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


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


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


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...