Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Earlier in the week I strategically capitalized on my American Airlines miles by
booking a trip to Puerto Vallarto, Mexico for later this year. I am going there
to attend my third international wedding in just over a year, which I am very
excited about. It's a stretch to call this an authentic "Mexican" wedding
though. "Mexican-American" is probably the more appropriate term - meaning two
white kids going to Mexico to get married on the beach and party for the whole
weekend. But hey, that works for me.

As everyone knows, my Name Day is coming up on June 1st. I am really excited
about this and have decided to make a wish-list of things for everyone to refer
to when shopping for their gift to me.

1.) Roomba Discovery Robotic Floor Vacuum
2.) Digital picture frame with scheduling and picture randomizing features
3.) iSight webcam for my Mac
4.) "Confessions of an Economic Hitman", written by John Perkins
5.) An air filter
6.) Those fabric softener dryer sheet things

J. Riley, maybe I'll put some new teeth pics online later

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Movin' on Up

I'm really going places in the world. A few weeks ago I finally got my hands on a luxury item that I've considered buying many a time for the past few years. As a techie, I am naturally inclined to be an early adopter of the latest and greatest technology, but I've kind of resisted the urge to buy this item because I am cheap and, well, I never really had much use for one. But it's official - I am now the proud owner of a second-hand, hand-me-down DVD player for my TV. I guess this means I can finally watch DVDs on my TV with other people rather than gathering a crowd on my bed to watch them on my computer screen. Unless, well, the circumstances dictate that that is appropriate ;o).

As further evidence of the fact that I am going places, my orthodontist invited me to a private party at a bar/lounge/club in mid-town to celebrate the opening of his new office. In all honesty, he was just looking for an excuse to party. But this place that he had reserved was some swanky place that would require me to 1.) Not wear Pumas, 2.) Not wear jeans, and 3.) Wear a jacket. Time to dust off the suit! I don't typically like places that require me to wear items like that outside of work, but I figured I'd go check out the scene and bounce early if I felt like it. It was worth a shot since what could be better than a room full of people drooling over themselves and spitting at each other when they talk in slurred voices with mouths full of metal like mine. I just hoped they had toothpicks for everyone to pick the food out of our teeths after munching.

Instead, I arrived at a party full of models, doctors, surgeons and their trophy girlfriends. Yea, I fit right in at this party! I had hoped to hang out with my doctor's hot Czech receptionist and assistant - both of whom are very sweet and are teaching me Czech when I come in for my appointments - but they were working to door so I had to awkwardly mingle with people who already had straight teeth, didn't slur their speach, and with whom I had nothing in common with. Where were all the railroad-faced people??? After a few cocktails au gratis, I warmed up to the crowd and met some people who also had nothing in common with anyone and didn't know anyone there.

A few minutes later and I felt a shove from the back and turned around to see my orthodontist, who also happens to be a well-decorated Marine (rumor has it he was special forces) but not a large guy, facing off with a short, wide fellow. I have no idea what it was about, but they were yelling at each other and the wide fellow was telling him to step outside with him if he wants to fight. It was completely out of the blue and you can imagine how strange a scene like that is at a swanky club. Needless to say, my doctor had his Marine friends quarintine this guy until the huge bouncers came in to take the guy outside and kick his drunk ass out of the lounge. Something must have really incited my doctor, because I'll never forget the look in his eyes when he was staring the guy down, especially considering his calm, soft demeanor whenever I go in for checkups.

Soon thereafter, I met a young Hispanic couple that were hanging out at the party and we soon got to talking and I ended up hanging out with them for most of the rest of the night. Both were Army veterans and had actually met each other Salsa dancing in Iraq last year. They were really a kick in the pants to talk to, very funny interaction between each other. The little guy was quite a talker but I could tell that she put up with a lot of him :o).

After they took off, I headed to the now-combustible, hopping dancefloor to get my quotient of grooving on. Apparently just before I got there, my female Czech buddies were released from door duties and had hit the dance floor, so I got some dancing in with them and some of the other girls with them, which was great. The greatest part about the dance atmosphere was that they were playing some good techno stuff that had some great beats mixed in, in particular the Latin and Arabic style - both of which are my favorite styles of this music. Although the music was a little different, this was the first time I'd felt like I was in a European disco, which was quite comforting and reminded me of my last night in Slovakia last summer. Minus the suit, of course :)

J. Riley, Wait until you hear about the movie(s) I saw this weekend. To be continued...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

That Guy

I realized today that I am so totally "That Guy" at work. I am "That Guy" who
brushes his teeth in the bathroom after lunch (those types always annoyed me or
made me snicker snobbily). I am "That Guy" who uses an exercise ball as a chair
at work when everyone else is complaining about their bad backs. I am "That
Guy" who walks around the office in his socks (the shoes are new and give me
blisters, but it's also nice to arridate my feet anyway). I am "That Guy" who
is always over by the coffee machine with his coffee mug, but drinks water
rather than coffee. At least I'm not "That IT Guy" that turns towards the wall
and hides when you walk by him. That guy works around the corner from my
windowless cage.

J. Riley, am I the only one who is tired of hearing about the "Da Vinci Code"
movie already? Everyone's read the book, so what's the deal with all the hype?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Gerrard's Goal

This YouTube thing is sweet! Check out Steven Gerrard's second goal of the game from Saturday's FA Cup Final:

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mamacita's Day

Against my better judgement, I am going to use a few minutes of my precious beauty sleep to jot some thoughts down, since that's been rather lacking of late. First of all, Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there, especially mine :) . Yes, I did call her and say that! My mom is easy enough to shop for for Mother's Day, I get her the same thing every year (manicure and/or pedicure from a spa) because I know she loves it and it's easy for me to get it to her! I wish my dad were so easy for Father's Day. Then again, with the recent relevation that he had his eyebrows done recently, I might take that into consideration!

I just finished watching the award winning movie "Crash" a few minutes ago and found it somehow disturbing, deep, rewarding, and thrilling all in an hour and a half or two. It definitely changed my perspective on the remainder of my lazy day - all one hour of it that was left. I highly recommend seeing it, just brace yourself for some depressing stories. I guess I can see how that would win some awards, great acting there for sure.

Cathy was in town this weekend, back from Cyprus for a week in the center of the universe. She left Paul back in Limassol to work on his artistic rendition of Michelangelo in his mosaic studio. He sure lives the life, spending his days at the beach and in an art studio with an occassional trip to harvest honey on a ranch and cooking for his wife. I wish I was as productive when I was projectless at EY a few years ago!! Anyway, Sean and I took her downtown on Friday night for some good old LES exploration and beverage exploitation. We came across a couple new places down there that I hadn't been to before that were definitely proving the point that I need to move down there, including a very nice little bookwalled cafe that served real German beer and looked like a place to have a conversation on Plato's Republic on a sunny summer morning.

Saturday morning was rough because Liverpool was playing the final game of the year - they had reached the finals of the FA Cup, which is a tournament for all of the professional teams in England (at all levels) and had a chance to take their second significant trophy in two years. And what a thrilling game it was. Seriously, this was one of the best matches I've seen in my life. Liverpool was third place in the league and had won 11 games in a row coming into this and were hands-down the favorite to beat a mid-table team they had just beaten a few weeks back. In the last minute of the game, their team captain scored an absolutely amazing goal from 35-yards away from the goal. Do you realize how amazing it is to hit the corner of a goal from that kind of distance? As an example of the strength that goes into these kinds of kicks, take a look at this picture of him right after making contact with the ball (the guy in red facing the camera):

Amazing. That tied the score up, which sent the game into overtime and after half of both teams were limping around the field for thirty more minutes from leg cramps, Liverpool went on to win on penalty kicks. Simply astonishing in my opinion.

J. Riley, But maybe you had to be there :-/

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Traffic Lights

First of all, "oops". I don't know why but for some reason my blog from last week didn't post - until now. Check it out down below.

The weather here in the city has been pretty killer this past week. It's been in the 60's and 70's pretty much everyday, which makes sitting in my windowless office that much better. But the warm sunlight has been excellent on the rare moments that I am temporarily blinded when I walk outside. No complaints here though!

I took advantage of the great weather today by taking a Salsa class in a windowless dance studio :-/ . I know it is blasphemous to spend copious amounts of my weekends indoors with the weather like this, but it sounded like fun to me and I met some friends of a friend who trudged down from upstate New York to attend, which was pretty sweet. I have always wanted to improve my skillz in that area of my dance repetoire, but being the whitest man on earth and not having control of my hips makes me a lousy candidate for such activities. But I put that all aside and took a four hour crash course on the basics of Salsa and learning some spins and what not. I'd learned some of it a few years back when I was into Swing dancing, but I was definitely in need of some brush up lessons. Now that I've got that under my belt, I'm thinking that another trip to the epic Sounds of Brazil club downtown might be in order!! Well, my Name Day is coming up on June 1st (did you forget already??), definitely a worthy occassion...

Yesterday afternoon, while I was sitting in Central Park with Sean, I got a random call from a girl I had a few dates with a couple months back asking if I wanted to go to the MoMA museum to see the Edvard Much exhibit (you know, the guy that drew that famous "Scream" painting?). Yea, they all come crawling back begging for my attention eventually ;-P . Anyway, I was all for it since I haven't actually been to the MoMA since it reopened last year, even though I can get in for free :-x !! wonder she called me.... In any case, it's definitely an impressive place. We followed that up with a free movie with Sean and his buddy - Mission Impossible III. As usual, the impossible mission was trying to figure out what the heck was happening in the end! I hate it when movies like that make you think ;o) ....

Funny thing, I've been checking out the traffic to my website lately and it seems like half of the random hits on it are people searching for either "jaw expander", "arch expander", "mouth expander", "palette expander", or "Getting to know your friends questionnaire". Is that all I'm good for ? ;o)

Justinho, my mouth is doing fine by the way, maybe someday I'll put more pictures up!!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

These Achin' Bones

I think it's time to face the music - I am officially old. I don't know what's happened this calendar year, but my body has begun aching whenever I do anything that requires to use of a muscle. Tight calves after walking home from work, a tight lower back after sitting all day, strained muscles after moving furniture into a 5th-floor walkup apartment. Not to mention the idea of staying up all night isn't as enticing as it once was a few months back.

I guess the only way to get out of this little phase I'm in is by exercising those things that are lacking - i.e. working out more, buying an exercise ball to sit on at work, and staying up later on the weekends. I need to start doing weights at the gym. Yes I still have the exercises you planned for me, Summer. And no, it has not moved from the spot you put it before you left. I started out by helping to move furniture to Hurricane Katrina victums apartments in New
York on Saturday. I hung out with a couple guys from the Park Service who had provided the trucks to move the furniture and got a taste of the city from their perspective. One of them was from "the islands" (i.e. Caribbean) and the other was born and raised right in Harlem, where we were delivering our load of goods. I definitely upped my "street-cred" by hanging with these guys, doing my share of awkward-couch-lifting up narrow staircases and demonstrating my
proficiency in using double-negatives in sentences. One thing I gotta say about Harlem is that there are some *really* nice apartments up there and who knows how much they cost, I'm sure it's less than what I'm paying now. The idea of not being able to safely walk home at 3:00am has it'd drawbacks, however...

Exhausted after my day full of manual labor, I crashed early on Saturday night (see what I mean???) and woke up bright and early Sunday morning to go out and have a Sunday brunch with Sean. To hit a restaurant up at 10:00am anywhere in the city means that you get right in without having to wait since the city doesn't really wake up until about noon. Well, anywhere but Clinton Street Bakery, that is. I've been there for dessert and half-priced wine once, but not
for it's infamous brunch. Who would imagine that there would be an hour wait at 10:30am in this far-east corner of the city? It was certainly good-eats, but I'm not sure about waiting an hour for it!

I've decided that my diet is lacking in fruits and vegetables (other than enriched semolina wheat and tomatoes), so I have endeavored to cooking a wider variety of them more often, including a variety of squashes (g-a-s-p!), radishes, parsnips, carrots, bananas for my cereal, etc.

J. Riley, bouncing on my exercise ball that I bought as a replacement chair at work.

Monday, May 01, 2006

It's The Small Things That Are Most Precious

I haven't been able to get this image out of my mind ever since I saw it!

J. Riley needs to go, to San Diego.....