Monday, November 30, 2009

Best From the Aftermath

I just snuck away from my desk to buy Aloe Vera from the Duane Reade and then snuck into the bathroom to apply same to my back and forearms on this rainy New York afternoon.

Indeed I did vacation tropically, it cannot be disputed.

And if you saw my feet, you'd die of laughter.

Best I Spent All Last Week Keeping It Rio

Hey Dudes! I'm back in America, and by "America" I mean "North America" after a week or so of tearing it up in and around Rio de Janeiro.

Here's the short version of my adventure:

Saturday: Arrived in the middle of the night, slept on a couch covered with stuffed animals in the lobby of our hostel wondering where everyone was.

Sunday: Found everyone, explored and kicked it on Ipanema beach.

Monday: Sightsaw like crazy, checked off all the majors like the Christ statue and Sugar Mountain.

Tuesday: Beach in the morning, traveled to Ilha Grande in the afternoon. But this is me at a Brazilian truck stop with some chicken on a stick.

Wednesday: Hiked and boated to the third most beautiful beach in the world, but this is me having breakfast.

Thursday: Speedboated around the island, snorkeling with sea turtles, swimming down to wrecked helicopters, capturing giant starfish, the usual Thanksgiving stuff.

Friday: A little more Ilha Grande hiking and boating before returning to Rio for a crazy night in Lapa.

Saturday: Favela tour during the morning, Copacabana & Centro in the afternoon, Samba School party from 10 to 3am, caught taxi to airport at 3:45. That was my vacation.

And yes, of course, I'll be dropping the long version on you over the next week or so.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Best Oh Yeah

almost forgot,
By Dudes!
I'm off on that adventure real soon.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Best Words to Live By

"You can't fake boosterism"

(this is your S04E04 post, sorry for skipping S04E03)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Best And Then I Read This and It Nearly Gave Me a Conniption Fit

A post on Brittany's blog pointed me to this article about a Tweed Ride in DC, an event where everyone dresses old timey and civilized and rides bicycles. I'm fine with that, I've always wanted to get older and wear more tweed.

But then, in that article, I read this quote and nearly punched my monitor:

Hillary Gochard, 24, sits astride her silver '71 or '72 Gitane cruiser, wearing a cardigan, tweed knickers and a flapperish hat. She says our hyper, sloppy, postmodern society has begotten a longing for the classic elements of any era, for purposeful fashion and polished behavior.

This bike ride is an antidote to our "postmodern society"?! You animal! Do you have any idea what the words you use mean? A bunch of youngsters in the year 2009 dressing up in century-old clothes to ride their bicycles around in a group, rejoicing in the knowing throwbacking that they're deeply all so deeply engaged in? That's the dictionary definition of postmodernism! Especially in the dictionary I wrote! You savages! Take care with your buzzwords.

Listen, okay, this is what postmodernism is: An accute self-consciousness rooted in an awareness of one's (or one's work's) relation with their/its influences. Postmodernism, by definition, is a reaction to modernism (so, in my opinion, can only officially exist after the modernist movement) which was a rejection of past influences, conventions, and values. It's a looking back at those rejected influences, a reassessing, a relating, a positioning, and it's basically all anyone ever does anymore. It is very much something that exists as a relationship that is related to itself by itself.

This has happened before.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Best I Read Articles Again: You Should Too

George Saunders spent about a week in a Tent City in or around Fresno, this is his report (he wrote it for GQ).

George Saunders, known primarily for his short fiction, writes some of the best creative non-fiction I've come across. While this story mostly entertaining, it starts teaching you lessons eventually. This part here that I now excerpt really gave me pause, had me think about some of the less-fortunate/deranged people I've worked with/gotten to know/tried to "help" over the years.

The Cratchit Confusion

At times, as indicated above, the PR found certain residents of the Study Area irritating, even maddening. At one particularly low point, when very tired, not himself at all, the PR, who in real life prided himself on his kindheartedness, even wrote, in the project notebook: “Exterminate the brutes.” For several days afterward, he felt bad about this while, at the same time, continuing to feel exasperated with the Study Area residents. Then the PR realized the error of his thinking, an error he thereafter thought of as The Cratchit Confusion.

Bob Cratchit, the hero of Charles Dickens’s novel A Christmas Carol, is poor yet virtuous. He is honest, forthright, hardworking, clean, and articulate. He loves his family and is forgiving of those who oppress him. He is, in other words, easy to sympathize with. In the real world, however, the unfortunate may not be so likable. They may be stupid, dishonest, lazy, or mean. They may obfuscate, they may attack those weaker than themselves, they may claim their poverty is the fault of an unfair world, they may invent lives for themselves in which they are heroic sages, ahead of the curve. These negative qualities, in fact, may be the root cause of their misfortune.

But to love the unfortunate, it is not necessary to feel fond of them or tenderness toward them. Momentary irritations are inevitable, the PR came to feel; they are also irrelevant. All we must do is what we would do if we could see the unfortunate purely. Our minds can be kind when our hearts cannot. In time, he predicted, his irritation would recede and all that would remain would be feelings of sadness and protectiveness toward the Study Area residents, who, after all, had not killed or abused him but had let him walk among them with impunity, and had even been kind to him, if not always to one another.

I hope you feel inclined to take the time to read his big long article. It is not always squeaky clean, but I think we'll all survive.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Best I Read Books Again: And Another One

And then, after Brideshead Revisited, you know what I read? The Momofuku Cookbook, which isn't really the right size for subway reading, but aside from that is a real page turner. Do you think I'm kidding you? Do you think I am making a joke about reading a cookbook cover to cover? No, I'm being serious. This cookbook is practically a memoir and it was quite interesting to learn the tales of the birth and growth of the Momofuku empire. (even if I had read these tales in a few magazines, but now I was reading the official version) Even more interesting, maybe, than learning about the restaurants was the little biographies of each dish, understanding the inspiration and origins of many of my absolute favorite things to eat, that's the kind of learning I like to do.

This is my Momofuku book:

This is the illustration and inscription buddy Pete made in the book:

A Larry Bird quote, but Larry Bird did not sign my book.

A night time mountain scene. The well-inked moon caused some sticking which tore up the quote a bit. Just adds personality to the tome, that's all.

And sure, many of these recipes are nearly insurmountable for civilians and their kitchens, but there are also many that one could pull off without too extreme an effort. Should this job that I'm on that I love so much ever end you shall certainly see a dish or two attempted here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Best I Read Books Again

After finishing off Inherent Vice I wanted to read something different then the sorts of books I usually read and my dad had been talking a lot about this Brideshead Revisited for a while so I thought I'd give it a read. I mean, I've never read these books where there are rich English people and the richer ones have a real big house, it was time to try them out.

I had seen these newer Evelyn Waugh paperback editions with these attractive illustrated covers so I was getting excited to be seen with such a good looking book on the subway.

Oh, but joke was on me! Dad bought his copy (see, I asked to borrow his copy, that's what's going on here) when the recent movie was in the theater so I got the movie poster edition. Oh man! So I spent a few weeks looking like a guy that picks his movies by what's at the multiplex...the multiplex that reserves a screen or two for Merchant Ivory-y films.

But for real, this was a good book full of good writing and good plot and good insights and such. What more can I say? Man, I am so short on why-a-book-is-good explaining words and sentences. Oh well.

Best For the Record

This is the new UWS Apple store on Broadway at 67th. It sprung up quickly and unexpectedly, like a mushroom.

I didn't go inside but it's impressive, very tall but so empty, and with a glass ceiling. There's a large downstairs, I think that's where most of the buying and selling happens.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Best Second Brazil Post: Veterans Are Better Than Yankees

Well, Wednesday I took my second trip to Brazil, and by "to Brazil" I mean "to the Brazilian consulate again" until someone tells me that consulates are not foreign soil.

Like last time, my trip involved a run in with a parade, but this time it was the Veteran's Day Parade. I didn't have my M8, but these pics will do:

Sometimes it's hard to tell if someone is being patriotic or crazy

I encountered the parade during the Asian Vet portion...but I believe strongly they were all Americans. Soldiers from other armies, possible former enemy armies aren't allowed to be in our Veterans Day parades, right?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Best Hot Dog and Coffee I Never Had

I'd been curious about it for a while, and Tuesday night I finally tried out New York Hotdog and Coffee, a Korean semi-fast food establishment that opened a bit ago in the West Village.

Given the choice between a Korean hot dog and a New York Coffee, I opted for a Bulgogi burger...a well-seasoned patty (possibly ground bulgogi?) topped with bulgogi, kimchi, and cabbage with a side of kimchi and really excellent flakey fries.

The hamburger was really awfully good, wait, cheeseburger, I had a cheeseburger but think the flavor of the cheese disappeared among all the sweet and savory asian flavors that were happening in this burger.

As far as the hot dogs go, I don't know anything about them but Carol had a Perro Caliente and seemed to enjoy it. I might never know about their hot dogs, I'm pretty into the burger and would get it again.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Best What I Know About Brazil + What I Learned From Boy Scouts

Would you believe a flashlight was on my "to pack" list before the blackouts?

Also, I know that you have to get to Rio while you still have a chance. Don't get your hopes up about the Olympics.

(I've been trying to make a call on the blasphemy level of that picture, that's why I only linked to it.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Best Great, Just Great

There was this pretty good digital short on Saturday Night Live this week. I don't know anything about Twilight, but I get these jokes...

But the video is kind of a bummer because it pretty much kills my hopes to write a series of books about a girl that moves from Seattle to Phoenix and falls in love with a hot teen mummy at her school.

Best Another Thing About My Building

I want to show you the scary urinal at my work.

As you can see, there's a little door by it that opens into a dark and dusty shaftway. A draft flows through this space and it blows the door open to slap your thigh while you find yourself in a most vulnerable state.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Best First Brazil Post or Damn Yankees indeed.

Here's a question that Yahoo Answers couldn't answer for me: Is a consulate count as foreign soil like an embassy does? If so, I took my first trip to Brazil on Friday.

I had to slip out of work at 9:30 to get up to the consulate to turn in my visa application. The Yankees Victory Parade was to head up Broadway in front of my work, "How neat" I thought as I left my building, admiring the small crowd that had gathered.

Going to the consulate was just great, I loved it so much. I'm being serious. It was like going to the Brazilian DMV, I got yelled at in Portuguese, I was so happy, so glad to be there in the country I love with the people that I love from that country that I love.

When I got back downtown I was definitely in America again and Americans were definitely getting on my nerves.

These masses...they were everywhere, everyone desperate to catch the sight of a Yankee or two on a double decker bus or flatbed truck. It took me 20 minutes to walk the two blocks from the subway stop to my building...and that was with me being absolutely savage about getting through that crowd. I trampled the elderly, I toppled strollers, I shoved enthusiasts, I had to get to work.

Our plaza was mostly blocked off, but still more crowded than before. My favorite part of battling my way through the crowds was elbowing through everyone pressed against the Church street barricades and showing my ID to the security guards and being let through as knuckleheads in blue begged me to take them with me.

Up in the office we had a perfect view of the parade. Can you spot any hardcore Phillies fans?

See, perfect view of the parade without any parade.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Best, Apparently, is Yet to Come

And suddenly I wonder: Were the first three seasons just setting everything up for the introduction of these two?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Best Most Impressive

These timelines for Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and 12 Angry Men are some of the most interesting and study-worthy things I've seen on the internet in a while.

Check them out. If your heart is right, you'll be amazed.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Best This Is How I Found Out About Brazil

When I was a kid (I'm talking nursery school or kindergarten age here) there were these kids from Reno would sometimes come and visit their relatives across the street. And then I saw this song on the Muppet Show. In my mind, I could tell no difference between "Reno" and "Rio" so I was curious about this festive place the visitors from across the street came from. I asked my dad where Rio was, he told me in another country really, really far away. I was confused as to how those visiting kids could come so frequently from such a far off place and seem so non-exotic.

And now, in two and a half weeks, I'm finally taking my first trip to Reno!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Best Third Time Was Charming

This weekend was special, Collin came back for a bit. We celebrated by celebrating his birthday at La Casa de los Tacos. Just like we did last year And the year Before.

We mobbed the place, as per the usual. Would you believe that, even after we called in advance to tell them we were coming, they only had one waitress working that night?

Jason got smart and took the solo table.

Brittany had the enchiladas. We all freaked out (in the good way), we'd never seen anyone have the enchiladas before.

The weirdest thing about dear old La Casa? That their cups are from the Hat. Of course, you'd have to have even heard of the Hat for this to be weird to you.

Unlike in previous years, we did not go to Emily's house to party afterwords. Didn't want to be totally predictable, after all.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Best Four Times Were Enough

New York, Halloween. Here we go again! (here's last years parade, it was a good one. And here's the 2006 parade, my first. Oh! And here's the 2007 parade. That's all of them. I've done 4 now.)

This year I was Mickey Mouse, ending my streak of unrecognizable costumes. This one started as enthusiastic joking at Duane's birthday party and wound up being for real Saturday night.

Collin (who was visiting for the weekend from Bowling Green) was Richie Tenenbaum and Jeff was Abraham Lincoln. He grew out the beard himself.

We headed over to the parade where we bumped into/met up with Amber and Ashley

And Chris (as Bob Ross!)

and Di
and Brian
and Jeff and Pete and also Mattias but I didn't get his picture

A Minnie! So many Minnies were out that night with barely another Mickey in sight.

"Hey Minnies!"
Lion-O. The problem with Saturday night was that it was rainy. Real rainy. Horribly rainy. The parade was total chaos. It became a thing to survive or escape from.

Barely left me in the spirit to admire costumes, just made our way as fast as possible for 21st street.


Hannah Solo. Wouldn't turn around.

Parade accomplished. Time to head to the regional dance.

Regional dance. Cher was there (as Cruella). The dance seemed a little off this year.

Off, but not broken.

If it's October 31st and Garrett isn't dressed as Napoleon Dynamite is it really Halloween?

Split the dance and headed downtown to a major gathering on 27th street. Faces were more friendly and familiar down there.

Kunz sister convention.

Orbit gum lady, brilliant.

(it was a 7 Deadly Sins party, Liz was there to elevate the situation)

Finally, after running uptown after work to grab my ears which I forgot to bring to work, running back downtown for the parade, uptown for the dance, downtown for the party, finally I was on a train uptown for to bed.

These old ladies outlasted me. I'm a lightweight.