Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Getting to Know Your Relatives

1. Whats your name spelt backwards? (should that not be spelled?)
Seniah Nitsuj.  Japanese maybe? I am the complete opposite of Japanese, so I guess that makes sense.

2. What did you do last night?
Went to a cloud computing event put on by Canonical Ubuntu. Very exciting - and free food and drinks to boot!

3. The last thing you downloaded onto your computer?
Match of the Day Highlights from the best football game of the season on Sunday - Liverpool 2 - Man United ZERO.

4. Have you ever licked a 9 volt battery?
Yes, I remember the taste to this day. I think I used to do it to see if the battery was still alive. I can only assume that it's something Graham told me to do.

5. Last time you swam in a pool?
In Brazil on my honeymoon during a torrential downpour that flooded the streets. 

6. What are you wearing?
A smelly white t-shirt and sweats.

7. How many cars have you owned?
Two - 1965 Buick Special and 2001 GTI

8. Type of music you dislike most?
Death Metal

9. Are you registered to vote?
Registered to vote Democrat

10. Do you have cable?

11. What kind of computer do you use?
Anything I can get my hands on. Dumb terminal or HP Laptop

12. Ever made a prank phone call?
Uhh...duh. Made some great calls with the exchange students in high school.

13. You like anyone right now?
Yea, my wife's not bad. ;o)

14. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving?
Yes and yes. I think I would rather bungee jump first.

15. Furthest place you ever traveled?
Brazil to the south, Kazmir Dolny Poland to the East, Tahiti to the West, and Vancouver to the North. I need to work on some of that.

16.Do you have a garden?
Does a bonzai plant count?

17. What's your favorite comic strip?

18. Do you know all the words to the national anthem?
I just know the "Jose can you see?" part I think

19. Shower, morning or night?

20. Best movie you've seen in the past month?
Pineapple Express

21. Favorite pizza toppings?
Whatever's on the grandma slice - grilled onions and stuff. Also a fan of the pineapple and canadian bacon varietal.

22. Chips or popcorn?
Definitely chips, I can eat a whole bag in a sitting. It's my guilty pleasure. Though I am a fan of popcorn as well.

23. What cell phone provider do you have?
Verizon, thank god. Now please bring us the iPhone!

24. Have you ever smoked peanut shells?
Who doesn't? Wait, what? Must be a slang term that those damn kids are using.

25. Have you ever been in a beauty pageant?
Negative ghost rider.

26. Orange Juice or apple?

27. Who were the last people you sat at lunch with?
The boss

28. favorite chocolate bar?
Kinder Country, by a mile

29. Who is your longest friend and how long?
Stefan and Ryan are about the same length, somewhere around 6'3"

30. Last time you ate a homegrown tomato?
Yesterday. It was probably homegrown by someone in China.

31. Have you ever won a trophy?
Yes, they give them to everybody when you're a kid, regardless of skill!

32.Favorite artist?

33. Favorite computer game?
Pro Football Manager, though I haven't played it yet.

34. Ever ordered from an infomercial?
Yes, after imbibing a bit too much, I ordered the infamous crush-proof hose. I am considering dipping my toe back in those waters for the Slap-Chop. Anybody use one before??

35. Sprite or 7-UP?

36. Have you ever had to wear a uniform to school/work?
Yes, I wear my monkey suit every day.

37. Last thing you bought at Walgreens?
Pass. I have no clue. Probably a pack of gum so that I could get ATM cash-back.

38. Ever thrown up in public?
Yes, but not since I was young.

39. Would you prefer being a millionaire or finding true love?
Can't buy me love!

40. Do you believe in love at first sight?
I am way to pessimistic to believe in that.

41.Can exes just be friends?
Not in my case.

42. Who was the last person you visited in the hospital?
My doctor or Jonathan, not sure which.

43. Did you have long hair as a young kid?
I had hair when I was a child, so that counts, right?

44. What message is on your voicemail machine?
I don't have a voicemail machine, I just have a mobile.

45. Where would you like to go right now?

46. What was the name of your first pet?

47. What kind of back pack do you have, and what's in it?
I have an O'Gio that's empty except for some power converters, but I usually use Erika's red North Face that I bought for $20 from some guys that probably stole them.

48. Last incoming/outgoing call on your phone?
Mom and Mom!

49. What is one thing you are grateful for today?
I am grateful for my wife, my family's health, and getting to talk to Nana on Skype!

50. What do you think about most?
PGD and Cincinnati. And Liverpool.

Monday, October 19, 2009

We've Got Worms

Actually, they are more like visitors. After not having anyone visit me in the last few years after the initial rush, Summer and Mom & Dad have all visited us in lovely Astoria. Now, we've got Vas confirmed on a flight to come here for a week during Thanksgiving (my second Thanksgiving since I've been here, and my first where I can actually eat solid food) and on Saturday, Leif said "Hey what are you doing next weekend? I think me and my girlfriend will fly out to visit next week if you're around!" Uhhh...OF COURSE! It's about time! Anyone else? I would love to have to actually put a calendar to use to fill the vacancies on our futon!

If you're thinking about visiting us anytime soon, it is probably better for you to consider coming sooner rather than later because we've been having some interesting conversations in our household lately. Specifically, around the thoughts of the option to move to the Cincinnati region. WTF? I don't even know if it is an option, but I think that it may be. It won't be happening anytime soon, but you really just never know. For once in my life, I'm trying to think long term, but at the same time trying to appreciate the now and thinking about everything in between...

This past weekend, I was a volunteer at a kids soccer coaching clinic up in Harlem. It sounded like the perfect kind of gig for me, inspiring youths to take up the beautiful game and eschew other lame American sports like American Football ;o). It had so much promise, but it was actually one of the worst volunteer experiences I've had. Not because the kids weren't awesome, because they were. More so because the volunteers had a penchant for proving to everyone that they were awesome soccer players. Bragging about the position they played, how they used to take penalty kicks, and kicking the ball as hard as they could at the teenage goalkeepers, while "playing" with the under-10 kids.And the two teenage goalkeepers were so inspired to prove that they were awesome that they would block every single kick anytime one of the little kids tried to kick the ball. Clearly, there were some egos that needed to be massaged. It was definitely not about the kids, and that's just lame. By the way, I have a hard time just kicking the ball without falling down, so I certainly didn't have any point to prove to anyone :)!

Today I brought in awesome bagels from the local bagelria to work as part of the October birthday celebrations that we have. At the coordinator's request, I bought two dozen, plus the bagelria gave me four extra for free. There's only like 12 people in my group, so it was clearly a ridiculous amount of massive, warm bagels, so I thought I'd give one to the homeless guy begging for money on the subway stairs. He looked at me and said "I don't want THAT!" I said okay and put it back in the bag before he said "Fine, I'll take it". Yo, man, don't do me any favors just because you can't buy booze with a freakin warm, delectable bagel!

J. Riley, Vas and Susyash, I haven't seen any blogs in the required time, so this will continue to be the short feeds. You scratch some words on your blog, and I'll scratch mine! I'm waiting....

Monday, October 05, 2009

Dishing Out the Truth About Ikea

First off, congratulations to Summer on her accomplishment

Last year before I moved into my new apartment, I went on a mad shopping spree to buy stuff for my apartment - you know the essential stuff like a futon, a table, dishware, energy-saving lightbulbs, etc. It was my first experience, but I was amazed at how cheap the stuff was there and, really, how some of the stuff is actually pretty decent quality. The "silver"ware has been great. Despite finding some phantom screws underneath it, nobody has sat on the futon and crashed to the floor (where the hell did those screws come from, anyway?), and even the dishware has been surprisingly sturdy and shatter-resistant (despite my utter clumsiness and lack of a grip with my rubber gloves on while washing them).

So imagine my surprise when yesterday I discovered the following....ON THE SAME DAY, within hours of each other:
  • A large chip off the edge of one of my big plates
  • A small microscopic chip (though surely capable of giving me a bloody lip, I'm sure) off the edge of one of my glasses.
  • A crack on the handle of one of my mugs. 
I'm certain that these things weren't there the day before. I have no option but to judge Ikea dishware like I judge Chrysler transmissions: they should come with a "Best if used by" date. In this case, 1.5 years or 400 hand-wash cycles, which ever comes first.

It's been an exciting week and half since we last talked. I had my birthday party at the German beer garden, which went off exceptionally well and without anybody getting arrested for dancing on the tables or other drunk and disorderly conduct. The place was surprisingly packed by about 6:30 on a Friday night, which is just way too early. I guess the hipsters living off their trust funds don't really have to go to work, so they just leave their artist studios when they feel like drinking liters of beer on the first night of Oktoberfest. But I digress (and mock).

We engaged in a battle with a neighboring group for control of one of the large "beer banken" and eventually won when their soldiers started standing and loitering, at which point we flanked their position and gained the high ground so that all of our soldiers could settle in for the evening with hard tack (also known as tasty sausages, fries, and an assortment of delectable mustards [thanks Paul!!]), beverage sharing, and jovial music. Have I been reading too many Civil War novels since Gettysburg? The beer garden was great, although it might have been a little too "hip" for me and despite the genuine beverages and food, I think I prefer the aura of the Czech beer garden in Astoria a bit more for a regular visit. But it was a nice change of scenery for a Birthday.

This past weekend was an interesting one. It started off the way the best weekends always start off - with an evening full of movies ("Che II" in this case) and technical support! Nana got herself a shiny new computer and despite an initial setback of "Boot device not found" (not something that you want to see ever, especially the first time you boot up your computer) Frata quickly mastered English with an Indian accent and then the art of the computer's innards and they had the computer up and running and ready for system restoration from Your's Truly's Technical Support (highly recommended, by the way. Look them up). I got mischievous and accidentally disconnected myself from my Teamviewer remote access to their computer, but I got everything working by Sunday.

Saturday we enjoyed a few hours of Bachata and Merengue classes (look out sketchy Jackson Heights discos!) followed by a downpour and a road trip to Trader Joe's to stockpile our food for the next few days (chips)/weeks (cheese)/months ($0.67 beers). At night, we were graciously invited to check out the Royal Manhattan Triumvirate's (that would be Paul, Cathy, and D) favorite singer Brandi Carlile - live and in concert at the visually and acoustically beautiful Beacon Theater. A highlight of the performance that only someone like my dad could truly appreciate was when the whole band moved to the front of the stage, in front of the monitors and sound equipment, and performed a song that the entire theater could hear christal-clear. The show was very impressive and I give Paul, Cathy, and D a thumbs-up on their musical tastes after that show!

J. Riley, and now, back to my regularly scheduled activities of reading Civil War novels (I'm on the Last Full Measure after reading Killer Angels) and studying up on my 2010 health and welfare benefits.