Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Randoms

We had our first "real" win in volleyball tonight. Our only other points of the season came when the other team had to forfeit because of a lack of players. This one was the real deal, 25-8. Granted, we lost the other five games. But we were all thrilled anyway. More than a couple squeals came from our side of the court when that last ball dropped.

For Christmas, Abbey's mom made me what is now my favorite blanket. When I was in Michigan, she'd casually asked what color my bedspread is (although I don't know how casually you can actually ask that). I thought it was a little strange but didn't think much of it until Abbey had a roll of a present waiting for me in her apartment last month. Made in the famous Steinhauser "silky" style (named for the smooth satin that lines the edges), the blanket has become my favorite curl-up-and-watch-a-movie buddy.


Two brand-new washers and dryers were put into my apartment complex's basement. Seeming like a major improvement over the old leaky machine, I took a load of clothes down there a couple weeks ago. However, after covering my clothes in detergent, I learned that only one of the washers actually works. And it's the one I didn't give $2 in quarters to.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Atlantic City

My trip to AC started out promising, with a win just a half hour into the two-and-a-half-hour bus ride down the shore. Unfortunately, that was the only thing I won on Saturday. And that thing was a mug printed with the Taleo logo, the HR company used by Adam's company.

Abbey, Adam, Sarah, Matt, Walt and I took part in the BD day trip to Atlantic City, and the morning raffle kept us entertained for most of the ride there. After giving up $5 for what was described as a "cash prize" raffle, Abbey, Sarah and I couldn't stop laughing when the old man sitting ahead of us (one of the many on the bus) snagged the first prize -- a package of Ace Bandage heating pads. I guess it's only fitting for a trip sponsored by BD -- the company that manufactures and sells medical supplies like Ace gear. By the time my ticket was pulled, the ante was raised to mug status. Many drawings later, Abbey got really lucky with a $25 cash prize.

AC isn't Vegas, but it's still pretty cool. Lined along a boardwalk on the shore, I'm sure it's prettier in the summertime (although I've heard also much dirtier in terms of actual garbage and roaming clientele). We gambled for a couple hours and then got lunch at an Irish pub named, take a guess..."Irish Pub," which was Walt's recommendation. We were a bit skeptical on our walk there, but the food was good and drinks were cheap. So cheap, we stuck around for a while, figuring that we'd spend less getting drunk than sitting in front of a slot machine.

Monday, January 07, 2008

2007 Book List

So, again, as in the year before, I didn't quite achieve my goal of reading 50 books in 2007. And since it doesn't seem likely I'll ever read that much (unless I'm fired, I fail out of class, and I ignore calls from all friends and family), I'm not going to give it another go in 2008. But don't worry. I promise I'm going to continue to read -- a lot. Just not up to the almost-a-book-a-week pace I tried to set in the optimistic and early portion of the New Year.

Below is last year's reading list. My favorite by far is "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini. If you haven't read it (and Hosseini's first novel, "The Kite Runner") you must. Also worth noting is "Something Borrowed," which I didn't expect to be much more than entertaining chick lit. But it struck me in some way. Maybe because the characters are so much like me and Abbey - two childhood friends who grow up in the Midwest, go to school together, and move out to the East Coast. It's a little scary. However, since I'm not carrying out a secret affair with Abbey's fiance, the similarities end there. (Or so you think...) Anyway, here's the whole list:

1). A Wedding in December, Anita Shreve
2). Dreams of My Father, Barack Obama
3). The Pleasure of My Company, Steve Martin
4). The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters, Elisabeth Robinson
5). Darkness Visible, William Styron
6). The Memory-Keeper's Daughter, Kim Edwards
7). Autobiography of a Fat Bride, Laurie Notaro
8). Rant, Chuck Palahniuk
9). The Road, Cormac McCarthy
10). Something Borrowed, Emily Giffin
11). Less Than Zero, Bret Easton Ellis
12). Diary, Chuck Palahniuk
13). A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
14). Haunted, Chuck Palahniuk
15). Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney
16). Girlfriend in a Coma, Douglas Coupland
17). Hey Nostradamus!, Douglas Coupland
18). The Lion's Game, Nelson DeMile
19). Something Blue, Emily Giffin
20). JPod, Douglas Coupland
21). Water for Elephants, Sara Guen

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

NYE in Times Square


My brother and I knew what we were in for beforehand. I heard the horror stories from friends. I read about the cold and the lack of bathrooms online. And I got the classic "Are you crazy?" look from almost every Long Islander I talked to. But still, spending New Year's Eve in Times Square is just one of those things you have to do at least once in your life. So we did. And although you won't see me headed back for seconds, I don't regret any part of that night.

Our day started early, a little after 10 a.m., when we caught a train into the city with my friend, Sean (the only other person I could convince to tag along). Since you're not really allowed to leave your spot once you're there (not even for bathroom breaks or food runs), we had a plan: eat a big lunch but drink as little as possible. So, of course, we filled up at Burritoville and took full advantage of the bathroom there before heading back out into the cold. We got to Times Square around 1 p.m. and stood on the sidewalk in what seemed to be a really good spot. Too good, apparently, because we were moved back by police twice before finally being "penned" in really close to one of the performance stages. Can't complain, though. We still had a nice view of the ball, which, by the way, is really little, and celebrities to watch. We were there so early that we heard most of the performances twice: once for a practice run through, and the second for TV. Side note: Most of the performers on our stage, which included way too many American Idolists, completely faked the whole thing. The "real" bands - Velvet Revolver, Kid Rock, and the Bravery - played from a stage high up on the other end of Times Square.

After games of Eye Spy and 20 Questions got old, boredom struck pretty hard. The hour between 7 and 8 was neverending. Surprisingly, there were no bathroom emergencies (although Sean had a backup plan that involved a series of ziplocks and grocery bags). And thanks to the body heat generated by the 1 million plus attendees, we didn't get cold. Our biggest complaint was the pure pain of standing for 11 hours straight. That last minute was worth it, though, as a sea of red hats and orange balloons waited, counted, screamed and sang in unison. That's definitely an image I'll hold for the rest of my life.


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