Friday, August 31, 2012

The Probe has Returned

So, I heard from some of you that this whole gastrointestinal posting was a little too much information and I can understand that.  The experience really wasn't that bad, as compared to the prep, which reminded me of this oldie but a goodie from SNL.

Anyway, as I was leaving the doctor's office, he came up to me with this huge smile and said "You owe me some beers, man.  That polyp I removed was huge!" And he said it while laughing.  I'm guessing he's not concerned about this, which means I won't be concerned about this, which normally I'd be concerned about.  They're doing the biopsy now and I'll have the results in less than a week.  Turns out I have a history of colon cancer in the fam, so it's a good thing I went under.  My brother just made his appointment.  I told him to look at the guy's hands when he shakes them to judge the size of his fingers.

And the Mets suck.  That's all.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Oh Goodness

Apologies for not writing.  Given the fact I've been running to the can, its not been easy to blog.  I will say that the stuff you have to drink isn't terrible, but its thicker than water which makes it tough to keep chugging.  This isn't terrible actually, but my time in the bathroom has been most enlightening.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sending a Camera to Uranus

So Monday I'm having a procedure that requires the following things.  Can anyone guess what it is?
  • TriLyte
  • Ducolax tablets
  • 2 Fleet enemas
Well, if you haven't already guessed what wonders of science I'm going to enjoy, I'll tell you.  I'm getting a colonoscopy!  That's right.  A giant Nigerian man is going to put a camera up my ass and snake that thing like a plumber.  And the above meds are all designed to have me completely empty my nether regions so its not like scuba diving in the Hudson.  That Trilyte is a gallon of solution and apparently tastes like ass, so there are flavor packets.

Some of you who know me may have heard my story about previous issues with my doctor in Boston and my rectal health.  Suffice it to say, its an in person story and not for eyes and ears of children.  But it was there I discovered I had hemorrhoids like the rest of America.  Some of you also may remember my other odd medical checks, like my mammogram.  I really believe in getting the most out of my healthcare.  

Anyway, I'm not expecting anything serious.  I have unexplained urgency sometimes which causes me to go from 0 to "Holy Shit I need to go" and that's not always convenient.  So my doctor, said aforementioned giant Nigerian, said this would be relatively simple.  Actually the words he used were "A monkey could do this," which made me laugh and then wonder if there actually was going to be a monkey doing this.  That would probably be the only thing Aetna would cover.  Humans doing the procedure is probably the higher tiered plan.

So tomorrow I do my flush and I'll be blogging about it, just for you dear readers.  Because you need to know what this is like.  I am all about public service clearly.  This also means I'm eating a lot of red meat today.  Just to pass it all tomorrow.  I feel like if I'm spending time on the can tomorrow, I might as well make it worth it, right?  

Friday, August 10, 2012

Travel Blogging

So this blog is many things, and therefore not much.  But I like the freedom it allows me and therefore I am fine with the fact that it will never be too popular because the format is varied.  But I have a strong interest in travel, specifically miles, and so I am going to be starting a travel segment with some tips and advice.

My Mom called me and asked about booking a flight and then asked if she should call the airline.  And this is when I knew that my advice might be helpful. Let's start with some simple areas for this first post.

  1. Always get the points.  Always.  
  2. You should choose a hotel chain and few airlines to fly.  
  3. Earn cheaply and burn expensively.
Let's start with the first one.  Everywhere you stay or airline you fly will have a rewards program.  Take the points.  Most of the airlines you will fly are part of an alliance, meaning you can earn your preferred miles no matter what carrier you fly.  For example, say you have American miles.  American is part of the OneWorld Alliance.  You find a great flight to Australia on Qantas, who is also part of the OW Alliance.  You can give your American Airlines Advantage number when booking your Qantas ticket, and your miles will automatically be deposited in your AA account.  

Secondly, try and stick to a few chains or airlines.  I understand that every once in awhile, you will find a fare that's way lower than others.  In that case, take the fare, but get the points.  However, a lot of times, you'll find that the flights are generally around the same amount.  In that case, you should book with your preferred airline.  Most people simply take the cheapest flight, even if the other airline is $12 more.  This is the reason that you don't get meals in flight anymore, or that your knees are in the back of the seat in front of you.  Spend the extra few bucks and get the miles, so you can sit in the front of the plane.  

The purpose of getting the miles or points is twofold.  First, to gain elite status, which all airlines and hotels have, and will usually get you upgrades to first as well as free checked bags, hotel suites, free internet and expedited security lanes at airports.  This last one is really a huge perk, especially if you fly out of a busy airport. These miles can only be earned by flying.  The second purpose of getting miles or hotel points is to spend them on flights or rooms.  And to really go all out.  

Never spend miles on a domestic flight.  Please Jesus.  

Unless that flight is for a funeral and is $700, then its okay, but if a flight to Detroit is 50,000 miles in coach and a flight to Amsterdam is 100,000 in first, then make the smart move and save for the great flights.  This is where credit cards come in handy.  We'll cover that later. 

I'm trying this out.  Feel free to leave comments or questions.  Next we'll look at how to find a flight or hotel.  

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Sheer Awesomeness

So I want to thank my friend Waka for reminding me about the Curiosity Rover landing tonight/tomorrow morning.  I had heard the Team Lead for the Entry, Descent, and Landing Team on NPR and he had a pretty cool story about how he wasn't a student at all in high school, but became fascinated that the planets moved in the sky from when he would see them in the day versus the night.

So, the mood in the country is pretty down.  The economy still isn't great.  Our "leaders" are squabbling over nonsense instead of fixing things, and we're being talked to like children about issues that effect us as adults.  I'm reminded of the 50's and Sputnik.  The Soviets got to space first, and this was a crushing blow to us, and people wanted answers.  And our funding for math and sciences ballooned, from an act of Congress.

And tonight or early tomorrow morning, depending on where you live in the US, one of the most impressive pieces of science and engineering are going to happen thousands of miles away.  Watch this video and I dare you not to get goosebumps.

They're using a freaking crane, people.  So I'll admit that I'm not a huge space junkie.  But I do love the balls on these NASA guys for their audacity.  I understand that money could have gone to school lunches or to bridges, which are important things.  But watching our best and brightest come up with incredibly complex solutions to near impossible problems is also a good use of money.  If I watch the news, I'm embarrased of our country.  But late tonight, around 1:30AM, watching my laptop, regardless of what happens, I'm going to be very, very proud.   

Friday, August 03, 2012

Open Condom Style

Not sure how 11,000,000 people have seen this and I never heard of it before.

It's Friday in my country.  And you should watch this video.  Dare you not to get pumped for the weekend.

New York Must-Sees

I wrote a list for a friend of mine who will be leaving New York soon of places they should see before they go.  This is more a list for people who hate NYC or are down on all the pretension and the bullshit and the rat race.  I acknowledge that I haven't lived there in 8 years, but that's alright because I'm not thinking any of the places that sprang up in the last 8 years are places you need to see anyway.

This is not a "Hot" list of in places.  This is a list I made of things that make me miss New York.  And my New York, the actual fabric of the city, that was there before I was born and will be there hopefully when I'm gone. They're in no particular order except the last one, which is my favorite.  The ones that are not in Manhattan I'll just say that transit or wheels is required. 

Eisenberg's: Eisenberg's is a lunch counter located on 5th Avenue between 23rd and 22nd, opposite the Flat Iron.  It is one of the few lunch counter places that used to be everywhere which provided NYC office denizens a chance to grab a stool and a quick lunch.  Your usual NYC favorites are amazing.  But I'll recommend the pastrami or tuna melt.  And if they have the matzoh ball soup, and you like it, then you should get it.  Matzoh ball as big as your head.  And it goes without saying, but only losers sit at tables, the counter is really where its at.  

Ziegfield Theater: Long before IMAX and fake IMAX and "squint your face with stupid glasses on" IMAX, there were movie houses.  And these theaters had one screen.  This was before owners decided to chop their one screen into 8 closet sized screens to maximize revenue.  The Ziegfield never changed.  It remains the largest screen in the city.  And as a fan of movies, if you haven't been there, you owe it to yourself to see NYC in the way it used to be.  Before even my old ass.  Currently Playing: Dark Knight Rises

Staten Island Ferry:  I'm sure you've probably done this, but it remains a great tour of the harbor and view of southern Manhattan for free.  Go over and come back, or sample some of St. George's culinary delights.  But its' a free boat operated by the City of New York, and that's pretty cool.  

Brennan and Carr's: Let me tell you how I found out about this place.  When I was in the Police Academy with Mahoney and Hightower, a guy named Frank Kolanovic (AKA Franky Yo-Yo, Frankie Beans) asked if I liked roast beef.  That question was followed by asking if I'd "ever had roast beef so good I creamed my pants?" I had to respectfully say I hadn't.  And then he took me here.  It's in the ass end of Brooklyn, near Marine Park.  But it's been there for years.  You gotta get the roast beef and the cheese fries.  The bun its on is soggy from the roast beef.  But more importantly it's Brooklyn, and not your kale eating, brown flip-fop wearing Brooklyn.  Speaking of Brookyn...

Coney Island:  Yeah, I know its cheesy and the amusement park feels like a training ground for grifters and pedophiles.  But Coney Island, is another example of NYC in its original weirdness, and not fake weird, or safe weird.  Home of the Mermaid Parade and the July 4th Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, where NYers show up with sign saying "Tojo go home!" in awesome racist reference to the Japanese competitive eating giant, Kobayashi.  While here, ride the Cyclone.  Not because the coaster is amazing for a wooden roller coaster, but because its old.  And as you look at the Russian immigrants operating it and seeing the bolts rattling as you're climbing the first hill, you become scared.  As in, you could actually die.  A rite of passage for kids in the city.  And while we're still in Brooklyn...

L&B Spumoni Gardens: This is a place that's a tradition near Bensonhurst.  You've never seen so many actual Goombahs outside eating pizza.  The pizza comes in trays and it's like grandma pizza, which is pretty good if you've never tried it.  It's off the 86th St. stop on the N.  Real family place.  Great on a night that isn't blazing hot and you just want to be reminded that you're in NYC.  No kale chips sold here.  

McSorley's Ale House:  While they only began admitting women in the last 40 years, this is the oldest bar in the city. Sawdust on the floor and only two types of beer.  Light and dark.  They come in small glass half-pint mugs and you can either order light or dark and get two mugs each, or half and half.  Again, this place is special.  They have no food, and if you don't like beer, then you probably won't stay long, but it's worth the visit.  Careful, douchebags like this place sometimes.  Here's their location.

NYC Formal Gardens: Not sure if you like Central Park, but I grew up with it being my backyard.  But it wasn't until my parents showed me this gem near our apartment that I found it.  You'll have to fight the crowds of brides and grooms getting their photos taken on the weekends, but this is a really nice and quiet place to go and read or just see some really cool flowers in Central Park.  

And finally, if you do nothing else on this list, you must, must, no but seriously, must visit....

Empire State Building: Alright, this is the only really touristy thing on the menu.  But, there are qualifiers.  You need to go at night . No one cares about being able to see New Jersey.  Also, you need to go to the open observatory on the 80 something floor and not the higher one which is lame.  When I was living in NYC, I would go to the ESB every year.  At night, outside with the city unfolding in front of me, it felt like I owned that city.  It made me fall in love with it every time. Also, if you bring the Icelander, it's pretty romantic.  But more than that it is awesome, in the way that it is full of and inspiring awe.  

I realize that some of these are food related, and you might not hit all of them, but they're all things that remind me of why I love NYC.  Oh, and if you've never had a falafel at Mamoun's on McDougal. stop reading this right now and go get one.