Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Parties in the Hood

Erika and I had a nice couple days planned for last weekend. It all started out by making homemade pizzas on Friday night coupled with some movies on a disgustingly humid night. I hadn't made homemade pizzas before, and since I don't have a pizza stone, I wasn't exactly sure how the crust was going to work out. We ended up using whole-wheat pita bread with tomato sauce, a bunch of vegetables, and topped off with cheese. They actually turned out pretty good, as did the movie!

For the weekend, we had some options on the table. We could take a road (train) trip to the beach for one day or we could walk from Central Park to the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday when they closed down Park Avenue for this purpose. Or we could do both. Or we could do neither. Which we did.

The forecast for Saturday was gloomy. 70% chance of torrential downpour, a light-show in the sky with a booming orchestra, and hot & steamy temperature when it wasn't raining.

Although a five mile walk from the park to the bridge on hot concrete and little shade sounded like pigs in mud, considering the weather we decided to pass on that this time around and instead dedicated the day to the indoors, doing laundry, watching football, and trying to stay dry.

Amazingly, we did stay dry. Probably because it never rained, not even a drop! No lightning, no thunder, nothing. Just hot, humid, disgusting temperatures. By 10:30 at night, I had a case of cabin fever and was cursing the gods for not quenching my thirst for water from the sky. I decided that maybe we should take up Wunderbar, our local German drinking hole, on their offer of drink specials and live music. I figured we could go there, have a delectable, frothy, imported beverage, check out the music scene with the bountiful hipsters, and then retire home to my residence at a reasonable hour.

There's only one problem with going to Wunderbar - it's in the G-to-the-hetto. There's nothing around this place except possibly abandoned warehouses, projects, chop-shops - and a library. I scavenged through my meager belongings and couldn't find a suitable self-defense weapon (my nunchucks were buried somewhere in the back of my closet), so I decided to rely on my awesome capoeira skills and also to wear my running shoes. Because, uhh, you know, I can do the best capoeira jengas with those on. I told Erika to prepare to go to downtown Lima, which means no necklaces, no earrings, no weddings rings, no wallets, etc.

Anyway, we made it safe to the beer hall, I went to the bathroom, Erika got hit on (I believe the term "sausage fest" would be an ideal term for the place), we drank some refreshing liquids that comply with the German beer purity law Rheinheitsgebost, and we downed a savory bratwurst with sauerkraut while trying to shield our ears from the horrendous screaming that came from the rock-band singer's amplified voice. Judging by the increasing number of people that joined us
outside the place, I don't think anyone was left inside by the time the band finished playing. Yikes!

On the way back, we heard something that sounded like Brazilian music outside, which is odd considering there is nothing else around the beer garden. We decided to walk around and try to see where the music was coming from and came across a group of younger people who were walking into a building of some sort. So, we followed them up the stairs like nobody's business and low and behold, we were on the roof of a building where a Brazilian party was going down! We just missed the live music, but a DJ was spinning it up, drinks were being served (due to the above traveling restrictions, I carried no cash), and several barbecues were in effect. It was completely random, but completely awesome at the same time. We hung out there for a while and did some dancing and were completely anti-social as usual, so we decided to head home after a while and see if this is something that was going on every week or what. We found no evidence of this party whatsoever on Google.

J. Riley, and on Sunday, I was so sure that the rain would catch up to us, that we stayed inside. And it didn't rain.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Belt

Have you ever noticed how when you go to work in your business casual
clothing and you forget your belt, you feel almost naked? Yikes,
that's how I feel today...

J. Riley, sore back AGAIN this morning.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ass That Back Up!

Ohh....wittiest of titles, why do you fail me now? There is so much I can do with the word "back", but my creativity is lacking right now. Maybe that's because I haven't written anything for a few weeks :^o

In any case, Roland promised to write more, and he blasted us all with his warrior diet advertisement (or maybe, like my Twitter account, his blogger account was hacked?), so I will do likewise and put something out there for my minions.

First, I need to gripe about this back of mine. Or this bed of mine. I've got enough health problems, so let's go ahead and blame it on the bed. What do you do with a one-year-old mattress in perfect condition that has left my back in tatters every night for the past week? Should I put this thing on Craigslist, suck up the loss, and order a bed from Vas's Slovakian mattress company? I have no idea what to do with this thing. I literally have problems walking in the morning, my mid-back muscles around my lower ribs (not my spine, so this isn't an issue a
snap, crackle, and pop can fix) are hurting me so bad - thus requiring me to take a hot shower in order to have it loosen up, which subsequently leaves me sweating in my apartment, just in time to go outside to the swampy weather and wait for my bus. Something's gotta give!

Speaking of my back, and completely unrelated to the bed issue, it has been observed by various people (such as the wife) that I have bad posture. Obviously, I could have told me that, which is why I used to sit on the exercise ball at work (it deflated a while back). But that wasn't the solution, and I couldn't figure out the solution until recently, in my salsa class, the teacher told me to stop slouching and pull my shoulders back to straighten my neck. Wait, what? He nailed it
on the head, and now I know how to correct my posture. So I'm working on maintaining this shoulder-back position, which is pretty difficult for me to do without thinking about it.

Aaaaand....a perfect segway to salsa dancing. We've been taking two lessons a week for the past month, with mixed results. The good thing is that nobody else knows about this dance studio, so it's been almost private lessons every week, which is great. Fact: I am the only man
who goes to class every week, so I always get great personal instructions, mostly "constructive" criticism about my posture, bending my knees, learning to lead a partner, and rolling my shoulders and hips, which I clearly not genetically built for. But it's still a lot of fun! Being the only "couple" in the class, and much like my three year old niece, the teachers would like Erika and me to have a "dance recital" (my words, not theirs) in front of a group at their grand opening party in October. I was thinking that this sounded like fun, except that I can only imagine how embarrassing it will be when I forget the steps mid-routine. I think I'll pass...

J. Riley, glory glory hallelujah, football starts this weekend! And Summer is visiting!