New York City: Part 2

Things I would do if I ever went to New York City:

  1. Ride the subway
  2. Visit Central Park
  3. Go to a Yankees game and root for the opposite team
  4. Visit Wall St. during trading hours
  5. Check out Times Square, possibly say “hi” to Al Roker
  6. Go shopping in shops I can’t afford to shop in on 5th Avenue
  7. Stop by the location of the WTC
  8. Go to one of the many museums and art galleries
  9. Go bar hopping in a trendy “village” in Manhattan
  10. Eat somewhere with small portions and large bills
  11. Visit the Empire State Building
  12. Visit the Statue of Liberty
  13. Buy fake designer goods from a street vendor
  14. Throw risk to the wind and eat a hot dog from a street vendor

Things I didn’t do in New York City and neither should you:

  1. Take pictures of the poor bums on the street, while attempting to appear concerned
  2. Pose for pictures in front of Ground Zero with smiles on your face

Things I did in New York City that I would not recommend doing:

  1. Walking 2.9 miles in downtown Manhattan when the 2 train would drop you off a block from where you need to be
  2. Visit Queens, even if it saves you $30 on a cab ride to the airport
  3. Staying on Wall St. on a weekend, it’s lifeless and boring
  4. Go to Central Park with a.) no plan of attack and b.) no blanket

Things that surprised me about New York City:

  1. It wasn’t nearly as dirty as I thought it would be
  2. The people were, for the most part, nice and helpful
  3. The NYPD does an amazing job of keeping bums and rif raft out of Manhattan. I counted about 5 bumbs total, which is about 300 less than I counted the last time I visited Fisherman’s Warf in San Francisco.
  4. Wall St. is a complete ghost town on the weekends
  5. The subway system, despite its legendary status, is largely a pile of crap

Overall, I had a good time in New York City. I can honestly say, though, that I don’t understand what draws people to the city. It smells, and wasn’t extremely exciting. Though it doesn’t smell as bad as New Orleans and is infinitely more exciting than Ypsilanti.

New York City: Part 1

Lauren’s mother bought Lauren a trip to NYC for her graduation present. Because Lauren’s mom is cool like that she also paid for me to go as well. I have been so busy at work lately that I haven’t really had a chance to think about the trip. Friday we left for NYC at around 9:00pm on the wonderful Spirit Airlines from the equally sparkling airport DTW.

We didn’t end up getting to the hotel until about midnight and decided to get some sleep in preparation for the long day ahead of us. I had a meeting with some friends who I have been working on a project with at 11:00am at The Tomato, which was about 2.9 miles away. We decided to hoof it, which was a big mistake. 2.9 miles in the country is nothing, but 2.9 miles in lower Downtown Manhattan is a WHOLE different story. On the way we walked through the few blocks in the world that literally makes and breaks entire countries, otherwise known as Wall Street. We also walked past the location of the former World Trade Center, which is currently being, at least partially, rebuilt. We walked through SOHO and, I think, a portion of the East Villiage. Luckily, when we arrived there was a street fair to keep Lauren occupied while I went to my meeting.

After the meeting we decided to go back to the hotel and then ride the subway up to Times Square and Fifth Avenue for some shopping and general site seeing. Times Square was what I envisioned it to be; a mecca for tourists in NYC. Fifth Avenue was, in my opinion, somewhat of a let down. I was expecting to be blown away by outrageous prices on clothes I was both too poor and not cool enough to wear. In reality, I found that Kenneth Cole was having it’s “SUMMER BLOWOUT SALE!”, which has a certain irony to it, and more than a few stores resembled Old Navy.

After we had finished shopping we went back to the hotel to regroup and find a bar to hit up later that night. We decided to go to the Central Bar in the East Villiage. City Search says it’s “A cavernous Irish bar, more popular than authentic.”, which I would agree with. In fact it felt like a glorified college bar complete with retired fraternity boys and sorority girls, which normally puts me right into my element, but this was NYC and I wasn’t about to spend the night hanging out in this place. On the bright side it did make for some amusing people watching, especially the guy who would walk up to girls and do the robot and then brush his shoulder off. Yup, time to change venues. We ended up at some martini bar in the East Villiage sucking down Vodka and Espresso Martinis. As you can imagine we ended the night eating some crappy Mexican food.

The next morning we woke up early, and slightly hungover, to go on a ferry ride around NYC. It was a great way to get some steller pictures of the skyline and views of Lady Liberty herself. Once we were done with the ferry we headed out to the River Cafe, which was an upscale join Cameron recommended to us. To put it lightly, the food and service was amazing, as it should be at $35/plate. The resturant is actually a boat that sits across the bridge in Brooklyn with spectacular views of Manhattan. If you happen to be in NYC I highly recommend it, though dinner reservations have a month-long waiting list (which explains why we had brunch).

After lunch we took the subway back up past Times Square to Central Park, which was described by one of our cab drivers as “the best thing that ever happened to NYC” and I would have to agree with him. The place was, not surprisingly, packed with people. The park is HUGE and made for a great mid-afternoon walk in the sun. After leaving the park we went back down to 5th Avenue and Times Square, which was crawling with people. We picked up a few more tourist gifts and then headed back home on the 3 train.

Being Piston fans, we ended up at the hotel watching game five in our hotel room. The reality is that our feet hurt so bad we couldn’t have found and walked to a decent sports bar even if we tried.

American Idol Finale

Not that the horrific voting even warrants a response, but I thought I’d tell my loyal fans what I thought about the finale. First of all, on a personal level, I hated both of the final contestants. While I think they both are fine singers, I think that Fantasia is a ghetto queen who probably says “my baby’s daddy” way too much and I think that Diana is a complete cutesy fake (Simon said this very thing when she first auditioned).

That being said, you can expect that I hated the finale. Well, I thought both did fine in the finale. I voted for Diana, because my hatred of Fantasia’s ghettoness won me over. In fact, I’ll go on the record saying I power voted for Diana. There, I said it. I fucking power voted on the worst reality TV culprit in the world.

So what’s the future hold for these lame ass wannabes? Well, it’s pretty obvious to me. First, Fantasia will come out with some lame CD that features the song she sang Tuesday night as well as her craptastic rendition of Summer Time (maybe they’ll even include her sobbing at the end of the track on the CD like she did everytime she sang it on the show – lame). Second, Diana’s fat ass will continue to sprial out of control and she’ll end up broadcasting her gastro bypass surgery like Carni Wilson did to a live Internet audience. Finally, the true American Idol, LaToya London, will release an amazing CD which will be met with rave reviews.

I can only hope that John Stevens attempts to remake some big band CD and is quickly booted back into obscurity.

Apple Titanium PowerBook == Love

I recently purchased an Apple Titanium PowerBook. It’s one of the new aluminum models with a lot of the bells and whistles. I bought it from Apple’s online store as a refurbished unit. I definitely recommend buying refurbished from Apple instead of new. The refurbs are kind of a grab bag so sometimes you get more than you order. I’m a perfect example of this – I got a 75GB hard drive instead of the 60GB that was advertised. I also got a BlueTooth module.

The best part is that I have my 17 inch Samsung LCD plugged in as a secondary monitor, which is nice. I’m still getting settled back into OS X. What I can say is that the 15 inch widescreen is amazing. Combined with the 80GB USB 2.0 hard drive and 40GB iPod and you’ve got a really stellar workstation. I plan on adding a BlutTooth phone so I can have Sprint PCS Vision on the road as well. The funny part is that I finally feel like I’m home again.

America did it again

Americans have reached an all time low in retardation. They voted Latoya London off of the show last night. Latoya was clearly the best singer on the show. Diana is coming into her own, though I still think she’s annoying as hell. But, rest assured Latoya will have a CD and, I believe, it will fare better than anyone who wins. Disgusting is really the only way to put it. This show has made me realize that most of the people that surround me in this great nation are idiots. Well, the show and all those naked pictures of Iraqi prisoners being forced to fondle themselves that no one seems to care about.

Just call me Mr. Chef

Most of my family knows that I like to cook. Cooking is, for the most part, a national past time in my household. Both my mom and dad are great cooks who have signature dishes that are repeatedly requested by family and friends. Growing up normal kids would whip up mac n’ cheese, while I cooked french toast and no bake cookies. I guess the gene had passed on to me. Of course, anyone can be a decent cook just by following the recipe, at least this is what I thought until I met Lauren.

Last night I was at my computer with Josh working through some client work that is due this Friday when I smelled something burning. I turned to Josh and asked if he smelled the burning as well – he did. I then yelled out to the kitchen about the burning smell, which Lauren apprently didn’t hear over the droning of the A/C. I figured she had it under control and the burning soon ceased.

When Josh was leaving Lauren asked if we had smelled the burning smell coming from the kitchen. We had. She then informed us that she had burned Jell-O.

A running timeline of Iraqi Abuse fallout

Washington Post displays new Iraqi prison photos

A group of naked men are bound together on the floor of the prison; a hooded, naked man is handcuffed to a cell door, and another man is bound naked and arched with his arms behind him over the top bunk in a cell. That individual is wearing women’s panties over his head.

The new collection included more than 1,000 digital images ranging from scenes of mundane military life to pictures showing crude simulations of sex among soldiers.

Bush Privately Chides Rumsfeld

Bush is “not satisfied” and “not happy” with the way Rumsfeld informed him about the investigation into abuses by U.S. soldiers at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison or the quantity of information Rumsfeld provided, the senior White House official said.

The president was particularly disturbed at having had to learn from news reports this week about the scope of misconduct documented in an Army investigative report completed in March, according to the official, who refused to be named so he could speak more candidly.

White House rejects call for Rumsfeld resignation

A call today from a Democratic senator for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign over the Iraqi prisoner abuse crisis was followed by the White House reiterating its support for the Pentagon chief. When asked whether President Bush wants Rumsfeld to say in his job, White House spokesman Scott McClellan replied: “Absolutely.”

Bush ‘sorry for humiliation’ of Iraqi prisoners

President Bush on Thursday said he told visiting King Abdullah II of Jordan that he is “sorry for the humiliation suffered” by Iraqi prisoners at the hands of U.S. troops in Iraq.

Aide: Rumsfeld to apologize to Congress

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is expected to apologize directly to Congress and the American people for not keeping lawmakers informed about the Iraq prisoner abuse scandal, a senior Republican aide told CNN. But the source said some Republicans are privately saying an apology may be too little, too late.

Wedding / Move creeping up

Lauren and I spent pretty much all day Sunday working on wedding related stuff. For starters we registered at Bed, Bath and Beyond. You can find a link to our registery online by clicking on the “Wedding” button to your right. It’s kind of funny because all of the stuff, except for a few, will mainly be used by me. I’m excited at the thought of getting some real cookware. Lame, I know.

We are also gearing up for “the big move” out west. As one might guess Lauren and I can’t make up our mind about where to move, which can be a problem when you get to choose out of so many great cities (San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle top the list).

Right now we are taking a closer look at Seattle. From what I’ve heard from people who have actually lived there or spent time there is that it doesn’t rain all year round (just a few months in the winter) and that it’s an amazing city. What I like about Seattle is that I can get a two bedroom out there for about the same price as I can here in Ann Arbor. It also means Lauren and I could buy a lot sooner than we expected. Before any decision is made, though, I will be taking a trip out to Seattle and San Diego to check out the scene and visit a few friends. I’ll update with more when I can.

John Stevens Fan Mail

It seems my recent postings about my aggrevation involving John Stevens from American Idol upset a few of my readers out there. Instead of replying to all of the messages/email I received over the two posts individually I figured I’d make a single rebuttal here. First let’s look over some of the better ones.

“with (sic) all that is going on in this world today, I just don’t understand how someone can have so much hate. John Stevens seems like a great kid and even though he maybe wasn’t cutout (sic) for THIS competition, he does have talent and can sing. He is just a kid you guys. Give him a break.” (Posted by lisa Garrison on Apr 29, 2004 at 05:43 EDT)

“Talk about an asshole have you looked in the mirror lately? He might not have the best voice on the show, but his personality is one of the better ones, which is more than I can say about yours. You hide behind a website. We can’t even see your face, too ugly is it? And did it ever occur to you that this is only a reality tv show, what is up with you?” (Posted by Jill on May 2, 2004 at 07:54 EDT)

“so (sic) john (sic) isnt (sic) the greatest singer, he’s an amazing person. if (sic) he put out a swing album rite (sic) now, i (sic) would buy it and i (sic) know alot (sic) of other people who would to. maybe (sic) he just doesnt (sic) appeal to you but he doesnt (sic) suck. and diana degarmo (sic) is such a good singer. you’ll (sic) have to wait a long time before she gets voted off” (Posted by Anita on Apr 28, 2004 at 10:01 EDT)

“I just wanted to express my opinions about your site and your john stevens (sic) bashing views. I would hope that you would keep in mind that this young man was only 16. He had the balls to go in front of God and everybody to do what he likes to do. He took criticism with an open mind, which you might want to have too.” (Email from Tiffany)

First off, I didn’t know any girls except my Mom and fiancee read this site. For that matter I didn’t know anyone read this site, though  I do get a whopping 100 hits or so a day (Google here I come!). At any rate here is my rebuttal(s) in a nice easy-to-digest format.

  1. For the last time: not once did I say John Stevens was a bad person in *any* of my posts. Go ahead and look them over again … (waiting for you to look them over) … see! Not a single mention that John is a bad person. In fact, I think he’s probably one of the nicest guys I’ve never met personally.
  2. Having said the above, I’d like to point out that his singing talent is both underdeveloped and singulary. He’s only truly good at singing Rat Pack type songs. As I’ve said to others who watch this show; he’d have won if this was American Idol 1955, but it’s not. He consistently garnered unfavorable reviews when singing any other type of music and, in fact, barely got good reviews when it was his genre of music.
  3. I completely agree that John took every thrashing from the Judges like a man and with a great attitude (Who wouldn’t? He’s having the time of his life for sure). Simon said this much during his last review.
  4. I’m not an asshole for expressing my opinion on his lack of singing abilities. By attacking me personally you make yourselves no better than what you say I am.
  5. You can view my pictures online in the section at the top of this page clearly marked “photos”.

At any rate, there is/are my argument(s). Thank you to all who responded. I think it’s funny that I regularily blog about hot topics such as gay rights and the war in Iraq without so much as a peep from my readers (all 10 of you), but when I say a guy sucks at singing the whole damn site lights up. Odd.

Note: (sic) means “Thus; so. Used to indicate that a quoted passage, especially one containing an error or unconventional spelling, has been retained in its original form or written intentionally.”