Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Why I love New York - the short list

Yes, we're talking the real skyr.is kind of Icelandic yogurt. None of this home-made type of stuff made by Siggi. In the words of my sister-in-law who tried it for the first time, "This is what yogurt was meant to be."

When my family and I traveled Italy we had gelato every day in every city we went to. Unanimously we agreed that Grom was the best place among all the places we tried. My brother and I about died when we saw that beautiful blue and white sign close to Central Park. We had just eaten, but you always have room for this gelato. On my last day in the city I stopped by Grom again to try their hot chocolate. After a long day of walking, sitting outside the shop at dusk sipping on their hot chocolate was one of the highlights of my trip. Their hot chocolate is not just a drink. It's pure chocolaty awesomeness melted into drink form.
Carnegie Deli
Think this picture is an exaggeration? Well it isn't. That's pastrami with a little bit of bread for convention's sake. A little pricey after a wait (there's always a line to get in), but worth every penny! Not only is it huge and delicious, but it's one of the few things in this world that is equally good coming back up as it is going down. And, yes since it is so huge it is incredible the next day in case you were worried.

The Subway
There's something wonderful about Sinatra, but listening to him in a sea of New Yorkers riding the trains is a magical experience. I get excited just thinking about it. Also, the free shows you get while riding the train are quite entertaining sometimes. I watched these kids break dancing in the middle of a narrow and slightly crowded subway train and was impressed.

Iceland Proximity
There were adds everywhere saying that Iceland is only a 5 hour plane ride away. If this were the only plus about New York, it would be good enough for me. And yes, this picture is truly what Iceland looks like in the summer.

Central Park
How cool is it to have a beautiful park in the middle of a busy metropolis? I'm all about it. It's a great place to walk, run, have a picnic (which we did), or whatever. There's always great people-watching opportunities because though it's huge you are surrounded by people wherever you go. Also, one thing I hadn't realized about New York was that there are parks all over the place.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How to Offend Women in Five Syllables or Less

"What else is there?" - If you don't understand this reference, watch The Swan Princess.

"I didn't notice."

"I like your............ face."

"Did you just wake up?"

"You look tired."

Girl: "What do you think about this?" (in reference to her clothes, hair, choice of wedding colors, etc.)
Guy: "That's... interesting." - You can't use the word "interesting" because to girls it sounds like a cop out for "It's not my favorite"

"You look fine." - Fine is not good enough.

"You're like my mom."

"She's so hot." - Guys sometimes just say this, but girls hate it because it sounds lustful

Almost any phrase with the word "fat" in it.  Don't deny it girls. There is usually a twinge of offense when a guy says that word in almost any context around you.

"Uh huh." - When you know you're not actually listening...yeah she knows it too

If there were some important ones I missed, let me know.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Essence of Love

Believe me when I tell you these thoughts are not due to the fact that Valentine's Day is mere weeks away.

How many artists have tried to answer the question "What is love?" What is true love supposed to look like? How can you tell the difference between love and infatuation?

Apparently Elizabeth Bennet, from Pride and Prejudice,  has at least part of the answer. At one point she speaks with a friend about why she knew Mr. Bingley was in love with Jane Bennet. She pointed out that during a particular ball, Mr. Bingley gave far more attention to Jane than anyone else. He didn't dance with hardly anyone else and when even Elizabeth tried to speak with him at one point he hardly said a word to her. Then, Elizabeth makes this statement:

"Is not general incivility the very essence of love?"

The essence of love. Not just a part of it or a branch. The very essence.

Of course, this is talking about incivility towards others, not themselves. Now I do think that Jane Austen could have been somewhat sarcastic with these words. But, it is my belief that behind every sarcastic comment lies a little bit of truth (pun intended). At first, this statement may sound quite negative, and I guess in some ways it is. However, it is more true than I had at first realized.

When I think about my friends that have become engaged, typically a couple things come to mind. First, I'm usually quite excited and second I'm sad because he or she has now "fallen off the face of the earth." When someone becomes in love with another, it almost always entails leaving everything else behind. This means leaving friends and other loved ones. Normally, such actions of neglect and denial would be considered terrible and rude. However, even Jesus condoned such actions when He said, "For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh".

I see it all the time when I have friends who get engaged. Friends who I used to hang out or communicate with on a regular basis almost become strangers overnight. Even roommates disappear almost entirely.

On the other hand, when I have observed some friends who have become engaged and act like the rest of the world actually exists I have found myself slightly worried about their relationship. I find it odd that when a couple is actually genuinely civil courteous with their friends, I tend to think they are not as in love as I would hope.

Principles of incivility when in love are engraved in children's minds thanks to films like Bambi. You remember the part when Bambi becomes "twitterpaited" and the following scenes show only him and the girl with the background muted and the other animals completely disappeared. We see it in all sorts of romantic movies. I love the part in Big Fish when he sees "the one" and everything around him freezes. He immediately forgets or chooses to ignore everything else.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that though love is indeed selfless, it may appear selfish to others. True love means you care so much about the other that the rest of the world becomes unimportant. This is a good thing in most ways though annoying for everybody else.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Anatomy of a Party

The Host: This one is pretty obvious. This person is in charge of the inviting and therefore ends up being the one knowing most of the people. He or she is most likely the first one to get to know those who were invited by a friend of a friend. The host is also usually the most stressed (despite what he or she may look like from the outside) because he or she carries the burden of making sure everybody enjoys themselves. But, the host is often the one who enjoys the party the most since the activities are typically his or her favorite.

The Loudmouth: There are a few variants of this attendee. This person has the loudest voice and personality. If you only go to the first hour or so of the party you will not meet this person because he or she shows up either midway through the party or towards the end. There will be others who will try to be like the loudmouth, but the difference is that the true loudmouth will enter loud, be followed or observed by the majority of the group and leave loud. The wannabe's will merely have loud moments trying to get attention but won't be as effective. An interesting observation I have made is that typically this person will not be the host (which I don't completely understand).

The Jerk: Sometimes this person is one and the same as the loudmouth, but doesn't have to be. This person will  indeed have a loud mouth but will use it to tear others down in order to build himself up (yup it's usually a guy). Unfortunately, there will be others in the group who will laugh and will follow the jerk, so the jerk will continue to belittle others in order to win more prestige. The saddest thing is that this guy will either come with a girl or will have a group of girls admiring him for most of the party. Why girls give so much attention to the jerk is beyond me and would need a post of its own later.

The Genuine One: This one is the antithesis of the jerk. He or she will use his or her mouth to build-up the members of the group. He or she is unafraid to join a conversation or start one. The host loves this attendee because the host will be able to count on the genuine one to get involved and involve every member of the group. The popularity of this person varies with the personality of the groups because they will have to choose between this person and the jerk.

The Good-looking One: He or she will float around the groups seamlessly because everybody wants to talk to the good-looking one. Because of the good looks, he or she can't to anything wrong and will be admired by most everyone. So, this person has the power to be the jerk or the genuine one. If he knows and takes pride in the fact that he is the good-looking one, he will typically chose the role of the jerk. But, if these roles are already established, the good-looking one will just be the social butterfly that everybody wants to date.

The Socially-awkward One: Otherwise known as the wall flower. This individual is the opposite of the good-looking one. Whereas the good-looking one can't do anything wrong in the minds of the people, this individual can't seem to do anything right. When he or she tries to be the loudmouth, everybody just laughs at the ridiculous and awkward things that come out of that mouth. When trying to be the jerk, this person is then shunned. Trying to be the genuine one typically just causes him or her to be ignored by most everyone.

Lesson learned here: good looks give you popularity and the power to be whatever you choose to be.

If you have additional insights on this, I'm all ears.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are?

I love driving, mostly because I have for years driven my car with the idea that driving should be exciting. Now, there's a big difference between exciting and crazy. Crazy is the same as selfish and stupid while my kind of exciting equals controlled fun. While I'm all about driving exciting, one of the things that ticks me off the most in life is having to deal with people who drive crazy.

We're talking people who drive like they are the only cars on the road. These are people who don't pay attention to what is going on around them. Or how about those who don't know what a signal is supposed to be used for (they make sure to signal right in a right only turn lane but fail to signal before cutting you off).

When I encounter these kinds of drivers I typically yell at them in Icelandic or, on occasion, Italian. Those who make me really upset, I reserve my most vicious curse - something about poop coming upon them and their family.

Something that really irks me is when I'm driving behind a line of cars and the car behind me pulls some lame move to get right in front of me. That's when I yell out "Hver ert รพรบ?" which means "Who are you?" Why do you think that you deserve to cut in front of me gaining you little to no advantage? How much time is this person really saving? I think the research says they average .137 seconds while driving 50 mph. I can't believe they have the audacity to jump in front of the person waiting in line.

After saying something in a different language, what is then my favorite thing to do? Fly past them. Inevitably the person is an idiot and has no real sense of what is going on with the traffic. This makes it really easy for me who loves to find the perfect holes and faster lanes that allow me to drive past these jerks. I get great satisfaction out of asserting my dominance by showing them my tail lights.

Lesson: if you're going to be a jerk on the road, at least have some skill or finesse about it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Life Lessons from Zelda

Sometimes the only way forward is to go backward.

Talk to everybody you meet. They probably have nothing really important to say but once in a while you find that necessary bit of information you have been searching for.

If you have tried more than 5 times to jump somewhere or blow up something and you can't quite get it, don't fret. Leave it for now and you will get something later that will help you accomplish whatever it is you're doing.

You can't save the girl until you have completed every task.

It was all about her, it was never about you.

You can't defeat Ganondorf on your own. You will need Zelda.

It's much easier when you find and use the map and compass.

Don't waste your time obsessing over mini-games. You really don't need to hold extra arrows, bombs, or whatever. The dungeons will provide what you need.

When in doubt, play a song.

If it causes pain, you can destroy it.

Don't forget to use your shield. You don't always have to be on the offensive.

There may be items like the Giant's Mask that will only be used once. You might think it's stupid to get it in the first place, but that one time you use it will help you get to your eventual goal.

There's always another puzzle.

When stuck, look around you. For the really hard puzzles, there's always going to be a hint somewhere.

Don't forget to look up.

Don't tell yourself, "I'll come back to this later." If you can do it, do it now. Otherwise you may forget, plus backtracking is annoying.

When you're about to give up, ask yourself, "Have I used everything at my disposal?" Sometimes the answer comes using the most random of items.

Taking the time to help others is never a waste.

Don't waste your money by buying items that you can find in pots or in the grass.

Fill your empty bottles. A healing potion doesn't cost that much anyway.

Power is not as great as Courage and Wisdom working together.

You were chosen to be the hero.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pure happiness this is. Those who know me would understand how I laughed my head off watching this. Thank you Gotye for posting it on your blog.