Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cancun - Day 0

It's 1:40pm EST. I'm one hour and twenty minutes away from ending my weekly Hartford Connecticut grind and leaving the United States for our first family vacation since moving our entire lives over to the stars of spangled banners. It was awesome seeing loved ones in Sydney this past Christmas for Charlie's baptism... but 20 hours of flying and 12 nights? Probably not a vacation, safe to say haha

One meeting to go. I've officially entered the GFY mode. Heavenly Father grant me strength. Tick tock... tick tock...

5 things I'm looking forward to:

  1. Swimming with Charlie on a Cancun - she has never seen the beach! Little Meatball will love it :) If she gets a kick out of sprinkles and sand pits at Central Park - imagine the Gulf of Mexico!? :)
  2. Room service. You ain't on holiday until you've ordered room service. Man I need a massage... 
  3. Custom queues and getting felt up by TSA security officers at USA airports? (OK only partially kidding on this one)
  4. Drinking a real Corona on a real Mexican beach... pretty cool. I won't Lime to you baby! HAHA
  5. Real quality family time. Nothing like a pool, beach and room service to help grease the family wheels :) 
Now if only I can survive the rest of the day. Ariba!!!!!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Green Experience – PART 1

A Green Experience – PART 1
Last time I watched the Celtics play live at the TD Garden it was Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals versus the Miami Heat. Lebron and Bosh hit huge shots to win it in OT. I was sitting in the nose bleeds behind the Celtic’s defensive basket. Only one row from the ultimate back row in the entire stadium haha I know now why they call them ‘nose bleeds’. It gets a little dizzy up there.
Cuzin Opie and I took a bus on Monday morning from New York to Boston for $10 each way! Bargain. We left in the morning and it took us 3 hours to get to Boston. It was a work day of course, so I had my laptop and I was working on the bus! HAHA I work remotely so it wasn’t a ‘huge’ issue per say, but it was kind of tough explaining the engine noise and traffic sounds in one of my conference calls. (Just quietly, tour buses with WIFI are the shit. It deserves a mention).
I’d never been to Boston. I’d never been to a Celtics home game. I had also, only recently, watched my very first NBA game a couple weeks prior. I watched the Celtics sweep my newly adopted Knicks at MSG (Game 3 and Game 4). I was caught violently in NBA Playoff fever.
 The bus arrives at Boston and we walk around aimlessly for a while looking for a cab stand. The cabs are nowhere to be found and the ones that do drive past have people in them. So like any logical male, we decide to wing our way through a strange city to find TD Garden. Its massive right? How can you miss it? Well, twenty five useless minutes later we surrender to Google maps on my iPhone. We soon discover on Google that we’d been walking in the wrong direction – shock horror overcomes us! But fortunately our direction was in a generally ‘aimless circle’ so we were not that far off course. Phew. 2 hours until game time.
We finally see a wave of green-clad Celtics fans. We stop a couple inebriated ones and ask for directions. They mumble some inaudible crap and then start shoving each other like Neanderthals fighting over the best parts of a recent kill. We move on to some less intoxicated ones… I was putting a lot of faith in the assumption that they had seen an Asian before. Thankfully, it turns out they weren’t actually celebrating St Patrick’s Day – the crowd was indeed off to see their beloved Celtics. Void of any Celtics paraphernalia we do our best to blend into the crowd and follow them a couple miles through the Boston Financial District.
It’s now appropriate to mention that my cousin Opie is a devout and fanatical life-time Lakers fan. Not a band wagon during the 2K dynasty. But a hardcore yellow and purple disciple. I could sense his uneasiness. It made me laugh but it also frightened me. I could almost feel the drunken Celtics mob sniffing-out my Lakers Fan cousin. Without any Celtics gear on, we stood out like sore thumbs – at least it felt like it. And like a predator sensing the fear of its prey, I could not help but imagine this mob tearing my cousin to pieces. I would have had no choice but to join into the fray. Not to save him, but to act like a crazed Boston fan and throw in a few kicks before I slink my way out of the frenzied mob to relative safety. I snap out of my revere… we are here. Finally… TD Garden.
I’ve been patting the printed tickets in my right pocket for three hours straight. Re-assuring myself I had not forgotten them. I see the TD Garden entrance – a huge building with signs to a Boston rail road station, I pause, I pat, I feel nothing in my pocket and I panic. “Oh fark! Where’s the tickets!!!!???”. I turn wide-eyed to cousin Ops. In his usual surly manner cousin Opie rolls his eyes ever so slightly and mutters “Great. Disaster.” I scramble in a panic for a few moments until  I find the tickets in my back pack. Disaster avoided. Opie rolls his eyes again. That’s the third time I’d  supposedly lost the tickets that same day.
We get to TD Garden and good news! There are no bags or back packs allowed into the stadium and there are no lockers provided. FUCK!!! We double back and find a FedEx shop a few blocks behind us. It’s about to close. I manage to package my laptop and bag into a box and send it home via FedEx. Another disaster avoided. The basketball gods are in good humor today.
We finally get to the game entrance. Tickets in hand we follow the masses into our first Celtics home game. Our third NBA Playoff game having never seen a single NBA game live, in any of our 60+ combined years, before as recent as two weeks ago. What a moment. Despite our failure to navigate our way quickly to the TD Garden, we’re still fifty minutes early before tipoff. The only thing to do at that point is obvious. Sneak into the lower levels and try and get a few autographs of players as they warm up. That’s right – COURTSIDE BITCHES!
We make our way down to the courtside seats, under the Celtics basket. We see Big Baby and Von Wafer warming up. They are absolutely huge in real life. They don’t look skinny and they don’t look small (well, Von Wafer didn’t look skinny OK?). Several other bench players have trickled onto the court, but none of the stars have made their way yet. We’re not close enough to ask for an autograph, but good old Craig Saiger walks out of the tunnel. I yell out to him “Hey Craig! What’s up man! Hey we’re from Australia can we get a picture please!?”. Good old Craig, in his crazy poker dot tie and his maniac peach carpet-like fabric suit, walks right up to us and says “sure fellaz”. We take a photo on the sidelines with the Sideline Man Himself. The NBA gods have been good to us. We wait patiently for Garnett, Rondo, Doc anyone, to come out. No one does and the ushers start checking people’s tickets. We hurry up back to the upper levels. We are two child-like men wearing smiles ear to ear, suddenly the top two-ranked Craig Sager fans in the entire world!
So we take outs seats. It was quite a climb. The top level seats in TD Garden are really, really farking high, and there is not much leg room. It feels like the person behind you can fall on you at any time. MSG is much more spacious. The court seems significantly smaller up here and since we’re behind the basket it feels even higher up. But hey, technically I’m at work, we bought tickets for $100, it’s the NBA Playoffs. We’re buzzing right now – and it’s not just the altitude.
First of all I want to really stress how farking crazy Boston fans are. I was sitting next to this huge red headed guy on my right, hat backwards, Ray Allen singlet – no shirt underneath (no it wasn’t Brian Scalabrine – but it might as well have been!). He had a beer in his hand, but he also smelt like he had a beer shower before getting to the stadium. I take my seat cautiously next to him. He greets me with “FARKING YES BRO!!!! LET’S GO CELTICS!!!!!” as he slams his meaty hand on my back. I nearly fall into the stands. He does this for 48 minutes and an Overtime. Throughout the game, every positive Celtic play is greeted with a standing ovation. I tire quickly. But each time I remain in my seat, Scalabrine palms me violently on my back and screams “GET UP FARK YOU! THIS COULD BE OUR LAST GAME MAN! GO CELTICS!!! FARK YEH!!!!!”. I’m drenched in beer and spit and none of it is mine. I pray for someone to tell this guy its farking Game 3. It can’t be their last game – that’s impossible its best of 7 you moron. Throughout all of this violence and bullying, cousin Opie remains oblivious to my left. Enjoying a more calm and sober neighbor and golf clapping each play (just like a Lakers fan would in a crowded Celtics stadium). It was almost enough to kill my buzz… Almost….
To be continued…

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Daddy Day Care

Just survived a weekend with my 9 month old daughter. Just her and daddy :) Lady Boss departed on Friday morning to Vegas for a Hen's weekend. We're headed there together this Thursday to see a good friend married off :) They are dropping like flies it seems - it most be that time of life. *tick tock*

So an entire weekend, being completely responsible for the welfare of a completely dependent infant human, is an amazing experience. I'm weary, (bone tired actually) just thinking of the constant attention that was asked of me. But I'm also strangely fulfilled and satisfied to have spent such a dedicated weekend with my daughter. It noted to myself some really interesting things about my family: my wife, her role, my role as a father and the handful of observations of my daughter that have left me laughing and amazed at the same time.

My thoughts:

  • A stay at home mum isn't all icing and cake. It demands self discipline that most men (like myself) are 'generally' incapable of.
    • For example: I sleep when I want to sleep - I'm an adult right? Ahhh... yeh... well that doesn't really fly when your a full-time carer of an infant. On the first Friday I snuck in a little "My" time and surfed and played games, read books, watched re-runs and some basketball replays. It was 1:00am by the time I found myself brushing my teeth for bed. I paid for it dearly when Charlie woke at 5:00am. She cried out, kept crying out and wailed in her cot for 15min. I picked her up cuddled her and placed her on the bed with me. While she gouged my eyes and scratched my face, screaming and wailing, I realise now I was praying for her to fall asleep before I did - in case she fell off the bed. Total and utter torture on 3 hours sleep.
  • An infant takes all of your time. You plan your meals, showers and chores around the baby's schedule. Its amazing. So how do you survive this without going completely insane? One word. Routine. Ivy's routine is great - it seems so simple and it works. So how did she settle on such a perfect ecosystem of baby-time vs -my-time? I have no freakin idea. I don't even want to know. It pains me to think of figuring this out for the first time - let alone perfecting it. I can't imagine the hours of frustration, sleepless pain and weary trial and error. All I know is - whoever picks up the routine and simply applies it - has had most of the job done for them already. I was patting myself on the back a couple of times over the weekend and then I realised, wait a minute, I was given an instruction manual! Babies aren't born with one - you work it out. I was doing nothing but executing instructions. Ivy had worked it out. *shudder to think*
  • Charlie my baby girl is independent and chill. She is happy to watch TV play with her toys, tolerate a few cuddles, shout a few baby words at me and basically take care of herself. I don't need to interject unless she's hurt, hungry, soiled or tired. Is it me - or is that a small part of a miracle? I could have sworn kids were worse. I guess we're lucky I suppose. :) I'm starting to think its Ivy's parental style mixed in with Charlie's laid back personality. I shudder to think of a child and parent pairing being totally opposite of this. I'm sure they are out there. I pray for them every now and then since this weekend haha
  • Kids love nature. Charlie loves trees and grass. She also likes to eat grass haha. But as we spent Sunday afternoon on Sheep's Meadow lawn in Central Park - her whole disposition changed. She saw people and children, trees and horses, buildings and ponds, dogs and squirrels. She was a face of curiosity and wonder. It such a nice feeling for a parent. I only hope she continues her love for the outdoors and being out of the house when she's all grown up. Its an effort to get them out and its easy to just stay indoors - but its so worth it.
  • As a full time carer - you eat when you can, you shower when you can, you groom when you can. Again - routine. :) Its the single most difficult adjustment I found. God bless my baby's mama! HAHA
  • Fathers can do more. I can do more. Am I shattered after working and travelling? Yes. Can I use that excuse on Saturday? Probably. Will I try and take on more with my baby girl in weekends ahead. Yes. Will Charlie remember or care? Probably not. Will I remember and care. I think so :) *excuse brb just need to pause my XBOX*
  • Charlie refuses to lie still while being dressed, dried or changed. Its a titanic struggle. I feel like we're in a wrestling match and by the end of it I'm exhausted and frazzled. And she lies back down - charming me with a smile. hahaha.
  • Mum's that do groceries, chores and banking whilst caring full time for an infant. I want DNA tests. I'm convinced they're super human. I did a few groceries with Charlie. I got home, unhooked her from the baby carrier, dropped the shopping bags, removed my shoes and thought "Jesus Christ... stop the fight! I am done..."
  • There is nothing more satisfying than watching your child fall asleep. Loved and content. The look on their face when they fall asleep in your arms. Its hard for me not to poke and bite chubby cheeks - but after I get over that spasm - its just something only a parent will understand. I feel closer to my parents now. Is that weird? haha
  • Charlie still doesn't know what to do with windhaha Even a sudden gust of wind walking the streets of Upper West and she'll make the cutest face. I feel like popping her skull when she does it - is that strange?
  • People who pick up after their dog's poo in this city are crazy. My own flesh and blood, my baby girl, her soiled nappies actually test me. I don't know what she's eating in those frozen cubes of food - but it comes out a lot nastier than how it goes in haha I love her and I'm getting over it. But every now and then you get an extra nasty one haha Now its my child, so I get over it and move on. Now a dog, in public, holding the sh#t in a bag while I walk. I can't do it. I can't do it!!! Seinfeld had a funny skit about people that pick up their dog's droppings. He says its foul and if aliens were watching Earth from a far, this curious act alone would confuse the hell out of them. They'd think we were the slaves and the dogs were the masters! haha its so true. In many cases - it's probably true.
  • Sterilizing bottles at this age confuses me. Have you seen the crap babies put in their mouths? My goodness.
  • Is there anything more pure than a baby's genuine laugh? It makes me smile thinking of Charlie laugh. Man its amazing. So what happens to us on the way to becoming adults? How do we get so twisted and bitter? haha
  • Parents worry. My parents worried over me and now I worry over my daughter. The worry is unending! Is she choking? Is she going blind too close to the TV? Is she eating something dirty? Should I be tickling her so much? Will she suffocate under the blanket? Are those wires going to strangle her? Will she remember this - me abandoning her to cry herself to sleep? Is she going to grow into that little sh#t causing his mother grief at the grocery store - the brat in front of the checkout line? Does she need a nap - she looks a little tired? She can't be allergic to bread can she? Seriously people. You'll see when you're blessed with a kid. Do I action my worries like a fussy nut job? (like some parents I can only imagine). No. Do I have an impulse to? Yes :(
  • Your TV is no longer your TV when you're caring for an infant. Whatever keeps them occupied. If it means memorizing season 1 and 2 of Yo Gabba Gabba. Than my goodness - it shall be done.
Charlie's mum arrived home on Monday morning at 8:45am. When she walked through that door - I didn't see just my wife. For a split second I saw Mother Teresa, a diabolical genius and Superwoman in skinny jeans and a trendy jacket. For just a split second - I remembered how lucky we all are - those of us that had a loving and caring mum.

I slept well that night.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Brooklyn Heights by sunny day

Took Sunday to explore Brooklyn Heights today! Left the Upper West Side at 11am - caught the 3 train at 72nd Avenue subway. After stops at Times Square, Penn Station, 14th St, Chambers St, Park Place, Wall St - we finally arrive at Clark St - just across the water into Brooklyn. About 19 minutes I'd say. OK I timed it. Can't help myself.

If it's Autumn (or as they say here - Fall), someone forgot to tell the weather. It was a beautiful 29 degrees (Celsius people!) and sunny :) A perfect day for brunch and a stroll to see the famous Brooklyn Heights  Promenade.

Ivy, Charlie and I stop at Siggy's Cafe on Henry St - just a few steps away from Clark St Station. It was a decent brunch but again something bizarre has to happen - why? Because it's us - that's why. The menu had an option for "2 Eggs - any way you want them" and it also had a list of sides - one of which was "Mushrooms" for an extra dollar. Ivy orders the farmer's omelet with mushrooms one the side. I ask for 2 eggs - poached. Waitress tells us "sorry we don't do the 'eggs any way' as poached - only sunny side or scrambled". WT!? *confused looks all around*. So I conceded for some runny sunny side up eggs - no big deal (other than killing my buzz!) A few moments later the waitress comes back and says "sorry they'll only put mushrooms in the omelet not on the side" *confused looks all around again*. "Ugghh... that's fine then I... suppose..." HAHA WTF!? Side mushrooms you can't have on the side and any way you want eggs - except in the way you want them. Only Ivy and I run into this crap. It's becoming a theme.

Brooklyn Heights is a really nice neighbourhood. Its an "old money" part of Brooklyn with million dollar properties looking out onto the harbour with Manhattan views across the water. The Promenade is a walkway with park benches along it, running from the Brooklyn Bridge and flows south hugging the harbour. It's a great view. There are locals jogging and walking, chilling on the benches watching the monster Manhattan skyline. Houses are walk ups - you won't find many doormen or elevators too much here - but the buildings are classic NYC and have that awesome feel to it.
We travelled north and went for a stroll to Brooklyn Bridge Park and Charlie got her first ride on a Carousel. Jane's Carousel is a random carousel overlooking New York's harbour - a very cool place. We passed the famous pizza place - Grimaldi's  as we passed under the Brooklyn Bridge. We were thinking of grabbing a slice and then saw a line. A monster of a line. I didn't have ID or my glow sticks so we gave it a pass. Seriously - its ridiculous - Grimaldi's better be lacing this stuff with cocaine or giving free cars away because my life isn't worth the line we saw. We'll just have to come back next time - at the break of dawn :(

Another famous place - the Ice Cream Factory - forget about it. The lines looked like Oxford St at 11pm. Good luck!

So after a lovely day in Brooklyn Heights - off we head home. We get back to the Upper West, have some Pink Berry (thinking spitefully of Ice Cream Factory as we ate it), cook dinner in (for once and cursing Grimaldi's) and then hit some NFL Sunday action (Charlie's favourite!!!). Not a bad Sunday after all. If winter is late - let's not hurry her up. We'll be by the Autumn bar enjoying a sun drink until she gets here. ;)

Today's lessons:
1. Bring a tent and a book if you ever want to try a slice of Grimaldi's Pizza under the Brooklyn Bridge. Time to find the second best pizza in NYC.
2. This is an old one - but one that keeps rearing it's ugly head. New York and Mayor Bloomberg do not care about disabled people. For example, at Clark St station, there is an elevator to the mezzanine, but then there is a flight of stairs to the platform!? WTF were city planners thinking? How does that make sense? Poor elderly and disabled - delivery is their only hope, mixed in with tortured isolation. I'm convinced!
3. Manhattan. The metropolis is just as amazing to look at from distance - as it is to live in the middle of it. [insert smiley face here]

Ciao for now.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Love & Marriage and Midnight Evacuations

Seems like everyone is getting married around us. My wife's cousins, my own sister, a few friends back in Oz and what seems like a tonne of other people tying the knot (well on Facebook anyways!) :) It's a happy season indeed. I remember the night before and the morning of my wedding day. I was a nervous wreck! I can't really put my finger on what it was...the magnitude of the event perhaps? Probably. My haircut? Maybe. All I know is, when I stepped up to my beautiful wife in front of that church, nothing else mattered and I felt at peace. But the 24 hours before it - man I was a mess! HAHA Next time I'd prefer to jump straight into the reception. One day... with the way weddings are being re-invented, someone actually will.

The favourite part of my wedding? Can't really say, the night went by so fast! I think, seeing our family and friends being drunken louts with genuine mirth was the highlight. Man my wife and I would have died if everyone was bored. Now now.. let's be real... we've all been to boring weddings... come now... lets admit what we must HAHA *awkward*

If anything I miss our honeymoon. With our baby girl around (who just turned 9 months btw! whoohoo! I'll get to her in a second), life is way better but admittedly different. Our honeymoon was freedom at its best. Santorini and Mykonos the Greek islands - man it was good. Wake up to breakfast served out on the balcony overlooking the Cauldera and watching massive cruise liners wade into the island shore. Quad bikes, late dinners, serviced beach chairs, DJ'd beaches, Coronas, perfect weather, wine trips and just general lazing about and eating (I love eating... just quietly). Hopefully we can get a family trip going there again one day - its amazing. And now that the Greek economy has officially died in its arse - who knows, might snag a bargain (or get mugged haha).

Charlie is 9 months now. Lets see what she's doing:
  • Crawling
  • Kinda doing the close open routine with her hands
  • Pulling herself up and standing
  • Talking almost coherent jibberish - I could have sworn she said "Hi Dadda" the other night on Skype I swear it!
  • Obsessed with wires, remote controls, electrical outlets and just about everything but her toys!
  • Laughing and interacting when we play (man it sunshine in a little baby suit - I'm telling you)
  • Getting a little demanding. Alas she bores easily now. Bouncing her on my knee used to be the best. Now its good for about 3 seconds. Doh!
  • Growing... just... growing. I look forward to when she talks. I have this feeling she might be a funny kid.
Its Thu night and I'm on the train homeward bound from Hartford. Its going well - I'm in a rythm. And you know what? I think life is about rythm. When you don't have one you feel off, but when you get that routine down and get a rythym going for work, play and family... it gets better. OK so, nothing much to report in Hartford.. except ANOTHER ROCK JOB... So let's just heap this one onto the pile shall we?

So I'm in my hotel apartment sound asleep. Just got to sleep I'd say around a few minutes past midnight. Its funny because every day about the same time - six hours before going down - I say to myself "RIGHT!!!!... tonight we sleep early biatches! God knows we need it!". Yeh and two hours of surfing, couple games of Starcraft, some Amazon shopping, bit a reading and a light workout... it's past midnight. Life is a vicious circle (talk about routine).

So I'm in bed fast asleep. Suddenly on a loud speaker right above my bed: "ATTENTION ALL GUESTS AND STAFF. A FIRE HAS BEEN REPORTED. PLEASE EVACUATE THE BUILDING. DO NOT TAKE THE ELEVATOR. PROCEED TO YOUR DESIGNATED FIRE ESCAPES. ATTENTION ALL GUESTS..." well, you get the idea. This is sandwhiched between a siren and an insanely loud beeping noise. I wasn't sure if the siren and beeping was any better than burning alive. I looked up at my clock and it read 2:45am. Kill me now. I was so tired. The siren and the speaker didn't let up. I actually laid there for 15min hiding under pillows - I was that disoriented. I even picked up the phone and called the front desk. "Hello - is this a drill?". The concierge frantically and very agitated "No sir this is NOT a drill. You must leave the build right away!". HAHA When I think about it know, that phone call was so stupid HAHA why the fark would they have a drill at 2am? Look I was sleepy OK?!

I hang up and I've burned about another 5min. Add a couple more few minutes sitting on the edge of my bed, my head clears a little bit and I say outloud. "You're a FATHER YOU IDIOT - what about Charlie!???". HAHA (I actually said it outloud) so I quickly jump out of bed and what do I do? I pace up and down the room for another few minutes. I think my brain raced through a lot of stupid things. It kind went like this:

"Should I pack my bag bring my stuff? Should I get changed, man I'm in my pyjamas? Reckon its my floor that the fires on? Do I have thongs? What if I die? How will Charlie find out? How long will it take to have a shower? What if its a false alarm and I have bad breath? If I bring my luggage do I really want to carry it down the stairs? My laptop... I gotta bring my laptop right? Wedding ring and watch - where is my wedding ring and watch!? I'm hungry. This better not be a false alarm. I smell smoke! No actually I don't. OK before I die I'm getting out of here and I don't want to be the guy that dies because he took another 10 minutes to get changed. Me get changed in 10 minutes? Ha that's a good one."

Trust me - when a real emergency hits you - and it dawns on you that there is a small chance of things ending badly - as in you may actually die - you think stupid things. And I was sleepy OK!?

Anyways I eventually decide to pack my laptop, throw on my watch and ring and go downstairs in my flip flops, my Peter Alexander pjyamas and my trusty Singha shirt. Logic reasoned with me in the end - that the people who were sensible would have evacuated straight away and would be in much worse attire than myself. Surely.

Its past 3am when I get downs stairs and finally break out to the front of the hotel. No sign of a real fire - there are fire trucks but no smoke - thank god. I look around after a quick iPhone snapshot and farkin everyone is in jeans, jackets and decent outfits. Not a single person in their pyjamas. About 100 guests and not a single one in any sleep attire whatsover. Meanwhile I'm freezing my arse off in my stupid red Peter Alexander shorts. FML.

Fifty minutes I stand outside - by myself. For some reason everyone else decided to make friends. Its like everyon except me has at least one person to talk to. I'm by myself like a nigel. Fire brigade calls it a false alarm and we go back inside. I take the stairs to the 7th floor. Seriously. FML.

Lessons learned:

1. This shit only happens to me - so don't even worry about it.
2. I have four different Peter Alexander shorts. I packed my red ones with abstract poker dots. I also own a gingerbread man print, one with a print of eye glasses and another boxer style that doesn't allow for putting your leg up (if you know what I mean - ball sack!). Thank god I didn't pack those. Never pack those for a business trip.
3. Next time - a fire alarm at 2 am - its real fire alarm stupid.
4. And finally - if you're not a total moron - you'll have time to change. If you can change and your in a hotel - change your clothes.

Alrighty peeps - that's enough rock job for now. Ciao!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

President Obama doesn't care about white people!

It's the 28th of August 2011. Ivy, Charlie and I are official survivors of hurricane Irene.

Random thought: I've been practicing my touch typing over the weekend and I have finally decided to ditch it sicne myu error rate os not very good Anf i BASICALLYtype about 10 words per hour when I; try. There for I'll be going bsck to my twoo finger typing as of.... now. Praise the lord!

Anyways, its 5:48pm and the worst of hurricane Irene has officially passed Manhattan. It hit the lower east coast pretty hard (Virginia, Jersey, Staten Island etc.) killing - last time I checked - eleven people and causing some serious flooding. But by the time it hit our part of town, the roaring tiger died down to an angry little pewty cat. Looking outside the wind and rain didn't look much worse than a typical winter storm. Thank goodness.

I'm glad we didn't lose power or were imprisoned at home too long because I was getting cabin fever. It felt like my HSC all over again HAHA (for the yanks that's the same as sitting my high school SATs - a time in life when I officially went clinically insane from isolation). By the early afternoon I took the family out for a stroll trying to find a place open to eat. We ended up getting a slice of pizza at Hell's Kitchen, sitting on a step on the sidewalk whilst taking turns feeding Cha Cha, her baby food in the stroller. Classy all the way haha.

It was eerie seeing things closed in New York, streets deserted and stores shut. For a town that never sleeps it was a pointed reminder how much a natural disaster can uproot and disrupt everyday life - even in the insatiable New York night life. I feel bad for the homeless - I wonder if they even knew about the incoming storm? I mean, where would they hear or see any news about it? Last time I checked, there wasn't a single hobo in the city with an iPad. Terrible.

As soon as the weather began to clear up, despite rain and wind the streets filled up again. We saw couples, families, tourists and locals begin trickling onto the streets out of confinement. With the subways suspended until the storm completely clear, walking was the only option - but it felt nice just to be able to stroll through the city. Our neighbourhood - the city :)

Random thoughts from our first and hopefully last hurricane experience:

1. Apparently Category 3 storms (which is what Irene was originally categorized) can reach winds of up to 130 miles per hour and can cause 9-12ft surges in the ocean. Worse yet, category 3 is pretty average in the Bahamas and the people there get hurricanes every season. That's lovely! I'm thinking, reggae is cool and all - but how the fark do live like that!?

2. President Obama doesn't care about white people. That's right. I said it. Manhattan calls a state of emergency and he's no where to be found. Not a single press release and not an ounce of military presence. White people should be enraged! However they looked generally pleased on the streets. They've been bamboozled!

3. Survivalists. Those nut jobs that keep preparing for the end of the world. Yes there are thousands of them around the world - and yes they call themselves "Survivalists". Hoarding ammunition and weapons, stocking non-perishable food, living without electricity, building shelters underground and on mountains, cultivating their own produce, re-procreating with animals (OK I lied about that last one). Whilst I do think they are general all crazy - they might have a point here. I could only imagine what it would be like to live in New York without power and running water. Closed supermarkets and businesses. Without some "Survivalist" preparations - it would be a living hell!

No cable TV, no Internet, no hot showers, no washing hands or brushing teeth, corned beef forever (OK not such a bad thing), no lights, no podcasts or YouTube! I'd kill myself on day three. I'm sure of it. I'm more thankful than ever for life's luxuries and I plan to celebrate by Facebooking and watching ESPN for several hours tonight. Praise the lord! HAHA

4. Social media. What would we do without Facebook and Twitter? Its so much easier to keep loved ones in the loop and re-assure them that everything is OK. Charlie Bongon - the only grand child on Mum's side of the family. I'm surprised Facebook didn't crash from the traffic haha.

5. I've learnt that there are 5 essentials to pack to survive the city going down in a state of emergency

  • A few gallons of water. Flooding can cause plumbing to be shut down. No water. You die.
  • Canned food. Flooding and storms can cause power grids and gas lines to go down. Microwave dinners and anything that needs to be cooked or refrigerated won't cut it. Tuna is the way to go apparently.
  • Flash lights. No power, no lights. I was in a hardware store on Fri evening and I counted twelve customers walk in and shout "hey - got any flash lights left!?". Not a single flash light was left in Manhattan. I'm checking eBay today - flashlights must be going for peanuts! haha
  •  Candles. Batteries run out. Darkness is scary. I'm scared just thinking about it.
  • Long life milk. Yup Trader Joe's was cleaned out by the time I got around to buying it. It makes sense though - again no power equals no refrigerator.
That's the top 5, but honorable mentions include: condoms, a hand gun, MacDonald's chicken nuggets and a box of mi goreng. OK I made those last ones up. But they kinda make sense right?

6. Its not officially a state of emergency until a 24 hour MacDonald's is shut down. Nothing is more emphatic than a darkened and abandoned 24-hour MacDonald's restaurant. Nothing.

7. What the fark is the difference between a typhoon and a hurricane? Is it like Ford and General Motors? Or are they really the same thing? I don't want to Google this. I want fate to explain it to me one day (in person). (I'll also accept a Facebook wall post or comment - just quietly).

8. You're really not alone or isolated - until they turn off the electricity. As long as the TV works and the Internet is running - it still feels like you're not alone. I shudder to think what its going to be like when the zombie war finally gets here *shudder*.

9. I finally understand what its like not to want to leave your home when you've been ordered to evacuate. Whenever I watch the 'end-of-world' apocalyptic movies like The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, Deep Impact, Dante's Peak.. I always get frustrated at the non-believers or stubborn locals that refuse to evacuate. I usually end up shouting "hey numb nuts, just get your sh#t and get the hell out of there you! OK!? Alright - then I hope you die you idiot!!! Can you believe this guy!!!??" (as Ivy rolls her eyes at me in disgust). And when they finally get taken out by a wave of lava or a ten-story-high tidal wave, I actually cheer and exalt! HAHA. But now - my perspective has changed (a little). It's hard getting up and leaving your things and home behind. I'm so thankful that we were already in safe zone! What hassle!!!!!! I was dreading it :(

10.  The most resilient stores in New York are the pizza bars, diner, bars and convenient stores. The only stores open today. If you're a Survivalist - make sure you start one of these establishments in your mountainside bunker community. You'll be rich!!!!!

11. A small note to my Survivalist friends out there. Now, whilst you're onto a few smart things - no offense, but overall, you're still a bunch of delusional short-sighted recluses. Yes - the exact opposite of what you believe yourself to be. Why? Think about it. If the world actually were to end, whoever survived it would awaken to a living hell. It would be anarchy. Life as you know it wouldn't be worth living for. Not for you, your children or your children's children. Hunger, human cruelty, rape, disease, famine and injustice would reign. My advice.. instead of ensuring you survive to experience a living hell - why don't you try enjoying today and making the most of the world today. Who's that guy that told us that its alot better living today (in most places) than thousands of years ago. Oh yeh that's right - HISTORY!!!!

On that note - the 24-hour MacDonald's across the road is open again. The state of emergency is officially over at the Bongon residence - hooray!!!. And so it is decided. We shall celebrate our survival with twenty nuggets tonight. A feast to celebrate life and the will to survive!!!!

I suggest you do the same - wherever you are.

Ciao for now humanity.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Teeth, mud crabs and burritos. Weekend can't come sooner.

Just finished another tough week at Hartford. When you stay in a place like Hartford - with nothing to do and no one around - it feels like you're working 24 hours a day. Sure I leave the office building, but alas, it seems but only to close my eyes and wake up again. But - regardless, I'm at Bridgeport train station now - on the train home (riding backwards *vomit*) so should be home in about an hour.

Charlie got her first tooth today! Ivy posted it on Facebook. I felt so silly but I have to admit - I got a little emotional haha. For one, baby girl didn't even complain. Babies are supposed to be terrible when they teeth right? Not Cha Cha - business as usual for my strong and quiet child. Let's just hope that sharp stabbing pain in my chest was pride at the time shall we? Can't wait to go home and check this out.

I'm having a mild crisis here in New York because apparently they don't sell live mud crab in Manhattan. Friends have looked to no avail. My Thai red curry mud crab recipe is officially in mortal danger. Blue swimmer crab doesn't cut it people. Ah - please. I'd rather not argue. I think I might make a quick trip to Chinatown on the weekend and do some under-cover-brother snooping around. If there's a Blood Sport tournament in Hong Kong, then there is definitely a mud crab smuggler in downtown Chinatown. If I have to uncover every nook and cranny and wade through filth and darkness... by God I will find you mud crab. I heard that Mexicans, Filipinos, Indians and Chinese nationalities have a freeze on immigrant visas at the moment in the States. But letting this carry over to mud crabs is completely insane! Shame on you Obama (f#ck, I think I've officially lost it).

There are so many things I want us to do on weekends - but it all gets too much and we end up relaxing. I think this weekend - I'll aim to relax. And that's exactly why I have a feeling, it will be hectic haha.

Random thought: is Mexican food the exact same meal just presented differently in five to six different variations? Is it me or is everything basically rice, beans, mince, sauce with lettuce, tomato and avocado? Yeh they might serve it on a tortilla, have as a burrito or dress it up as a taco... but I'm getting this strange feeling that we're being duped hhhmmm. Sneaky sneaky amigo!

Random thought two: riding through towns in the North East - you see alot of those older houses - very American almost colonial. Some people love those houses - cosy, homely and heritage. Hhhmmm.. yeh ummm - sorry but f#ck that they scare the sh#t out of me! :(  I'm terrified of attics and basements. Don't people watch horror films in these towns? I just don't get it. Children get locked up in attics, people get tortured in basements and no one hears you scream!!!!! *heart pounding* (I think I'll watch a scary movie on Netflix tonight... just quietly).

Played some streetball last Sunday - might do some more this weekend. I have an addiction to ball - it makes me happy. I guess I'm competitive and it's way better than the gym. I'm intimate with my treadmill at my gym now and its disgusting. I'd much rather play ball. Lets just hope these knees hold up :(

OK bye for now people have a great weekend.