Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cool Hat, Ne-Yo

I enjoy Ne-Yo. There. I said it.

Great voice, catchy songs, smooth dancer, awesome hats. What’s not to like?

On top of all that, he always has a beautiful cast of ladies in his videos. Take his “Miss Independent” video. It’s set in what is probably the most attractive fictional office ever!

Gabrielle Union, who’s come a long way since 10 Things I Hate About You, is his boss. And Lauren London, who shows up around the 2:52 mark, made an amazing transformation from her role as New New on ATL into a powerful career woman who works with her legs propped up on her desk. I’m sure it helps her productivity.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Magic Carpet Ride

The theme for 2009 should be: Dropping Like Flies. I have officially hit the age where a wave of my friends have found the person they will eternally nest with. After telling my mom about another girlfriend of mine settling down, the newspaper was thrown aside and Wolverine’s claws came out to play, “Allison, you need to find someone!!!” …Pause. Rewind. Play back… More like – “Allison, what’s wrong with you?!!” The band-aid was ripped off and for a split second I saw the lingering worries of my mother come to life. My expression alone was enough to speak a thousand words. Realizing she had unleashed the crazy, my mom reclined in her chair and comforted me with, “I’m just kidding. I just want you to be happy.”


The Great Love. I’m talking about the kind that takes your breath away, the kind that forces you to forget what life was like before it. Is it human nature to search for that one person who completes us or just society standards? Is it absolutely essential to our happiness? Luckily in this day and age the rush to settle down is not what it used to be. Career advancement and financial stability take priority over making babies. While societal pressure may have lessened, the natural wonder and hope of when and how The Great Love will strike remains embedded in all of us.


Love isn’t predictable or rational. We try our best to wrap our fingers around this uncontrollable, fully inexplicable experience. Most of us deny wanting it when we don’t have it. Most of us are secretly looking even when we say we’re not. In this quest how much are we supposed to open ourselves up to it so that we don’t pass it by yet protect ourselves from potential heartbreak? It is difficult to find that balance. I could sit here and reflect all day about something I have yet to experience…what I do know is that it can’t ever be forced.


Last summer a few of my very single girlfriends and I made a pact that we would take advantage of the balmy nights, stay out until all hours and date around. We placed our orders for a Summer Special – a Memorial Day to Labor Day fling. The anti-search for the perfect man. One of the girls, who I'll refer to as Princess Jasmine, justified that the Summer Special didn't have to be confined to just one. Translation: collect and select.


In a city where tough love rules, like most smart women Jasmine had a barricade around her heart. Strong and independent, she was content without a man. She was the self-proclaimed “I’m not getting married until I’m 30” single girl…all of which was about to go out the window.


Jasmine opened herself up to a whole new world the night she met Aladdin. Equally independent and successful, he had a sincere yet suspicious smile – a “player” by some standards. It was an instant connection that left stars in their eyes. Aladdin’s gaze was a tell-all tale. He wasn't ever going to let Jasmine out of his sight from that point on. Maybe it was the Patron but they slowed their pace, obliviously trailing ten feet behind the rest of the group. Who knows what they were talking about? A volcanic eruption in the middle of the street wouldn’t have taken their attention away from each other. Sparks flew, worlds collided and my friend was whisked away on a magic carpet ride. I turned to Jasmine and said, "I think you found more than a Summer Special." She found her Prince.


Last summer was one of many firsts. For me it was experiencing the ungodly humidity, the city transforming into the nation’s biggest public sauna. How anyone can function normally in this condition is beyond me. Some find it suffocating. Others find it the perfect climate for an everlasting love to blossom. The fact that Jasmine and Aladdin could hold hands through it all, blissfully meshing their palm sweat, clearly signaled they were the real deal.


It’s been a whirlwind romance for these two. Some may consider the progression of their relationship crazy but their fairly unusual pace doesn’t diminish Love’s authenticity. Their union filled a void both Jasmine and Aladdin otherwise would not have known. That’s the thing about The Great Love – it strikes everyone differently.


How do you know when you’ve found it? They say “you just know.” I can only hope to someday find that person whose hand I will embrace, even in the greatest heat.


The Rainmaker

~A dedication to my favorite engaged couple

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Can You Hear Me Now?

Probably not. I left my phone in a cab last night, so I am without a mobile device. Please do not attempt to call or text me because I will not be able to reciprocate communications.

R.I.P. Sanyo Katana, Sprint's wannabe Motorola Razr. You served me well for the past 31 months. You will be missed.

Now, I need to look for a new phone. I'm leaning toward leaving the flip phone world behind and getting either a Blackberry or Sprint's wannabe iPhone, the Samsung Instinct. Unfortunately, both options require me to update my phone plan.

In order to check my current plan and see what upgrades are available to me, I decided to log on to the Sprint website to check my account. They've redesigned their site, so they require you to re-register with them. Fine. No big deal. I fill out all the necessary info.

But here is where Sprint is F*UCKING STUPID. In order to validate my registration, I have to enter a code they texted to my phone. I obviously don't have my phone so I look at the fine print to find an alternative way to get the code (i.e., via Email).

No alternate way. The message said something like if I don't have my phone, or if I'm in an area with no coverage, I should log on again later and a new code will be texted to me. Perfect. Thanks for recognizing my g-damn needs, Sprint!

In any case, I'll just do business the old-fashioned way and call a rep once I get to work. If you have any thoughts on what phone I should get, please feel free to chime in.

And Happy Birthday 26th birthday to The Homewrecker. May your newfound cougar-dom be merry!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bathroom Attendants

Editor's Note: Today's post comes from The Flint Skinny. Though he has his own blog, he decided to answer my call for guest bloggers and contribute to The Dirty Burrito. Below is his rollercoaster of a rant on bathroom attendants. I'm still not sure why he chose to spell "fuck" as "f*ck" and leave "shit" alone, but I decided to let it fly. In any case, I hope you enjoy. And make sure you check out his blog. He has the self-proclaimed "number one site on the Internet for stolen humor."

For many years I have wanted to share my ideas about bathroom attendants. My general feeling was an outright hatred for any man who demands money for something I frequently do on my own. Being the brilliant author that I am, I wanted to do a little research before spewing hatred all over this peaceful blog. This is where the problems began. Once I learned more about their role, I could no longer decide exactly how I felt about these men who work behind the latrines.

Tip for a haircut? Sure, I would f*ck my hair up. Tip a waitress? Obviously they would never let me in the kitchen to get my own food, and buyer’s remorse would lead me to steal someone else's food. Tip a bathroom attendant? Why the hell would I do that? I frequently go to the bathroom in public places and manage to wash and dry my hands with very little difficulty. The last thing I need is some guy expecting me to hand over some cash purely because he didn't let me turn the faucet, squirt the soap and grab the paper towel for myself.

I am a big boy; I can do all of these things unassisted. This guy is not only the least useful person in the bar, one I would much rather replace with an additional bartender, but he is also a nuisance. If anything, he makes me want to skip washing my hands altogether so that I can escape the bathroom with the same amount of money with which I entered.

Unfortunately I am not willing to do that, and anyone who has been around me for more than an hour or so is well aware that I have the bladder control of a puppy that is always excited. This means that if you get some booze in me, I am going to be visiting our dear facility friend many times in a night. No way is this shitkeeper getting my booze money.

Let's step back from my rage for a minute. There are a couple of different types of bathroom jockeys, some not as bad as others. First, there is the older man at the high class establishment. I don't mind an attendant at the Ritz Carlton or other five star water closets. The grandpas that frequent these establishments most likely take a long time to squeeze a few drops out, so they might like some company. Also, they are at risk for falling over and could need a little assistance.

Next, there is the really outgoing guy working the nightclub scene. Clubs like to give off the feeling of importance as a way to justify their outrageous drink prices, so this at least has some legitimacy.

The last, and certainly worst, is the guy just trying to make a bunch of money at the expense of the wasted kids. You find these guys at random ass bars that really have no business acting classy. These are typically the only jackasses that will actually make some comment regarding a tip. You've probably seen each of these different types, and it's this third one that really developed your hatred for bathroom attendants much like he did for me.

This is where I stood a week ago before I began this endeavor. That was before I realized that a head shepherd's main purpose is not actually to hand me paper towel. It also isn't to ensure that you have fresh breath, cheap cologne, or a loosey. Their predominant role is to ensure the working order of the bathroom.

Have you noticed that most bathrooms with toilet tenders are typically pretty clean? You don't find the stray toilet paper surrounding the john or paper towel scattered in the general area of the trash can. You don't have to worry about the bathroom smelling like puke because, rest assured, your trusty toileteer also serves as a detriment to drunken guys that assume it's appropriate to hurl inside instead of outdoors by the dumpster where they belong. In fact, I cannot recall more than a few occasions in which I was pissed at the condition of a tended thrown room.

You also don't have stalls being tied up by people blowing lines of coke off shit seats or deflowering a classy lady (unless the money is right for the attendant). For those of you who had the privilege of spending time in Ann Arbor, can you imagine if the bathrooms at Rick's American Nightmare or Touchdowns actually had clean bathrooms? That would have easily been worth a couple bucks to me.

If it seems like I have changed my stance, fear not. I still hate Blow Pop distributing towel hoarders. My reasoning, however, has changed. I realize now that their purpose is essentially that of a bathroom butler. They keep the potty pristine, the line orderly and the stalls for proper use.

Last time I checked, however, the Fresh Prince never tipped "G." This seems like a cost that should be paid by the bar, not the patrons who are already paying a high cost to make their friends more tolerable and their hookups more attractive. But most bars don't pay these caretakers a penny. Bathroom attendants often times are not employed by the bar whatsoever and in some cases actually pay an establishment to let them set up shop. This is where I return to pure hatred.

F*ck bars for making me pay for their cleaning staff. That's f*cking horseshit. I don't hate the people that are bathroom attendants; I loathe the position of bathroom attendant. I hate any bar who allows someone to work purely out of expectation of me throwing them a dollar for blocking my way to the motion sensor operated paper town dispenser.

The path of my emotional rollercoaster was that of a cursive "o." I came in hating bathroom attendants, stopped and looped back around to their favor, but eventually found a different path of hatred to take me out along the same line. I will continue to tip these people no more than half of the time I use the bathroom and nothing will ever change that. Screw bathroom attendants.

For further reading about what almost changed my mind, check out this interview with a Vegas bathroom attendant.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Back to Work Randomness

If you were lucky enough to get MLK Day off, welcome back to work. If you had to work yesterday, I’m sorry that you’re employed by such a heartless organization. I had a totally random holiday, so I just have a bunch of random thoughts.


MLK Day

I attended an all-boys Catholic high school in Michigan. There were no more than 800 students in the whole school, and most of them were white. In each of my four years, there were always a handful of Asian kids in each class and probably about five black students in the entire school.


On MLK Day, the school gave the black students the option of observing the holiday. Obviously, they took advantage of this. And good for them, because I would have done the same if that option had been offered to me.


But it wasn’t, and I thought this was ridiculous, but not because they only gave the black students the day off. I wanted to know why they didn’t give the Asian students the day off too. We’re yellow and/or brown. Maybe we wanted to observe the holiday!


If this asinine policy is still in place, I would advise any Chinese students to fight for the right to observe the holiday. All they have to do is point to the South Africans, who’ve reclassified the Chinese as “black.”


Snowball Fights

There really isn’t anything quite as fun as the childlike joy of an impromptu snowball fight. On Sunday night I had two of them, the first in the Meatpacking District after an all-you-can-drink champagne extravaganza and the second in Tompkins Square Park after slumming it in an Alphabet City dive.


This was quite amazing because I haven’t been in a snowball fight since my sophomore year in college, which was six years ago. My roommates and I had engaged in a street snowball fight with another random group of guys. It was only after the second snowball struck me in the face that the guys told us they were on the baseball team. It definitely explained why I was getting rocked by such pinpoint accuracy from 50 feet away.


Anyway, I totally went Dumb & Dumber on the girls on Sunday night. You know the scene where Harry just unleashes a bomb on Mary? That was me. The best shot of the night was when I slid on the snow-covered sidewalk and, mid-slide, threw a rocket at The Rainmaker, hitting her directly in the crotch area. According to her my exact quote was, “I got the babymaker!”


Van Der Geek

I watched One Tree Hill last night. I couldn’t resist tuning in because I noticed James Van Der Beek on the commercials delivering this classic line, “We're gonna get more tail than a toilet seat in Yankee Stadium.”


First of all, I have an issue with this line. I understand what the writers wanted to convey, but I don’t think of hotness when I think of toilets or Yankee Stadium. This was a poor comparison.


Secondly, James Van Der Beek was a terrible casting selection. He was playing a hotshot Hollywood director, and his performance reminded me of Ari Gold from Entourage.


They had him reading the “get more tail” line and talking about how he banged a flight attendant. I didn’t buy it. This is Dawson Leery. For lack of a better word, he was a huge pussy! I kept picturing him and Joey Potter in his bedroom using really big words to talk about movies, love and life. And all they did was talk because Dawson had no balls.


Gossip Girl

Last night was the college acceptance episode. Honestly, I didn’t have much hope for it at the beginning, but it got really juicy at the end. Ms. Carr and Dan are definitely going to make sweet, illegal love. And Ms. Carr is pretty cute.


In any case, I got a little depressed because it got me thinking about the potential direction the show will take after this season. They’ll have graduated high school by season’s end, and Josh Schwartz could take the show in one of three paths:


  1. Magically have everyone attend Columbia so they can continue the story in college and in Manhattan
  2. Everyone takes a year off before starting school and sticks around the city
  3. Skip college completely and give everyone a posh, successful career


I’m a huge opponent of option 1. Everyone knows the college story line doesn’t work. If you want proof, just look at what happened to Dawson’s Creek and Saved by the Bell: The College Years. The plots were unbelievably uninteresting. Everyone knows there isn’t any real drama in college. It’s just drunkenness, late-night cramming and the freshman 15. Also, dorm rooms are unrealistically depicted as enormous spaces. I’d watch Dawson’s Creek but actually couldn’t get past the size of Joey’s dorm room. It was terrible.


There may be something to option 2. I’d be curious to see what plot developments would be used to have all the people stay in the city and delay college for a year.


The third option appears to have promise. It’s already been done by One Tree Hill and seems to be working. They already have a head start with Chuck because he’s taking over Bass Industries when he turns 18. I don’t think it would be too far-fetched to place these powerful, well-connected rich kids in successful positions.


Twitter

I finally decided to join Twitter. I haven’t posted anything yet, but I’ll start soon. I’ve added the Twitter widget in my right nav so you can follow my updates. Let me know if you’re on it, and I’ll follow your updates.


Pandora

The Michael Jackson station is the best station ever. Artists played on this station include Janet, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Justin Timberlake, The Police, Lionel Richie and many more. Pure awesomeness. Listen to it to brighten your work day.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

ABDC Returns

America's Best Dance Crew is back! Season 3 premieres tonight at 10pm.

My prediction: the group that ultimately wins will be predominantly Asian or black.

And don't forget to play my ABDC Drinking Game.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

One Tree-diculous

I got home a bit later than I wanted last night, so I had to watch Gossip Girl via DVR. When the recording ended, the system automatically shifted to live television. At that moment, One Tree Hill was airing and something magical occurred…

Stephen Colletti appeared on my screen. Stephen Colletti of Laguna Beach. Stephen Colletti who used to date L.C., Kristin Cavallari and Hayden Panettiere.

What a surprise! What is he doing on One Tree Hill? Is this just a one-time appearance? Does he have a multi-episode story arc? What does One Tree Hill want with Stephen Colletti?

If this is a move to jolt the ratings, I could totally understand it…had it happened four years ago. The last time I saw him on television, he was on some pseudo-date with L.C. on The Hills and failed to make a move. What possible relevance could he have now?

Was there really not anyone…ANYONE else? I think they should’ve gone for Ben Savage. The show could’ve had marketed a Boy Meets World reunion: One night only – Minkus and Corey together again. Now that is something I would watch.

(Can someone who watches One Tree Hill please let me know what’s going on? During my image search for this post, I found pictures of Stephen’s character dancing with Brooke and making out with Peyton. I need details.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

To Have and To Hold

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from The Rainmaker. She had been wanting to blog for awhile and when I told her about The Dirty Burrito’s open call for guest writers, she quickly accepted the opportunity to pop her blogging cherry on such a well-established and well-respected forum. Her post is slightly more serious than my typical subject matter, and her writing style is clearly different – i.e., better. Below is her original, unedited post. Enjoy. And if you want to guest blog for The Dirty Burrito, simply get in touch.


“It’s hard to witness…I’m starting to notice signs of my parents getting older.”


Hearing these words from my roommate hit a nerve. I was not alone. It had been another 4am night in New York City, leaving us a little tipsy. Instead of our routine of preparing a frozen pizza we sat on the couch and disclosed our fears of our parents getting old into the wee hours. It is a fear that constantly haunts me in my mid-twenties – a sign itself that I too, am aging.


Loss prevents us from the very thing we know how to do – live. Why are we so threatened by it? Perhaps because of the minimal room for anticipation. How we feel and how we react is only determined once the pain becomes a reality. Maybe we are most terrified of what will become of us. We get a better sense of what we want out of life, the kind of people we want to be and what mark we want to leave when things are put into perspective and existence is threatened. We measure our fulfillment by what we have or don’t have, which isn’t necessarily right but human.


In a hopeful moment after a good checkup my grandpa asked my mom, “Do you think I might be able to live by myself again?” My mom had to tell him in all honesty that he was only fooling himself. Once the idea was shot down, a light bulb went on and he remembered how lucky he was. It could always be worse. At 90 years old my grandpa is in tremendous spirits. While he now uses a walker to get around and has a live-at-home nurse, he uses art as his outlet and still manages to live life with a sense of humor. I think with each stage of life it’s a matter of adjusting.


I look at my parents today and I want to freeze them in time – being able to do whatever they want without health complications, able to travel and drive, entertain and laugh without remorse…

It is heartbreaking to think of them one day losing the freedoms they’ve grown accustomed to. While you can’t dodge the inevitable, the fact that I won’t be able to blind myself from them degenerating before my eyes is most terrifying. I will only be able to do so much for the ones who raised me.


Unfortunately I have many friends who have already lost a parent at such a young age. My heart goes out to them. In that sense I am spoiled to still have both of mine around and it’s unfair to bitch about them getting old. I am counting my blessings. And in an attempt to combat my fears, I already told my parents that I’m moving them into my house when that day comes. Prince Charming will have to live with it.


Life is a gift. Family, whether biological or chosen, make it complete. Hopefully in this new year, in a difficult time for a lot of people, we will cherish those we love while we still have them.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Taste of Ann Arbor

Disclaimer: The following blog is very specific to Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan. If you did not attend the school, you may find this post boring. However, if you want to be amazed by how far three Asian guys pushed the limits of human food consumption, keep reading.

Those of you who know me know that I love food more than life itself. My mother often calls me a trash compactor or garbage disposal because of my uncanny ability to clean up unfinished food at the table.

On the Monday between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I went on an amazing food adventure with two friends, Brando and UMich. Our plan: drive to Ann Arbor, hit five restaurants in five hours and explore our old college campus.

The University of Michigan was somewhat deserted that week, so a few of the original restaurants on our list were closed. This included Blimpy Burger, Big Ten Burrito, China Gate and U Café, which was an enormous disappointment because they accounted for 80% of our goal.

However, we didn’t allow this small roadblock to get our spirits down. We manned up and improvised. The first place we ate was Mr. Spot's. We ordered a cheesesteak, cheesesteak with mushrooms, steak hoagie and mozzarella sticks. The meal was even more fantastic because an autographed picture of Tom Brady was staring down upon me as I ate. He’s so beautiful.

Next, we headed up State Street to visit Sushi.come. You may be thinking the name is strange, and you’re absolutely correct. This Japanese restaurant opened my freshman year. Everyone was confused, and still is confused, as to why a restaurant would name itself Sushi.come.

On this visit, they had changed their signs to Sushi.com. It turns out the owners had wanted people to think their restaurant was a sushi website, but they spelled it incorrectly. Anyway, I’m sticking with the original, more ludicrous spelling of Sushi.come. And I’m also sticking with the pronunciation of “dot come” instead of “dot com.” (Side note: I had to look up how to spell “ludicrous.” Ludacris the rapper totally messed up my ability to spell that word properly. Bastard.)

At Sushi.come, we had miso soup, salad, one tuna roll, one Crazy Boy roll and four pieces of salmon nigiri sushi for our entrée. For dessert, we shared green tea tempura ice cream. As the name suggests, this tasty dish was simply green tea ice cream battered tempura-style. Think the Japanese version of Mexican fried ice cream. It was tanfastic!

Aside from the tanfastic tempura ice cream, I’d say the food here was only OK. However, I was glad we went because we had a sorority girl sighting! She was wearing the official uniform – tight, black ass pants, black Northface coat and Puma sneakers (though I seem to recall a high volume of Saucony Jazz sneakers in my day).

We proceeded to take a walk around the block, check out the North Quad construction and breeze by the MLB. We then hit Angell Hall because we wanted to visit the Fishbowl, where we spent many a night writing papers for our ULWR classes or cramming for ECON401 until 3am. (FYI – you can still login to the campus computers, as well as Wolverine Access and directory.umich.edu, with your uniqname and password.)

After Angell Hall, we checked out the Grad Library Reference Room floor to do some studying. Then, we walked across the bridge to the UGLi, slid down staircase railings and checked out the redesigned magazine shelves on the first floor. And did you know there now is a coffee bar in the UGLi lobby? It’s called Bert’s Café.

Once we were done with the libraries, we went to the Chem Building. We wanted to check out CHEM 1800 because we randomly discovered that we all prized it as our favorite lecture hall. I remember acing a few GEOSCI mini-courses, as well as several L.A. Times crossword puzzles in this auditorium. Great memories.

When we entered the room, it was pitch black. Once we found the lights, we proceeded to run across the tables and take pictures with the giant periodic table of elements on the wall. We went down to the electronic chalkboard and played around with that too. We wanted to feel what it was like to be a professor…but without the Ph. D., immense knowledge of a specific field of study or huge salary.

We were in CHEM 1800 for a solid 20 minutes. The entire time, I was a little scared DPS would find us. However, I was secretly hoping they’d find us so we could make Crime Notes in the Michigan Daily. I was thinking it would’ve been hilarious if we were featured in the paper right next to the ever-elusive Arb masturbator.

After our campus building nostalgia tour, we went to Pizza House. For you Pizza House fans, you’ll be happy to know that it has expanded its space horizontally and vertically. I imagine it’s to accommodate the 2am chicken Caesar chipati cravings of Rick’s patrons.

We ordered the 10” House Special pizza, accompanied by an appetizer of cheesy pepperoni bread. Delicious!

I do have a confession – this was my first time sober at Pizza House. I had only been there once before. It was autumn of 2006, and I was back on campus with The Homewrecker and Powers for a football game. First of all, I was intoxicated from Rick’s and don’t remember it. Additionally, I had just eaten a burrito at Panchero’s about 10 minutes prior to setting foot inside the place. So had I been able to remember, I’m sure the pizza goodness would’ve been nullified by the pico de gallo and guacamole I had just consumed.

And speaking of Panchero’s, that’s where we went next. We ordered two tacos, a burrito bowl and a burrito. However, at this point we were suffering. We just had to sit at the table for awhile after we finished eating. I was on the verge of falling into a food coma. I wasn’t sure if I could even make it to the final restaurant.

Between Mr. Spot’s and Sushi.come, we had a decent walk and the food took some time being prepared at Sushi.come. Between Sushi.come and Pizza House, we went on a thorough exploration of campus. There was no break between Pizza House and Panchero’s, and they’re only 100 feet away from one another. It was a killer transition, which truly tested our collective will to continue.

But our spirits are indomitable. We pushed forth and drove to Zingerman’s, an extremely popular and tasty Jewish delicatessen not too far from campus. At this point I was going to pass on the entrée and go straight to dessert, but my colleagues pushed me to go the extra mile. We decided we’d divide a huge sandwich three ways and share a giant slice of cake for dessert.

We settled on the Dinty Moore – corned beef, lettuce, tomato and housemade Russian dressing on rye bread. We also got pickles.

We were really full, but we still wanted dessert because the cakes at Zingerman’s are beyond delicious. We decided on a slice of Hummingbird Cake – a traditional southern cake of coconut, fresh bananas, walnuts and pineapple covered in cream cheese frosting. This is the best cake I’ve ever eaten in my life. I honestly don’t think it’ll get better than that, and it didn’t even have chocolate (and the only thing I love more than eating is eating chocolate – the chocolate river in Willy Wonka is my river of dreams).

I was euphoric after eating that delectable cake, so I thought it was the perfect ending to a day of eating. Unfortunately, UMich and Brando wanted another slice of cake, so, against my wishes, they ordered the ’07 Heaven Cake, which consisted of seven alternating layers of chocolate cake, coconut cake and vanilla Swiss buttercream. This is all covered in Belgian chocolate buttercream and toasted almonds. Because I’m a chocolate-lover and have no self-control, I dug in. This cake was also delicious, but it nearly killed me.

At this point, my jeans were strangling my thighs and my stomach threatened to bust the button from my jeans. I, as were my friends, was really regretting the decision to forego sweatpants that day.

In any case, I’m really happy I went on this Ann Arbor food crawl. Though it wasn’t planned, it ended up becoming a multicultural trip. Filipino, Chinese and Korean guys ate at American, Japanese, Italian, Mexican and Jewish restaurants.

Another great thing is that it was cheap; the total damage to my wallet was only $41. The damage to my body…only time will tell. But let’s just say I started an intense diet and workout routine, and I never do the New Year’s diet resolution thing.

I took some pictures. If you want to see whether any of your favorite restaurants have changed or what CHEM 1800 looks like when it’s overrun by three Asian guys in the dead of winter, feel free to check them out.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Family Ties

To borrow a phrase from faithful reader and good friend, Powers, yesterday was a National Case of the Mondays. And The Flint Skinny correctly pointed out that we're now staring at another 50 straight weeks of work. Woo hoo!


IMs and status messages (Gchat and Facebook) reflected the nationwide disdain for the return to work. I even had a couple of desperate girls ask me about changing careers. One checked to see if I knew anyone at a university so she could work in admissions or alumni relations. Another wanted to know about the pay rate for dog walkers because she was thinking of starting her own dog-walking business.


What did I do? I zoned out reading disdainful status messages and told two girls I could be their pimp. I also checked The CW to make sure there was a new episode of Gossip Girl. And there was!


Last night’s episode featured the story lines of Jenny/Eric, Chuck/Blair, Rufus/Lily and Dan/Serena, though I’m wondering what the hell happened to Nate & Vanessa. In any case, I want to address the clusterfuck that is Rufus/Lily/Dan/Serena, which was the most intriguing story line of the night.


Before I get into my thoughts, I need to give a quick recap:

_ _ _ _ _


Pre-holiday

Rufus and Lily were going to finally runaway together and live happily ever after, but Rufus found out Lily gave birth to his son 20 years ago, gave him up for adoption and kept it a deep dark secret. This threw a major wrench in their vacation plans.


Serena and Dan realize they still have feelings for each other, but Serena says no to Dan because: A) it would be super weird if they were doing it with each other while their parents were doing it with each other, and B) Serena and her huge boobs (and ass) thought it would be good to give sketchy Aaron a shot by going to Argentina with him over the break.


Post-holiday

We find out Serena never really had feelings for Aaron and broke up with him before they even got to Argentina. She dramatically waited for Dan in the school hallway where she told him all of this info, and they announced their undying love for each other whilst making out. (I never saw this happen at my school. I went to an all-boys Catholic school. Though I think there were a couple sketchy Christian Brothers that might’ve gotten off on such a thing.) [Side note to the parenthetical statement: In high school, I dated a girl who was half black and half white. I told her a story about some of the brothers, and she, being a Lutheran, looked at me very confused and asked, “Brothers?” She thought I meant “brothas.” I kid you not.]


Dan and Serena can barely keep their hands out of each other’s pants, so they proceed to Dan’s Brooklyn loft to continue the makeout session. Predictably, Rufus catches them. He seems very displeased. More displeased than his usual, aging hipster self. He seems legitimately angry. One can only assume his anger is due to the fact that the half-brother and half-sister to his long-lost son are going at it like a bunch of horny high school kids.

_ _ _ _ _


And it is that last sentence that confounds me.


Dan’s dad fathered a child with Serena’s mom, so Dan and Serena are not actually directly related to one another by blood; however, they have a common relative.


This is like a terrible logic problem on the LSAT, or even worse, the Target interview screening test. (I killed the math section — naturally, because I’m Asian — but no one told me there’d be logic. I didn’t know if the house was bigger than the school, the church or the post office!)


Is this situation acceptable? Would you move forward in such a predicament? Is this any worse than Josh & Cher getting together in Clueless? No one seemed to have a problem with that, even though they were ex-stepsiblings. Or what about Cruel Intentions? Sebastian and Kathryn were still technically stepsiblings, and they were all over each other. (Though Not Another Teen Movie awesomely parodied this relationship.) Please weigh in on this.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Welcome to 2009

Happy 2009 and welcome back to The Dirty Burrito! You’re probably reading this from your work desk and thrilled about it, so welcome back to work as well.

You may be wondering, “What great song has The Dirty Burrito chosen to kick off 2009?” Well, I’ve decided to discontinue Music Monday. This doesn’t mean I’ll stop giving you music videos; it just means the videos will be provided on a more sporadic basis.

To kick off 2009, I’ve decided to give you a few “Top 3” lists with my own personal highlights from 2008. While you were on break you undoubtedly saw a bunch of “Top ## ________ of 2008” lists, most likely on VH1 or CNN.com, but I chose to wait until 2008 was actually over. You don’t call sports games before the final seconds have ticked off the clock, so why do a “Top Whatever of 2008” list when 2008 isn’t even finished yet?

For example, if one of my Top 3 lists had been “Drunkest Moments of 2008,” I would’ve listed New Year’s Eve at #1. If I had followed the lead of CNN.com, New Year’s Eve wouldn’t have made the list, that is, if “Drunkest Moments of 2008” had even made my list of lists. (Side note: I hope you took advantage of the 2009 glasses this year. It was your last chance. They can't make 2010 glasses next year because there isn't the "00" in the middle of the year. Or can they?)

Without further ado, here are some highlights from the previous year:

Events
1. Beer Olympics
The single greatest day of the year. Weeks of IBOC (International Beer Olympics Committee) planning meetings, multiple Email chains and even a PowerPoint deck went into the preparation for this glorious day.
2. HGOC Does NYC
HGOC visited NYC for a work conference, and it turned into a weeklong bender, the likes of which I’ve never experienced. I was absolutely exhausted by the weekend, and I was actually relieved he was leaving. However, during one night out we were photographed for a nightlife website, which would’ve been completely inexplicable without his presence.
3. 25th Birthday Weekend
Having a birthday during Labor Day weekend means summer Friday and no work on Monday, which translates to celebrating on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Restaurants
1. Café Cortadito
Phenomenal, affordable Cuban food in Alphabet City, and it’s also BYOB. Make sure you get the tres leches cake. The place is great for all occasions—I’ve been here to congregate with friends, dine for Valentine’s Day and eat with my family. I’d advise on a reservation.
2. Ramen Setagaya
There are two East Village locations of this Tokyo ramen chain. It was voted Best Ramen this year in NY Mag. The pork is splendid. I recommend the separation noodles.
3. Bon Chon
This Korean fried chicken is the best fried chicken I’ve eaten. There is a location in K-town, and there is a new Korean restaurant on St. Mark’s Place called Boka that serves the chicken as well.

Sunday Funday Brunches
1. Paradou
$29 will get you a choice of a delicious entrée and unlimited refills on four different Champagne cocktails. The duck Reuben was quite good, the kir royales quite strong.
2. Bondi Road/Sunburnt Cow
These Australian sister restaurants in the LES and Alphabet City (respectively) get you a choice of entrée and unlimited mimosas, bloody marys or Foster’s. They also have a DJ if you’re in a partying mood.
3. La Giara
This Murray Hill Italian spot has a couple tasty pasta dishes. Order one mimosa and you get free refills for the rest of your brunch.

Late Night Eats
1. 69 Restaurant
If you’re looking for really cheap and really tasty Chinese food at 5am, hit this 24-hour restaurant at 69 Bayard Street in Chinatown. I would eat here sober, but I would still go at 5am just to see the crowd. You’re at the right spot if the walls are covered in dollar bills.
2. Carl’s Steaks
I love eating cheesesteaks after a night out, and Carl’s has the best. The fries are excellent too. They’re even still good cold the next morning, if you decide to save anything for the following day.
3. Wonjo
When you’re craving really good Korean barbecue after karaoking in K-town, go to Wonjo. It’s pricier than your typical late-night meal, but it’s worth it.

Television Shows
1. America’s Best Dance Crew
I spent way too much time debating the attractiveness of the Kaba Modern and SoReal Cru girls and watching Jabbawockeez clips on YouTube.
2. Gossip Girl
Chuck Bass was as awesome as ever, and Blake Lively’s boobs decided to become one of the main characters in the 2nd season.
3. Fringe
Joshua Jackson’s life has been absolutely amazing. He won the hockey gold medal at the Junior Goodwill Games under Coach Gordon Bombay, then he managed to steal Joey Potter from Dawson and now he’s solving mysterious X-Files-type cases in Boston with Lt. Daniels from The Wire. If only my existence were that awesome!

Celebrity Sightings
1. Blake Lively’s Ass
It’s huge for a tall, blonde white girl!
2. Doogie Howser, M.D.
Saw him at a gay bachelor party at a BYOB barbecue restaurant in the LES. It was an honor to be in the presence of the youngest licensed doctor in the country.
3. The Miz
To quote my LA post from May: “Apparently, he is very nice and didn't actually talk about his Real World career at all. He eventually offered her his number, which she politely accepted. However, when she tried entering it into her phone as "Mike," he requested that she put it in as ‘Miz.’”

Things I Can’t Believe Actually Happened
1. Mariah Carey & Nick Cannon got married
2. Status Quo made it to the Season 1 final over Kaba Modern
3. I was the victim of a hit-and-run with a NYC cab

Best Purchases
1. Bike
When it’s warm, I ride this baby everywhere. It’s allowed me to explore so much of the city. Totally worth the money.
2. Skateboard
It feels great to coast down the street.
3. Three-piece suit by Moods of Norway
I got the entire thing on sale for $200. The pants are hot.

Worst Purchases
1. Dragon boat paddle
I should’ve known that I wouldn’t be able to keep up going to Flushing at 7am every Saturday and Sunday morning for dragon boat practice. Though it did make for a great photo during Beer Olympics.
2. Skateboard
It feels great to coast down the street, but it’s also scary as hell. I’m always afraid of getting hit by a car, and I can’t even ride the thing properly. I need more practice this summer.
3. Three-piece suit by Moods of Norway
So I got the entire thing on sale for $200. Little did I know that I bought it so large that it cost $150 to tailor. But hey…the pants are hot.

Sporting Events
1. Wimbledon final
I wasn’t alive to see McEnroe-Borg so I’m not going to say this was the best match ever, but this was easily the best match I’ve in my lifetime.
2. Champions League final
My boss let me go home to watch this. Awesome! John Terry slipping on his potential game-winning penalty was heart-wrenching.
3. U.S. Open golf final round playoff
I have no doubt that employees all across the land were clicking “refresh” on their ESPN Gamecast windows repeatedly, all day long.

So there you have it. 2008 was a decent year, and hopefully next year can be even better. I have a list of new activities in which I hope to participate, including:
- Take boxing lessons
- Start kayaking
- Attend hip-hop dance classes
- Join some road races
- Participate in Santacon
- Visit Asia

If I can complete 50% of this list, I’ll be happy. And if anyone wants to join me, let me know.

Happy New Year!