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We interrupt this New York bulletin [Jun. 16th, 2008|03:01 pm]
[mood |amusedamused]

To bring you an open letter to the gentleman driver behind me on Central avenue this fair day:

You first greeted me enthusiastically, with a loud and prolonged laying upon your horn as soon as the green left arrow appeared on the light from San Pedro onto Central.  That I was already moving was no concern of yours; indeed, nor was the existence of the old woman crossing the street to our left, towards us.  She was crossing against the green arrow, and I'm sorry that I got in your way of enforcing corporal punishment for her mistake.

I realized that you are in a hurry -- never mind that it was likely due to poor planning on your part -- and endeavored to get out of your way as quickly as possible.  Perhaps you did not realize that there was construction in the right most lane, which the old woman had already crossed, or that she was currently in the middle lane.  To be nice, I broke the law for you by turning not into the leftmost lane (as any law abiding driver would have done) but turned into the middle lane as soon as she vacated it and entered the left.

You turned across all the lanes of Central and ended up in the right lane, perhaps seeing so much red for having to wait 4 seconds that the red Rapid Ride bus in front of us blended into your vision -- a bus that was, unfortunately, stopped doing bus-related activities.  But after you completed your turn, I saw that you noticed your predicament.  You could slow down and change lanes behind me, or you could rapidly accelerate and try to get in front of me before I pass the bus.  I think you made the right decision -- after all, I was only driving 5 over the speed limit, and thus driving behind me would cause you to be later to whatever appointment you had decided was less important than lunch.

It was while you were attempting to pass me that I finally was able to glance upon your visage.  You were a handsome man, upper lip mustachioed in true 80's porn style, mouth twisted into a scowl and forehead bushed with eyebrows and even more bushied with the snarling grimace you wore.

Being the courteous driver I am, I switched into the left lane so as to allow you into the middle, seeing as how otherwise you would collide into the back of the bus, and who would want that?  It's not my fault that the bus finished picking its passengers up that moment and pulled into the middle lane in front of you so as to avoid the construction in the right lane -- construction that you would've seen, if I may point out, had you waited for the lady to cross and pulled into the left lane like a law abiding driver -- or even turned into the middle lane behind me.

Actually, I lied.  I totally timed that one, because I have precise control over how many passengers are on that stop at any given time of day.  Your rapidly darkening face indicated that you called my bluff!

So you screeched on the brakes, and (grudgingly?) switched lanes behind me.  Who wants to drive behind a bus, after all?  I despise the way they save gas by providing mass transportation.  I can clearly see that you are a fellow proponent of wasting gas by the way you zealously accelerate into any opening you can, only to screech to a halt seconds later.

I'm sorry that I blocked your view of the upcoming red traffic light.  I do realize that is rather hard to see past the car in front of you when you're driving only about a foot behind.  I'm also sorry that you didn't realize that a right lane under construction diverts traffic to the middle lane -- and thus when we finally passed the bus (which was also going the speed limit, just like me), you did the aforementioned accelerating past me and screeching to a halt behind the line of 15 or so cars in the middle lane.  If only you had known!  I was cruising comfortably in my lane, seeing as there were only 3 cars in front of me -- and in fact, the light changed before I even had to stop!  I guess you saw this too, judging by the way you again accelerated up to right behind me.

I'm sorry I couldn't go any faster than the speed limit; there was another car in front of me, after all.  I could, however, change into the middle lane as soon as the opportunity presented itself, so as to allow you more forward purchase.  I got in front of 10+ cars just for you, see how much I care?  Now I can see you out of my driver's side window.  You're just as handsome from the other side of your face.  Let me guess, you're going for the tortured, angry, anti-hero look?  Err, 80's pornstar anti-hero look?

It also just so happened that I changed lanes because I noticed that the middle lane was going faster.  I'm sorry I took the spot in the lane so that you couldn't, but after you jockeyed enough with the car behind me you were able to get behind me.  I was honored -- you actually slowed down this time so you could do so.  Oh wait, that was because the car in front of you slowed down.

Speaking of cars in front of you slowing down, that's what the giant truck in the right lane was doing.  But apparently all you saw was the space behind it -- right next to me, and slightly positionally ahead of where you were.  So you accelerated to change lanes, and then braked again, as the truck is slowing down, after all.

This is where we took our tearful farewell.  I think you got tired of all the people driving the speed limit on Central, and turned right so you could drive on the back streets.  It was also my time to turn right two blocks later.  I got one last look at you from afar as I, intimately familiar with how this particular light is timed, drove across the street that you were on, a block from my right... stuck behind a red light.

I didn't catch your name or I would've called ahead and let the people in your meeting know that you were going to be dreadfully late.  I would've looked it up from your license plate but alas!  You were behind me the entire time. :)

If you read this, call me -- we'll do lunch.  I'll pay, I know you spend a lot of money on wasting gas so you can accelerate just to brake seconds later.
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NYC part trois [Jun. 13th, 2008|04:48 pm]

I made it to what... the night of getting into NYC before I wandered away from Livejournal for 5 months?

Oh man, it's been so long, I bet I've forgotten everything that happened!

The next morning we got up and went to an extremely fabulous breakfast place, called Sara Beth's.  Of course, it's just on the corner from where I was staying, seeing as how we were staying in expensive Manhattan land.  It was easily the best breakfast food I had ever had.  They were famous for their home-made (restaurant-made?) preserves and scones -- and ironically, despite coming back several times, I never had a chance to eat either while there.  In all my trips, however, I did have applesauce pancakes, potato waffles (was that the same dish?  I don't remember)  Some really tasty salmon eggs benedict, and ... probably something with a muffin.  I did finally get to try their preserves when I encountered a jar of the same in a hip organic grocery store (also in close walking distance), but it was until I got back to New Mexico that I actually had some.

We spent a lot of time working on our presentation for the Facebook presentation.  I think we scrapped it at least three times, rewriting completely the slides and the outlines that we were going to talk from.  It didn't help that right before the day we were to present, Jess got an email talking about how the panel wanted to emphasize the specific aspects of our application that they wanted to see.

Between working on the presentation, we um... did stuff that I can't remember now.  We ate at a prix frie Italian restaurant on a Sunday.  I think it was called Nana's, and one of the many dishes that were brought to us was this giant lump of pork that was just absolutely delicious.  I have no idea how they managed to get all the flavors into the inside of this giant lump, but I wasn't complaining.  We also went to Magnolia Bakery, which is famous (or in this case, infamous) for it's ridiculously decadent cupcakes.  They were seriously like 2 dollars a cupcake, unless you wanted an elite one, (like the red velvet) in which case it was $2.50.  It was this visit that led me to try to make red velvet cake at home on a later date -- it actually turned out pretty well.

Let me interrupt myself at this point to point out that I had been wanting to see the musical Avenue Q for about 2 years now.  I was first exposed to the music when at an a cappella exchange we heard another group sing Schadenfreude, and from that point on I was hooked.  Keep in mind that Avenue Q has never actually toured and is only seeable on Broadway.  I had made it my mission to see it while I was in NYC.

Well!  As it turns out, Avenue Q shows every day at 8pm, except for on Mondays, which was the day we looked up this information.  Tuesday was something else I don't remember, and Wednesday we planned on working on our presentation all night, as it was schedule for Thursday.  At 7:45pm to be exact, at the Flatotel, which meant that I was probably out of luck, as I was cooking dinner for our fine hostesses on Friday night, and then figuring out a way to get to the airport (which, as you recall, is super far away) on Saturday morning.

The presentation, by the way, went very poorly, but I think we did as well as we could've given the circumstances.  You see, we had planned to give our presentation to actual members of the fbFund board, seeing as we assumed that they'd be interested in, well, knowing who they were giving their money to.  We built our ideas, our speech, and our slides around this assumption.  Unfortunately, when we got there, we found no one on the board there, and in fact, only two people total.  They were very gracious, however, and let us know during our presentation that they wanted to hear about a specific aspect of our application.  We didn't really get the point across well enough, or perhaps our idea wasn't convincing enough, or something... but it was pretty obvious that we weren't going to make it.

We got out at 7:50.  The presentations were running ahead of schedule (most likely due to the two listeners making everyone skip through huge portions of their speeches).

I left the Flatotel and ran down towards the Golden Theatre, where Avenue Q was slated to play.  The line stretched completely around the block and around the corner.  I was despairing -- we got out of the (terrible) presentation early and now I couldn't even get a ticket?  Jess and Chris (our business coordinator, and a good friend of both of ours) stood around for a while -- I migrated to the end of the line looking hopeful.  Maybe a scalper would take pity on me and I could see the show for like, $200.

Jess found me 5 minutes later.  Apparently someone had walked up to him and offered him two tickets for free.  Since Jess wanted to hang out with Chris, that meant I was going to see the show alone, and could only use one ticket.  I gratefully accepted, and figured that since I was going to be sitting with this guy's group, I might as well get to know them.

Well, it turned out that these people worked for Google New York, and were highly interested in the fact that we were here in NYC to present ideas to Facebook (even after learning that we didn't think it went so well -- maybe they were only being polite).  The musical was awesome, of course, but afterwards the person who gave me the tickets asked me, 'Hey, do you know any places to chill and drink around here?'  I gave Jess a call and found out where they were at a German beer garden style pub.  So off we went.  We got to the front and the German guy in the group vetoed the place, and they headed on down to an Irish pub they'd passed by, giving all of us an invitation to join them once we were done eating.

Alright, I'm starting to ramble.  *focuses*

The German food was excellent.  The company of the Google people at the Irish pub was awesome, we had some great conversation (about princesses, no less).  I will have to let him know next time I go back to NYC, because we'll have lunch and check out the offices.

Next episode:  A home cooked dinner, and the run to catch the train back to Islip!  Also, financial troubles... oooooOOOooooo
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NYC part deux [Jan. 17th, 2008|05:03 pm]
 So I'm chilling in this SUV with my new friend and her two Long Island girlfriends.  They're pretty cool -- what's funny was that they considered themselves 'strange' as far as people went, while I considered them normal.  It wasn't until later that I found out what a 'normal' Long Island girl was like.  At this point I didn't even know what train station I was supposed to go to, but they did (Ronkonkoma).  Unfortunately, we got incredibly lost and took probably about 20 minutes to actually find our way to the station.  As I found out later, the station is maybe 2 minutes away from the airport.

So, they dropped me off and wished me well.  I thanked them profusely and ran to get on the train, since it was on the platform.  Unfortunately, I was just maybe 30 seconds too late, because it started pulling away right when I got there.  I was literally standing 2 feet away from the train while it was accelerating, moving 5 ft/sec in front of me.  I really wanted to bang on the windows and be like, 'Let me in!' but at this point I didn't want to push my luck.

The next train wasn't for another hour, so I called my hostess and my roommate and let them know.  Then I went to find some food.

There was an Italian eatery there, called Scibelli's.  The food was kind of eh (as to be expected at a train station) but the guy was pretty nice.  I got a slice of cheese, some garlic knots, and a bowl of minestrone.  Aaaand I managed to burn my mouth within the first 5 minutes of eating something, of course.  At one point I pulled out a canned drink that I had scavenged from the airplane, and the guy was like, 'Do you wanta cuppa ice?'  I hesitated a moment and he put his palms up and said, 'I'mma not gonna charge you, I just wanta to make you a happy!'  Of course, he was already making me happy, but I went ahead and accepted the cup of ice anyway.

I also found out while I was waiting there that my friend Rachel, whom I thought was still in Albuquerque for winter break, was actually back in Long Island.

So.  The train ride was uneventful.  As was the bar at which I met my roommate and my hostesses (It was a wine bar called Bin 71).

After the bar we all went back to Jennifer (my friend from Berkeley and one of the two people with whom I would be staying) and Elena's apartment.  I was amazed -- the place was on 80th and Columbus, just west of Central Park and solidly in expensive Manhattan land.  Not only that, it was a nice apartment -- both spacious and well maintained.  I was impressed.  So we hashed out sleeping arrangements and went to bed.
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Okay, my trip to NYC [Jan. 17th, 2008|11:14 am]
[Tags|, , ]
[mood |impressedimpressed]

I need to write all this stuff down before I forget, because my trip was AMAZING.

As background, when I first heard that Facebook was having us come in to NYC to present to them, I was stoked, and sort of bought my tickets in haste.  I have a kneejerk reaction to buying my plane tickets from Southwest, and so I did.  For some reason they don't fly to Newark or LaGuardia, so I was like, 'Oh, I'll fly into Long Island, that's in New York so it should be close, right?'

Actually it's about 60 miles away, which is pretty far considering that unlike Albuquerque, the entire island is like one big city.  I realized my mistake seriously right after I clicked 'Buy these tickets.'  So I also had to figure out how to get to Manhattan, where I was staying, once I landed.

Also, as more background, I first heard of Avenue Q when I heard the song "Schadenfreude" in 2005.  Since then more of their songs have been coming into my consciousness, and due to their quirky, sort of cynical nature I quickly became enamored with the idea of seeing the musical itself.  Unfortunately, they hadn't yet toured, and pretty much just stayed in NYC (with a brief stint in Las Vegas).

Okay!  On to the trip.

When I got to the Sunport, they wouldn't print me a boarding pass.  I was pretty confused, but they gave me a security slip so I could at least get through security.  Once I got to my gate, I figured out that the reason they couldn't give me a boarding pass was because they overbooked the flight -- so technically I didn't have a seat.  So they gave me a Southwest Voucher for the price of the ticket + $200.  So I got this sweet travel voucher, but was not looking forward to arriving in ISP even later than I was already (and then having to deal with getting to Manhattan that late).  But!  Somehow I managed to get onto my flight anyway, because someone who had checked in (the first person who had checked in, in fact) didn't make it to the plane.  Lucky me!

Next I had a layover in Baltimore.  While I was there, I met this girl who also went to school in North Carolina, on a gymnastics scholarship (she'd been doing it since she was like, 2).  She was also recruited to go to places like Berkeley, and some other place I don't remember, so she had to have been really good.  So we talked gymnastics for a while, and eventually we started talking about why I was going to NYC.  Well, it turns out that she's a business person who happens to have contacts in the social networking industry, so she was like, 'Let me give you my card, and I'll let you know what I can do.'  Sweet, I haven't even made it to NYC and I'm already making connections.

So I got on the plane, and by this time I'm super tired.  I end up sitting next to this girl who is visibly afraid of flying.  So I talk to her for maybe 5 minutes, while we're on the tarmac.  She's only flown 4 times, and is kind of freaking out, so I comfort her as best as best as I can, and then promptly pass out for the duration of the flight.  Well, we land, I wake up, and we talk some more.  She's taken some of the advice I gave her to take her mind off of the flying.  So we talk some more, I find out she's from Long Island and some of her girlfriends are picking her up.  I just tell her that I'm going to Manhattan, so I'm going to grab a shuttle to Ronkonkoma station.  At this point she offers me a ride.  I was like, 'Seriously?'  How often do people whom you talk to for 5 minutes on a plane offer you a ride?  This was my first (and definitely not last) experience with super nice New Yorkers.  In fact, I only ran into one really rude New Yorker, but I'll go ahead and gladly roll with that.

Hmm, I'll finish this later... I'm not even to Manhattan yet!

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I spent most of last weekend stuffing sausage into dates [Sep. 12th, 2007|03:58 pm]

Actually it was Laotian sausage, and by dates I mean the fruit... from Egypt.  Afterwards we wrapped them in prosciutto.  It was all the brainchild of Meghan, who was inspired by the previous stuffed dates.  We also made some really tasty clam chowder.

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Last night, old women got me drunk and posted videos to the internet [Sep. 3rd, 2007|02:47 pm]
Last night was someone else's food party!

The menu (all homemade, with most ingredients grown in private gardens):
garlic chevre dip (don't breathe in anyone's face after you eat this!)
chicken paella
dates stuffed with chorizo, wrapped in bacon
figs topped with gorgonzola, drizzled with citrus honey
buffalo curry with
Scottish shortbread
Various pickle bits (cucumbers, okra, pears, etc)
"kick your ass" margaritas
Aztec chocolate ice cream (Chocolate ice cream with spice!)
cherry blueberry pie
Chris' chocolate mousse
Indian spongebread
quince jelly and manchego cheese
green chili and lime sake

As far as videos to the internet go:

I ended up having three of those "kick your ass" margaritas, which put me in a pretty good place.  And as I am wont to do when drinking, I decided to do backflips.  I think the appeal is that people are like, 'Oh my god, he's drunk so he thinks he can do back flips?  He's going to kill himself!' and thus it has an added effect when I actually land it.  I paused to take off my shoes and one of the old women was like, 'Woooo take off your pants!  And your shirt!'  The old women were hilarious, by the way.  Jess, Chris and I were the only young men at the party, they were like, "How come we didn't meet guys who were into food when we were younger?"  That kind of set their tone for the rest of the party.

Since I've trained my roommmates to sing, and one of the guests at the party is not only a huge a cappella fan but also a huge recording fan (and thus had a new microphone toy he had there), we decided to bust out a song.  So we sang for them (and got a pretty sweet recording) and another video was made to be posted.

I still have food leftover!
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Holy crap! [Aug. 29th, 2007|03:35 pm]

Mark Zuckerberg added my facebook application!

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Foodie party! [Aug. 29th, 2007|02:24 pm]

The final menu was:

Pitas with artichoke tapenade
Dumplings with various dipping sauces

Main Dish
Thai style satay, also with various dipping sauces
Sri Lanka style curry with all sorts of awesome spices in it (like Chinese peppercorn!), topped with a pomegranite tamarind chutney.  Oh, also it was vegan, but not nut allergy foodsafe.

Fruit salad
This crazy awesome cake thing that Colleen made (I'll have to add a picture later)
Banana muffins!

And of course there were drinks.  I think I ended up mixing tons of pina coladas, several cosmopolitans, martinis, and even a long island.  Demand was such that I had to teach some people to mix the more common ones (they were my sous drink mixers ;) )

Also, we had possibly the best Apples to Apples game I ever played.  The winning card for "Lazy" was not cabbages... was not Communists (though they were a close second), but was...

Rosa Parks!  Talk about revisionist history.  I almost died because I couldn't breathe when I heard that.

Then we had some music performances, some a cappella, some guitar and piano accompanied.

I was a bit dubious about the Pictionary Charades, but it actually turned out well.  Also, I learned a new game that we played, called "Celebrity", which is basically a mix between Catchphrase, Password and Charades.  Too fun!

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Okay so I guess I'm done [Aug. 23rd, 2007|04:05 pm]

... being boring in my journal.  I have two new exciting roommates, some of you may get to meet them.  We all sing, it's great.  I wonder, do any of you have any random, easy four guy arrangements lying around that I could borrow?

We also stayed up all night last Saturday writing a new Facebook app that allows you to see your mySpace friend's profiles inside of Facebook (with the nicer Facebook format).  And I suppose 'staying up all night' is somewhat disingenuous because we went out partying before hand, and thus didn't actually get started until rather late.  If you have both Facebook and MySpace, add it!  And then tell me what you think. :)

I am also excited about the prospect of playing Apples to Apples sometime in the near future.  Yeah, I know, I'm a total dork.

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(no subject) [Aug. 16th, 2007|11:24 am]
Friday, August 10th
Ah!  My uncle came into town from Atlanta on Friday.  I "got" to help him unload all of his stuff from his trailer, especially because my living space "got" to be his storage until he finds a permanent place.  I don't mind though, he's a pretty cool guy and it's good to see him again.

Saturday, August 11th
Went hiking up to Domingo Baca Canyon to see the wreckage of the 1955 TWA Martin 404 flight.  It was a pretty decent hike, estimated about seven miles round trip.  Apparently I'm an inconsiderate hiker though, because I have a faster pace and thus sometimes hike out of visual range (which, in the forest, amounts to like 30 feet).  Oh well.  We made it to the crash site... it was pretty interesting to see the piles of twisted metal and kind of sad to imagine what had happened to those poor people.  Also, I got a flat tire on the way to meeting everyone, that was fun :-/

Afterwards we went to Nothing but Noodles, and then to Gelato!  There's a new Gelato place in town called Berry Ocean, which serves Illy gelato and coffee.  It's pretty good, although the store itself is really warm, possibly due to all the windows that face northward.  They also have vegan gelato, for those of you who won't consume milk products. :)

Also, I finally finished Imperial Life in the Emerald City.  Go me. :-p

Sunday, August 12th
Sunday was umm... what did I do on Sunday?  I found out that my tire place isn't open on Sundays, and that Weck's closes at 2 (I called them at 2:20pm).  Besides that I think I just stayed in.

Monday, August 13th
Boring day.  Got my tire fixed, ate at Wecks (it was my turn) and cleaned up my house somewhat.

Tuesday, August 14th
Ah!  I went swing dancing after work.  There were tons of strange people there -- my hypothesis is that everyone who's about to leave for school decided to show up for one last night of swing dancing goodness.  There were also some people there that I hadn't seen for a long time, such as Gary.  I also remembered that we had a Pita Pit, and duly enjoyed it afterwards. :)

Wednesday, August 15th
Asked Angie to lunch but she had a meeting.  I did go with Tony though, we ate at Munchies!  After work was gymnastics.  Practiced keeping my arms straighter when I'm tumbling on them, and did some pretty good floor work, I think.  I was supposed to meet Jess Martin afterwards (my friend from UNC) but he was having some very unusual car troubles (in that his brand new Mazda 3 wouldn't come off of the trailer that he was shipping it on).  I eventually met him later and we went to the Frontier for some much needed grub.

Thursday, August 9th
Lunch plans got shot down again.  How sad.  But I get a haircut today!
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