Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Gray's Papaya

I play futbol one night a week all the way on the west side of the city. I usually walk there and back. It’s nearly 2 miles, and it serves as a nice warm-up before the game and a refreshing cool down after the game.

Three weeks ago, on my way home, I stumbled upon a Gray’s Papaya. This was a prize find. One night a week, I get 2 hot dogs with onion, sauerkraut, and mustard and a drink for $2.75. It makes for a great dinner.

At this particular Gray’s Papaya, the counter is manned by anywhere from 2-4 Filipinos. I hear them speaking, and I feel inclined to say “thank you” in my native tongue. Perhaps we could strike up a conversation and talk about what part of The Island we’re from. I have this idea that we’d immediately become chums, and they’d start tossing me an extra hot dog just for being Filipino.

I hold off from chasing this pipe dream because I’m afraid of what they’ll think of me. My accent isn’t all that great. They might dismiss me as a poser. It’s a bit like when I first moved to The Americas, and everyone dismissed me because I sounded so Filipino. (This may also explain why, when I was young, my only friends in the neighborhood were the Indian [of the tandoori chicken variety] and Yugoslavian kids with parents from their respective motherlands.)

My fluency is also shaky. I can’t speak the language too well. I’m about as good as a 7-year-old. They’d immediately call me out on it and would probably think I’m an idiot.

I can, however, understand the language very well. It’s very interesting hearing them talk behind the counter. They’re not really saying much other than asking each other how many hot dogs customers order, what they want on hot dogs, and what drinks they select. I would’ve thought there’d be more interesting conversation. This also led me to wonder if this is the same kind of stuff that the Spanish-speaking employees at restaurants discuss. I always thought they’d be talking about their weekend or girlfriends while they worked. Maybe they’re just discussing whether I wanted guacamole and corn with my burrito.

I also wonder if they know I’m Filipino. Many people have confused me for some sort of Hispanic, mainly Mexican, but I’ve also been accused of being Cuban.

I have 3 more futbol games, so I have 3 more opportunities to overcome my native insecurities. Maybe on the night of the last game, I’ll summon enough courage to strike up a conversation with my fellow Islanders. If not, I’ll just get drunk at a West Village bar, head over to Gray’s Papaya, and start talking in slurred Filipino to the Mexicans who'll just happen to be working that night.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A New Look

As you can see, I’ve updated the template for the blog. I thought it was time for a change. I’ve also updated my personal links and blog links in the sidebar.

Two blogs new blogs are “Graveyard Ramblings” and “Half and Half.” “Graveyard Ramblings” was just started by my old college roommate, Colin. If you read his first post, you’ll notice he was kind enough to name me as his inspiration. “Half and Half” is a blog by The GF. She attempted to start it back in May, then lost interest. But she’s attempting to start it up again. Be sure to check out their stuff.

On my personal links, I took down the link to my Del.icio.us page. I haven’t had the time to search for quality links. If I ever find enough time/energy, I’ll just have a post informing you that I’ve cobbled together some entertaining pages. I put up a link to “Good Deal with Dave Lieberman” and “Everyday Italian” because both shows always have delicious food, Giada De Laurentiis is fairly attractive, and neither of the hosts are annoying like Rachael “EVOO” Ray.

Watch out for a new post mid-week. Hopefully, it will be up by Tuesday. However, mid-week gives me until Thursday at the latest to post something. I apologize for all the crap I’ve been writing lately. I’ve been drained by work. Luckily, HGOC was there for a guest blog that temporarily stopped the bleeding.

Lastly, I really appreciate all the great comments in the last month. I got a lot of response from mentioning the Moon Party, HGOC’s choice of female musicians, and stating my preference for NY over LA.

Stay tuned…

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Dirty Burrito Battles Laziness

I don't feel like writing "The Dirty Burrito Battles Los Angeles: Part II." Call me lazy. I don't care. The fact is that I'm extremely tired. I don't feel like writing an epic post recapping the second half of my journey.

I do have to address the fact the I have pickles in my picture for "The Dirty Burrito Battles Los Angeles: Part I." Originally, I had a story in there about one of the girls that joined us at Cabana Club. She tried telling us that her great grandpa from Russia invented the pickle. Not only did he invent the pickle, but he was also murdered by Stalin--but not for inventing the pickle. The reason Stalin murdered her great grandpa is a well-guarded family secret.

After visiting Los Angeles, I did realize that I really don't like it as much as I thought. I definitely love hot weather, but I hate driving and traffic. I realized how much I really like NYC. I love having easy access to a subway, bus, or cab. In Los Angeles, you have to call a cab and wait for it. Have you ever been cheap and decided to take the subway home after a night of debauchery? Well, that is what it's like to wait for a cab in Los Angeles. I like being able to walk everywhere too. There is so much stuff I see on streets. It's awesome.

(Side note: I just realized that on Friday night, we saw a VW Bug that crashed into a bank. That's correct. The bug just smashed straight into the entrance of a bank on the corner. It was great.)

I also like the people in NYC much better. I love having all different kinds of people. Even the ones that yell at each other on the subway. I love hearing the bums on the subway come up with the craziest stories to get money, or hearing the same bums make up a different sob story each time.

I'm rambling. I don't even know what I'm saying anymore. I'll write something better next time. I promise.

The Dirty Burrito Battles Los Angeles: Part I

This past weekend, I took a trip to Los Angeles to visit the Hottest Guy on Campus. I skipped out of work at 3:30, so I could make my 6PM flight at La Guardia. The original plan was to get in around 11PM, speed to the nearest In-N-Out Burger, then get to a bar around midnight. Unfortunately, my flight did not leave NYC until 9PM. I hate flying.

I had an extremely short layover in Chicago. I had enough time to grab a chicken taco from Burrito Beach. I would’ve preferred Cinnabon, but they weren’t open at 10PM. Though Burrito Beach was fairly poor in quality, especially since we were basically using the last of their ingredients, it really hit the spot because I had forgotten to eat all day.

Allow me to explain my situation. The night before, I went partying with the work people for a good 6 hours. Though it was fun, even being called “the mayor of drunk town,” I had planned to go to work early so I could complete my duties before leaving for the airport. Unfortunately, all that drinking prevented me from packing at 1AM. I had to settle for doing it at 7AM. This obviously prevented me from getting to the office at the hour I desired. I ended up arriving at the office at 8:30. As the mayor of drunk town, I accomplished my duty of being the first town member to get to work. In any case, I only had 7 hours to do what normally takes 10 hours. With all the craziness, I forgot to buy my daily coconut doughnut, and I forgot to eat my Special K w/ Fruit & Yogurt. Prior to the late night chicken taco, the only thing I had to eat all day was a sandwich with Doritos. I thought I was going to collapse.

OK, so back to the flight. We waited in the runway queue for about 5 minutes before it was our turn to take off. Midway through our acceleration down the runway, we just start slowing down and veer off onto another path. Apparently, air traffic control thought we were in danger of hitting something. That’s ridiculous. The first thought that crossed my mind was being angry at having to wait in the queue again. The second thought that crossed my mind was disgust at the stupidity of air traffic control. If you had any doubts at all, why would you even let us accelerate down a runway?

And by the way, I forgot my iPod for this hellish excursion. Traveling on a plane without an iPod is a horrendous experience.

After spending 12 hours in airports and airplanes, I finally landed in Los Angeles at 1:30AM PDT. My plan to hit up In-N-Out Burger was destroyed by American Airlines. Luckily for me, HGOC had leftover beef ribs with apple butter. Delicious.

The next morning, HGOC and I ventured to a restaurant called Eggs N Things. We got to the restaurant around 10:30AM on a Friday morning. We were starving and couldn’t wait to eat. When we arrived, we were greeted by a line. A freakin’ line at 10:30AM on a Friday morning. And this wasn’t a line of old retired people. This looked like a Sunday morning crowd, but without kids. Ninety-eight percent of the people in that restaurant should’ve been at work.

I turn to HGOC, “Why is there a line at a restaurant on Friday morning?! Don’t people work?!”

“People don’t work here. It’s ridiculous. Nobody in LA has a job.”

I turned away in disgust.

Luckily, the turnaround on table was quick. We got our booth an ordered. We couldn’t decide what to get, so we shared a Montecristo and Florentine omelette with round potatoes. It was the best American breakfast I’ve ever had. They gave us a crepe (not crape, but crepe) to start. The Montecristo was unreal. It was like a French toast sandwich. It was a sandwich with turkey (real stuff, not coldcuts), ham, tomato, and Swiss, dipped in egg batter and fried to perfection. It was topped with powdered sugar. You spread jam on it and dip it in maple syrup. It was heavenly. The Florentine omellete was also delicious. It had tomato, mushroom, some kind of cheese, and some other stuff, all topped with hollandaise. That was killer. The potatoes were awesome as well. They weren’t greasy diner potatoes. These potatoes were fried just right.

After that, we decided to go to Damon & Pythias (think Cosi) to get cake. Damon & Pythias has my favorite cake in the whole world—the Windmill Cake. I can’t even begin to describe the chocolatey explosion of goodness once that first bite hits my taste buds. If you live in Los Angeles, go to Damon & Pythias and get the Windmill Cake.

We sat around for the rest of the day because we were so full. We had all that food in the span of 1 hour. Around 3, we went to the gym to ride the ellipticals because we felt completely useless. We needed to get active.

After the gym, we met up with Ryuji. We both worked for him as interns 2 summers ago. HGOC now works for him again. Ryuji is this giant Japanese guy from Guam. He is also the most knowledgeable person on the planet. If you ask him for any type of fare, he will most certainly know where to direct you for a tasty meal. I wanted sushi that night, so he took us to his local place in Little Tokyo. It was delicious. Salmon roe, sea urchin, yellowtail, halibut, spicy scallop (superb taste), tuna, and deep fried shrimp heads to finish it off. I was stuffed.

Afterward, we went to Cabana Club. I have never seen so many fake people in my life. It was disgusting. So many blondes, so many fake boobs, so many twenty-something girls with 40- and 50-something boyfriends. There was one too many guys wearing a blue fur zip up hoodie with no undershirt. Yeah, picture that.

Part II to follow tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Taking a Break

I know. I don't need to take a break. I haven't posted in ages, and the last new entry was from the Hottest Guy on Campus--2 weeks ago. But the title of this post does not refer to my recent laziness/busy schedule. It refers to those dreaded words you hate to hear from your significant other: "I think we should take a break."

No, The GF and I did not go through this episode...recently. My roommate was telling me how some close friends of his were about to begin a "trial separation." I think this term is overly euphemistic. Tonight (not sure why I didn't come to this conclusion sooner), I came to the realization that a "trial separation" is a married couple's way of saying, "We need to take a break."

For married couples, it's certainly a far cry from "taking a break" from dating. When in the dating/unmarried phase, at least one party, usually the break-suggester, goes on to be promiscuous with several fine or not so fine specimens of the opposite sex. In some cases, the party on the receiving end of the break suggestion will sit alone and cry him/herself to sleep. In other cases, the receiver uses this as motivation to exact revenge on the break-suggester and will instantly turn on his/her game.

The situation is slightly more complicated when a couple is married. Surely, several assets are shared, and, in some cases, children. In that situation you can't just go to your local watering hole and bring home the first piece of sleaze that you see. If you have kids, the reasons are obvious. But even if you don't have kids, if, during a "trial separation," you take home that "hot"(WARNING! Beer Goggles in full effect!) waitress after she's given you your 10 free shot, you're still not divorced. If your soon-to-be ex-wife find out about your shenanigans, she will be taking half of your meager fortune once she does divorce you.

The lesson of this little blog entry: Don't ever get married...ever!