Thursday, December 24, 2009

Urine Luck

There are certain times in ones life when the discovery of a tool leads to inspiration of sorts. Blogging was one of those events back in 2003 or so. After opening my account and remaining dormant for months, I had a back-of-the-cab discussion with Paul, Cathy, and a friend of theirs in town about the crazy city of New York and how there needed to be a way to keep track of places that I wanted to go, events that transpired, and the life that was being lived. It was fairly successful over the years, even if the production line of posts isn't quite like it was in the past.

Recently I was out at dinner with some friends and was learning all about the book of James. It was fascinating and was something that I had yearned for throughout the years that I had been blogging. I hope that the book of James provides another moment of inspiration since I went out and bought something just like the book of James: a pocket-sized faux-leather personal journal. It's great for keeping track of my thoughts, making a note about websites that I need to check back on when I get home, and pretty much anything else that I can think of that needs to be documented.

Thus, it is Christmas Eve and I wish to provide you with a taste of my own book of James. Oh hell no, there's a poem in store for ya'll!

The First Day of (Peruvian) Christmas
    by J. Riley

You're in Luck,
   when the faux-hawk that you rock,
   stands up like a shock
   and when 230v > 110v, I nearly knocked my socks off. 

   The sirens will sounds,
   that there's a new gringa in town.
  The fish will clown
  while her tooth is getting crowned.
  This, with the girl that wore my wedding gown.  

J. Riley, Feliz Navidad! Pictures that go along with the linguistic art above will have to wait until I get back to NY...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Thanksgiving Week: The Abriged Version

It's been an unprecedented week and a half of greatness around here lately - and it didn't even include computers! Okay, I lied, there was some nerdliss bliss going on as well as some other awesome things. Such as:
  • I caved in and took Erika to see a sigh-fi movie (pun intended). I am not the biggest fan of these movies and the thought of paying $30 for tickets and a drink to see "2012" is not ideal. It is, however, acceptable if you watch "2012" and a second movie on her agenda ("New Moon") is conveniently starting right when we walk out of the theater - and a double-feature night was on. Okay, so we were stuck in the first row, but it was too good of a deal to pass up!
  • Thanksgiving week is always awesome because it's a short work week and there is plenty of weight to be gained (in the wrong parts). But what makes it even more awesome is when a friend comes to town from Slovakia! Roland rolled into town on Tuesday, and it was on! 
  • Roland and I always get into some kind of trouble together, usually involving car accidents. But with no cars in my household, Roland found other ways to accomplish this. I'll spare the details, but suffice to say that bright and early on Thanksgiving morning, I was going across the street to White Castle to see if they had a plunger I could use. They didn't, but luckily the grocery store was open and they did! Why does this stuff always happen on the holidays, just like when I locked myself out of my apartment on the 4th of July, when my super was out of town for two weeks?
  • Since I am rarely in town during Thanksgiving (unless I'm recovering from jaw-surgery and eating liquids), we made plans to actually fight the crowds and watch the spectacle that is the Macy's Parade in mid-town. And by watching, I mean getting there about 10 minutes before the final float passed by. I'm not a big parade guy, but the other members of my household are, so we hit that. 
  • We followed the parade up with a stroll down 5th Avenue and, much to my surprise, many of the stores were already hawking their goods at Black Friday prices. Much to my chagrin, Roland forced us to go into Armani Exchange, which I consider to be one of the least likely places for me to enter due to their ginourmous "A|X" labels on everything they sell. Or so I thought. The place actually rocked my world in terms of style ingenuity. Wow, where has this store been in my life?? I still didn't buy anything, but there was plenty of eyeballing going on in that store. Vas shoved it in my face by modeling in and buying half the store - but at outrageously reduced prices!
  • We arrived home and realized that we still had to cook. Ughhh....actually I was in a productive mood so I went to work on prepping the goods and stressing Erika out to the point that she went and took a nap. Rachel Ray promised that it would take only 60 minutes to make this meal and I was dead set on getting it done within an hour and a half - at which I failed! But, damn, did we do well. Of course, I realized at the end that I forgot to make the mashed potatoes, so I put Vas to work grating the 1/2 pound of manchego while I quickly boiled the Yukon Golds and everything came out just perfect. We followed that up by sobering up from the pre-meal aperitif(s) and delicious Hungarian white wine and watching "Pelham 123", which was predictable but alright. 

The succulent fowl breasteses

Justin as a sous-chef in 1997 (Italy)                                              vs.                                                 2009 (NY)
  • We decided to do the Black Friday thing in Manhattan since Erika and I had to go to the city at the plumber-crack of dawn anyway and Roland wanted to hit the town early and do his shopping. We did marginally well at getting to our appointment on time while Roland worked at his pace and eventually arrived at 11:00 ;o). We all did pretty good at saving some cash and Vas found the caloric love of his life at Pax - Wholesome Foods. But this day is just exhausting here, dealing with the throngs of people fighting for clothes on sale.  I think that Macy's on Black Friday is something everyone should experience once in their lifetime - for the pure frustration of it all.

The first floor at Macy's in Herald Square on Black Friday

  • Saturday was our lazy day of recovery from Black Friday. The apartment was trashed, but Roland and I rolled out at about 3:00 to go eat some bagels and leave Erika to her homework. It was nice to have some one-on-one time with the guy that I consider one of my best friends in the world and talk about life and normal random scheisse that we don't get to talk about when we're busy traveling with six other friends to the heights of Machu Picchu, remote beaches in Brazil, or packed into a rental car en route to Berlin for the World Cup final. We strolled around Central Park and returned in time to relax some more and get ready for the evening's main-event at a world-renowned night club - Pacha NYC.
  • The last time that Vas and Csilla came to NY, we were too beat to make it to a disco and I promised him that this time would be different. We missed a world-class DJ in David Guetta by one painful day, but the local guy who was spinning that night did the job as we arrived lubricated with Vilmos at around 12:30 at night with two of Erika's friends. The place was hopping and it was definitely one of the most epic nights in recent memory since we didn't return home from "brunch" at Sanford's until almost 6:00am! I realize now that I'm too old for that since I still haven't recovered from that night! 

  •  Sunday was Roland's last full day in town and he had some additional items that he needed to purchase before heading home - including a new piece of luggage that he totally got ripped off on in midtown. I probably should have mentioned that he can negotiate on those prices before he wiped out the credit card. This thing he bought was just completed ridiculous and felt like it would fall apart without even putting one of his 97 bags (give or take a few) of Abercrombie & Fitch clothes in it. He recovered from that purchase well, however, when we did a final supper of Astoria-fresh sushi at Watawa on Ditmars. The place was packed on a late Sunday night, but it was pretty good stuff, even if it wasn't as good as the first sushi place he visited shortly after arriving (Bistro 33)
J. Riley, after family, friends are the next best thing to have at Thanksgiving!!