Monday, December 25, 2006

Sick and tired

The antibiotics I am taking for my bronchitis have totally fouled up my stomach. I will spare you the gory details of my ailments, except that I hardly had energy to make my bed before my parents came over for Christmas Eve dinner. Instead of going to my aunt's house, Jason stayed with me to watch the Law & Order marathon on TNT and chow down at a diner. Double bah humbug. I hope I am well enough to go to Chicago on Friday :(

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

...Or For That Special Someone



Thank you, J, for sharing. This will provide countless hours of entertainment. The video, that is ;).

UPDATE 12/23: YouTube ran into some copyright snags, so I have changed the link to NBC's SNL shorts, the uncensored version.

Keep Christ in Christmas - Buy Bible PJs

Got any Bible-thumpers on your Christmas list? Get them Army of God pyjamas! What a fantastic synergy between the religious right and post-modern consumerist materialism.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Bah humbug

For some reason, I am just not in the holiday spirit this year. Walking around midtown, especially near Rockefeller Center and Times Square, induces homicidal tendencies. All the stores are really crowded. Luckily, I did most of my holiday shopping online or just gift certificates.

The most Christmas-y thing I have done so far is buy an ice cream maker for my company's toy drive. Kids are really sophisticated these days. Instead of asking Santa for Barbies or Matchbox cars, they requested picnic tables, XBOX 360's (way over the price limit), and kitchen appliances. I left her a note that said that the elves made an arrangement so that she could exchange it at Bed Bath and Beyond if it didn't work.

It doesn't help that I have a raging cold that felt like the flu yesterday. Thank God for Nyquil and Dayquil.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Overheard at B&N

Little Girl: (holiding merchandise) Mommy can I have this coloring book?
Mom: (looking at magazine rack) No.
Little Girl: (pointing to cover) Oh, that's Gwen Stefani!
Mom: How did you know that?
Little Girl: Can we pleeeeeease buy this?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Life Likes a Box of Chocolates

I love perks! Today a mysterious package arrived at my desk. A vendor with whom I had worked sent me a nice assortment of Jacques Torres chocolates. There goes my plan to avoid gaining weight over the holidays...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Everyone Has AIDS, AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS

It's interesting that World AIDS Day coincides with receiving the results of my first HIV test. I'm happy that it came back negative, not that I was worried. It's sad to think that a lot of people have not been so fortunate, but many people seem to be under the impression that this isn't a problem anymore. We are all at risk of suffering from HIV while there is no cure, whether we catch it our we watch our loved ones waste away.

[cue music from Team America World Police - the Lease The Musical scene]

Sunday, November 26, 2006

You Shouldn't Have, No Really

According to Holidays with Style, ahot gift this year is the Wellbox. Who would really pay $1600 for a home Endermologie unit? In addition, if you receive one, what is the giver trying to tell you? Really people, give to charity or something more productive.

I still have to write up a Xmas list, or at least drop hints for my parents and bf as to what I want. A Wellbox will not be on it, neither will Twisted Sisters' A Twisted Christmas.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Gobble gobble

This was my first non-traditional Thanksgiving meal. Jason's mom made paella. It was great! We went through one and a third bottles of the botrytis semillon. Maybe I should get an importer's license.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Isn't that (nauseatingly) cute? - The Redux

Unless you've been in an ashram, you have been subjected to the media blitz of TomKat: The Wedding. They snubbed the Mayor of Bracciano, and they did not wave to the locals. Italians are warm, they just wanted a hello. Sheesh. Even though the whole Scientology schtick is too weird for my taste, I think the vow to never go to bed without discussing differences is sweet and practical.

Not sure how I feel about her dress, but I did love her sapphire earrings.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Isn't that (nauseatingly) cute?

In more cybertrolling news:

My ex now has a live-in gf and a dog. He is such a neat freak, the dog hair probably makes him insane, especially when he is studying. His new flavor-of-the-month is younger, and I bet she's footing the bill for their living expenses (he was trying to get me to do the same). Coincidentally, she looks like the model in the StaySlim commercials. Isn't that special?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Proof I Can Bake Too!

This weekend my friend F turned 29. She didn't want to do a big-deal shindig, and she didn't want her mom slaving over a stove for four days either (it's a genetic trait in Italian women that kicks in during pregnancy). So we ordered in heaps of Chinese food, and I baked a cake, a Bundt no less. It was not from scratch; I used the souped-up (or rather, puddinged-up) version on the side panel of the Duncan Hines Devil's Food box. I guess everyone liked it because the next morning I got the following text message:
Yay. Cake for breakfast! thanks again!
Last month I also baked Jason the apple cake, that was supposed to be for Rosh Hashanah, but ended up being more of a Harvest Cake. At first I thought I burned it, but it was just that the sides and top turned very golden-brown. Brought some of it to work and gave some to mom. It was very moist and crumbly, but it tasted good. I also brought in our homemade pumpkin bars after Halloween, and they hardly lasted two minutes during our morning meeting.

Yeay for baked goods, especially when they come out of my oven.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Crack(berry) addict

My boss asked me to upgrade my work mobile to a Blackberry. While I'm not against the concept, I hate the effects its availability has had on society. It makes me almost violent when people are furiously typing away way after the plane boarding door close and we're on the tarmac. Plus, I went on a date a few years ago with a guy who checked it every two minutes, and needless to say, he did not get a second date. I communicated this to my boss, and he is OK with me not being tethered to it at all hours. I also informed him of the steep upgrade costs since I was already under contract for a phone.

Long story short, I caved and took it. So far, I have been restrained. It's my new toy. Let's see how long it takes me to either chuck it against the wall or check into rehab.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Yawn

About 98% of my office is in Lost Wages for the rest of the week. The place looks like a ghost town, slightly better than how the former Andersen offices looked when they met an untimely demise 4 1/2 years ago. This is even better than being on vacation.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Scrumptdiddlyumptious

J's friend A is a chef/restaurant consultant. Since he has been working in Baltimore, a couple of us descended on a mutual friend's apartment to feast on his cooking. I was sous chef :). Everything was so good, I left nothing on any plate.

With gale-force winds attacking the northeast, I took Amtrak down to DC. The Regional seemed to take forever, especially with three yakety-yaks sitting in front of me. With only 700 miles to go until I hit silver status on Delta again (not like it's worth it), I really wanted to fly, but I most likely would have never left NYC. I ended up missing the opening hours for the Bible exhibit at the Sackler; the rest of the gallery is very nice though, especially the free admission.

Sunday we went to Wegman's, to which I have not visited since after the Finger Lakes Wine Fest last year. Yeay for Wegmans!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

There's Always Next Year

The Mets just lost. Damn. This would have been the perfect year to win, being 20 years after the Amazin's. The Card's catcher looked like a big frog when he burst into the air after that last slider.

Well, we did better than the Yankees.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What If ... Maybe Not

I admit it, I troll around weddingchannel.com. Yes, I do look up registries and sign guestbooks for my friends, but every once in a while, I cyberstalk people I know but from whom I am definitely not getting an invite. People from work, acquaintances, ex-boyfriends, et alia.

Two and a half years ago, I was quasi-set up on a blind date. A co-worker mentioned he had a roommate whom I might really click with, but never followed up. So I found him on Friendster and started chatting him up. We had a lot in common - travels, interest in Soka Gakkai, IT jobs - and our emails were really long. So we met up at El Cid for tapas, one of my faves where Monica and I got fabulously sloshed. It went pretty well. I was trying to avoid meat during Lent, and he was adhering to Atkins, but we both compromised a little bit. I got the feeling he didn't like my dropping the f-bomb, and when I mentioned I went to Cornell, he told me at first he went to Harvard, but then said he attended Polytech. I don't consider myself a "label whore" and don't think I pass as one, so that was a little odd. At times conversation was a little stilted, but it definitely is not something that I laugh about with friends now. I wasn't seeing fireworks, but I was intrigued. It had potential.

Then work and travel got in the way, and he got a bad cold. We never managed to meet up again, and then Ross happened [shudder]. I always wondered what happened; our mutual friend told me he hadn't been dating anyone else. Apparently, destiny also got in the way for him a few months later since he met his now-wife in Vegas. My cybertrolling recently brought me to his wedding website. He seems happy, albeit with less hair. Maybe I'm a little superficial, but he doesn't look as good as when I met him.

I have no regrets, and I harbored no fantasies about us maybe reuniting or whatever. And I love love love my J (I know he's reading this :) ). It's just interesting to see how life pans out for people.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I-Don't-Need-a-Bag Lady

[climbing up on the soapbox]
Yes, I am a tree hugger. I care about the air we breathe and the water we drink, and I want to be able to appreciate the beauty of our natural surroundings for years to come. Those of you who know me know that I recycle obsessively, but a lot of people forget the reduce portion of the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle equation. It's harder for us to fathom this since, unlike many other nations, we are never asked to pay a nominal fee for items like plastic bags and ketchup packets, but reducing the amount of things we consume means less energy is used to produce more, and there is less waste - how many of you have seen plastic bags blowing in the wind? It kinda looks like urban airborne jellyfish.

There are really simple changes to behaviors to reduce consumption. Next time you go to the grocery store, try not to take a produce bag for items that don't need it. If you are walking around the corner, ask the clerk not to double up shopping bags on non-heavy items. In fact, bring already-used bags, a cart (they're trendy now!) or a sturdier, reusable bag. I saw a lot of people in Sydney with green canvas totes specifically for this purpose. Refrain from taking plastic cutlery with your take-out if you have reusable forks and knives handy. If you're getting a drink at a fast-food restaurant, try to drink it without a straw and a plastic cover. If you buy one item at a store and you already have a bag to put it in, chuck it in your existing bag sans new shopping bag (word to the wise - make sure you take the receipt!).

Repeat the mantra after me - I don't need a bag.

Thanks for listening.

[dismounting from the soapbox]

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Hungover Down Under

Last night I had some people over to enjoy some of my imports from Oz. Well, not all of them I personally brought over, some were courtesy of Empire Liquors on Queens Blvd. It was great. Ten to twelve people killed over seven bottles of plonk (Aussie for booze). My downstairs neighbor started banging on her ceiling around 1:30am, so that's when the party started to die. I was fine until the rose, then J noticed I was teetering around. Missing dinner and cutting back on carbs will do that to me.

Unfortunately, I woke up at 7am today feeling like someone hit me on the back of the head with one of the empties. Tried taking Advil and yakked that right back up. J had to scrape me off the bathroom floor. We then passed out for six more hours, and I woke up as if the headache never happened.

We're off to meet J's big bro (from his frat) and do touristy stuff in New York. I never get sick of traipsing aimlessly through Central Park and looking at exhibits at the Met. The $20 entrance fee doesn't even faze me; the museum is so huge, and the last couple of times I have entered for free with a family pass.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Burnt Out of Shape

I am really tired today. Did not sleep well last night. My job is not stressful, yet I feel out of sorts. Plus, I just took a step class, in my perpetual effort to slim down, and could only manage 40 minutes of it. Granted I had 2 risers, and the old hag next to me said "You know, it's none of my business, but you should really take one of those off, you look ridiculous." Bitch.

I need to get my ass in gear, I'm so out of shape. Think I just about got rid of the 5 pounds from Oz, but there's still the 5 I gained from travelling. And then the 10 that I wanted to lose on top of that.

I'm so depressed. At least my nails look halfway decent...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Back to the Grind

Here I am back in the office. Again, I am struggling to reacclimate to Eastern Daylight Time. My workload is not too bad so far, it's a little busy but expected since I haven't been in for a week. I need another vacation.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Overboard

It really sucks to have a cold and get seasick at the same time, especially when accompanied by a splitting headache on one side of the head. Off-roading and canoeing in the rain in Ketchikan probably were not the wisest activities, but my brother really wanted to so I took the excursion with him. I doubt I will ever do another 4WD trek again. Not only is it not so eco-friendly, it's not very lumbar-friendly either. If you are not holding onto the "oh-$hit" bar in the fron passenger seat, you really get tossed around.

A little bit about the Norwegian Star: this is a massive ship. It holds approximately 2,900 passengers. It has not felt too crowded, though., but the stewards assured us that every cabin is full. The decor evokes old-school Vegas, over-the-top tack, particularly in the Grand Atrium and the corridor carpeting. Rooms are really small, but the balcony my parents had was key for having a good view of the scenery and was worth the higher price. Food-wise, it ranges from mediocre cafeteria to decent restaurant fare. It's not quite five-star gourmet, but they offer choices from Cooking Light that taste good and won't bust the waistline. The highlight was the Chocoholic Buffet late Friday night. My dad claims I ruined his evening by not being able to locate him, which was all but impossible with the hoardes of people lining up to ogle the chocolate sculptures and scarf enough sugar to kill a shipful of diabetics, but I nonetheless enjoyed my chocolate mousse and petit fours solo and went back to bed.

Victoria, BC, is a delightful city. We endured a bus tour with a wannabe-Borscht-Belt-comedian and then enjoyed tea and the Fairmot Empress Hotel. On the way out, I even got a stamp in my passport - two pages to go!

My Filipino stewards were really friendly (half of the on-board staff if from the Philippines), one a little too friendly. Initially he thought my brother was my husband (hello? Separate twin beds?), but when I corrected him that my boyfriend sat this trip out, he felt more emboldened to be more affectionate. He told me I looked beautiful when I was in a ratty t-shirt and sweats, and when we gave him a tip he gave me a big hug. I was getting blips on the gaydar. Who knows...

The flight home was a nightmare. Despite being among the first off the boat, avoiding the baggage claim by hauling our own crap, the flight still managed to take off an hour late and then had to circle over Newburgh, NY for 30 minutes. The cab line was over an hour long, so I took the AirTrain. It's good to be back in my own bed, although occasionally I am thrown off-balance by hallucinations of the boat rocking side to side.

Tomorrow is back to work. Delightful.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Alaskan Adventures - Juneau/Skagway/Glacier Bay

Many people may not realize that southeastern Alaska, where all the cruise ports are located, is a temperate rainforest. In addition, the reason we got decent prices on this last cruise of the season is because the "rainy season" has commenced. In Juneau we hiked a few miles next to the Mendenhall Glacier in the rain. The tour guide was very knowledgeable about medicinal uses for the local plants and had good dimples, so that was a decent distraction. Our bike tour down a mountain in Skagway had to be truncated by 5 miles because the cloud line was 10 miles up the mountain. Biking in fog downhill is pretty neat, but most of the scenery across the valley was hard to make out.

Glacier Bay was by far the highlight of the trip. The boat is only allowed to go a couple knots per hour, but it was perfect for getting good pictures and looking for wildlife. We even saw the Johns Hopkis Glacier "calve", meaning that big ice chunks broke off of the glacier and tumbled into the water. It makes a noise similar to rolling thunder heard from several miles away. Awesome! The water in Glacier Bay ranges from blue-greenish to brown because of the sediment in the glacier.

Three more days to go...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Cruisin' for a bruisin'

Today we embark on a week-long cruise to Alaska for my parents' 35th wedding anniversary. My mom fell down the stairs and broke a rib last week, and is currently taking "happy pills" (Vicodin) just to get through the day and then sleep. Of course we didn't have travel insurance (not that it would have made a difference - my friend's honeymoon to France last November was not refunded even though train stations were being firebombed and thousands of cars were torched every week).

The flight over was interesting. There was a gaggle of German uber-butch lesbians - cropped hair, unshaven armpits, facial hair, the works - as well as a bunch of Ukrainians who apparently have never seen a stick of deodorant. Friggin Delta would not upgrade us all on miles - I swear to God, why do I bother maintaining silver status if I can never get any benefits out of it?!?!? Will try to take care of upgrades at check-in on the way home.

For reasons I don't really want to go into (besides mom's broken rib), I have come to the realization that I really don't want to be here. Hope the week goes OK.

Friday, September 15, 2006

In Memoriam

Found out some sad news today. A friend of a friend, who moved around the corner from my place a few months ago, and whom I met before my birthday this year, died suddenly over the weekend. I feel terrible. Had been meaning to email her and some other friends while I was away, but was just sh*t with email for two months. I had been planning on taking her out in the nabe and also going out for brunch with her and my two other friends, including our mutual friend. She had a condition that can cause life-threatening complications, but this came as a shock to everyone.

Rest in peace, E.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Settling In

I've been back for almost a week. It's great to be home, but I miss Australia a little bit. I still have a list of things to do when I go back:

  • snorkel the Great Barrier Reef (sharks and stingrays be damned) - will take my brother and cousin on this excursion
  • go to some of the other beaches in bathing-suit weather, like Manly and Coogee
  • party in "the Cross"
  • visit Melbourne, and maybe Brisbane
  • trek through the Outback
  • pat koalas, kangaroos, wombats, and any other pat-able Aussie critters at the Featherdale Animal park
  • see New Zealand, Bali and Fiji since I'll be a stone's throw away, relatively speaking

Visited J's folks today. My mom's recipe corn salad went over pretty well, but the McWilliams dessert wine was a huge hit. The 375ml bottle was empty within 10 minutes. Guess I know what to bring next time.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Crikey

Very shocking to wake up after getting back from Oz and hear about Steve Irwin. What was even more heartwrenching is that he died the day after Ozzie Dad's Day. He and his daughter were interviewed for Marie Claire's Father's Day special: (from NYPost):
Bindi Irwin gushed, "I love that he's funny, he's entertaining, and he's always there when I need him most.
"I'm proud to have a dad like that, one who takes on conservation issues around the world. I love him very, very much."
It was part of Steve Irwin's final interview, one he particularly cherished because it included photos of him and Bindi, with whom he was filming a TV series before he was freakishly killed by a stingray Sunday off Australia's Great Barrier Reef, Sydney's Daily Telegraph reported.
Irwin admitted to the mag that while he had been refusing interviews of late, he wanted to do this one because it was "something he and Bindi could do together," a spokeswoman said.
"I'd do anything to spend time with my daughter," the dad said, obviously bursting with pride that his budding-adventurer offspring was following in his footsteps and is "passionate about animals."


[sniff sniff] The world lost a good one.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I'm On My Way!

Currently hanging out in the oneworld lounge in LAX. Due to the remnants of Tropical Storm Ernesto slamming into the northeast, I am stranded in La La Land for 5 hours. The 14-hour flight from Sydney was quite pleasant. Watched Basic Instinct 2 (God-awful) and The Castle (an Aussie comedy a co-worker recommended), did some crocheting, and cut through a wretched book that I just finished here. Hoping my case of wine makes it intact to NYC. Made it through customs without paying a cent of duty on my 7.1 liters of wine and .65 carat black opal - ROCK!

One thing I don't understand - why do parents insist on traipsing very young children on long plane journeys? Two toddlers screamed their heads off during descent into LA because they could not release the pressure in their ears. The brood was sitting in biz class no less. ARGH! I am not ready for childrearing.

My wine importation crisis is averted - I found a store in Jersey that carries most of the labels for ANZ that I like. Look out for Hungover Down Under coming next month! I need to recover from this trip and Alaska first.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Party Monster

Haven't Oxbridge students heard of e-vites? This is priceless. Soon potential employers will be checking MySpace comments and Friendster testimonials in addition to doing background checks, just to make sure they don't come across any psycho prima donnas like this one...

In less than 24 hours I will be on my way! Breaking out the champers (champagne) at quitting time. (Thanks to DB for bringing it over on Sunday.)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Pub Quiz

Another way I have occupied myself after work is by going to pub quiz with one of my co-workers. They have this at several bars in the Sydney area; I usually attend at the Scary Canary on Tuesday nights. O likes it when I go because I can almost singlehandedly complete the music round. On occasion I have even corrected the MC.

This week we won for the third time - the music round was "glam rock" which I initially thought I would tank. It turned out to be hair bands from the '80s. I can do this deaf in one ear. Everyone was flabbergasted that I knew titles such as Unskinny Bop and that Wanted Dead or Alive was on Bon Jovi's "Slippery When Wet" album. Americans are useful for some things. Enjoy the $50 bar tab, mates!

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Final Countdown

My folks left tonight. So it's just me in the apartment for one more week, and then I too am setting sail (wings?) for home. I will miss being coddled. Almost strangled my father with his cell phone charger cord last night for plugging it into my brand-spanking-new all-in-one international adapter and burning it out. (He forgot to check if the charger was dual current; it wasn't.)

My parents really packed it in this week - Tuesday they went to see the Blue Mountains, and Wednesday they did a brutal all-day tour to Canberra. Why my father wanted to see Canberra I still don't know; he still pronounces it can-BEAR-ah (Note to folks at home - the correct Ozzie pronunciation is CAN-bra). Needless to say, they are wiped out.

I will be home in eight days. This has gone really fast.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Texas Hold 'Em Aussie Style

Every Wednesday my mates and I from work head over to the New South Wales Leagues Club for Poker Night. It used to be free, but this week I had to pay a AU$10 buy-in. It's good fun - we get AU$8 steaks for dinner, have cheap drinks, and take the piss out of each other when we go out. Usually I make it past the break, but today I was first out. At least I won a gift certificate to eat here next week. I believe I am currently tied for 15356 place. At this point I have no desire to succeed because the prize is entry into the big tournament in November, by which point I will be home.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

How To Eat a Tim Tam

Tim Tams are quite possibly the world's perfect food. They are the best Australian cookies ever, and are responsible for at least half of the five pounds I've gained here. I bought a heap of them at Woolworths this weekend since they were on sale, in all different flavors. So far my favorite is the Classic Dark, but I haven't tried them all. Some I will share with co-workers, and some I will bring home for lucky friends.
The cool thing about Tim Tams is that you can not only eat them, but also use them as a straw, which is quite yummy with hot drinks. As you drink with them, the insides melt and get all gooey and melted. All you have to do is bite off both ends (length-wise), stick in the mug, and suck. Easy eh?

My folks and I had a busy weekend. Saturday we did some shopping - I bought a black opal - and went to the Taronga Zoo. It was very enjoyable, except for the fact that they have a no-patting policy (that sounds so pervy). This means that you can't touch the animals, which I was looking forward to. My parents went to the Featherdale Animal Park and patted koalas, kangaroos, wombats, you name it. We did get our picture taken with a very unagreeable koala - she kept looking away when the photographer was taking our pictures. The Tasmanian devils were awesome, they are these short, stocky little runts that kept running around in circles. Most of the other animals were pretty sluggish. Afterwards I took my parents for Chinese food at Marigold Citimark. It was OK, pretty much what we could get back home.

Sunday we made a trip up to Hunter Valley for wine tasting. This region is probably the closest winegrowing area to Sydney, about two and a half hours north. We stopped at Mount Pleasant for lunch and wine pairing, where luckily they stock the Botrytis Semillon for which J and I have been searching far and wide (they are part of the McWilliams group). I am bringing home a case of it, not taking my chances with trying to find it again; it is cheap enough that I can do that without breaking a sweat at the cash register. The other winery we visited was McGuigans. I was warned ahead of time that it is a bit corporate, and the tasting was pretty no-frills, get-to-the-point. The wine was better than I expected though. The newly-released Private Reserve Port was to die for, probably the best I've ever tasted.

Friday, August 18, 2006

How to Speak Australian 3 / How to Eat Australian

arvo = afternoon
tick and bash = check off
sweet as / good on you = nice!
brekkie = breakfast
ta = thanks
yum cha = dim sum
my oath = I swear
fair dinkum = real-deal or true blue (although this is a more hokey stereotypical phrase that no one really uses)

People also say I reckon here, which transports me to the American South for a split second.

An important part of being in Oz is eating the local fare. Still have not eaten kangaroo or crocodile meat, but I have been told that roo is often fed to pets. Meat pies are great; a local fave in Sydney is Harry's Cafe de Wheels. The best option is the Tiger, which is a pie with mashed potatoes, mushy peas, and gravy on top. It is not the neatest thing to eat, particularly sitting on a block beside the wharf. Of course, my dad being contrary, ordered the Hot Dog de Wheels and proceeded to drop the frank on the birdshit-covered ground. I almost retched when he picked it up (after much swearing), sanitized it, and kept eating.

There is some great fish, including varieties such as barramundi and jewfish, but good shellfish such as mud crab and lobster are over double the price of what you would pay in the US. Took my parents to Aqua on Monday night, which overlooks the North Sydney Olympic Pool (not the 2000 one) as well as the harbor; this pricey but quality resto mostly has fish on the menu. Chinese restaurants are the cheapest place to eat them - Mum and I had mud crab with ginger and shallots at Red Chili in Chinatown, along with their famous chicken with chilis.

As mentionedd previously, I have been generally not impressed with the sushi here. Sydney has some great Chinese restaurants, although apparently Melbourne claims best yum cha. I recommend going with friends for yum cha - I went to Zilver by myself, and ended up stuck behind a supporting beam so it was hard to flag down the dim sum carts. Plus it's hard to order a lot of things for one person since the portions end up being larger than what one would eat sharing with others. There are also wonderful Malaysian (took J to Malaya to celebrate his new gig), Thai (Thainatown and Sailors Thai are both fab), and Spanish joints.


My faves so far (in no particular order):

  • Harry's Cafe de Wheels - cheap eats, esp after partying in Kings Cross
  • Thainatown - good, cheap Thai
  • Fish Face - great seafood
  • Pasteur - not much to look at and surly service but great cheap Vietnamese, esp the pho
Last, but definitely not least, is the wine. Australia only exports 20% of its wine, and most of it is not too expensive at the local bottle shop. However, that could change, since grape crops have been very good and there is a saturation of the market. Unlike NYC, it is very common to BYO bottles of wine to a restaurant for a small fee. A few varieties are grown here which I've never heard of, such as semillon. While here I've drank exclusively Aussie and New Zealand wines. Unfortunately I cannot bring much home to share with friends - grrrrrrrr.... Will try to look into where to buy the better ones and write back later.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Another Observation

The Australian "dialect" is quite interesting. Aussies sound a lot like Southies and other New England types, particularly with the elimination of r's. I get made fun of for pronouncing them. There is an interesting economy of speech; often syllabes are skipped - e.g., Canberra = CAN-bra. Nicknames are shortened to either -azzer or -o, such as Gazzer for Gary or Johnno for John or doco for document. One that I particularly find icky, for lack of a better adjective to describe how it makes me feel to read it in work emails, is spreadie (for spreadsheet). That word just gives me the heeby-jeebies, but I can't really explain why.

Contrary to what Americans see on TV or in Crocodile Dundee, g'day is said g'day, NOT g'die.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Home Stretch

The City 2 Surf is one of Sydney's big road races, spanning 14km from Hyde Park to Bondi Beach. It is Sydney's unofficial start of spring, kinda like how Memorial Day kicks off summer for Americans. It's not taken too seriously - I saw several people running in full body paint or in costume, and I walked/jogged along the side without entering. It took me 2 hours and 21 minutes to jog/walk the 14km, stopping for water, Gatorade and photos along the way. It was a nice way to see other parts of Sydney.

I am damn sore two days later, mainly in my quads. Now I am also sleeping on the couch because my parents are here now. I have company again!

Friday, August 11, 2006

F*ck Terrorists

This latest foiled terror plot could not have come at a worse time. My parents left today and will probably hit major delays on the way here. My mom is not checking bags and cannot bring me some items which I had requested. Plus, it is highly doubtful that I can bring home enough Aussie wine to have a proper tasting party at my apartment now.

I love Arabs and Muslims, heck I love everybody. But I have no love for extremist jihadi terrorists. As if it's not enough that I will be flying home long-haul in less than a month, now I have to change my packing routine so that I am not carrying any liquids on board.

It's been lonely without any houseguests, so at least I will have some company soon.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Bad Hair Decade

I've noticed several dudes around Sydney with bad hair. When I picked up Jason at the hairport I counted five mullets, two or three spiky "things", and two rattails in the arrivals area, mostly on Asian or Arab guys. Because I did not want to get my ass kicked, I resisted the temptation to photograph the offenders. On Oxford Street I spotted a lullet in its natural habitat. I've also seen some western-suburb folks sporting variations on the mullet theme, with the sides shaved, spiky tips highlighted, or other general mulletness going on. Some folks at work claim that this is an "American" thing. Then when they showed me their joke History of Mullets slide show, I noted that all the pictures of "Americans" are from 20 years ago. Yecch.

Note to any Ozzies with mullets or those contemplating the haircut: Mullets went out of style in the 80's for a reason. Americans make fun of mullets. They inspire every stereotype and caricature of ugly-Americanism and redneck-dom you can think of. Even Johnny Damon got rid of his shaggy quasi-mullet (thank you George Steinbrenner). To resurrect another relic from the Go-go 80's - JUST SAY NO!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Blue Mountains

J and I took a trip up to the Blue Mountains. Initially we wanted to go to the Jenolan Caves, but it seemed that the tour would be too much travelling for the amount we would get to do. (I wish J could have stayed longer, but he has a new job to start.)

As it turned out, we should have booked a tour to the Caves. The trains up to the Blue Mountains were not running over the weekend due to track work, so we had to take a bus. This added about an hour onto our transit each way, and the ride was so herky-jerky that I got really nauseous. (I have been plagued with motion sickness since childhood, and it's really bad on car rides that lurch a lot with not much fresh air.) The screaming rugrats didn't help. In addition to the sucky ride up there, it started to rain. It stopped while we did an easy 3km hike around Echo Point, and then started after dinner when we had to catch the return bus.

J left this morning. I miss him already :(...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Hey Big Spender

To celebrate on J's last night in town, we went to the most critically acclaimed restaurant in Sydney - Tetsuya's. For AU$180, we were treated to 10 courses of small plates, 5 fish, 2 meat, and 3 dessert. Jason and I also opted for the oyster course and the wine pairing for an extra hundred. It was worth it. The Riesling and the dessert wine were like nectar of the gods, and the other wines were not drainworthy at all. I loved their signature trout and the Tetsuya interpretation of the strawberry shortcake. Everything was fab and polished off, yet I did not feel ready to explode at the end. The lack of music is a little eerie, but overall it was a definite fun experience.

Jason and I both enjoyed East Ocean the other night, but J got freaked out by the hanging animal carcasses and the live fish being hauled in plastic bags to an imminent death. We missed yum cha (Australian for dim sum), but the regular menu was quite good.

We all agree that, for better or for worse, Sydney is really not so foreign when compared with the US. The two J's best described it as being like "California, but with nicer, more genuine people." (My Cali friends excluded from the description, of course :) )

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Another Shrimp on the Barbie

My friend J arrived Friday night. Yesterday was his birthday. To celebrate, I got him tickets to Colour of Panic at the Studio in the Sydney Opera House. Scored front-row seats! Unfortunately, the two glasses of wine had me nodding off in the middle of the one-man show - sorry Nicholas Hope! It really wasn't that bad! J classified it more as performance art rather than a play; it was ... interesting.

Before that we had lunch and a drink on Oxford Street, just so J could say he went to a gay bar in Sydney. We went to the most unlikely gay bar - our bartender at the Oxford Hotel did not know how to make a vodka martini, and he thought a cosmo was mixed with gin. Plus, the music ranged from Eighties dance/new wave to Metallica, tres bizarre. Since we tipped well, the guy behind the bar did give me a free pass to their Graveyard Shift. Woo woo, me with a bunch of leather boys after 2am.

After dinner at Doyle's, I suggested a disco nap so that we would be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for some fun back on Oxford Street. J definitely concurred; the time change caught up with him. I ended up completely crashing and burning and waking up at 3am, contacts still in, clothes still on, and teeth unbrushed. Yeech. But at least I was all set to pick up my boyfriend at the airport nice and early. Yeay!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

How To Speak Australian 2

Last night I learned that "root" means fornicate (i.e., screw, bang, shag, bonk, you get the idea). This was revealed to be by my boss' boss' boss at a team dinner. Needless to say, the wine did not make me turn red.

Guess no one sings "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" or wears Roots Canada sportswear. How do they refer to the portion of a plant that absorbs water and nutrients from the soil?!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Free Stuff Rocks

People pass out free weekly city guides at the train stations around town - 9 to 5 and City Weekly. It reminds me of Time Out but not as edgy. There are definitely some good suggestions for events and things to do, as well as decent fashion and beauty tips. The pages of ads for hookers and massage parlors probably fund the publishing (yes, Virginia, prostitution is legal here, albeit regulated).

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Not As Crazy As You'd Think

The weather cleared up late yesterday, so I did the Sydney Harbor BridgeClimb. A good chunk of time is devoted to suiting up and simulation (no cameras allowed - boo hoo) and four picture breaks, but it was over 400 stairs to climb so still a decent workout. You are always strapped onto the safety cables, and the coverall and gear ensure that you have everything you need attached somewhere. Photos came out great - these are coming soon!

The Aroma Coffee Festival was quite nice today, but the one stand I wanted to try was too crowded. Perhaps I will take another schlep out to Bondi Junction to buy some drinking chocolate, maybe check out the beach while I'm there.

Also enjoyed the view and the scene at Opera Bar post-lattes. Too bad we couldn't get a seat outside, but the inside part was completely open to the patio, so wasn't too unfortunate. Had a nice relaxing drink and snack with co-workers.

Friday, July 21, 2006

How to Speak Australian

I've picked up quite a bit of Ozzie slang while here:

No worries = No problem
Bits = Stuff
Potato Gems = Tater Tots
Pissed = Drunk
Taking the Piss = Making Fun Of
Tomato Sauce = Ketchup
Beetroot = Beets
Hungry Jack's = Burger King
Maccas = McDonalds

Tonight after getting pissed, we went to Maccas (which I thought for a while was Mackers), which is apparently ritual here. Everyone there seemed to be drunk. Since I normally hate to have food I can eat at home, but nothing else was open, I tried something new. The McOz has a slice of beetroot on it. It was quite good. Almost got into an altercation with some idiot who corrected me when I said ketchup. I told him to bite me, and he followed me around the store asking if that was a invitation, promise, or threat.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I'm With Stupid

I know I'm a little behind the times here, but my excuse is that I'm 14 timezones away...

Our friend Andrew is an Internet celeb! He even was written up on Wired. All because some stupid Congressman in bed with telecom shot his mouth off. Well, at least he can blame GW for setting the precedent.

Go buy a t-shirt.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Semi-Conscious Observations (so far)

  • Sydney is like London, but with better weather and without the collective rod up the bum.
  • I am never ever ever complaining about prices in New York ever again. Most consumer goods are cheaper in the States than here, and this is accounting for the dollar's advantage with the exchange rate. For example, CK One Summer perfume costs $40 at Sephora; here at Myer department store, it's AU$80 (approximately $60). I hope this does not lead my colleagues over here to send me orders to be shipped via interoffice mail...
  • Sushi here is kinda lame. They use CANNED TUNA. The horror! I have been told that Mexican sucks, but I haven't been yet.
  • Target is infinitely cooler in the US (well, relatively speaking). The branch I went to in Bondi Junction was about half the size of any Target in the US and did not have any cool designer clothing lines. Plus, there was no food or cleaning products. I did find a cheap hair dryer, but no Febreze.
  • Aussies do not seem very paranoid about security. While I was sleeping on Saturday (sometime in the late afternoon, mind you) , someone from the real estate agency popped in to bring me a complimentary breakfast basket. They did not merely leave it outside my door; they came in and left it in the front hallway. I did not realize someone was there until they had already entered my apartment. Even then, after she announced herself, all I did was mutter "OK".

Sunday, July 09, 2006

G'day!

Arrived in Sydney at 6am, before sunrise. I must say, Qantas biz class ROCKS! Good food, good movie selection. Only thing I wasn't as crazy about are the reclining seats need a tad bit more padding. It was cool to drive into the city as the sun came up, with Leonard Cohen on the radio, courtesy of my awesome cab driver.

My apartment is in Milsons Point, a cute little suburb right across from the CBD (central business district) with great views of the harbor, the Sydney Harbor Bridge, and the Opera House.

As excited as I am to be here, I am very homesick. It didn't help that my bloody mobile cannot make international calls. When I called Vodafone Australia to sort it out, they said they can't help me. DAMN! Monday I get a company phone, thank goodness, but until then I am SOL.

Please email me!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I Could Get Used To This

Sipping a glass of moscato at AA's Admirals Club in JFK Terminal 9, I realize that I may never be physically capable of flying coach again. I wonder if Qantas' lounge in LAX is even better...

HINT: If you are flying to Australia on a oneworld carrier, call AAdvantage's hotline and sign up for the Platinum Challenge. Even without business or first bonus points you can hit platinum if your round trip is within 90 days.

Au revoir mes amis! More to come from Down Under!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Post-Holiday Blues

Today sucked. I am leaving for Oz in a day. Not only did I not have a plane ticket as of this morning, I ended up making the arrangements myself. Also, I had to submit my corporate card application twice, and when the project manager sent an email asking for a cash advance for me, I had to send five emails and fill out another form to get it done. Hopefully they will be able to cut the check before I leave today. Cramps are not helping the situation. I really don't like having so much dumped on me in one day, especially since I have not been busy for the last week and a half.

This may sound odd, but I can't wait to be on the plane tomorrow.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Partay

Had my birthday party tonight (well, yesterday). Kirby and I were born three hours apart, so we threw a joint shindig. Jason and I got caught in the rain and ducked into Mosto for food on the way to Katra. Overall it went well, but I think the stress of this week made me more tired than usual.

Normally I like parties, but I find it exhausting to host big ones, especially as I get older. It makes me feel really guilty to not be able to talk to someone or a group of people for a long period of time. I think going forward I will either have them at home or just have smaller ones.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Another Year

I'm 27 now. It doesn't feel any different. This birthday corresponds with my one-year anniversary with J and my new job. Lots of change. Sometimes I am uncomfortable with change, but I have been trying to make more efforts to embrace it. I hope this year is as good or better than the last...yeay me!

We went to Erawan for the Big Day. Jason and my dad had a nice civil conversation on politics; there was no flinging of pad thai across the table. My dad made no effort to conceal his conspiring with the waitress to bring me dessert with dinner. They brought out a gong, which added to my embarassment. I can see instances, such as these, would be good for wearing a burka.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Holy Crap

Current mood: in a state of fear

I started my new job today. Since last night, it hit me that I have a new job. And I have been completely freaking out. All these thoughts are scrambling through my head: can I hack this job, will this company suck worse than Accenture, do I have to up and leave for Sydney right away, how will I cope with missing the summer...

The day actually went ok. One of the division heads came in from headquarters to get me acquainted, and an 11am "meeting" in the data center involved watching the Italy v. Australia World Cup match. I have some reading to do, but overall I am not busy yet. There was a brief moment of sheer panic, but I managed to avoid a complete meltdown at my desk and casting a really bad first impression to my co-workers.

As a welcome, the division head took me and a team member in town from Sydney out to dinner. I recommended Rosa Mexicano - fortunately, they loved it.

So far so good...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Damn Mosquitoes

We should have booked a snorkel/kayak trip ahead of time. We probably would not have found a kayak trip due to the holiday, but I think we could have found a better snorkeling trip. I realize that my Spanish needs some brushing up since I kept having the salespeople repeat prices and scheduling.

We booked the first catamaran trip we could find, East Wind Catamaran. Overall, we were both ehhh about the trip. The bus to pick us up arrived over 40 minutes late. As a result, we barely had space for seats on the packed boat. Upon arrival at Icacos Island, it started to rain. The water was also fairly choppy so it was hard to snorkel without getting seasick. The woman smoking on the back of the boat and throwing the butts overboard (in blatant violation of the rules) didn't help my stomach. Waiting on line for the lunch buffet was a little ridiculous - I don't understand what takes so long for people to make sandwiches when everything is pre-sliced and easily accessible. The reef was not bad, until the purple jellyfish convention showed up. I had to wait to jump off the catamaran until they swam away. Allie was already back on the boat napping after about 15 minutes. After having a weak pina colada, I fell asleep for most of the trip back to the Marina del Rey. During my nap, mosquitoes attacked me. I have at least 36 bites, mostly on my right thigh. For the next few days I'll be on West Nile watch...

The best parts of this excursion are the hoooooot crew members, the fresh fruit, and the water slide. If you are not claustrophobic and like watered-down drinks, this is your bag. Otherwise, try another company.

Friday, June 23, 2006

San Juan Times Two

Of course the sun was out and blazing while we wandered around Viejo San Juan today. The packed bus ride took us on a nice roundabout tour of the projects with spotty air conditioning. The two forts in town had nice views and cost only five dollars to see, but the hike up to El Morro was at least a quarter-mile. Luckily, we were able to locate a restaurant recommended by my cousin's friend, Aguaviva. While I normally wouldn't pay 80 bucks for a lunch, this was well worth it, especially the yuca gnocchi.

When we got back to hotel it started to rain. Ho hum.

Apparently we timed our trip to correspond with El Dia de San Juan. The hotel had a party (read: overpriced bbq). In a few minutes I'm off to participate in the tradition of walking backwards into the sea and dunking myself at the stroke of midnight, or something to that effect. Whatever it is, it's for good luck, of which I can always use.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Borinquen

My cousin and I took a trip to Puerto Rico in between my jobs. We were expecting some nice beach time, lots of sun, and fruity drinks poolside. The forecast for the next few days is :
  • today - PM thunderstorms (this is accurate so far)
  • tomorrow - PM thunderstorms
  • Saturday - rain (we are supposed to go snorkelling or kayaking)
  • Sunday - partly cloudy

Of course with my luck, the damn sun will come out as we are flying out of San Juan. Ho hum.

Even though I've been here before, briefly, I forgot how American this island really is. I feel like it is a hotter, tropical, version of New York, with all the fast food chains and Spanish language signs. Every time I try to talk to people in Spanish, they answer me in English. We are staying at the Holiday Inn Isla Verde. This is within walking distance of the airport, but I believe we have to jump a fence to get in - not going to happen, what with the size of my cousin's luggage. Plus, there is bird shit on most of the pool lounge chairs. Yech.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Last Dance

IT'S MY LAST DAY WITH ACCENTURE - WOO HOO!

Today actually started off bad. I woke up with a headache. Then I could not transfer a workout DVD off of my work computer. I also realized I was missing my Palm Hot-Sync cable. Twenty dollars later, I realized that my camera cable would have fit.

I made it into the office in the late afternoon to file my last time report, mail out my receipts, and turn in my laptop, all in the span of one hour. While there I noticed our golden-child Apprentice working hard as usual - checking his Gmail account and making phone calls to make sure that he was on guest lists. Talk about a strong contributor.

I'm surprised that I'm not more excited about leaving. Maybe I should have taken more time in between jobs. Dangling the payout of all my vacation time doesn't hurt my bank account tho. I hope that I have a slight break in between now and shipping out to Sydney.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

L'chaim

My mom dragged me to her friend's son's wedding. By the way, they are Hasidic, Satmars to be precise. So we all had to be completely covered and tzniuzdik in 90-degree heat. Fun. It turned out to be not so bad though. Surprisingly, the food was not bad, but, alas, there was no booze. It took me by surprised that the actual wedding was held right on the sidewalk outside the synagogue, under a shabby chuppah. Both immediate families were so happy we were there, although some of the fellow congregants were eyeing us as if we had cooties or something. My dad was a decent sport about being one of two men seated on the women's side. Of course, he struck up a conversation on politics with the other goyim (i.e., Reform Jewish) folks seated at our goy table; as much as I tell him it's not really polite or appropriate, he always tries to convert liberals. Ho hum...

Monday, June 12, 2006

De-motivational speaking

At this point it is really hard for me to get my work done. There is so much administrative BS I have to slog through, and as much as I am attached to the success of this project, I am feeling really lazy. Hope my co-workers don't hate me when I leave.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Delta Shuttle Etiquette

  • If there are plenty of empty seats, especially on the non-peak flights, please don't sit next to a person on the right side of the MD-88. This pencil-neck got kicked out of a reserved row and had to sit right next to me since I was in the first available row. There was enough space to leave a seat empty right across the aisle, and no other two-seat rows were full. Jackass.
  • I understand that if you're the NYC police commissioner, you may need some extra security. Fair enough. I don't mind having the first two rows reserved for your entourage either, despite the no reserved seats policy. However, do you have to board the plane when it's scheduled to take off? Because of the late arrivals, we didn't leave La Guardia until almost noon, because of runway congestion. Delays like this make all the business travelers on the plane late for their scheduled meetings (like me). Not nice. This, by the way, goes for anyone, not just bigwigs.

I believe Gabe Pressman was also on the plane, so that makes a double sighting.

Monday, June 05, 2006

For Love or Money?

[stream of consciousness]
Just finished watching the Apprentice finale. This is the only episode of the show I have ever seen. It just never interested me. One of my esteemed alums and co-workers was a finalist, but I would not have voted for him, truth be told. At his first department meeting, he spent more time on his cell phone discussing jewelry than paying attention to presentations that would have been relevant to his work. Good thing he didn't quit the day job. Politicians may be able to sweet-talk everyone, but at the end of the day, people generally dislike slick, slimy sweet-talkers. I thought it was really ballsy of Sean to declare on national television that he was going to marry his fellow contestant/girlfriend. Let's see how long that relationship lasts when every hoochie in the free world tries to get a piece of the latest winner and he has his pick of Playmates and Pets of the Month. Speaking of marriage, what's the big deal? Have we made no progress in the last thirty years that all roads must lead down the aisle? Granted I have a lot of friends who are in very happy marriages, I also know some whose marriages are more hassle than they're worth or have already dissolved courtesy of lawyers. Besides, I'm sure all of us have at least one friend who has married or is engaged to someone completely heinous that the relationship is incomprehensible unless daily mind-blowing nookie is assumed. Don't get me wrong, I am totally in love and think that under the right circumstances marriage is in essence a good yet peculiar institution. However, I don't have this obsessive compulsion to fingercuff myself and attain the Mrs. degree. People have started asking me when it's going to happen, and at this point, there are no updates - sorry to disappoint. I have to agree with J tho, registering for cool stuff like an ice cream maker and other fun housewares sounds like a blast. Truth be told, I already am pretty well-stocked thanks to my mom and my aunt with more stuff than I have space for - martini glasses, a Le Creuset stovetop grill, a wok for two, Iitala dinnerware, I could keep going. And I'm not one of these takeout-menu queens either; my cookware is used quite regularly unlike some people I know who get all these great wedding gifts that collect dust. Maybe I will start posting recipes and pictures of the final product soon. With this new job, I'm looking forward to testing out more recipes from the Food Network and Rachael Ray's magazine. At first I thought she was kinda dippy, but her stuff is really creative and easy at the same time, nirvana for the working woman. I'm looking forward to shopping for some wardrobe updates for my new gig.
[/stream of consciousness]

Sunday, June 04, 2006

I Really Feel Old

Just went to my 10-year high school reunion. They put all the reunion classes together, so it was somewhat difficult to tell who was in our class and who wasn't. A lot of my friends came back, and none of the bitchy people whom we kinda wanted to see how they turned out. Did not drink much since I bitchslapped my liver with some Citros cosmos the night before - had to cheer up after the Met game got rained out somehow...

As much as I hate going to Italian restaurants (why eat out when I can cook it for less?), Bello's right next door to J's place was really good. We then proceeded to Kion for my fellow June-baby friend Marilyn's birthday. While not quite hipster, this new gem in the East Village had decor that is really interesting, and the DJ played great 80's singles, including some remixes. The cocktails were good too. Will have to try them for dinner...

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Tao of Blackjack

  1. Play the odds unless you are by yourself. Splitting 10's is not pro-social behavior. Plus, it throws off the chi of the table.
  2. Leave the table immediately if people do not follow Rule 1.
  3. Never play against the dealer alone. One hundred bucks will evaporate in five minutes.
  4. Never listen to a pit boss who tries to convince you to play against the odds.
  5. Make sure the dealer does not take away your money on a winning hand - they can be sneaky!

I loved my dealer last night (yes, I'm in Vegas for trip #6). She told me that I look younger than 26 - I still got It!!! My secret is moisturizer, honest. Nothing frightens me more than scalpels, barbed threads, or botulinum toxin entering my body. [shudder]

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Free At Last

It's official - my big news is that I got a new job. This will require two months of training in Sydney - score! - and some occasional short-term business travel to other branches in the US and Canada.

For those of you who have known me for a while, you are probably saying, "About effing time." I have been exploring options since Purgatory last summer. However, given that my current project is so great, it's been really hard for me to give notice. I have a lot of mixed feelings, mostly relief and excitement, but also a tinge of sadness for leaving behind some great people (well, with a few exceptions).

J is definitely happy that I'll be home more, so that we can spend time together more spontaneously. My mom is thrilled that I'll be able to eat dinner at home more often. I'm eager to have more time locally to spend with friends and also to try something new. Let's see where life takes me...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Down Under

[teaser]
Coming up I'm planning on going to Vegas, the Bahamas, and if I can swing it, Morocco to visit my good friend C.

Then in July and August, I'm going to Sydney. Yes, that's right, Australia. I should be back in time for the family trip to Alaska for my folks' 35th. Why Australia, that's coming...
[/teaser]

Friday, May 19, 2006

Go Big Red

Got this from a friend. If you didn't go to Cornell, you probably won't care. If you attended RPI or MIT, please disregard. :)

Doonesbury, which we have seen over the past few weeks, has featured one of its main characters, Alex Doonesbury, picking her college. It seems that the strip's author Gary Trudeau is allowing the public to pick her college for her via an online poll. If she picks Cornell, then Cornell's name will feature regularly in one of the most read and most respected comics in the United States. If anyone else thinks this would be cool,try voting yourself and sending the link off to your buddies.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Double Vision

Two celebrity sightings tonight in the East Village - a record! First, Kimora Lee (no longer Simmons) was modeling next to that new funky glass building. Then I saw Michael Musto walk his bike across 3rd Avenue with a few friends. Then it was off to the usual booze and junk food at Crif Dogs and Bua, as well as an ice cream treat at Australian.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Sob Stories

Is it a rule that all newly published memoirs must be depressing? While reviewing some non-fiction books for Elle's reader panel, the main recurring theme in all of the autobiographies was how horrible their life was at some time. Observe:

Hillbilly Gothic: uncomfortable pregnancy followed by mental ward-worthy postpartum depression. I really want to have kids now.

Jesus Land: Bible thumpers abuse their adopted black children, care more about the dog and missionary work than their kids, and send "misbehaving sinners" (read: normal teenagers) to ultraChristian reform school hell in the Dominican Republic. Thank God my parents are sane.

Lifeguarding: father is alcoholic and unemployed, then in junior high the author discovers she is a lesbian and comes out while in college - in 1970's Kentucky. I think this would have been more uplifting if the author had provided more details on how her life is now with her partner instead of leaving it as an afterthought in the acknowledgements.

The least depressing was The Horizontal World, which was basically about someone wanting to leave the North Dakota farm where she grew up. Not much happens in North Dakota, and this book of rebelling and becoming a metal singer and quasi-slacker was quite refreshing after reading tale after tale of woe. Not to marginalize the authors' experiences, but I think the sample Elle selected could have had more balance.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Hold Your Horses

For all of you complaining that I do not update my blog enough (Mike), there is a very good reason for that. Part of the reason is that my LGA-DCA travel schedule is very erratic. However, for reasons that I can't really discuss now, there are some things that have been keeping me busy. I may have some big news by the end of the week, that's all I can say right now...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Rejoice Ye Slacker

Thou shalt not fear the wrath of God - or thy boss - for extracurricular office web surfing, so sayeth the courts. I'm sure a lot of people are happy about this one...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Village is Missing Its Necrophiliac

I can't figure out which is sicker, the person who has been looking for King Tut's penis (and measuring and examining it), or the person who broke it off in the first place (if that's what happened). Who out there really cares if Tutankhamun was better endowed than Ötzi the Iceman?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Contents Under Pressure

Some things about being a modern woman give me pause. I thought about this today while on the Delta Shuttle. Across the aisle, a woman in a pantsuit was wearing very high heels. Who travels in heels? Personally, I wear them when I am in the office or at a club; otherwise, I am in transit in flipflops or Puma-lookalike sneakers. The thought of dragging a rollaboard and a laptop bag or hoofing it to the subway in stilettos or anything with greater than an inch heel disturbs me.
To my left, a woman who appeared to be in her early to mid-thirties was reviewing her IVF handbook and highlighting relevant sections. Perhaps my maternal instincts have not gone into overdrive yet, but why would a woman pump herself full of carcinogenic drugs (needles - OW!) and then have eggs extracted(double OW!), on top of the general aches and pains of pregnancy, for the sake of having a child? One of my friends underwent this procedure, more so because her husband was snipped during his first marriage, and had such a miserable time. She had to undergo two cycles, and losing the first baby really destroyed her mental health for a few months. Plus, the progesterone she had to ingest during the first trimester made her hip joints hurt. To me, this sounds spookily like a woman's body becoming little more than a babymaking factory. Is having a "perfect family" worth it? I ask myself if I would be willing to undergo this if God forbid I ever have fertility issues. At this point, my answer would be an emphatic NO, that I would rather roll someone else's genetic dice and adopt or even just be everyone favorite "auntie" than endure this, and I have profound respect and befuddlement for those who do.
The underlying question is then, after over thirty years of feminism and women's lib, must we still be valued by our ability to look good in uncomfortable shoes and pop out babies? Has the movement to emancipate women from the chains of the "feminine mystique" simply encaged us in a new prison? Selfishly, is this what I have to look forward to?!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Book(tape)worm

I have gotten a lot of reading done lately, which is good since I have umpteen million books sitting on shelves at home and in my parents' place, waiting to be read and then sold or given back to their owners.

Since my last post, I have read 7 books. Woo woo. Here is my take in 5 words or less:

Chocolat - more colorful than the movie
Christ the Lord - Young Jewish Jesus, fast read
French Women Don't Get Fat - good recipes, slightly too Francophile
Persepolis 2 - Iranian teen in Europe, illustrated
Veronica - NYTimes Bestseller for good reason
Smashed: A Drunken Girlhood - reminds me of some friends (and/or their significant others)
Influence - psych take on manipulation
Star Struck - Pam Anderson roman a clef, take 2

The Influence book says that to take a public vow is very effective for sticking to goals, so let's see if this works. As of today, I will not be purchasing any more books or taking any out of the library until I have read through at least all the ones on my apartment shelf.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Happy Passover/Easter

Ahh the joys of interfaith couplehood. One main benefit is two sets of holidays. Another is not fighting over whose mother to visit for the holidays, since each mom takes care of a separate holiday.

Yesterday I baked the NYT's sesame Passover cookies. They came out quite good, although I learned not to grind sesame seeds that are still hot from being toasted. I did not kasher my kitchen, but I did use matzoh cake meal, which took trips to two stores to find, in Forest Hills no less.

Jason's family's Seder was significantly shorter than the Passoutover (i.e., thank-God-there-is-no-hell-in-Judaism irreverent Seder) my friend James holds. Not that I am complaining. The homemade matzoh ball soup hit the spot after a long day of dealing with getting signature files faxed to the accountant. I also discovered that gefilte fish can taste good, if you buy the right kind - Manischevitz Gold is quite good. The flourless chocolate cake was the pinnacle, and the lead sinker, of the meal. It was so good I didn't mind the feeling of a dessert that rich impeding my digestion. J's mom sent us home with a care package - yeay!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Low-Carb and Loathing It

I have not eaten carbs in eight days. However, I have a feeling that will go out the window this week, what with the holidays....

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sisterly Love

My sorority celebrates Founder's Day today, our 111th anniversary. Rah rah. I guess I'm ambivalent about the experience, since I was considered an alcoholic slut in a house half-full of stuck-up boring prisses, and we spent half our time worrying about recruiting pledges to try to avoid the inevitable shut-down. Now a scummy frat took over our house.

A great paraphrased quote from Koren Zailckas: "Anything that needs a concept-word such as sisterhood to define it is bullshit." (Note: the sorority she joined at SU is really Kappa Alpha Theta. Guess she wasn't as vindictive as that psycho at Sam Houston who posted "ritual" on the Internet and spouted a bunch of Bible-thumping True Love Waits crap.)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Cooking Do's and Dont's

Tip #456,760 - do not cook kofta on a stove-top grill without an exhaust fan. Unless of course you enjoy filling small spaces with beef-scented smoke.

Since my mom insists that I not cook for holidays, I took my folks out to Uncle George's for their wedding anniversary. It was empty, which is highly unusual, but totally fine since we didn't have to wait.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

F-f-f-foolin'

Was very tempted to call J and "come out" as a lesbian or a dominatrix, but thought it could backfire; either he'd break up with me or ask for a demonstration.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Shopping - The Agony and the Ecstasy

My shopping exploits over the past couple of days have been mixed. Yesterday I got two Diane von Furstenberg suitcases for under 200 bucks at TJ Maxx. They don't match, but the bright colors should prevent going home with the wrong standard-issue black rollaboard. Score!

On to Bloomingdale's for suits - completely struck out. The merchandise either fit poorly or was way too expensive, even with coupons. Plus, I could barely get cropped jeans up my thighs. I'm having a Bloated Day. ARGH!

Always having to end on a positive, a package of clothes arrived at my parents' today. The bathing suit and summer dresses fit almost to a T. Whee!!! I'm getting set for a rocking stylish summer.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Spring Cleaning

Today I started cleaning my apartment, top-to-bottom. I got throug the bathroom and the changing area, and the vacuuming. Now I am completely exhausted, but I figure the effort is worth it so that my apartment can be immaculate and guest-ready if friends or parents drop in unexpectedly. All I have to do now is get into the habit of making my bed.

It seems the time is right for cleaning out the clutter of my life. In addition to paring down my calendar, I think I will start separating the wheat from the chaff where friends are concerned. [rant] I'm getting sick and tired of "frenemies" who are constantly namedropping and playing the top-this game, or who do spiteful and mean things and think I don't notice or don't care. Heads up, biatches, I do notice, but I don't care enough about you to bitch the way you might. I have bared the claws in the past, and it is not pretty, hence why I do so sparingly and only in extreme situations. I am losing my tolerance for people who meddle in my affairs, try to make me feel like I'm not being current or good enough, blow me off to do "something more important", subject me or my friends to verbal abuse, or call me only when they need something. Eff that. Lose my number, I already deleted yours. [/rant]

Back to scrubbing...

Monday, March 20, 2006

Bibliophilia

In the last week, I have acquired over 10 books, between the Queens Public Library (Forest Hills branch), Half.com, and Buy.com. Not to mention, I currently have over twenty books on the To-Read stack here and at my folks' house. Does this qualify as an addiction or an obsessive-compulsive disorder?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Isaac Hayes is a Jerk

Thank you to the South Park creators for putting this brainwashed freak in his place. Scientology shouldn't try to impinge on free speech and humor because it makes them look stupid. If you follow a "religion" created by a sci-fi writer on a bet, then you should expect this. As he is trying to expel his internal aliens, he is alienating his fans.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Proof I Can Cook

Sunday dinner went well. This was a Chrismukah gift to J since it's his favorite dish, and I invited friends to treat them as well and minimize the amount of leftovers. I cooked the sauce and meatballs under my mom's supervision with my great-grandmother's pot, which proved interesting for transporting back to my apartment. Luckily, I managed to get home without spilling very hot tomato sauce in my car with light gray interior. As a plus, I got a Sicilian twist from Joe's Sicilian, where I worked in high school (more on them another time). There was only enough pasta left over for one serving, and, more importantly, he didn't break up with me. Yeay!!!!! He even helped me clean everything up, which was a huge help.

Chris and Heidi brought me Pasta Red from Knapp Vineyards, which they bought at the Finger Lakes Wine Festival last July. It was good. This year, I think I will buy a case as well. It's a good complement to marinara sauce and is smooth and easy to drink.

Afterwards, J and I watched the Sopranos. This episode inspired a lot of mixed emotions. All HBO original series are all over the place in the first episode. As my friend Argun describes it, it seems like Chase is "masturbating all over the screen." There is too much going on. They focused too much on peripheral characters, and the tie-in to the guy from Celebrity Fit Club got really stale. I saw the suicide coming a mile away. I miss Adriana. Drea De Matteo is from Whitestone, gotta support the hometown gals. There are so many product placements but no really good ones like the Uncle Ben's inspiring a panic attack with Meadow was dating Noah. Besides the obvious ones like the cereal, the new cellphone, and the Porsche, Carmela wore that Vera Wang flower pin to death. There were a couple of holy-shit moments tho, one of which should make the rest of the season really interesting. Janice having a baby? Charmaine and Artie back together? Junior shooting Tony? Holy shit!

Big Love was, for lack of a better word, eh. I am really not interested in how (HBO thinks) polygamous couples live in Utah, with the ED, budget problems, secrecy, and all that stuff. It wasn't that engulfing. Random sighting: Pedro's girlfriend from Napoleon Dynamite plays one of the fast-food joint servers.

Next Sunday is the Feast of St. Joseph, so I think I will have folks over before the Sopranos for some good ol' sfingi and zeppole. If you've never had them, all you need to know is they are cream puffs on steroids that beat the hell out of corned beef and cabbage ;)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Random Thoughts

  • Guns Germs and Steel: It's refreshing to read a book that explores why the haves and have-nots are that way, without blaming their genes or their skin color. I'll save you all the 400+ pages of reading; like real estate, it's all about location, location, location.
  • Churrascaria Plataforma: after visiting the Met with my mom, cousin and aunt, we arrived for a 6:30 reservation at 5:15. However, we were not seated until 6:50. The caipirinha we each had to tide us over was REALLY strong. Then after the salad bar line that wound around the table once, we barely had any meat. Having only been there once before about three and a half years ago, I think it's best to eat there no more than once a year.
  • Nieto 2003 Malbec: I got this Argentinian wine at my housewarming, but I can't remember who brought it. Last night I cracked it open post-Plataforma with a friend. The verdict? Oaky, dry red (really close to purple) with a bite. Not my favorite, but I didn't want to pour it down the drain.

Cooking a traditional Sunday dinner of pasta and meatballs for Jason and some friends; the sauce is cooking as I type. Looking forward to the first episode of the Sopranos in what seems like an eternity. Bada bing, baby!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Labia is Beautiful

I never thought I'd have this conversation:

my friend in LA: "My vagina looks weird. I saw other people's post-op pics and they look so much nicer than mine. I hate looking at it."
me: "Sweetie, I'm sure your new vagina looks wonderful. Besides, if anyone were to look at it and say that it looks weird, you should kick them in the teeth and just leave."
LA LA: "Just wait, I'll show it to you."

Will seeing her surgery results lower my purity score?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Car of the Week: Hyundai Sonata V6

At least I did not get another gas-guzzler. This week I learned how to drive a car with Tektronic transmission, so it was kinda like a manual without the pain-in-the-arse clutch. I didn't think the gear switching was that responsive tho. Plus it handles like crap in the rain with normal automatic transmission.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Happy Bday Li'l Bro

My brother is 25 years old today. Wow, we are old.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Cruisin'

For my parents' 35th this year, we are going on a week-long cruise to Alaska in September. Yeay! Something to look forward to...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Gotta Have It

Does anyone know where I can buy apparel that Russia's Olympic team is wearing? Love love love the folk motif.

(Yes, I am planning on buying a US Team vest or t-shirt from roots - I like the blue stripe ones on the midriff.)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Hell for Tree-Huggers

I don't know how my karma is coming up with this, but this week the car rental company gives me an even bigger SUV. When I drive the Ford Explorer, I feel like I'm trying to navigate a tank in a Baghdad alleyway. Not to mention the hideous below-20 mpg. Do people really need to consume that much gas for that much car?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Let It Snow!

What a wonderful feeling to wake up and see fifteen inches of snow heaped on my air conditioner. Granted my block will probably not be plowed by the DSNY for at least three days, this means that I DON'T HAVE TO FLY OUT FOR WORK TONIGHT!! WHOOPPEE!!!

Jason and I spent the weekend lazing around, watching the Olympics - yeay! - cooking, reading, and just doing nothing. For V-Day, he made me (or rather, he planned the menu but we cooked together) mesclun salad, chicken over fettucine with his signature pink peppercorn cream sauce, and chocolate mousse with fresh whipped cream. Needless to say, I was very happy.

South Beach starts again on Wednesday so that I may indulge in goodies on Valentine's Day. I rationalize this since I won't be home to spend it with him, so I need some creature comforts. Plus, it's a holiday.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Bienvenidos a Miami

As luck would have it, there is another conference. This week it's in Miami, which means I got to work from home on Monday and Tuesday (yes!). However, this is not as poshy-posh as some of the others I've attended. For one, it is at an airport hotel, not somewhere swank on South Beach. Second, it is warmer right now in NYC than it is here. This is not beach or pool lounging weather (perhaps it was planned that way so as not to distract us from the conference?). The sponsors did OK with tonight's cocktail hour tho. Wish, the rooftop bar at The Hotel was really nice. Someone made it into the pool, but on purpose. The random post-party ended up at the Delano's pooside bar (guess everyone was in the chlorine mood). The infinity pool had a ledge that made dipping toes in convenient. 'Twas fun for all, until someone did a cannonball into the pristine blue and was hauled out, without his shoes. When munchies strike, there is a great 24-hour diner across the street that serves Cuban food, kinda like a Cuban Denny's. Joe and I enjoyed dirty rice, maduros, and garlicky yuca on the cab ride back to the Hovel - delicioso!

Chalking these two hotels on the To Stay list...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Ew

Sighting - hotel concierge providing small stack to portly, middle-aged techie drone. They looked like condoms. [bad mental image] I guess the only thing that would be worse would be if he were actually trying to spawn.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Techies Take O-Town

Thank God the Internet is more stable today - wireless at the Omni is pretty shite. So here I am again for another software conference. It's the usual IT-geek scene - mostly middle-age men in polos and chinos, running around with RFID badges to hear thrilling presentations on software roadmaps and integrations by day and chugging beers and passed hors d'oeuvres after the sessions wrap up. The hotel is pretty far from everything, but tonight they are bussing us to Universal Studios for a live Fear Factor performance. It should be interesting to watch software vendors and customers compete at bug eating or whatever.

Last night I got invited to a swank (for Orlando) dinner with C-level folks, both from my company and from the conference sponsor. The chardonnay got the best of me, and at the urging of the CEO et al. I ended up doing an a capella rendition of the first verse of Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" (the annoying song from The Bodyguard) on the eternal bus ride back to the hotel. It brought the house down, which I guess is better than the glass windows.

Friday, January 27, 2006

In Vino Divertas

Connecting through O'Hare sucks. Luckily my friends had some bottles of wine open and invited me over on my way home. Yee ha.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Size Matters - for Bats - Who Woulda Thunk It?!

Apparently bat testicle size is inverse to brain size. This quote says it all - "Bats invest an enormous amount in testis, and the investment has to come from somewhere. There are no free lunches".

Several thoughts came to mind after I read this:
  • Duh!
  • Who in their right mind would measure bat testicles?!
  • Aren't there more pressing research topics out there, like curing cancer or factors that matter for human evolution?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I Wish I Could Go Back to College

Just finished reading I Am Charlotte Simmons. This was a pretty accurate depiction of what happens on campus these days. Coke dates have taken on a whole new meaning, and "gentlemen" do not hold doors but they will gladly grasp onto the female body if they perceive even the slightest hint of an invitation. Some of the slang used was unfamiliar to me, but then again I have been out for over five years now. (God, am I that old now?)

In some ways I related to how Charlotte felt when I started freshman year - nervousness on taking on the mammoth challenge of a prestigious university, meeting new people - but I feel snapped out of it pretty quickly. Plus I think she was too hard on herself with Hoyt taking advantage of her. I had some experiences with guys where they acted like jerks, but it didn't cause me to fail my finals. I just commiserated with my girlfriends over a vodka-cran and sought out someone new (lather, rinse, repeat).

Karma seems to play an important role in how this book plays out. In some ways, this is unrealistic. It is all too rare that the "tools" get that kind of revenge over the BMOCs, to use an 80's phrase for lack of a better. All the bitchy girls at CU stuck together, and the athletes generally did not settle into monogamous relationships with nice gals. (Who out there remembers when a certain hockey player propositioned me frosh year for a threesome with his teammate? Just for the record, I turned them down on the spot.)

One strange thing about this book, it made me very nostalgic for college, to the point where I am seriously thinking about going back to school in some capacity. After I finished my hellacious final semester, I swore off additional graduate education. Now, I haven't decided what I would study, but part-time study sounds appealing to me right now [put crackpipe down].

Saturday, January 14, 2006

My Pathetic Moral Dilemma

Having recently seen the movie Munich, I have been pondering my own moral conundrums. However, mine are not as profound as whether it is justified to kill people who planned the slaughter of my country's Olympic athletes. They are almost embarassing.

I take serious issue with the practices of some companies, such as Walmart and Starbucks. Walmart sucks the life out of their employees and the neighborhoods where they open up superstores. Starbucks makes really acidic coffee in almost every pocket of the world at the expense of every other coffee joint (of course, they are always closed at Kansas City International Airport when I need a pick-me-up). However, being on my own in Kansas City, the only thing late around here are Walmart. So one night, I went in for a couple of toiletries and ended up spending much too much money. Plus, I can't seem to stay away from the good ol' FourBucks even though it's overpriced, agita-inducing, and generic.

Do I stick to my guns and avoid these stores, or do I satisfy my craving for cheap retail and mediocre coffee?

I have too much free time to think about this stuff working here :(.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Her Cheating Mouth

Just got this in my Inbox. Lesson learned, boys and girls: Never grovel over email for cheating on your boyfriend.

She said:
Brad,
It would be difficult for me to be any more miserable right now, I feel like the worst person ever. First, let me start by saying that I am truly truly sorry, and I hate myself for hurting you. Of all the people in the whole entire world, you were honestly the last person that I would ever want to wrong in any way. There is no excuse at all or anything that happened, so I won't even try other than to say all of us had WAY too much to drink, and I did a stupid thing. I can handle you being pissed at me, I absolutely deserve it, I can even handle the ugly words that were exchanged between us, what I can't handle is thinking that you see me as a different person.
It is weird, I feel like I just went through a horrible break up or something. The world looked funny yesterday, I couldn't crack a smile if you paid me, there are songs I can't listen to, and I just feel beyond crushed. I don't know if you meant everything you said to me, and I am hoping that you didn't. I know that I was wrong on many levels, but I am also hoping that this is something that we can deal with. I know it sounds totally crazy and stupid, but you have come to play such a significant role in my life, I can't imagine my days without you. It is totally strange and weird to say that, and you could say that my behaviour didn't reflect that, and you would be correct. I hate feeling like you hate me, and I hate feeling like all of your friends think I am a terrible person, because I am not. I know there is nothing I can say or do to take back what happened, but I just want you to know that fighting with you was just about the worst thing I could have ever imagined. It was right up there with one of the ugliest nights of my life, and I would give anything in the world to rewind and fix it.
I am not sure if you will respond to this, part of me thinks that you won't. If not today, then maybe some other time. Also, thanks for getting my stuff together, although I think my sunglasses are still at your house, if you could keep your eyes peeled for them that would be great. I can't even focus or work today, I can't eat, I seriously feel like it was an ugly break up, and I am hoping against hopes that it was not that and you are not done with me. Please don't cut me off, I really don't think I can handle that.
I am so sorry.
Elizabeth

His response:
Dear Elizabeth,
Thank you for your concern. I'll be sure to file it away under "L" for "Long-winded diatribes from drunken whores I couldn't care less about".
You did a stupid thing huh? No...doing long division and forgetting to Carry the one is "a stupid thing"; Mixing in a red sock with a load of whites is "a stupid thing"; Blowing some guy in a bathroom for 45 minutes while I sit at the bar wondering if you're taking so long because you ate too much bran that morning isn't as much a "Stupid thing" as it is grounds for permanent removal from my social calendar.
To be honest, I'm not sure if it was more amusing that you went and degraded yourself in a public toilet not once but twice in a 2 hour span, or that you seemed to think that by saying "Well, I didn't F**k him" somehow gave you a clean slate. So forgive me if I couldn't care less if the world "looked funny" to you yesterday. Since your world revolves around blow dryers, golden retrievers, Prada Bags and Jelly Beans, I'm sure it must have been most unsettling to actually have to consider someone else's feelings for 24 hours straight. The good news for you is that my friends don't think you're a terrible person, they just think you're the average run of the mill c*um-guzzling blond who commands about as much respect as your average child p*orn collector. I could be wrong but, it's pretty hard to respect some B&T chick who comes out to spend the night at my place even though she's seeing someone else in New jersey and winds up tongue-bathing the taint of anyone who decides 30 minutes of droning commentary on Colin Farrell's new haircut is worth putting up with for a hand job in the men's room. The good thing about being a guy is that when I eventually bump into the young lad who finger-blasted you on top of a towel dispenser last saturday, we'll have a shot and laugh our heads off about the time it happened.
By the way, for the amount of time you claim to spend in spin class you really must be doing something wrong to sport the thunder thighs you do. Watching you parade around my bedroom in a thong was a little like watching sea lions mate. Thought you might like to know.

PS. I BCC'd about 100 people on this email.
Talk to you never,
Brad

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Testing my Resolve

2005 has come and gone. It seemed more accelerated towards the last few months, but I guess Purgatory made the summer seem longer than it was. At this time last year, I set a goal to lose 10 more pounds, travel to some exotic locales, and buy a tenor sax (well, at least be more cultural). Instead, I have gained about 5 pounds and ventured to such exotic locales as Vancouver, London, and Turks and Caicos, and I am still horn-less. The weight gain probably irks me the most out of all of these, although it has piled on very recently and there is more to it than pure laziness. The older I get, the more conflicted I am getting about how I look versus how I want to look. At the same time, I wonder if it all really matters in the end and if looking like a lollilop is worth the aggravation. After all, my boyfriend has not run backwards out of my apartment shrieking at the sight of my slightly expanded girth. In fact, I don't know if he really caught on to it until I told him.

This year, I still want to lose ten pounds and travel like a fiend and be cultural and all that stuff. However, maybe I'll augment my resolutions to do something positive as well, like be able to finally do unassisted pullups. I think I'll also take it easy on myself. My only travel goal for this year is to go visit my friend C during her Peace Corps stint in Morocco; anything else is a bonus. Plus, instead of getting frustrated and aggravated with the uncertainty and BS I put up with at work or in day-to-day, I am going to try to seek the adventure and hidden "Easter eggs" in life every day. This may sound a little corny, but I think it will prove to maintain my sanity better than any pharmeceutical, even in the face of heinous managers and bank fees.

Happy New Year, friends! Hope everyone got a good NYE kiss. I am off to digest the scrumtdiddlyumptous meal Jason and I stuffed down our gullet at the Capitol Grille. BTW - Dave and I agree the Delmonico with balsamic glaze was fork-licking good. Yes, I know it will not do wonders for my waistline - I start South Beach Phase 1 (again) tomorrow.