star game is tonight?" I decided to throw on a Devil Rays shirt and go check out the scene since I hadn't seen the stadium and the area around it yet. No matter what I figured it would be pretty neat... despite being a lowly commoner with nowhere near the means to be allowed anywhere near an entrance of course. Oh well...I mean, how often am I going to be a 15-minute train ride from the All-Star game, right?

So I hop on the train and it literally was only like 15-20 minutes max to get to the Yankee Stadium station. So that was pretty neat. You can see that they support everybody's favorite Belgian brewer, :(, on their sign. I read today that they might sell off Bud's theme park assets, including Busch Gardens... which is just plain sad. Oh well...

Sidenote, some of the people exiting the station were really weirded out that I was taking pictures of "them," even though I was just being an uber-tourist and taking pictures of the Yankee Stadium's subway station entrance/exit.

The station itself was not too different than any other station... save for one thing that sort of caught my eye...

I have never seen one of these at any other station, not even the main touristy ones like Times Square or at the main West Side stop for Central Park. Apparently the Yankees are just that special that their stop gets to be rodent-free?

I wonder if there are signs like that near Shea Stadium? I bet not... how could there ever be any rats in Flushing anyway, right?

I guess it's all kind of a moot point anyway, I haven't seen any rats in any subway stations or on any tracks yet... oh wait... except for the PATH Train tracks in Jersey. The PATH is the subway that connects New Jersey to Manhattan (remember Journal Square?... I vaguely do). I saw lots of mice on the PATH track at Newark Penn Station.

Don't tell me you're even the slightest bit surprised at the only place I've seen subway rodents so far... because I know you're not.

So back to the game (or outside at least for commoners like myself). New York's finest were out en masse for the All-Star game. They were everywhere, literally in the hundreds. I couldn't get a picture to convey the massive police presence. There were also rows and rows of police cars and police vans on lots of nearby streets too.

It wouldn't surprise me if there was a lot of crime in other parts of the Bronx last night, since it seems every cop in the Bronx got pulled for "show of force" duty at Yankee Stadium.

Not that I would have been able to afford one, but that many cops make buying a scalped ticket not the most appealing thing. I did see a deal go down though at one point... it looked like enough cash changed hands to fund a small Colombian guerilla force. One guy offered me a ticket for $675. I almost debated the idea of skipping food and beverage for the next month or so... key word being "almost."

There were tons of people trying to get tickets. One guy asked someone heading into the game for a ticket, and the guy on his way in jokingly said "maybe for $5,000." The guy wanting a ticket said "sure," totally stunning the first guy... who thought about it for a good bit but decided to go in the game and not ditch his family... which could have made for an awkward All-Star game experience for all parties involved.

For non-ticket-having folks like myself there were some neat things and free stuff... most notably gobs of free candy. "The House that Ruth Built?" ... sure, Baby Ruth.

Baby Ruth was out in force with people like this guy giving out Baby Ruth's by the handful... it was awesome.

I don't want to know how many I had, but I do know my stomach was getting a little off... though that definitely could have been a result of being surrounded by thousands of Yankees fans... either way...

I did see a couple of other Devil Rays fans pass by in the throngs, which was kind of neat.

The area around the stadium had plenty of bars and memorabilia stores and such. I like when a stadium has an actual district around it to keep folks busy and entertained. There was one store selling baseball cards including various Rod Carew cards for $20-$30... weird... he's inescapable.

There was also a little fanfest kind of area set up with plenty of ways to drop some cash, but I just wandered and snapped a shot. At least there was a kind of cool mural behind it.

The new stadium being built is right across the street from the old one...

Hopefully I'll be catching some Devil Rays games there in the future (I already have plans to catch one at old Yankee Stadium before it's demolished), but who knows how much tickets to the games at the new stadium will cost, especially since George Steinbrenner is apparently greedy (shocker, right?)... Apparently some folks, like this guy wandering around the throngs, aren't too pleased with the idea of replacing the old Yankee Stadium... oh well..

So after wandering around I decided to find a bar near my apartment and watch the game since one of the biggest names in the game is from Washington Heights... Manny Ramirez... who is affectionately nicknamed ManRam... which I maintain is the worst nickname ever, but whatev I suppose...

So I wandered to the "dos por uno cervesas" bar down the street and parked myself for the game. It was actually pretty fun. They spoke all Spanish for about 90 percent of the time. However, I was able to gather that they, like all good-hearted people, hate E-Rod. They say he should help the Domican Republic more after natural disasters, like many other big-name players do... they also hate him for the other normal reasons too.

One guy, for whatever reason started talking trash about Julio Lugo, which was pretty funny... and especially random since he wasn't in the All-Star game... he didn't speak English, but I could talk with him a little in Spanish and gather that apparently Lugo hits into too many double plays for his liking... and he hates him with a passion because of it.

We bonded over me being a Devil Rays fan... though Navarro totally made me look like a bitch with all his "awesome" plays and strikeouts... oh well... I've been a Rays fan long enough that I'm used to a little ribbing.

Overall it was fun, and the guys were all nice and I think it will be a good place to hone my Spanish skills.

Anyway... dinner time... I think I'll grab something in Chinatown, mmm....

Monday, July 14, 2008

Back in the city after a super fun cruise... in my very empty apartment...

So I've got lots of random things to write about from the past week and a half, but I'll probably keep each thing fairly brief since my head is kind of all over the place today... but here goes...

So I did eventually got back to my apartment in Washington Heights which is a plus. It just involved the AirTrain, subway and a shuttle bus because the tracks were being repaired (it took me a while to figure that one out) The train stopped before my stop and I was just sitting there listening to my iPod and the conductor had to yell at me to get me off.

How was I supposed to know they were arbitrarily going to stop four stops earlier than every other day... the signs plastered everywhere on the train and in the stations? Psh, please... reading is for the weak.

When I got home, the apartment was just like I left it. Barren. It has a nice echo though, and you can't beat the interior decorating... the fresh coat of white paint on all the walls and doors goes quite well with the white/slightly off-white linoleum floors.

It has electricity and water and the stuff I had in my car when I was in Maryland and the Pentagon... so mainly just clothes and toiletries essentially... and whatever useless junk I decided I needed that took like, two years to unpack out of my car two weeks ago when I first moved in a couple weeks ago.

So I have made a lovely bed on my linoleum floor made out of my winter clothes... it's not terribly comfortable, but the price is right. I talked with the movers this afternoon and they said the soonest they could get me my stuff was Saturday, and I said sign me the hell up. My butt can't roll with the hard floor too much longer. I think my tailbone is bruised, but I maintain that is from my buddy's Irish Pub birthday bash Saturday night in Tampa (in the wee night hours between getting in from the cruise and flying out to JFK)... possibly more on that later...

The lack of a bed? I can roll with that... there are a few other things lacking that I'm kind of having to work around... like a shower curtain (I made kind of a wet mess in the bathroom this morning to say the least), or any kind of curtains or blinds for that matter. Every room has a window, and nothing covering them. I am pretty sure I mistakenly showed everyone on Broadway the goods this morning.

The only place not visible to the outside at the moment is the bathroom and in the hallway between the two bedrooms, if I close their doors. That's what I'm using as my makeshift bedroom at the moment.

I'll have cable and internet come Thursday, so that's a plus. I'm actually still at the office trolling things like Facebook and updating this to keep myself distracted.

Oh yeah, and apartments in the city rarely come with air conditioning, mine included. Normally I would just open the windows, but along with having no curtains or blinds, they also have no screen to obstruct the view of me getting dressed or to keep bugs out.

I know where to get screens though, so that shouldn't be a problem... they were just closed Sunday.

So that's essentially the apartment situation in a nutshell barren bomb shelter for the moment, lush with cable, internet and household goods Saturday... things are starting to come together...

So the cruise was a blast to say the least. Along with my buddy from Philly who I roomed with, there was more than 20 or so family and friends on board. I love my family, we do our best to always have a good time and this trip was no exception.

While there are of course plenty of ridiculous stories, I'll just throw a few fun ones in...

The main one that will likely haunt me for the rest of my days is my chance to be an Elvis impersonator in front of probably somewhere between 500 and 1,000 cruisegoers.

It started innocently enough with showing up drunk to karoake... which is nothing unusual, right? Somehow I ended up winning, by default an Elvis karaoke competition. The real winner quit... because he was much, much smarter than me.

Basically, a cute girl said I should sing an Elvis song, and logically I thought to myself, that sounds like a great idea, not realizing at all what I was getting into.

Next thing I know, I wake up the next morning with a plastic bag by my bed... and my first thoughts when I saw it were "What the hell is that?"

What it was, was the bag they gave me after I won the Elvis competition with a little iPod thing in it with big headphones (I had to return the iPod thing and headphones) and very detailed instructions for my role in the final production of the cruise.


The instructions said I was to learn the song on the music player (a medley of Jailhouse Rock and Hounddog) and be ready to perform it on stage during the final production of the cruise with the orchestra playing and dancers... without lyrics on a monitor. It was part of a show where they trick about nine other drunks into playing "Legends" in their final show, including folks like Britney Spears, James Brown, Frank Sinatra, etc...

I got to wear a white studded jumpsuit, an Elvis whig and some pimptacular sunglasses and perform (hammered of course).

The important thing is that it's over and... well, that's about all that counts.

Actually it was pretty fun, but also very strange to say the least.

Sidenote... after I "won" the Elvis Karaoke competition, I was at the ship's dance club called, no joke, "White Heat" and this cougar starts kind of dancing with me and hitting on me saying she liked my singing of Elvis. We started talking and when she came to the gripping realization that I was born long after Elvis died she said she was too old for me... to which I looked straight at her and drunkenly responded in a very confident-meets-sleazy-70's-swinger kind of tone "Well... I beg to differ." (remember, I was drunk enough that night to enter an Elvis karaoke competition) That conversation didn't last too much longer, but at least she got a good laugh.

Also, if anyone tells you anything about me in a topless dancing competition, just remember they're full of lies.

Actually, unfortunately, the above sentence is a lie... my uncle roped me into a hairy chest/dance like an idiot competition one afternoon, which was pretty bad.

I was eliminated after the pole dancing competition in the second round.

The best part about the hairy chest competition of course was that they videotaped it, and made a little montage music video of it and looped it on one of the closed circuit channels in all the cabins (along with some other events), clearly to make sure there was no escaping the eternal shame. They also sold DVDs of their montages of events from the week... unfortunately between that and Elvis, I won't ever be running for office.

I'm also a little worried about what kind of photos from the week will be ending up on Facebook, hmmm...

Oh yeah, the Irish Pub party I mentioned earlier was hellafun to say the least. You know it is going to be an interesting night when the DD pulls up to pick up the last person (the birthday boy as it were) and he has a round of triple shots of Irish Whiskey already set up and ready to be downed.

I don't remember too many specifics, but it would not surprise me if I fell on my tailbone at some point during the evening...

Well, I guess that's it for now... As you can tell I try to keep things boring...

I'll try to post again once I get the Internet going on in my apartment.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I got myself an apartment today... and genuine NYC parking ticket... I feel like a real New Yorker now, geez...

First and foremost, I have an apartment, it is awesome (and surprisingly spacious) and come August the doors are open and folks should totally come visit.

I drove there today and unloaded my car of everything I've been living off of for the past six months in Baltimore and D.C.

In doing so, I was reminded why I don't plan on keeping my car in New York.

So, I have my car in the city for not even 24 hours before I got a parking ticket. That's efficiency, I'll tell you what.

I got a parking ticket for breaking the Alternate Street Parking Law... everybody's familiar with that, right? Of course you are.

Twice a week on each side of the street, there is a time set aside for the street cleaners to come by and clean that side of the street... this creates an hour and a half window for the parking police to go hog wild. (I.E. Monday and Wednesday from 11:30 to 1:00 one side of the street has to be cleared and the same for the other side on Tuesday and Thursday... after some searching I found a sign explaining it on another street... I assume there was one somewhere on the street I was parked on too)

So folks are supposed to know (and most locals do apparently) these two windows each week when they need to move their cars and which streets are impacted when.

When I parked there were cars in front and back of me... in fact, the guy in the car behind me made fun of my feeble parallel parking skills...

"Wow, you really are from Florida, aren't you?" he yelled from his car and chuckled (friendly-like)

I can't even park in a straight-spot... so parallel parking, psh... hell to the no. Some of you have probably had the joy of watching me try to parallel park (and consequently the shame of having to buy new underwear afterwards due to peeing yourself from laughing)

Sure enough though, I come back from taking a load of stuff up to my new apartment to find that all the other nearby cars had moved to doublepark on the other side of the street and find a $45 ticket right on the hood of my car. Awesome. I guess it's kind of a rite of passage for the city, right?

Sure... something like that...

It totally just reminded me of the episode of the Simpsons where Homer's car ends up at the Twin Towers... and his flashback to his trip to the city.

My trip has actually been pretty awesome so far, unlike poor Homer's though... no pimps or C.H.U.D.s yet... as far as I know...

In case you're wondering, the area they are parodying is right where I've been staying. He starts at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, which is the subway stop I've been taking to work every morning. That portrayal of here is pre-Guiliani though. Locals refer to the 90's as the "Disneyfication" of this area into the tourist-friendly area it is today.

Oh well, that's why I'm taking the car in Florida when I go down for the family reunion/cruise and not bringing it back.

I picked up the car the Lisa's and brought it into Midtown late Monday night and by the time I leave early Wednesday I figured out it will have cost me more than $100 to have my car in the city for that time taking into account pleasing the law, paying garage fees and of course the ubiquitous tolls. I'm not counting gas money at all.

Also, I did a little more exploring of my new neighborhood, and it looks like I will definitely get to practice my Spanish... which I think will actually be neat.

I looked at a sign for a nearby bar special: "Dos por uno cervezas, 5-10, Viernes!" ... I had to reach a little to remember that Viernes = Friday.

Se donde voy a ser muchos Viernes!

Well...I'm heading for Florida first thing tomorrow... and I don't really know if I'll post before the cruise... we'll see... so if I don't, I probably won't post for another week and a half... so have a good week and a half - I know I will :)