Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Public Service Announcement Re:Reservation Rewards

I had some strange transactions on my credit card recently - $12 charges (that appeared to be occurring monthly) being charged by something called "Reservation Rewards". Apparently, this is one of those scams that they get you signed up for when you buy from "reputable" travel sites like Orbitz. Check out your credit card if you have used one of these discount sites and make sure you're not getting charged. If you are, call them up, demand that they cancel your account and threaten to report them to the BBB if they don't refund all of the past charges. I did that and they re-credited my credit card. I reported them to the BBB and disputed their charge on my credit card for good measure!

J. Riley, I recommend using a virtual credit card number from a credit card company like Citi (I think Amex may have it as well) when buying from these travel sites or any other "lowest bidder" sites that I like to frequent! Thanks for notifying me about the charges!

In An Effort To Catch Up....

For once, I've actually been too busy to blog! Let's see, what's going on around here:
  • In an effort to become cultured, we decided to go see a ballet at the NYC Ballet, which was also Erika's (belated) Valentine's Day present. As much as I mockingly "ooohhhed" and "awwwwwed", I couldn't really get into it. I'm not really sure what to look for when they are prancing and dancing around the stage. Some of it was cool, but I have a feeling that it has a lot to do with the classical music that the orchestra is playing. Classical. You know, that extremely cranial music style that people force their kids to listen to in order to increase their intelligence. Obviously, I didn't have that kind of training and clearly don't understand how to "interpret" the music like some of my neighbors at the ballet! But it was fun - considering I had a nice little discount. 
  • In an effort to become dehydrated, Paul and I visited the Russian Turkish Bath House. Despite the name, it's not a typical "bath house" that you would think exists in liberal NYC. In any case, my skin got as crispy as the porchetta sandwich that we enjoyed afterwards while we went between seven different saunas and steam rooms with a dips in an ice pool in between. Not only that, but we got to enjoy a public beating with a bushwhacking (literally) Russian who beat us down with oak branches/leaves in the Russian sauna. The oak leaves apparently open your pores even more, which was clearly the case as my skin was synged and fried by the time I was done. Throw in some warm water, a soapy paint brush (olive-oil soap!), and (what felt like a ) a bejewled, Michael Jackson-style,  glove that rubbed the complete epidermis off of my back (and scabbed up a few of my moles :o/ ), and the "platza" massage was a wrap! 
  • In an effort to explore Brooklyn and some of what's on offer,we enjoyed some legit Trinidadian food in Crown Heights/Bed-Stuy at Trini-Gul, which was recommended to me by a guy I know from Grenada. We tried out some tasty roasted goat that was coated in spices from the islands, some curry potatoes, and a "bake and shark", which was like a fried pita bread with breaded and fried shark meat. And some of the hottest hot sauce I've ever had the pleasure of trying! 
  • In an effort to check out the highly-acclaimed Brooklyn Museum (by said Grenadian), we met up with some of Erika's classmates and teachers for a Target First Saturday. Free entrance to the museum with some Haitian music that clearly was influenced by similar cultures as Brazilian samba music and, later, a full on party on a massive dance floor in the middle of a museum. It would have been awesome to hang out at, except for the fact that my feet were killing me because my latest Pumas don't exactly use comfort as one of their stand-out features and we had been walking around since 2:00pm. The next event is on my calendar for May, however, and I will attend and I will dance!
  • In an effort to finally let Erika see some of the touristy sites in the city, in particular from 67 floors up, we hit the Top of the Rock up last Sunday. The view from there isn't as impressive as from the observatory on the Empire State Building, with the exception of the fact that you can actually see the Empire State Building from there. The weather was crystal clear, spring-like, and there was absolutely no crowd or line at the entrance.
  • In an effort to enjoy a Snow Day (when I get to work from home), For one of the first times we ventured out into the fresh powder at our local sculpture park on the river, armed with a camera and some waterproof boots. It was pretty nice since it was dead quiet, nobody was in the park, and it just kept on snowing. We built a nice little snow man until I started not being able to feel my hands. I'll that one to the list for next winter - if I'm still here! 
  • In an effort to use my Justin-branded urban cowboy boots, we met up with Paul and Jeff to enjoy some boot-stompin', ass kickin' hipster bluegrass music downtown. We had seen the Hackensaw Boys a few years back and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. This time around was good because I got to take a picture with my favorite member of the band, but they were missing their redneck percussionist (who now lives in California, ironically) who used to play the spoons, pots, pans, metal trash-can lids, etc. 
J. Riley, not much going on on the IVF front right now, except that I am now coming to realize that doctor's do not like to have any liability with this kind of stuff!