Archive for the 'Life' Category

A proliferation of sorts

I think it goes without saying that I’ve gained weight these past few months. I’ve mentioned to family and friends that I’ve ballooned, only to hear that I am crazy and that I haven’t gained any weight. I inform them how much the scale said I gained, leaving to be outraged and awestruck. (I weighed myself three times in twelve hours only to read three different weights in a range of ten pounds.) While I do not agree with scales – water weight, lack of accounting for muscle gained – I do have some dependable measuring devices, like a pairs of pants and shirts that used to fit perfectly but now are too small, to help quantify weight loss. Although I think that my gained weight is part of a greater problem, so I’m taking my time in the suburbs to jump start my health and hygiene. Here are a few activities that I am striving to accomplish and start again:

  • Exercise: I used to run a few miles every day in high school, but I stopped once college started. I went for a 45-minute bike ride and a 15-minute run today – I haven’t felt better! As long as the weather holds up, I would like to double the length of each.
  • Tan: Who doesn’t look better with a tan? I’ve been pale all summer. It’s time to change that.
  • White Teeth: I used to pride myself on my teeth. My hygiene has slipped a bit, so I am starting an intensive whitening treatment in efforts to be as white as they used to be in two weeks.
  • Reading: There’s nothing better than a good book. I’ve racked up quite a wish list over the year, so I’m going to try to tackle a few before the end of summer. I also annotated a few articles from The Atlantic earlier tonight. It’s astonishing how much reading comprehension increases when jotting down notes. (Ultimately, I’d like to establish a moleskine of collected notes and articles, but that might be too ambitious for now.)
Perhaps this sounds too idealistic. And perhaps I’ll wake up tomorrow feeling like a twig and forget the need to diet. (The latter always happens.) But I’d like to try to stay on this path for a while.
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A Dean and Deluca Kind of Birthday

I used to hate birthdays, but now that I’ve started to acknowledge them a day to eat everything, I think I like them now. I went to bed at 2 AM disappointed because no one wished me a happy birthday, but when I woke up the next morning, I had dozens of missed calls, voicemails, text messages, and Facebook alerts. I went to bed thinking the day would suck, but woke up thinking it was promising.

I started off the day with homemade scrambled scallion and asiago eggs, turkey bacon, orange juice, and a Starbucks coffee. (I don’t really like bacon, but I figured it’d be nice to have with eggs.) I opened all of the windows so there was a beautiful breeze flowing through the apartment. The air in the apartment is usually thick, but the mix of the fresh air from outside and the smells from breakfast lingered for hours. It felt like a refreshing summer day in the suburbs.

I made my way down to Dean and Deluca in Soho to pick up a macaron and an iced coffee. I’ve been dying to try their coffee, but I don’t know how to make my own coffee, so I never bought it to avoid putting my own sugar in. I figured today was the day to try it. I just bought a coffee macaron from the bakery area and I glanced up at the menu – iced mocha, iced this, iced that, Strawberry Italian Soda. It has been years since I’ve had Italian soda, but it so delicious that I instantly ordered one. I turned around and my friend surprised me with a red velvet birthday cake.

Of course I picked Cafetasia for my birthday dinner. It is my favorite Thai restaurant and one of my favorite restaurants of all time. The food is always delicious. The service is always fast and excellent. The atmosphere is trendy and awesome. Even if I could, I wouldn’t change anything about Cafetasia.

We ordered Mango Batita drinks, which were described as a mango and pineapple drink. I expected them to be yellow, or even orange, but they came out green. Weird. (On second thought, it is green because it is mixed with blue liquor.) They didn’t taste too strong, but half way through the drink, I was drunk. I quickly drank the rest as I saw the appetizers coming over, so I turned into drunken eating mode and just devoured it all. It was the best food at Cafetasia that I’ve ever had. I don’t know if it was because the chef was especially amazing that night or because everything tastes better when drunk. Leaning towards the latter, but I devoured BBQ beef skewers, chicken satay and toast, gyoza, extra spicy chicken basil udon, and then some of my friend’s pad thai.

We didn’t eat the cake until later that night, but it took us two minutes from start to finish. It was the most dense and delicious cake I have ever had. It was such a rich and dark red velvet. I seriously wonder what Dean and Deluca can’t do. When it comes to food, especially bakery treats, they are truly the best of the best.

I laid down for a bit to recover from dinner and the cake and then made hard lemonade with Belvedere. Turned on Iron Man, and passed out somewhere within the next hour. I didn’t expect my ship to sink that quickly, but it was the perfect end to my birthday.

Chinatown in photos

I’ve always wanted to take photos of Chinatown, but I never felt like I could capture the mood and feeling of Chinatown. I went down a few weeks ago and I snapped some shots. Unfortunately, the lights in the street were overwhelming and turning on HDR yielded minimal changes, but here they are:

This is a street off of Pell Street, which is tucked away next to Mulberry and Bowery. The street can only accomodate one car at a time and the buildings are relatively short compared to Soho. I read a book years ago, Low Life, and it talked about the old Chinese gangs and how they’d hide in the little alley and doorways. There are chambers and passages visible from the street that certainly live up to the description that I had in my head.

And then this is actually Pell Street. As you can see, it is a little more commercialized than the previous photo. I sort of think that is why the people in the previous photo were not receptive to my taking photos. They look tense with their arms crossed where as the people in this photo are freely walking and minding their own business. (Although a group of people kept waving and saying hi as they passed me. Not sure who they were or why they did that but I didn’t think twice.)

Joe’s Shanghai is the most famous and well-known Chinese restaurant in New York. Tourists always line the street waiting to be seated here. My friends and I just laugh at them and walk into the dive restaurant across the street. It doesn’t have the best health rating, but we are usually the only ones in there, the prices are great, and the food is delicious.

This is the inside of my favorite restaurant in Chinatown. The wall on my left has to be my favorite because it has imaginary windows. One of them has a waterfall and the next is an open meadow – contradictory and hilarious. The TV in the top lefthand corner is usually either playing Chinese soap operas or Chinese karaoke, both of which have subtitles in Chinese. We joke around and say that the staff is all the same family and that the only male and forgetful waiter is the dumb cousin. The funnier part is that it is most likely true.

51 stories high in Brooklyn

A friend was having their birthday at another friend’s apartment in Brooklyn. I figured that it’d be the typical Brooklyn apartment: eighth floor walk-up, a brick wall, and crappy hardwood floors. Sort of like the East Village, but cheaper and across the river. It took six years to get there – the NR wasn’t running, so I had to walk two avenues to the 6 which took me down to Brooklyn Bridge, transfered to a 5, only to find out that it was limited service and going to Bowling Green. Waited at Bowling Green for ten minutes to  board a 4. And then I arrived at Borough Hall. Total trip: hour and a half. But whatever. There was tons of alcohol and I didn’t plan on remembering the night.

I arrived at the address and called my friend, “Which floor is the apartment on?” “The roof!” 51 stories in the elevator later, I was on top of Brooklyn. The view was absolutely breathtaking. I could see the cars below, crossing the streets, bridges, and highways. There was a thick glass wall, so it distorted the photo a bit, but the view was ten times clearer in person. The bright lights on the far right side are the Empire State Building and midtown Manhattan. The lights on the left side are the Financial District. It looks farther in the photo, but it felt like the buildings were no less than five hundred feet away. It was the best view I have ever seen from Brooklyn.

Shortly after, I left the roof and downed three glasses of Jungle Juice. A hookah was pulled out an hour or two later, and I smoked that for the rest of the night. I remember the whole night, especially when I asked a black lady on the street for the direction of the Brooklyn Bridge and she spoke into her cell phone, “Hold on, Dirty” and proceeded to tell me the directions. I held my laughter until I got into the taxi which I bursted out laughing for thirty seconds. His nickname was Dirty. Wow.

Regis and Kelly: Emma Watson and Rupert Grint

One of my best friends is an intern at Live! with Regis and Kelly, so he offered two tickets for Monday’s show to me and our best friend. Live’s website said that Rupert Grint was going to be there on Monday, and since it is pretty much Harry Potter week, I thought it’d be fun to go.

After waiting in line for about an hour, we start to head into the packed studio. Nearly every seat was taken except for two reserved seats in the front row and then ones all the way in the back. My friend, the intern, tells us that we can take the reserved seats. They were reserved for a producer’s friends, but they weren’t able to come. So we took the reserved front row seats – ten feet from Regis and Kelly.

The show loves to have giveaways and vacation getaways and other crazy things, so a random person in Ohio was called to be a contestant. She had to answer some absurd question in twenty seconds and then she wins a trip to Saint Lucia. She also picks a number – between 1 and 143 – and the corresponding audience member wins a small prize (usually Omaha steak). But, today, $500 worth of lobster was the audience prize.

Regis and Kelly call her, ask her the question, and she nails it without hesitation. I look down at my audience number, 104, and consider passing it to the couple behind me because I don’t want to even have the slightest chance of winning. You are supposed to jump up and down and scream and go crazy. And I don’t do that. I decide to just keep it as for I had a relatively low chance of winning. “I’ll go with my favorite number!” the lady says, excitedly. I figured that it’ll be 4, 13, her birthday, anything logical and smaller than 30. “104!”

I didn’t jump up and down. I didn’t act surprised. Audience members were shouting to stand up, so I stand up, show my number and just smile. (Come to think of it, I could have played the foreigner card and pretended to not understand anything.) But, either way, I won $500 worth of free lobster.

Some guest star from The Closer was there. She wasn’t that interesting. Then Rupert Grint came on. He was far larger than I expected. He had an awkward body shape, too. I didn’t think that Hollywood would let him get away with that many pounds at his age, but he seems to get away with it. The show ended and it was great, but then they announced that they were pretaping another celebrity and that if we had to leave, we could, but otherwise just stick around while Regis and Kelly change.

Twenty minutes later, the wonderful Emma Watson is announced and the crowd went wild. So I had the chance to take some awesome photos of Emma Watson and see her in person! She was great. Very enjoyable to watch and be within ten feet of!

The set was awesome to see in person. I literally sat right behind the camera crew and watched them maneuver the cameras and switch shots. The set actually looks a little old in that the floor has scrapes and the rug is worn down and the chairs are chipped, but once a camera takes a shot, it looks amazing. I am thoroughly impressed with the set and the work that the crew puts into it.

I would gladly return for another episode. It was a great experience to see celebrities, be in the first row, win the lobster, and just generally have a blast on a Monday morning! It is one of those things that tourists take over, but New Yorkers are allowed to have fun, too!

Tiny Tower Guide

A coworker told me about Tiny Tower last week and I have been hooked ever since. It is a dinky little iPhone game where you have a tower and each floor is either residential, service, recreation, food, and something else that I can’t be bothered to remember. You have little Bitizens that live and work there. You have an elevator where you can endlessly shuttle people up and down. It sounds crazy, but it is addicting and fun.

Seven months ago, I started playing Tap Zoo and I thought of making a guide for it. I waited months on end, and then TapZooGuide.com was created by someone else. So I waited too long and lost the perfect domain name. I figured that it would have been a great opportunity to load the site up with ads and make money off of my addiction. After playing Tiny Tower for a few days, I decided that I was going to milk this game instead.

Bought the domain, TinyTowerGuide.com, for $15. Redirected the nameservers to point to my server to avoid the 2-3 day DNS registration/lag and paying for a monthly hosting subscription. I created a basic layout in CSS. Not looking for anything special. I want it to be clean and simple to use. I started playing the game on my iPod, too, to log data that I am either too far in or cannot access through my iPhone’s game. I started around 7PM last night and I already have had 100 unique visitors.

If it flops, it flops. No big deal. But here’s hoping that it is successful.

Dropping Out

I requested my “voluntary leave” paperwork from Fordham University two weeks ago. The papers and a check for my outstanding balance came earlier this week. (It was just my housing deposit, less all of the fees and penalties I racked up over the year, so I ended up with only $25.) I haven’t signed them yet. I’m waiting for the perfect moment to fully comprehend and absorb my decision and bittersweet liberation.

It is time to start a new chapter in my life: NYU.


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