to blog or not to blog, which is the path a true underwear ninja must take? whichever path it be, it will surely be a rough-hewn one. argyle, possibly.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
the kitty whisperer
so when i get down to mom and dad's house and i see dixie running away from me, i learn that she is skiddish around strangers. mom says steve has been trying to pet her every day he is here, and scott says kitty won't even let him look at her. so i made it my mission to pet her. on the very first day! i got her to lower her head a little and i ran my finger along her head and cheek. after that it was all down hill. she ran and ran from me. about the 5th day here i determined that she isn't actually scared of me. she just doesn't like me!
yes, she let me pet her for a good 5 seconds. and then she let me pet her for about 30 seconds! that's half a minute of pure unadulterated petting action around her head and neck!
..and then she ran
scott and i went to ikea today. and we would find what scott would call "the swedish". the swedish is a noun, not an adverb. every item in the store is called the swedish by scott. and any item that doesn't quite add up. or isn't as particularly useful as the adverts would suggest, scott would call it "the swedish glitch". so we would walk around looking for the swedish, and we would be picking up a swedish. and if the swedish was good we would put it in our bags. if it didn't pass the test then we "found the swedish glitch". i don't know where scott comes up with this stuff but i played along and couldn't help but lol.
i'm undertaking a massive project while down at mom and dad's house. i am charged with rummaging through all my "precious memories" items and separate the ones that are actually very valuable to me from the ones that really are just junk.
this has already turned up 3 full trash bins full of junk. like old cassette mix tapes of songs that i recorded off the radio. songs that i have in itunes now anyway. my class books from college courses that i don't care about. castle grey skull and snake mountain. they are just the shell anyway, all the parts and trap doors and stuff are missing. stuff like that.
of the things that i cannot throw away though are some old trip journals that i found.
among the journals were 4 different vacation trips that i jotted down every random time i thought to do it. at 9 years old, 10, 11, and 14 years old. it was fun reading these out loud. you get a much more vivid picture of what was happening at the time, what i cared about, and all from my perspective. for example, i seem to think scott is always in my hair on purpose and i do nothing wrong at all! he does it for the thrill! lol well of course if he were to have kept a journal too then we may get a better idea of what 'actually' happened. like right now mom and scott are playing warcraft in front of me. if i were 9 years old right now i might log that they both hogged the computers for hours on end and laughed at my misfortune to each other while i suffered in the dark solitude.
so let this be a lesson. take photos, videos, and write. write stuff even if you think its boring because in 10 years your perspectives will change and it will be fun to see what really mattered to you at that age.
every time i think about the concept of infinty i get overwhelmed. mostly because i just can't fathom something that goes on forever. there is nothing that has no end. right? but that is not the case. there exists that which has no end. and it is out there in real life right now. for us to observe even. and that is overwhelming.
its easy enough to think of infinity in number terms. after all, numbers go on forever. .3 repeating for example. or just counting up forever. see? its infinite. for whatever reason though, that does not overwhelm me. counting up numbers doesn't lead me to ponder mysteries about the epically mysterious number 4657 quadrillion. that has no intrigue to me. but here are a couple things that are infinite that do have intrigue to me.
infinity #1: time
when did time begin? we all know that time is concept that we thought of to measure sequences of events. but would you consider that we 'invented' time? or did we 'discover' time? well the way i see it, time existed before we could label it as such. can paleantologists approximate how long the dinosaurs lived? yes. therefore time existed before we could name it time. and therefore time was discovered, not invented. so does time have a beginning? well we can't say that time began when we invented it now can we? so you try to think back back back before dinosaurs, before continents and pangea. before earth was created and the solar system was being born. this is all happening through time. its not fair to measure time in years when you think about the grande scheme of the cosmic universe. not when an 'eon' is but a mere blink of an eye. or less. ...infinitely less =O
that's the rub. how far back do we go before we find the beginning of time? the big bang? well ok.. but did time exist before that? yes. for how long was the big bang there for? what was there before the big bang? emptiness? for how long was there emptiness? you see where i'm going here? time is infinite! and since time is infinite that means it exists in both directly infinitely. forward through time infinitely (which is where we are right now) and backwards through time infinitely. now i'm going to go out on a limb here and theorize that before our big bang, there was another universe. scientists have already observed that our universe is comprised of galaxies that are moving away from a single point. yes that's right. you heard me. entire galaxies are moving out from a center point. in fact that's what helped this big bang theory in the first place. so in order for there to be a big bang, it was the universe contracting in on itself to form that ginormous ball of mass. so getting back to time, if you were to go back in time before the big bang, you would get to see another universe. back up further, another big bang. one before that? actually, which big bang are we in? are we the 4th big bang? the 397th? the 18 trillionth? its all guesswork there of course. since time is infinite going backwards, its possible there are infinite big bangs. o my lordy!=O
infinity #2: space
the final frontier. well i don't know if william shatner had thought about how true that statement is. when you consider just how vast our universe is. you know that so-called "most important picture ever taken"?
here it is. marvel at it. scientists left a telescope pointing at a spot in the sky, the blackest spot. and left the exposure open.
that's the image they got. those are GALAXIES! you know the entire star wars series took place in just 1 galaxy. and that's just pointing the camera in 1 degree out of 360. the odds are astounding that there is life out there. so astounding that i'll just go ahead and say it with certainty. yes, there is life beyond our solar system. intelligent life.
so if you were to travel faster than light. lets say you travel at a speed of "speed of light cubed" just to save time. and you were to zoooooom out of our galaxy. zoom past the other galaxies. zoom zoom out of our universe! then what... space. infinite space! what is that great black out there? a wall? whats on the other side of the wall? space? and beyond that? and beyond that? its space its infinite.
because it is infinite, there are infinite probabilities that something is even beyond our universe. there could be a big bang happening right now out there creating another universe. there could be infinite big bangs happening right now, and infinite universes. multiverses! our equipment is too primitive to measure it. or maybe its just so far away the light hasn't reached us yet. or maybe the light has already reached us and passed. maybe a multiverse passed by us three quadrillion eons before our big bang happened. and that's only in 1 direction out of 360 degrees. infinity extends down, up, back, diagonally.. everywhere. infinitely!
where does it end? when is enough enough? when can we say "ok there is no more. there is nothing else but emptiness beyond this". well mind bogglingly answer is that we can never say that. right? because it is infinite there is the infinite probability that there is something else out there. in fact i can sit here and say that there is a 99.9 repeating chance of there being a room full of space monkies typing the complete works of shakespeare right this second and i would be right.
think about that. there is a room of monkies somewhere in infinity right now typing out shakespeare. in real life. right now.
the day cooled of a tad today. a welcome relief after this heat wave we're having. i've taken to sleeping on the floor in my computer room with the door closed because that's where the air conditioner is. its not powerful enough to cool the whole apartment and a bed doesn't fit in there with all my stuff. it's not totally uncomfortable though, i can get a good night's sleep. while kauffam was here last week i got a lot of sun exposure. my skin started to peel yesterday and underneath is a light tan. i actually got a chance to go outside today! so i decided to go to mcdonald's for dinner. woot! as i was passing starbucks i noticed that guy there again! i'm wondering what his story is now. i bet dad could make up an imaginative one for him. let the record show that it was 7:30pm when i spotted him there. i try to avoid eye contact because it would probably be weird now.
i made sure to check into starbucks and mcdonald's on foursquare. i converted #1 NY Nuthouse into a high school since i'm the mayor. i'm trying to get the school night badge, so i guess i have to get up at 4am to check in.
i finally watched the movie "juno" which i had always been meaning to do. it was a clever movie. it makes me feel like everything will be alright too so i give it good marks.
this past week i've sat down and really dug in deep to all the mp3s that scott gave me for christmas. his entire catalogue (at the time). i finished actually listening to all of them last week, but now comes the sorting. i'd say i've already thrown away about 200mb of duplicate songs already. now i'm fixing the info on all the songs. this is not a small feat! i started sorting by artist and making sure it is as it should be, now i'm sorting by name. i've made it into the B's alphabetically. i'm doing this, btw, to make it actually possible to search for a song and toss the duplicates. and to add whatever info into the "comments" section that comes to mind when i hear a song.
so today's listening music is "Barbarian Horde" from the movie "Gladiator".
It is reminiscent of Holst's "Mars" in how it starts out and the chords he uses. especially between 2:30 and 3:30 then as it picks up after that i just love the dense chromatic chord progression. then around 4:30 it really picks up and it turns into my favorite angsty/battle type mood. well, maybe not angst. maybe more like adrenaline. on a side note, if you want pure angst you can't really get any more pissed off-ish sounding than the song "Alpha" by Sevendust. anyway, at about 5:30 it then turns into Klaus Badelt's "Pirates of the Caribbean" soundtrack. kinda odd actually. at 6:30 it abruptly takes a turn downhill. that's pretty common in movie scores though because of what is happening on screen. it just kinda gives one smooth hoorah and then tapers into nothing. to be honest i don't give a damn about the rest of the track. at 9:15 a new theme appears and could be mistaken for an olympic theme of some sort. just less inspiring. i don't know why, i know all the ingredients are there to be heroic and majestic sounding, but it just puts me to sleep.
o well just wanted to post that. i might have more music appreciation posts as i go through these songs in itunes.
its the 4th of july! happy independence day! its also the last day with the kauffam took the train in and met up with them in the marriott marquis about 8:20 and when i got there good morning america was showing the segment we were in! good timing! steve was easy to see and cj and mackenzie were in the front on a lot of the early shots. you kinda couldn't see me. i just looked like a stalker pervert peering out from behind the bushes. the ladies on camera were talking about their calorie counting meals for july 4th and then the camera turns over to cj front and center and he lets out the world's most sincere yawn. lol. i don't blame him, its good morning america after all. the show is plagued by having a less than stellar report card for all things action-packed. i don't believe they had one single ninja invasion or explosion on their show last year! the camera panned over to the other half of the table where you could clearly see scott, some of steve, and a stalker perv in the bushes. once in a while they would change cameras for a different view and you saw rhonda's face. we then moved all of our bags and stuff into joe and bev's room because kauffam was leaving today but they were staying another 2 nights. we then headed downstairs for breakfast, the kauffam had mostly already eaten so scott and i headed over to junior's bakery. for some reason they aren't on the list of tlc cupcake places either =( scott got another cupcake. this time chocolate. much better this time around! so even though nobody got the cupcake badge, at least scott ate a good cupcake in new york. mission accomplished! so we then jaunted over to starbucks to meet up with the kauffam.
and now its time for... RHONDA'S "GREAT" LIE - the conclusion
steve was there to present me with a box of reese's pieces! i think he was attempting to buy me off. this charade never happened! so i have to say now that rhonda is exonerated of her earlier deceptions. the (multiple) incident(s) never happened.
scott split up with us bound determined to go to every cupcake shop from here to the river and check in to them for his cupcake badge on foursquare. the rest of us went into the times square toys r us again. this time not in a rush, we were going to see all of toys r us this time. we pretended to play on dance dance revolution. we met up with joe and sandy kleine. nice people! sandy is papa joe's sister, which would make the klienes my step aunt and uncle. by marraige. i think. anyway it was my first time meeting them and i didn't know why they were hugging me until after cj told me who they were.
we ate at subway and scott magically showed up. he was watching where we checked into on foursquare! scott is sure now that the cupcake badge does not exist. steve checked in on how the nathan's hotdog eating contest is doing. it appears joey chestnut won this year by only eating 57 hotdogs, 10 below last year. kobayashi showed up but didn't compete because they want him to sign an exclusive contract to only eat at their sponsored events. last year kobayashi ate 64. its possible he would have won...
we then tried to play ping pong in bryant park but there was no attendant there so we had to keep walking. and we saw this group of 20 somethings gathered to what would appear to be a weekly get together. i didn't really understand what they were doing but one of the things that stood out was when they would all yell "woooooooooooo 1 2 3 how'd you do it!"
we headed over to the new york public library, where the ghostbusters did their first gig and whose lion statues inspired the logo for the ritz carlton. inside there was a display of thomas jefferson's original declaration of independence! this is the version that he submitted to continental congress on july 1 1776. the congress made several edits before ratifying it on the 4th, and you can see where jefferson had underlined the parts that were omitted. these are all originals and in his handwriting and very fragile. so they were kept in a dark room and light was shone on them at short intervals. needless to say no flash photography in here. of particular interest in the edits was a whole section that denounced slavery, but had been stricken from the declaration to appease the southern states (south carolina and georgia specifically).
we then headed up 5th avenue to check in to some of the souvenir shops. most of it junk you might find at any tourist attraction or gas station. shot glasses, pencils, weird lighters, shirts, bla bla bla all with I <3 NY logo on them. it was hot out so i went to dunkin donuts to pick up some strawberry coolatas. walked up to rockefeller center with the big apple made of legos. took pictures of atlas statue across from st. patrick's cathedral.
then we saw a diesel store. who's slogan these days is "be stupid". uhhh.. great. they had a dude in the window holding signs that say various things like "why be smart when you can be stupid" and "check out these balls". o ya i should mention he was standing in plastic balls. he would try to get people to come up to the window with him and pose for pictures. then a short while later we saw the girl version of him go into the window display. she was hot! and in a bikini =D ok so their marketing worked on us... we went in the store. and we saw probably the world's biggest watch. steve likened it to just wearing an iphone on your wrist. so why buy the watch when you can just wear your iphone?
we headed up a little further and got our pictures with the famous LOVE sculpture. we headed back over to 7th ave and on down to times square. the costumed people were in full effect now. we passed by 3 spongeblobs in 10 feet. and 2 statues of liberties. i guess they didn't coordinate their time slots very well. of course our favorite joker was there, the guy that wanted a tip after asking us to take his picture. and the unsponsored fake minnie mouse, elmo, and blue elmo. i say blue elmo because its not cookie monster. it was just like the red elmo costume except it was blue fur instead of red. no wacky eyes no oversized mouth no wider midsection. i'm pretty sure you could order these costumes online somewhere from a korean website. and they all had trick or treat bags where you are supposed to put your money after you get a picture with them...
we checked in to every cupcake place down 7th avenue, never did get the badge. checked out of the hotel and kauffam left in a taxi to go to la guardia airport.
today is yellow day 2 breakfast is sort of on your own, we were all split up. steve recommended we go to PAX and he strangely seemed to know every item on the breakfast menu and what number it is. scott mentioned flapjacks and steve said "o you want the number 6". so scott decided at some point that since he's having such an awful time trying to get the foursquare cupcake badge that if he just eats a really good cupcake then that will still be a completed mission of sorts. and lo and behold PAX has cupcakes. and the cupcakes "look" pretty good. so for breakfast we both have a sausage egg and cheese sandwich and scott also picks up a cupcake with green frosting from the refrigerated display case. then he noticed that same cupcake behind the counter display case. he asks what the difference between the two and the cashier just appears to not even understand that we are talking to her. he asks again and she says "anything else?". hmm.... so i take my turn asking her what the difference is... and she says "you want one?". ok its obvious now that they outsourced the cash register job. we just pay for our breakfast and start to chow down. we get to the cupcake portion. the icing looks green and a little faded. and it has what appears to be crunchy poop on top. also, it has no smell. scott takes one good bite and says he doesn't want to finish it. that it tastes like freezer burn and dust. so i pick it up to eat it. how bad could it be? its weighty. that's a good sign... i think.. and its somewhat moist. or greasy. or whatever it is i know its not going to turn into powder in my mouth. so that's a good sign too.. i think... right? i take a bite. wow ok i don't want to even swallow this. there is nothing sweet or cupcakey about this. i think this might be the first cupcake they ever made from 1924 and kept it in that case ever since. yes it was freezer burn and dust. as we left PAX the cashier must have heard us verbally bashing the cupcake. she kept saying "so sorry. i'm so sorry". that's the first place i've ever been to where they apologize for selling you something.
we met up with the kauffam across the street in times square on the set of the good morning america show. they were pre recording a segment for tomorrow (the 4th of july) and it was all about counting calories for typical summer grilling items. like instead of having a pork sausage you could get 2 hotdogs and a hamburger. instead of potato salad you could have carrots and stuff. so we made sure we were present in the background, all in our yellow shirts. i couldn't really find a spot on camera so i was behind their fake shrubbery. they did a few takes because of flies in the shot or a fire truck driving by. and then they got some stock shots of us waving and cheering. they use those shots to intro and outro the segment. then we hit up starbucks and sat in a times square for a while.
we then took the subway to grand central station for pretty much just pictures but also to try to get whatever cupcake purveyors were in the area there too for foursquare. pinged 3 different places, still no luck. in the main terminal they had the world cup showing and lots of people crowding around to watch.
we took the 4 train uptown to the MET. this museum is free but you can donate whatever you want. steve and i walked in and headed to the egyptian exhibit. cj and mackenzie right behind. but it looks like everyone else got stopped by the guard lady. she said its a mandatory donation. which is pretty crummy. so i think the rest of the party donated a quarter or something small. steve noticed that all the egyptian statues either had a flat hand or they were holding a hot dog. every one of them. some have 2 hands flat, some have 2 hot dogs, some have one hand flat and one hand holding a hot dog. we still don't know what this means.
we ate lunch inside the MET. the prices are pretty steep of course. i figure just ordering something from the menu is donation enough for this place. scott got a seat right next to the air condition duct. he was freezing. i could tell he had to be cold because i was cold and i wasn't in front of the duct. meanwhile i can see his backpack he set down beside him blowing around.
we toured the rest of the museum without much ceremony. the part of the MET that we especially wanted to see, the famous painting of "washington crossing the street" as mackenzie called it, was closed for whatever reason. so we continued on and out the museum and went through central park. joe and bev went back to the hotel and scott and i rented bikes, which he's being trying to do for years now. it was a nice day for bike riding and the hills were mild. after the bikes i had to leave to go back to my apartment to kill lich king on hard mode. but of course when i get there they say we don't have the right people so they cancel our raid.... again.. grrrr!
i have some life cereal and banana nut cheerios for dinner, and then i see scott's twitter. they are at olive garden! and not only that but they are at the table the cj specifically showed me as the best seat in the house! i'm so jealous. i had cold cereal and a canceled raid. they had breadsticks and salad and a view of both hershey store and m&m store. QQ.
i spent the night at my place. too tired to go back into the city. i went to bed at 9:45 and it was kinda hot in my apartment.
so we had a pretty good nights sleep at the marriott marquis. the sheets are a juuuust big enough for the bed, not big enough for 2 people to share covers though. today is blue day #2 so we decided to go down to world trade ground zero and battery park/wall street area. breakfast turned into an adventure of sorts trying to find a dunkin donuts. we found one at a subway stop on 58th street. it was a hole in the wall type place. steve ordered a dozen donuts and the lady just threw a bunch in a box and handed them to us. it was pretty odd that she didn't let us pick which ones we wanted. when rhonda pressed why we weren't allowed to choose she retorted back quickly that "we didn't tell her we wanted to pick". i don't know about you but that is like 3 kinds of ridiculous. to her credit she picked decent flavors. its possible she gets customers in a hurry i'm guessing. so we took the 1 train down to chambers street with joe and bev and saw the world trade center ground zero site. there was a little souvenir shop on the side that was interesting because it had an isolation booth to record your recollections of the events that morning. and when the tower is done the recordings will be used somehow in the museum part. so i recorded myself so maybe i'll show up sometime in the future at the freedom tower.
we then walked down to wall street and in the old first national bank (i think). at some point i got locked out of foursquare and decided to forgo trying to get achievement badges. it was when i was trying to ping hale and hearty for my healthy badge and several gymsthen we saw a rotating street with a bomb sniffing dog. maybe i can find a video of that somewhere for youtube...
we then headed down to battery park and kinda hung out a little bit. cj spit on the ground, the bench, and all over himself. we then headed over the chipotle for lunch in what would appear to be the longest line of the year for that place. after lunch we then took the subway up to brooklyn bridge. my first time being on it. everyone's first time actually. i was surprised that the pedestrian walkway was wooden planks.
after brooklyn bridge we got split up. i went back to my apartment to grab my laptop and met back up with them at 8pm in times square to catch "in the heights" musical that i knew nothing about. and it turned out to be kinda awesome. it was all reggaeton and salsa-y but it wasn't cheesey; they pulled it off. it was supposed to have this dude from high school musical in it but he wasn't there. didn't stop them from advertising him though. here's to hoping scott "acquires" the soundtrack and "loans" it to me...
the good thing about getting out of a late show in times square is that you're already at your hotel. i loved that! that makes 2 nights that it got late in times square and we simply took a few steps to our room.
Another good nights sleep. Today is red day. today is probably the only day rhonda didn't yell at me for wearing my red seminoles cap. the caps she had were all color coordinated but i vetoed wearing them after yellow day because it was too hot out. well any photo we took she accused me of ruining the picture because my hat didn't match. but today was red day!!! so i blended in perfectly today! =D
the morning was spent well watching wipeout on hulu and doing laundry. we had a lunch snack thing consisting of hard boiled eggs/egg salad and snacky veggies like carrots and celery. left about 12:30 headed to the marriott marquis in times square. kauffam had 3 nights reservations there. checked into our room, met up with joe and bev neihart (nana and papa joe), and went up to rockefeller square. we continued our cupcake crusade and checked in to all the cupcake establishments nearby but still to no avail. scott is especially miffed because the gps on his new iphone is much better than the gps on mine and steve's, so while we could check in to places 1000 meters away, scott would have to basically walk inside the buildings to be able to check in. teehee! we took the studio tour up through the nbc building. we got to see the studio where they film dr. oz, which also used to be conan o'brian's old studio (sorry conan!) and we got to see the studio that they tape jimmy fallon show in. it was fun seeing the tricks they use to make the studios look bigger on camera than they actually are. they really are small spaces. then we got to see where they do the saturday night live show. i was particularly interested in that since i actually watch and like that show. jimmy fallon and dr. oz not so much but snl.. now that's a cool place! o ya, one more thing to mention about the studio tour is the shrine they built to muppets creator jim henson. apparently they put him in a broom closet to wait for a show and there were some old water pipes there, so while he was waiting to go on he drew faces on the pipes. they look like his style. so they turned that area into an homage. we did "top of the rock" where we go on the roof of 30 rock. in order to actually get up there though they force you to watch a commercial for 5 minutes about swarovsky diamonds. woopity doo this presentation has nothing to do with rockefeller or nbc. it was a random waste of time. pretty good view up there. good enough even to see a huge fire erupt in brooklyn. it would turn out later on the news that it was a warehouse for holding cabinet making supplies. so it was basically a gigantic tinder box. we saw the local weather lady giving a news cast up there on the roof with us. and we would end up seeing her on tv a few times giving weather updates too. we would say its "our girl" coz, you know, we are totally best buds now that we met her and took our picture with her on top of the building! then we had lunch/dinner at subway in the subway stop underneath rockefeller.
we headed down to harold square again, but this time going to macy's and wandering about the floors. did the wooden escalators and tried, yet again, to take a picture of someone doing the escalator scene from the movie ELF but yet again having too many people around and the pictures aren't great. ugh! some day we will conquer that picture! so while we were leaving macy's we looked at the "lacoste" brand cologne and the salesman came up to spray some on us. there was green and blue versions. of the 3 ladies present (nana, rhonda, and mackenzie) none of them could agree on which smelled better but mackenzie was sure that the blue version smelled like chips. potato chips. the salesman ended up telling us how baseball is the best sport and going on and on about A-Rod (alex rodriguez). to the point where he actually ceased trying to make a sale with us. and then a security guard came up and started talking to him about baseball. we had no interest so we said bye and he just kept talking to the security guard about baseball. i think if we told him we wanted to buy one he would have just told us to go away while he talks about baseball to someone else.
and now its time for... RHONDA'S "GREAT" LIE - part 2
so we headed to toys r us specifically to get reese's pieces. i stormed in there with the reluctant troupe behind me and darted straight for the candy section. and there was a small bag of reese's pieces there for $3. and if i were to buy another bag to equal the amount being sold at hershey's it would come out to $6, which is $1 more expensive. so not only did rhonda have no intention of going to toys r us in the first place, but when she said they were cheaper there it was also wrong. (again, to her credit, she thought the price would be cheaper because other items were cheaper. but again, its much more fun to raz her on this) to be concluded...
then we went to the marquis and went to bed. i left my laptop at my apartment and would have to go back to get it the next day.
it was a pleasant sleep. the weather was cool and i actually had to use some covers! yay! we headed out and skipped starbucks this time. headed straight for the tkts booth in times square to try to get tickets for a matinee musical. our first choices were billy elliot or memphis maybe. billy elliot sold out as we were waiting in line though. we ended up getting west side story.
we had lunch as sbarro's. steve found 2 women that looked almost identical in every way. even their clothes. he called them "the matrix twins". after lunch we went next door to the times square visitor's center. i'm guessing that most people don't even know it exists. it wasn't busy. it had the 2005 new years eve ball on a stand and lit up so you could see it from up close. there were no attendants or stanchions so it was pretty much just go up and do what you want to it. mackenzie pointed out that the lady behind the counter at the cash register was playing scrabble online. she must not get much business. just the obligatory personnel there to answer questions or take money if you need to buy something. things like I <3 NY shirts and christmas ornaments shaped like taxis. naked cowboy cd. times square pencils and whatnot. of note were the confettis that you could write a message on and drop in their box. they said they would release it with all the other confettis for this year's new years. i wrote something like "have a happy and lucky year" and CJ wrote something about "drink some orange guice" making sure to spell "juice" with a g.
we got to our west side story show and it was nice. it was interesting because the sharks sang and spoke half their words in spanish. also, the ending always makes me tear up when maria is giving her last lines. we walked out of west side story and saw fake elmo. it was just a dude in a red sesame street costume with a bag for tips. definitely not sponsored by childrens' television workshop. we also saw a similarly unsponsored spongebob squarepants who we dubbed "spongeblog sparepants".
cj's olive garden campaign paid off. we ate there. though not in the exact spot he was at last time. i made sure the lasagna i ordered had plenty of cheese on it. its important for lasagna to be cheesey! we found out he doesn't know how to pronounce the word "labyrinth". well ok, here's the backstory: cj keeps mentioning all these things about new york that i've never heard of. like a casino in the basement of the subway tunnel or that there is a "labyrinth" secret entrance in the janitor's closet in the marquis. he tells these things like they are facts he read on a coffee table book or maybe he watched it on an episode of unsolved mysteries. so i start asking him details about it, and follow through his reluctant information. and through the process of talking through this i notice the story doesn't quite line up. and i ask him if he's making this all up. and he will say "no its real!" and i will say how he knows this and he will say "its 100% real! ...in the book i'm reading!" so that's when the palm of my hand goes on my forehead. of course! its real! in the fictional book! well this will happen a few times around new york and i'll end up eventually growing wise of this, but that's how i found out about his pronunciation of "labyrinth". so anyway, cj is turning out to be quite entertaining with his 8th grade randomness. at some point during dinner rhonda was talking about some dude and cj blurts out to me "i dare you to be dead in 5000 years". being how that is random in more than 1 way i started laughing, and then he says "why are you laughing? its not a joke its a dare!" to which i start laughing more. its kinda like that all day with him.
so olive garden was a success. a good time was had by all and afterwards we headed across the street to hershey's store. the decorations outside would lead you to believe its a lot bigger in there than it is, but it smells very nice and candyish when you walk in =) there was a machine that dispenses candies when you turn the wheel. that is, its a big chute and a funnel at the bottom where you place a bucket to collect. you can make whatever candy you want fall in the bucket. the attendant asked me if i wanted to try but i said i didn't intend to buy a bucket of candy for $20. she said we could just do it for fun and she gave me a bucket to place under the funnel. now to get the candy out you had to turn the steering wheels, which there were (at least) two there. cj took one and mack took the other one. and they both started to furiously turn the wheels trying to get the candy out fast. the candy that came out was all hershey kisses. so about when the bucket was half full cj stopped. mackenzie kept going full speed ahead. then when the bucket was full cj was yelling "stop stop!" and mackenzie was joyfully turning the wheel full steam ahead. she turned that wheel gleefully while there were hershey kisses coating the floor around the machine and down the aisle. yes it was a big mess of hershey kisses and people had to tiptoe around the candy store to not step in them. as we got down to pick them all up and give them back, the attendant just said to keep them. they were all over the floor just keep them. YAY MACKENZIE!
and now its time for... RHONDA'S "GREAT" LIE - part 1 (she actually helped with the title)
so there was a nice big bag of reese's pieces in the reese's section of the store. and it was $5. i love me some reese's pieces so i was going to get it. rhonda told me they would be cheaper at toys r us, and that convinced me to put the bag back on the shelf. but when i put that bag back i traded it for a jonesing for reese's pieces. we left the store and headed for the subway home. ... wait wait wait! we're supposed to go to toys r us! you're passing toys r us! you never intended to go to toys r us?? oooooooooooo deception! (to her credit, i did ask to be talked out of it, but its much more fun to raz her on this) to be continued...
on the trainride home scott and i both gave cj an earbud from our iphones to listen to music. he became kind of a mix meter, unplugging whichever earbud was playing the "bad" music. it became kind of a contest.
we ended the night watching twilight new moon. its the one all the tweenage girls are crazy about. i was told to watch it without bias and i definitely tried to give it as fair a watching as i could. and here is my honest opinion: bad writing, bad screenplay, bad acting, bad music, bad everything its all just bad. i think i'm the most qualified to give it an unbiased watching too because i really haven't exposed myself to any of that stuff. i wouldn't expect any real movie review to give it good marks unless they had read the books and/or been made aware somehow of the movies beforehand. i'll be leaving the twilight stuff to the tween girls.
the weather, again, was cool. it was a good nights sleep. yay!
it was another hot night. rhonda has taken to sleeping with a frozen water bottle in bed. we didn't have pancakes this morning, it was cereal and M&Ms. after our morning starbucks ritual we headed to the 7 train. today was blue day. every time i say blue rhonda corrects me that its aqua. we set out for a quick subway trip to coney island. it was a nice day for coney island; sunny and clear. a bit hot but there was a nice breeze. as if it knew i was coming and made preparations beforehand to combat my whitey paleness. rhonda was particularly impressed with the bathrooms at the CI subway stop. she has some supplies she carries with her in case any facilities aren't up to standards while out on trips. and she used ALL of them in that one bathroom. we went to nathan's original hotdog stand. it was about the size of a decent mcdonald's but it was all open to the outside. i was impressed with the amount of countertop space and cash registers they had. surely able to handle hundreds of people in a short amount of time. lots of employees (50?) standing around waiting for the influx of people swarming for the annual hotdog eating competition. it will be in just 4 days from now and televised around the world. we had to have our own hotdog eating contest of course. and we were into our hotdogs when a homeless chap appeared and yelled gibberish at us and everyone who would hear him. if he had someone following him writing down what he said i'm sure it would read: "GRM DUT FRGL BLGM FLR BHRM!!" i'm sure the translation is probably "welcome to coney island! i will clean up after you for free! it's my pleasure, have a nice day!"
steve noticed in particular the cell phone radio towers disguised as palm trees on top of the buildings.
i appreciate the layout of coney island. its about as hang-outy fun oriented as you'd hope. there's a beach of course, and then a big boardwalk that runs the length of it, and concession stands and fun in games all along the boardwalk. and on the other side of the concessions are the rides. i like that. see in florida we have beach of course, but it has no refreshments anywhere near it. anywhere. its all hotels and expensive condos. so if you want to spend a day at the beach you have to bring everything with you, and then get your car dirty after. but at coney island everything you want is conveniently spaced as far apart as you want it to be. bravo.
so we headed to the rides at coney island. first on the list was the wonderwheel, in operation since 1929. it has a line for stationary bucket car things and a separate line for "swinging" cars. those cars are on a track in the ferris wheel and glide in the wheel while you're riding it. fun! while we were up there i noticed probably the worst ride in the world. it was little mini monster truck ride that made a circle. no ups or downs, just a circle. i think 5 mini trucks all connected like an elephant line. rhonda has about the same motion sickness as dad i think. she opted to stay on the ground and take pictures.
we had our hearts set on finding a zoltar machine like in the movie BIG. what we found instead was a granny machine. basically does the same thing except it looks like an old lady and the ticket it prints out says insanely simple fortunes like "your actions will give you great fortune!" or something like that and at the bottom it says "want more fortune? insert more money!"
after that we headed to the cyclone, probably coney island's most iconic attraction. the first roller coaster i think? it was a bumpy ride. and the cars were small enough to assume that there would be more space than this if they open it up. i think my bar is still closed can you open it? what, its open now? you mean i'm contorting my body trying to squeeze in and the safety bar hasn't closed on me yet? o boy... yes, think "mean streak" but built with warwick davis in mind as the average height of the customers. the coaster is run by a bunch of 20 somethings that don't seem to really care about anything. you go in and they open the bar for you and then you sit and they close the bar and send it whenever they feel like it. no quota or organization really. no head counting. i don't think they paid much attention to anything and wouldn't be surprised if you were to tell me they were watching tv or something while they were doing this. this worked against scott because we all got in the cars, scott was checking his bag and camera at the booth, then they let another family in and there were no seats left. dummies. so scott was left just standing there and they just kinda looked at him with a dumb look and didn't know how to handle it so they sent us through. uhhh.. bye scott! it was funny that they had a tip jar after you got off the ride. ha! rhonda, again, took pictures of us from the street below.
we headed to the boardwalk and got some drinkies and snackies. and we saw a photography crew taking pictures of what i suppose is a clothing model. she had on probably the hottest leather outfit i could imagine for such a hot day. like a trench coat made of thick leather. and a furry fuzzy black/white handbag. they had lights and stands and a fan on her and told her to walk forward and then walk backwards and forwards again and backwards. all with this fan on her. the thing is, that fan did nothing but make noise. the natural wind was blowing her hair around and no matter how high that fan guy set it, it was doing nothing. they finally just decided to turn it off. of note were her fingers. she had troll fingers. it looked like she was cooking smores on her fingers. then we went over by the "shoot the freak" paintball game. we didn't play it but it was funny hearing the guy yell to everyone to come over and shoot the freak. it looked like a trash alley.
we hit the train back to the city and got off at harold square. scott and mackenzie saved the planet by playing "plants vs zombies" on his ipad. at harold square we went to the starbucks and got $2 frappuccinos because of our receipt coupons from this morning. we went in the manhattan mall and quickly left because it is totally lame with no stores in it really except for jc penny's. i'm going to name it "crummy mall" from now on. we took the subway to columbus circle. and headed into central park. by now the dusk was starting to set in and the temperature was nice. i really enjoyed the weather and it reminded me why dusk is my favorite time of the day. there was a community band there playing some uptempo tunes. in central park we saw plenty of performers. a scruffy bearded fiddler who was basically playing open fifths over and over, coulda been tuning his violin for all i know. actually i doubt he was tuning it. it was bad. and of course he had no money. but then a japanese troupe came and was all impressed with this "traditional western music" being performed. they gave him all sorts of money. saw a little kid doing impressive yoyo tricks, and a horrible a capella family performing by the fountain. some new jersey violin sextet. and a dude blowing huge bubbles. the wind was not helping him out either. the little kids around him, all eager and in awe, would basically pop the bubbles before they were formed. it made me wonder where the heck are the parents!
headed to the subway station by the apple store at the southeast corner of central park.
for supper it was grilled cheese sandwiches. courtesy of steve. the weather had cooled off a lot. it felt great in my apartment! we watched an "obtained" .avi of ice age 3. this would be the first night we had a really good sleep. it felt awesome in my apartment i even turned off my air conditioner! (as if that did anything anyway haw haw)
the night was hot. really really hot. we decided that unlike yesterday, today we would try to spend lots of time indoors. and what better way to do that than going to the museum of natural history. yes, the same museum featured in "night at the museum". for breakfast again we have pancakes, and this time with the addition of little smokies breakfast sausages.
today was yellow day. we stopped at starbucks again and that guy was there again. i guess he has a morning routine of going to starbucks like we do. and this time he was recommending we go hiking in the mountains... on the hottest day of the year... i don't think he knows we spent all day outside or that we have practically no air condition. we got to the museum and did the planetarium first. the planetarium is very cool! and very good at making you feel small and insignificant in the grand scheme of the cosmic universe. without going into too much detail about the exhibits, it was a tiresome walk around the museum and 2 full days of walking is starting to take its toll on my feet. steve, ever the podiatrist, calls it plantar fasciitis, which i dutifully translated into what i call "my feet are sore". some ibuprofen and i'm fine though. the cafeteria in the museum is noteworthy because of the exorbitant pricing of all items. as high as 1000% markup from what you could find wholesale. yoohoo drink boxes for $3.35? pass. of course they would name is "yahoo chocolate milk" even though there is no yahoo and no milk involved. i guess the yahoo part is how much raw dough they are making from the sale. See scott's blog to see how much his basic meal costs. cj wanted to make sure i made the S in that last sentence capitalized. and he's scratching my back while i write this now. he really wants to play orc assault and go to olive garden. in fact, olive garden has quickly become the de facto dinner destination by him and he will end up advertising olive garden at every opportunity.
about 5 o'clock we headed out of there, in the rain. scott and steve got locked out of foursquare so i got to claim all the check ins for all the places we passed. cj also invented a song that quickly became a smash hit to himself. it goes like this: "there's a squirrel in your pajamas and you gotta get him out, what do you do" we ended up at time square and saw a lady in an orange dress making everyone say "ali cante" or something like that. "allez cante!" i don't know. she had what looked to be a very low budget film crew with her. very low budget. she mouthed the words to what i guess is a song she recorded, for what i suppose is a music video of sorts. so if you see a dude in a yellow hat and yellow shirt walk around her during her music video it's probably me. i'm not sure they'll end up using that footage anyway since i think the purpose of the video was to show her singing in times square but during all her shots there was a big beer truck basically blocking the view of all of times square. scott and mackenzie played piano in times square. there was a public piano sitting there for general use. this big dude in a joker outfit came up and told us to take a picture with him. then he said "can i get a tip" which struck us as really odd since he asked US to take a pic of him. like maybe he should be giving us the tip. i produced a dollar for him, whatever. he smelled bad. christopher showed me olive garden in times square, but we actually ate at chevy's. we went back home and as we passed starbucks we saw that dude still sitting in there. what the heck does he live in there?? he's becoming an icon of that place now. and just watched some general tv programming. there were no "obtained" movies showing. we went to bed tired and hot.