Friday, July 14, 2006

"Me and U?" No, It's Just You

Today, I was parking my car from one side to the other, as I have to do almost every day in order to satisfy NYC's ridiculous parking regulations, when out of nowhere, I heard the song, "Me and U" by Cassie. Now, whatever, there's nothing out of the ordinary to hear loud music blasting in New York, but what was odd about this situation was that I had no idea where the hell it was coming from; usually, loud music would come from cars going up and down the block, but there were no cars moving about at that point in time. So, I'm looking around, like, "where the fuck is that coming from," when I identified the source: a friggin' cell phone. Apparently, there was this girl walking around with a phone held slightly away from her ear, strutting down the street with a short skirt, trying to look cute with her boombox cell phone. And it wasn't even a ring tone, but rather, it was the whole song.

First of all, the shit was so loud, I heard it from two blocks away, and the girl had the nerve to have the cell phone about 4 inches from her ear. Like, ummm.. are you deaf? Second, just because you saw some dorks running around with MP3 theme songs in a Verizon commercial, it doesn't mean that you have to go and look like a fool in real life. It didn't matter how much of her ass or breasts were showing; it really wasn't cute.

And then... here's the kicker. By the time she got close to me, the song had ended, so, she stopped, got her phone, pressed a button, and the song played again. Apparently, it was now safe for her to strut again.

I would love to tell you all that this is the first time that I've seen this, but it really isn't. In the past two weeks alone, I've seen six girls walking around in the same way, with the same exact song. ALL of them probably thought that they were unique.

So, in the 80's, we had people walking around, strutting with boomboxes on their shoulders. In the 00's, we got cell phones. It makes you wonder what other technology will come out 20 years from now that will allow peanutheads to contribute to noise pollution with played-out songs...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Do Your Own Headbutting!

It doesn't take long for those wonderful folks out there in "internet land" to come up little mini-games for just about anything, and certainly, the World Cup final's infamous highlight didn't escape parody.

Thanks to the folks at Funnymovies, we now have a Zidane headbutting mini-game, where just about anyone can take out their aggressions, Zizou-style, on Materazzi.

Enjoy! (Link to game here)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

So Maybe Headers Don't Win World Cups...

Now that the World Cup is over, and Italy have been crowned champions of the world, I just wanted to throw it out there that despite the fact that France (the only team that made it out of my 3 favorites) lost, arguably thanks to the infamous Zidane headbutt, it's gotta be said that, well, if France was going to lose in any way, this would be it. We might never have any idea why Zidane decided to hit Materazzi with that big noggin of his, but whatever Materazzi said to him, it must've been something super serious.

Regardless of what was said, someone on Italy needed to be hit with something... I was getting annoyed with the way that team was playing throughout the entire World Cup. Only Portugal surpassed them in terms of playing to the referees, who were more than happy to reward such unsportsmanlike conduct time and time again. Every five seconds, you saw someone from these two teams rolling around in the grass, pretending to be in pain from some phantom hit to the face or something. It was disgusting.

At least Zidane gave Materazzi something to be writhing in pain for. Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

If you have no idea what the hell I'm talking about, at the very least, take a look at this video from YouTube and see what happened, along with some horrible commentary, courtesy of the clueless folks at ABC Sports.

(Here's also a New York Times article regarding Zidane's silence about the incident.) [Registration may be required]

Outside of the diving and the red cards, I thought the World Cup was pretty damn exciting. It certainly got a lot more Americans interested in the sport of soccer than I've ever seen. Everywhere I turned in New York, there was someone talking about the World Cup. For a month, soccer dominated the sports headlines over the Yankees, the Mets, the Knicks, and any other sport you could think of in this city. I doubt the euphoria over soccer will last for long, but hey, at least it happened, right?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Candy is Dandy, But Liquor is Quicker

While I certainly don't even come marginally close to drinking as much as I used to drink during my middle years in college, every once in awhile, I get my binge on, knocking back an incredible amount of liquor in a short period of time. Like most people who've gone to college, I certainly have my fair share of stories involving alcohol that I'm sure will be told and retold time and time again for the rest of my life. (Sarah, ahem.)

Since I've been back home, I've avoided the whole drinking scene, partly because I'm broke, and partly because it's just not the same anymore without my college buddies.

However, last Thursday and Friday were two days where I relived my drinking heyday, chilled with old friends, and drank my ass off. Beginning with an afterwork spot in midtown Manhattan, I knocked back a countless amount of cranberry vodkas and tequila sunrises, and then, somehow, made my way to some college bar about 20 blocks north for an even greater number of 50-cent beers. I knocked back so many, that I was beginning to scare some of my old high school friends, who showed up to hang out for old times sake.

"Damn, Ray, another one?! All I remember doing in response was screaming aloud, "Man, this is how we do it up at Syracuse," as I raised my mug of beer to the sky and cheered along with God knows how many SU folk who suddenly invaded this traditional NYU/Columbia University watering hole. Everywhere I turned, someone else had 2 mugs of beer ready for me to drink, and within minutes, I downed them, just to get another two in my hands moments later.

Despite the amount of drinks that I had, within an hour, I was completely sober. And I mean sober. By 4 in the morning, I was sobering up at home, happy with the knowledge that I could still hold my liquor.

While I normally don't binge one day after another, I made an exception the next evening, when, in honor of my mother's birthday, I took one for the team and went out to some overhyped, incredibly expensive club that let us in for free on her behalf and gave us "free" drinks with mandatory tips. Sure, it was an incredibly shady situation, but hell, there's nothing better to keep from getting upset about shady happening than to consume liquor! So, off we went, my momma, her boyfriend, myself, and a few of her friends from work, drinking, drinking, drinking. Of course, because the liquor from the night before had yet to leave my system, the second I tasted liquor on Friday, I got tipsy. But, me being the, "hey, I still got it," dickhead I am, kept on drinking as if I hadn't binged the night before, and before long, I was super drunk. I was spilling drinks, telling people they couldn't dance, and generally trying incredibly hard to keep myself from falling flat on my face. Thankfully, we were ALL drunk, especially my mother, who was even sillier than I was, so with her around, I wasn't drawing attention to myself. Not that she was all over the place, but man, she can certainly talk up a storm. Like, "shaddap, I'm trying to enjoy my drunkedness here!" Somehow, we got home and I knocked out the hell out within moments.

The next morning, I definitely felt it. I was hung over. Hangovers are rare for me, but when they do happen, it's usually pretty bad. Thankfully, I wasn't too bad off, and after a couple of hours, I was able to get up and get some food in my system. By the time I finished eating, I was A-OK, again. I was afraid that I was going to be sick all weekend, but my liver certainly worked some overtime to keep that from happening. So, it all worked out in the end.

I hadn't even settled down from my meal when someone texted me asking me to go out again for more drinking. Man, no thanks. By Saturday afternoon, if I even saw a bottle of liquor, I would get drunk, let alone actually consuming more of it.

"You're getting old," my mother said.

Never mind, I wasn't the one with the birthday the next day.

And on that note, "Happy Birthday," to my mom, and to my abuelo, who I'm sure was up in the sky looking down on me running around making a fool of myself. I'm sure he'd be proud. :-)

Was That a Cow Just Swimming Next to Me?

When I drove up to Syracuse two weeks ago, I had the rather unenviable experience of driving through some of the worst flooding to ever hit the Northeast. Now, I had checked the weather before I left the Bronx at 11 AM, and even though there were forecasts for rain here and there, there was nothing that suggested anything close to the kind of rainfall that would eventually fall over the region. Hell, even when the rain was coming down, I never thought that flooding would actually occur as a result of it.

I guess what wound up happening was that there was an incredible amount of rain that fell in a rather short amount of time, which caused many of the small creeks and rivers that run along upstate New York to rise rather quickly. As I kept trucking North, I noticed that some "creeks" had turn into full blown rivers, sweeping over bridges and rising onto farmland. Before long, state troopers had closed off the highway (NYS Rte. 17) I was traveling on, forcing me and several hundred other cars to try to drive through small towns.

It certainly wasn't a good driving experience. For one, half the time, I wasn't even driving. The flooding had happened so quickly, that state troopers were caught off guard, and had no idea how to get drivers off the highways, and onto their destinations. They thought it would be a good idea to stop every single car on the highway, and walk up to each car, one by one, and assist in giving directions to get to another nearby highway, which would wind up being closed, as well. For all their efforts, all this did was create even bigger traffic jams, headaches, and confusion for everyone involved. I didn't understand why, in this day and age, troopers did not have access to up-to-the-minute information about road closings and give updates over local radio stations.

After moving 20 miles over a period of 3 hours, I was finally redirected onto Rte. 17, some 20 miles south of Binghamton, NY. As I approached somewhat normal cruising speeds on my way up to Cuse, I began to think, "man, thank goodness I'm past all that." The thought hadn't even finished crossing through my mind, when I saw flashing lights in front of me, redirecting traffic off the highway again.

"NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" I threw a temper-tantrum in my car, much to the delight of fellow motorists driving nearby. Suddenly, a simple 3 and a half hour trip to Cuse turned into a freaking safari through swampland. After about 25 minutes, I finally made it off the highway (once again, the troopers were stopping every car one by one), and back into some local town. By this time, the flooding had become so bad, that the town itself was overwhelmed by water. I couldn't believe that I was still in New York State; I felt like I was driving through a third-world country with all the flooding that occurred. After about 5 miles of driving through water, I forced to get pulled over to the side of the road by troopers till the water dried up.

Courtesy of New York Times

Unfortunately, it kept raining. And raining. And raining. After two hours had passed, with no news forthcoming from the troopers who were diligently keeping people off the roads, I ran up to them and asked them for an update.

"Well, everyone's just going to have to wait here till the roads dry up. And it looks like that's not going to happen by tonight."

What? They wanted us to stay in the middle of literally nowhere, with no food or shelter nearby, OVERNIGHT? Hell no, that was not acceptable. I asked what roads were still open, and they told me that no road in that area had escaped the flooding. My mind began racing as I tried to find some way of getting up to Cuse, or at the very least, out of the ditch I was currently sitting in.

"What about the Thruway? (I-90) Is that flooded?"

"No, it's not flooded, but, that means you'd have to go practically to New York City to take it. And if that's what you plan on doing, you better get moving now while my back is turned..."

I got the trooper's hint, ran into my car, and raced back south onto Rte. 17. There were barricades all over the place, but I kept moving. With every trooper in New York State paying attention to northbound roads, I was able to drive back some 100 miles in about 70 minutes. Finally, I made it to the I-90 junction, about 65 miles north of NYC, hopped on, and headed back up north to Syracuse.

After 11 hours from my original departure time at 11 AM, I finally made it to the Cuse, at 10 PM on the dot. Because Syracuse is a city that sits at a much higher elevation than places like Binghamton and the other towns that were affected along Rte. 17, they did not feel the effects of the heavy flooding at all. Some of my friends at the Cuse couldn't believe that there was that much flooding in towns and cities that were only about an hour south of Syracuse, but once they turned on their televisions and saw the local news, they saw that I certainly wasn't exaggerating. There were even some parts of highways that were swept away by the rising flood waters.

Definitely some crazy shit. The only good thing about the experience? I met some pretty cool local townspeople, who were all too willing to offer their homes to everyone who was stranded alongside the road. It's good to know that at the very least, if I was stuck, there were plenty of good samaritans around to lend a hand.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th of July!

Just wishing everyone a Happy 4th of July. Hope some of ya'll can get out there and eat some good bar-b-que, spend some time with the fam, and get a chance to at least watch some fireworks go off (whether you do it, or someone else does it).

Me? I'm just chillin', having a personal little "LOST" and "Band of Brothers" marathon.

Wait till I tell you guys what happened on my way to Syracuse... thankfully, I'm back in NYC...

So Happy Independence Day! And if you don't celebrate it, well, then, have a Happy Tuesday!!!
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