Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Jogging Journal: Two A Days

The Jogging Journal is back. I only do them for special occasions, and the Two A Days premiere is worthy. And without further ado...

10:02 Here come the opening credits! Ross always looks like the crappiest quarterback. I feel someone else should be playing. What kind of name is Dejohn? Is that French? Did kids ever make Grey Poupon jokes? I would’ve, but that’s because I’m obvious and unoriginal.

10:03 Why are girls in the opening credits? Brittany is more attractive than Kristen.

10:04 I can’t believe Hoover High just lost. Russ Propst is about to go on a rampage and tell everyone how he’s going to tell recruiters they are lazy.

10:05 Oh boy. Russ has gone soft. He’s blaming himself now? That “Sweet Home Alabama” ringtone is super cool.

10:07 Charlie reminds me of Carrot Top. You’re only as good as your weakest link, and you will never win a national championship with a sub par “comedian” on your team.

10:08 Ross is wearing an Alabama shirt. I bet he got that from his brother, John Parker. He probably visits his brother every non-football weekend and gets hammered after two beers. Remember visiting older friends at college on some weekends, and it was the coolest thing ever? You’d come back to school on Monday, talk about the sweet parties, how there were kegs (Wooooo!!! Kegger!!!), and so many hot girls (Had no game…didn’t talk to a single one). Well at least I think that’s what happened because I never visited for a party weekend. I had no older friends. I was a huge loser. And my parents would have never let me go.

10:10 I love couples that want to follow each other to school. I don’t know a single couple from high school that stayed together. In fact, I don’t think a single couple I knew still even talks to one another. Whatever. I guess you learn from your mistakes. I’m sure Brittany’s boyfriend will hook up with some random girl in his dorm, then in revenge, Brittany will hook up with some fraternity pledge she met at a mixer. I’m sure there’ll be lots of yelling and crying and a few utterances of “I’ll always love you.” It’ll be great.

10:11 Sonic, why doth thou tease me? That chili cheese dog and tots is driving me mad. I can’t wait until I go to my radio record in the morning, where I’ll eat tons of free food.

10: 14 Road Rules is back? It's about time! They were running out of RR veterans for the RW/RR Challenge.

10:15 Shane Martin, ex-football player and recently fired cheerleading coach, was arrested today for allegedly touching three members of the cheerleading squad. "He's really good with all the girls." – Brittany

10:17 There is no way in hell I’d ever let my daughter around this Yanni wannabe.

10:18 The couple who goes to every dance together—sweet! Way to be adventurous and try something new.

10:21 The Second Coming Nike commercial is one of the greatest commercials ever made. I’m extremely motivated right now.

10:25 Based on that pep talk, I believe Yanni is most likely living an alternative lifestyle.

Overall, it was a great show. I will definitely watch the remaining episodes. At the very least, it’s better than The Hills, which isn’t really saying much, but it’s something.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hittin' It Big

Ever since I moved to NY, I’ve had a nagging urge to buy lottery tickets—specifically for the Mega Millions game. Originally, I told myself I wouldn’t purchase any tickets unless the jackpot reached the minimum level of $100 million. I’ve been able to keep to that rule. I’ve only bought two tickets since June.

My desire to buy tickets only grows with my stay at my job. It’s starting to dawn on me that I’ll probably be working for the next 40+ years. Hopefully, I’ll be extremely successful and reach a point where I’ll actually need work to keep me going. But for the time being, I’m content with trying to find an easy out. Enter the Mega Millions jackpot.

Why the Mega Millions? I see the level of the payout at least three times a day. I see it on two pay phone kiosks and a newspaper stand during my bus ride to work. Once the quality of my day starts to deteriorate, which is usually within ten minutes of arriving, I start to wonder what would happen if I won.

I start to think, “Let’s say I win when the prize is $50 million, I take the lump sum, they take away taxes, and that still leaves me with about $20 million.”

Of course, this post-tax payout is just a guess based on what I’ve read about previous winners. In any case, I start thinking about the great stuff I could do with this money.

Being an extremely risk averse person, I’d probably stash a few million in a high-yield, low-risk security, if those even exist. But then another thought came to mind. I should just go against my instinct and splurge on something crazy.

My first thought was to rent a villa on some island, fly out all my friends and family, and party for a week. It would be great. All the people I love would get to meet one another, and we’d be merry on a private beach in a beautiful, tropical locale.

I was probably stuck on this idea for a good six months until I went home for Christmas and spent my days in my parents’ basement watching TV nonstop for a solid week. (Side Note: I used to live in my basement during the summers in high school. There was a bed, bathroom, TV and computer, and it was much colder than my stuffy bedroom. Unfortunately, my parents kicked me out of there during the summer after my senior year because they were highly suspicious of me and the ex-girlfriend holding hands. I tried telling them that my bedroom was too hot, but they weren’t having any of it. This eventually led to my dad awkwardly confronting me in my bedroom before a trip with my buddies to Cedar Point. Because a two hour drive to an amusement park in Ohio is the ultimate romantic getaway, my mom thought a trip to Cedar Point was a ploy for me to bring the ex-girlfriend so we could get some alone time to hold hands. So what does my mom do? She sends my dad to confront me in my bedroom just before I’m about to leave. My dad says, “Is (ex-girlfriend) going with you?” Incredulously, I retort with a huge, “NO!” My dad says, “Are you guys having (redacted)?” I obviously say, “No.” Then, he gave some speech about being able to speak to him if I ever needed to, and then we just stared at each other awkwardly for about ten seconds. At that point, we just broke out in uncontrollable laughter—the kind you share with friends when you do something drunkenly stupid. And we couldn’t stop laughing for about twenty seconds. Then my dad, still laughing, finally says, “I didn’t (laughter) want to say anything (laughter), but your mom (laughter) made me.” And we just laughed even more uncontrollably. This, quite possibly, is one of the top five moments in my life.)

Anyway, one of the movies constantly playing that weekend was Big. I always loved this movie. Obviously, everyone loves that piano scene, but what I particularly love, besides Elizabeth Perkins in her bra, is his loft. The place is insanely spacious and has enormous windows. When I was a kid, I thought the trampoline, bunk bed and Pepsi vending machine were the greatest. I’ve always wanted to know where it is. I imagine it’s somewhere in Soho, but this is merely speculation.

After seeing this movie two or three times over Christmas, I decided the first thing I’d do if I ever win the Mega Millions jackpot is buy the loft. I’d decorate it exactly how it’s decorated in Big. Then, I’d get a few hot bartenders and hire *NSYNC, Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dogg to perform at a party for all of my friends. I’d also make everyone wear black tuxedos or black dresses, and I’d wear that ridiculous white outfit he had at the office party.

(Side Note: “Behind These Hazel Eyes” by Kelly Clarkson just started playing on my iPod. This is the best Kelly Clarkson song…ever. I think this is the perfect ending. Good night.)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Food-Filled Weekend

My adventures over MLK weekend were laced with a mixture of good and bad luck. It all started on Saturday night when The GF and I, along with our friends, Hooligan James and his girlfriend, tried seeing a 10:10 showing of Notes on a Scandal at the AMC in Times Square. Unfortunately, it was sold out. We were naïve enough to think other people in New York had better things to do than spend their Saturday night at the theatre.

Actually, people in New York probably do have better things to do than spend their Saturday night at the theatre. It was probably all those crazy tourists who bought the tickets. They probably thought, “Let’s buy our tickets, eat some crappy Mexican food at Chevy’s, then shop at Quicksilver and Skecher’s until the movie starts.”

Whoever did that was smart because they got tickets. I ended up going to the “Everything for $1” street cart for a sausage with sauerkraut, onions, and mustard ten minutes before the show. After discovering that it was sold out, we debated between Casino Royale and The Holiday. I’ll let you have one guess at who wanted to see Casino Royale and who wanted to see The Holiday.

We decided a night at the theatre would just have to wait. We saved our $11 and headed back home, but not without stopping at the “Everything for $1” cart again. Those sausages are delicious.

I had promised to make breakfast that weekend, so Sunday morning seemed like the perfect time. My specialty is French toast and bacon, mainly because it’s the only thing I can make for the morning feast. I always seem to burn pancakes, and my omelettes just aren’t as good as those at Easter Sunday brunches.

There was a little twist to my breakfast. We were using Arnold wheat bread, which I don’t particularly fancy, but is the preferred loaf of The GF. I usually use Home Pride wheat or Wonder Bread. I also made the mistake of purchasing turkey bacon. The GF talked me into it for health reasons and because it was $3 cheaper than the good, fatty pork bacon. We also used Log Cabin Lite syrup. My preferred syrup is Aunt Jemima. She’s much thicker and sweeter than Log Cabin Lite.

I did change up my mixture a bit and threw in some vanilla extract. That was pretty good. Overall, I didn’t think it was my greatest French toast, but The GF seemed to like it. I think once she tries my French toast with regular, fatty products, she’ll be even more amazed. (Side note: Dunkin’ Donuts redeemed itself this weekend. The GF bought me an iced caramel latte for me to sip on while I cooked. It was delicious.)

On Sunday, night we went to Chinatown because I’ve had an intense desire to visit my favorite Chinese restaurant and get some egg custard. I also wanted to visit the Asian grocery store.

The first stop was the Asian grocery store. I love the smell of any Asian grocery store. They all have that same funky smell, but you adapt to it after five minutes. My original intent was just to get some oolong or jasmine tea, but I also ended up with chocolate.

I located the Meiji aisle and tried to find the Hello Panda chocolate-filled biscuits but instead, stumbled upon Meltykiss (click on that link for a review). I bought about twenty boxes of the green tea flavor when I was in Hong Kong. They didn’t have green tea, but they did have milk and strawberry. I had already tried strawberry, which is delicious, so I gave milk a try. It was heavenly.

The next stop was the egg custard shop. My initial experience with egg custard occurred when I was on The Island. I was floored by it. I attempted to buy some egg custard on my last trip to Chinatown, but it was too late and the only shop that was open had sold out. This time, I bought the egg custard before dinner. Unfortunately, the egg custard I bought was not that great. I think I need to try the bakery that sells it for $2 a piece rather than the bakery that sells it for $.75 a piece.

The last stop was supposed to be O.K. Diner on Hester Street, right by Little Italy. I know you’re wondering how a place called O.K. Diner, which is located a block from Little Italy, can be my favorite stop in Chinatown. You’ll have to trust me when I say the pan-fried noodles, salt and pepper squid, and Chinese broccoli were unreal. We hadn’t eaten there in over a year, so we figured we could wander around Hester Street until we found it. To our (more like my) complete dismay, O.K. Diner no longer existed. I even called my sister in Michigan to see if she could find this place on Yahoo! Yellow Pages. I was completely disappointed. I now had to find a new spot to eat in Chinatown.

Finding a new spot is not as easy as it sounds. Not every restaurant is good. Take Joe’s Shanghai, for example. This place is revered by many, mainly because of their soup dumplings. The soup dumplings are extremely delicious, but I found the rest of the food to be crap.

As a general rule, I think establishments with some sort of meat or dead bird hanging in the window are your best bet. Though they may not be great, I think they’ll be better than “fancy” places without the meat/dead bird showcase. (This is my own personal criteria for choosing Chinese eateries. Do not adopt it as fact.)

After deciding against some places because of no hanging meat or crowdedness, we decided on a place called Big Wong. We ordered steamed dumplings, seafood pan-fried noodles, and the salt and pepper trio (shrimp, squid, & scallops).

Though Big Wong had some ribs and duck hanging in its window, it wasn’t as great as O.K. Diner. I’d definitely leave open the possibility of returning there, but I’m going to try a new restaurant on my next trip to Chinatown.

Monday morning brought a slew of bad luck with food. The plan was to go to Max Brenner in the East Village, then head to Target in Brooklyn. If you are aroused when you get a glimpse of the chocolate river in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, then you must visit Max Brenner.

On weekdays from 7AM-1PM, Max Brenner in the East Village has a coffee & waffle with warm chocolate sauce combo for $1. Breakfast for two for $2 was too good to pass up. (Did you like how I used four versions of the “too” sound every other word in that previous sentence? I thought it was genius.) Unfortunately, they’re too cheap to offer it during national holidays.

I don’t panic. It’s 11AM, and we’re a block away from Pommes Frites. We walk there, but they don’t open until 11:30.

I still don’t panic. BAMN is a mere 100 feet away. We decided that we don’t need breakfast, and we just want the $2 green tea soft serve. As we walk by, we notice the soft serve machine has a sign taped to it that says, “OUT OF ORDER.” Dammit.

We decided to see if there was something by Target, but we just ended up with McDonald’s. It was the nastiest McDonald’s I have ever visited. The McChicken, the cornerstone of any of my McDonald’s visits, tasted nasty. What was even worse was that I also tried the Snack Wrap. Purely disgusting.

I should’ve just gone to the “Everything for $1” cart. That guy never fails to please.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I Run on Dunkin'

My team at work finally had its end-of-the-year party last Thursday. We originally scheduled it for December, but too many people were on vacation. The first Thursday of the new year was the perfect time for Jews and Christians to gather for beverages and inebriated conversation.

The festivities included a Holiday gift exchange. We weren’t allowed to call it a Secret Santa because of the whole Judaism thing. Apparently, it’s not politically correct. Personally, I think this politically correct thing needs to stop. You should be able to call things what you want. I call it a Secret Santa. If other people want to call it the Hanukkah Hexchange, then be my guest. I don’t really care. The only situation where political correctness should apply is when racial epithets are involved.

Everyone at work knows I love donuts. In fact, I have two donut magnets sitting on top of my cube cabinet. They look delicious enough to eat. I completely expected my Secret Santa to get me a gift card to Dunkin’ Donuts. And she did. Bless her generous little heart.

This past weekend in the city was exceptionally beautiful. I wanted to go to Macy’s to check out a new watch, and since the weather was spectacular, I made the two mile trip by foot. I was also starving, so I decided I was going to spend some of my Dunkin’ Donuts gift card on iced coffee and a breakfast croissant with sausage, egg, and cheese. I thought I would have a nice, leisurely stroll with a breakfast sandwich and a refreshing beverage.

It was too bad I didn’t realize Dunkin’ Donuts hates its customers. My first Dunkin’ was around 31st and 3rd in Murray Hill. I placed my order, and the employee left to get my sandwich started. I pulled out my gift card, and he says, “Sorry. We don’t accept that. We don’t have credit card machines.”

Slightly dejected, I cancelled my order and continued my journey to Macy’s in hope of finding another Dunkin’ fairly soon. I went west on 34th and saw a Dunkin’ between Park and Madison. It even advertised the fact that it was kosher. I got really excited, thinking it was going to be the most delicious Dunkin’ever. Unfortunately, by kosher, they meant they serve no meat. Bastards.

I was a bit more perturbed but knew there was a Dunkin’ in Herald Square. Unfortunately, this Dunkin’ was part of a multi-restaurant piazza. KFC, Dunkin’, and a no-name establishment. This Dunkin’ only had donuts.

Now, I’m extremely angry. I walked west on 34th toward 6th in hopes of running into another Dunkin’. I find success in the Dunkin’ that’s combined with a Pizza Hut, except the service was slow and horrendous, which caused an extremely long line.

I saw the woman putting sugar into my iced coffee. She wasn’t even looking as she conversed with her co-worker and dumped two giant spoonfuls of sugar into my cup. There was so much sugar; I could feel the sugar as I sipped the drink. The food actually tasted good at the time, but I think it made me sick later that day.

Though I’m greatly appreciative of the gift card, I will never wish for another Dunkin’ Donuts gift card again. Dunkin’ Donuts, if you’re reading, please stop franchising to idiots who provide sub par service and don’t serve meat because they’re “kosher.” Please make it mandatory to have credit card machines. You should also discontinue jelly donuts, and increase production of the marble frosted donuts. While you’re at it, a frequent buyer card would really make my day.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Look Back at 2006

Since 2006 has finally ended, it’s time for me to give you my year-in-review. I don’t like how television shows and magazines do their year-in-reviews before the year is over. I know they have to do it for practical reasons such as timing for printing the magazine or having something to air on constant repeat during New Year’s Day, but I still don’t like it. What if something hilarious happens on New Year’s Eve—like K-Fed doing something extremely white trash? Then your year-in-review would be missing a pretty big piece of news.

The Dirty Burrito Year-In-Review will go in a month-by-month format. I’m primarily sticking to events I mentioned in my blog because my memory isn’t good enough to recall the entire year. I’ll still mention other things I didn’t write about once in a while. But don’t get your hopes up for that.

I’ll highlight my favorite moments, provide pictorial evidence, and link to all the posts for that month. To see the posts, just click on the month. Also, if you want to see more pictorial evidence, you can just click this link. I’m also listing the months in Spanish, to reflect my “Mexican” heritage. And without further ado…

enero

The year started off in glorious fashion. I went to Boracay with my family before they had to return to The Americas. The second night there, I went out with my entire family, got drunk with my parents, uncles, and aunt, and finally found out why I’m such a horrible dancer. It was truly murder on the dance floor.

I am fortunate enough to have an uncle who has his own ad agency, so I stayed behind and began my stint at The Agency. It would be the first of two jobs I would hold this year—a record low. I immediately cashed in on the perks of the job. One of the accounts on which I worked was sponsoring the Backstreet Boys concert, so I got 2 tickets in the second row. After the show, my allegiance to *NSYNC was immediately called into question. Additionally, my post following the concert was probably my most well-received post.

The Spaghetti Stain earned his new nickname of Hottest Guy on Campus. It was a pivotal moment for The Dirty Burrito because it opened up guest blogging opportunities. There was no way I was letting a greasy Italian named The Spaghetti Stain contribute more than once on my blog. As long as he’s HGOC, he can contribute as much as he wants and remedy the long lulls you experience from me.

febrero

I began my modeling career when I had to act as a body double for a Filipino action star because we didn’t want to spend more money on another shoot.

I went to Davao to shoot a whitewater rafting scene for a commercial for the Department of Tourism. From the people, to the food, to the rafting, to the partying, it was probably the best trip I’ve ever taken. Oh, and I almost drowned. That was pretty exciting too.

The Island was under political distress during this time. There were all these political rallies to oust the president. CNN.com made it seem like it was extremely dangerous and the country was going to fall apart. Unfortunately, my office building was three blocks from one of the rallies, and I didn’t even give it a second thought. Way to blow things out of proportion American media.

I also unknowingly sat through a mini earthquake. I was typing at my desk, when the keyboard moved slightly. I was completely baffled by this. I thought someone merely nudged my desk, but then someone next to me yelled something in her regional dialect and I saw my uncle lean against the door frame. Then, the movement ended. It wasn’t until the movement stopped that I realized it was a mini earthquake, tremor, or whatever you call it.

marzo

I went on location again for another scene for the Department of Tourism commercial. I went to Hundred Islands National Park for kayaking. It was a wonderful sight. The scenery was beautiful, and my group was able to kayak to one of the islands for our own private beach.

I took up boxing. What a workout. It’s also a nice release after work. You can take out all your aggression on the trainer or the heavy bag.

In the world of advertising, I switched to copywriting to finish my last 5 weeks at The Agency. They actually let me write something that went in the papers. I wrote the copy on a full-page advertorial. Unfortunately, the clients were making changes up until midnight before the paper came out, and I missed a grammatical error. I told this to an art director and he said, “It’s OK. Nobody will read it anyway.” What a relief.

My freelance modeling career continued—emphasis on “free.” I was in two 30-second public service announcements and a print ad that made it to the Cannes Lions.

I took a trip to Hong Kong with my uncle and grandparents. It was a great city to visit, though I don’t think I’d enjoy living there. But naturally, the Chinese food was the best I’ve ever had. I would go back just to eat.

abril

I think the highlight of the month was taking my 16-year-old cousins out. There was sketchiness all around. I think you’ll just have to read about that.

I also returned to The Americas. I had a great time on The Island, but it was time for me to go. Plus, my mom was calling me every other day to make sure I was actually coming back. I don’t think she was confident that I’d return.

My awesome friends threw a party for me welcoming me back to The Americas. They called it The Ameri-Carlo Party. Fun times.

mayo

Nothing particularly happened in May. I flew to NY for a week, thinking I was so badass that I could interview and nail down a job in that time. I did get a final interview call from the NY Times Digital even though I didn’t look at their Web site and got called out on it by the big boss lady. Even though I didn’t get the job, the final interview request prompted me to pack what I could fit into two suitcases and move to NY. I think it was a very wise move.

junio

I got hired by my current agency. I’m still at the company and I haven’t been demoted, so that is a huge accomplishment. I only held two jobs in 2006. As I’ve stated before, this is a huge accomplishment.

The World Cup started in June, and I spent most of my initial weeks at work watching the games on ESPN 360. I completely hated the commentary, but the games were entertaining.

My prediction that Kevin Richardson from BSB would quit came true.

julio

I had my one year anniversary as a blogger. I didn’t think I could keep it going for a year, but you guys kept reading.

I ended up at a party at gay bar hosted by the costume designer from The Devil Wears Prada. My friends and I thought we were going to a Prada party with lots of hot models. It ended up being OK because I saw Amadeus and got free drinks.

agosto

HGOC contributed by starting a discussion about my wedding song. He really wants me to have it be “Africa” by Toto because this is what I immaturely promised approximately four years ago. It probably won’t happen, but you never know. I can tell you this much—“Africa” will be played at some point during my wedding.

Season 3 of Laguna Beach premiered. I successfully predicted that they’d play a Dashboard Confessional song during the third episode to make it three consecutive episodes with depressing, my-girlfriend-broke-up-with-me emo. I ended up downloading that album. It was pretty good. I also fell in love with Tessa, even if she doesn’t have the greatest personality at all times.

I turned 23. I got an awesome birthday dinner from The GF. She took me to Dip, a fondue restaurant in Murray Hill. She knew I love chocolate, bread, and cheese. She really couldn’t go wrong by bringing me to a fondue joint.

septiembre

I made my first trip to the Hamptons to attend a wedding. It was a beautiful wedding that had a 12 hour reception with nonstop booze and food. It was glorious. Hooligan James and I found some champagne bottles and started a communal sharing of alcohol.

After a 14 month hiatus, Northwestern’s Hottest Guy on Campus returned to write an actual guest post. It was hilarious. I wanted to counter many of his points, but I was too lazy. That’s why he was guest blogging.

octubre

I took a trip to Los Angeles to visit HGOC. Though I had fun, I decided that I don’t ever want to move there. Though I’m very laid back, I think the Los Angeles crowd is too laid back for me. Plus, I think I’d want to punch every aspiring actor/actress that I meet.

I proclaimed my love for Gray’s Papaya, but I’m still too scared to say anything to the Filipinos that always work at the 8th Street & 6th Avenue location.

noviembre

I let you all know about my views on Thanksgiving and how I was so confused about many things as a child.

Michigan lost to Ohio State...again. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Michigan should not allow Lloyd Carr to coach because his name begins and ends with a double consonant. That is not the formula for success.

diciembre

I publicly proclaimed that Love Actually is my favorite holiday movie, and that “Last Christmas” by George Michael is a superior Christmas song to “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey.

I reached the six month anniversary at my job. That is the longest I’ve stayed a “real job.”

I put up my 100th post. It was a link to the newest Transformers movie trailer. Even though Optimus Prime has flames, I think the movie will still be awesome. It better be awesome because that is the only way Michael Bay can make up for putting flames on Optimus Prime.

I attended New Year’s Eve festivities at Fat Baby in the Lower East Side. The night started out good, but not being able to find a cab and having to take the trains home dampened the evening. But New Year’s Eve will be a separate post if I ever find the time.

I've been pretty happy with the past year. I would even rank it in the top three years of my life. Hopefully, 2007 will be just as good, if not better.