Monday, January 29, 2007

I Covet Thee

I used to be quite the spender on Madison Avenue. The folks at Barneys and Calvin Klein and Prada knew me by my name and welcomed me with open arms and glasses of champagne and the latest offerings from the season.

But I have curbed my spending. I tell people the real reason is for my Manhattan apartment fund, but the larger reason is that I honestly feel like I have everything that falls in my taste realm. When I go into stores these days, I get kind of bored because either the clothes are too crazy that no sane guy with any sense of masculinity would wear them, or I already have five shirts like it.

But someone please tell me that it's crazy to spend $1,100 on this bag from Mulberry. Omg, I love it. Actually, maybe you need to tie me down to a chair, and cut up my credit card.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Here In TCho's World, We Do It All Night

On Thursday night/Friday morning, I had to pull an all-nighter. It BLEW. I haven't pulled any all-nighters since my days at the law firm. But on Wednesday I got handed this project that I thought would take me 4 or 5 hours instead of the 13 it ended up taking me. At first i thought the project would be kind of fun because I'd get to show off my Excel skills, and as many times as I've whipped up fancy spreadsheets, I still get a thrill from entering formulas and macros. Well at the 4th hour, this project officially changed from fun to absolute suckfest of all time.

Unfortunately, I seem to be one of those people who seem to be fairly resilient to lack of sleep. This might sound great to all the over-achievers out there, but it has neither helped me over-achieve, nor even just stay caught up with all my shit. It just allowed me to earn oodles and oodles of overtime and gain tons of weight. That was one of the first things I realized about staying up late: the more hours you're up, the more you eat. I get the munchies pretty often, but I usually need something extreme in flavor, like really salty, really sour or really sweet. And unfortunately, the most flavorful foods tend to be the fattiest.

The funniest story I have about one of my all-nighters at my job is when my coworkers actually called security because they thought I went missing. It was 6 in the morning, and me and two others had been at the office all night. I was sitting at one of the computers in our bigger caseroom, when all of a sudden, I heard

"Terence, Terence, where are you?!?"

"I'm right here, dumbass," I replied.

"Oh my god, we thought you were missing! We thought maybe you fell asleep in the stairwell."
To their credit, I had been known to doze off on our many all-nighters, but they were all in my office. So I'm not quite sure why they were prepared to do an operation out of CSI to find me.

But the difference with this overtime is that I did it at home rather than at the office. Like I've mentioned before, the nature of my current job (I pretend that I'm computer-saavy IT person; hopefully my company never finds out how dumb I really am) allows me to work from home once in a while. So I sat down at my desk on Thursday night around 9PM with coffee to my right (far away from my computer so this wouldn't happen again) and lists of pointless numbers and documents to my left. I had to sit at my desk because I left my work laptop at the office, which meant no sitting on my couch and not getting anything truly significant done. Unfortunately, I'm a feng shui novice, and the position of my desk and desk chair have my back facing the TV.

After 5 hours of work, I realize that I'm nowhere close to being done. I'm sufficiently wired to keep on going, but my annoyance level is rising dramatically. Why the hell am I spending all this time fixing the client's work?!? How come I don't get paid overtime?!? I plod through, and before I know it I see the sun rising. Still, this project took me well PAST sunrise till freaking 12 noon. At the end of my long drawn out all-nighter (and all-morninger), I had that sense of euphoria, delirium and lightheadedness that can only come from a well balanced combination of caffeine, irritation, fatigue, and sense of accomplishment.

At 1:00PM on Friday, I was officially done and sent off my final product to the client. I was getting my second wind, but I knew I needed to sleep. Before going to sleep, I turned on the TV, and The Lake House was on. I defy you to start watching this movie and not finish it. So instead of going straight to sleep, I continued my caffeine-induced state for a couple more hours.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Rock on Jesus

It all started innocently a couple years ago. I was poking around iTunes for some new music, and I found this song "Incredible" by Darius. At the time, I thought it was so catchy and immediately added it to one of my Spinning mixes. Oh, when I say Spinning, I'm talking about Indoor Cycling. I happen to be a certified Spinning Instructor and have taught one or two classes as a sub. I couldn't pursue it as a real job though because unfortunately my employer didn't really give me time to go off and be Lance Armstrong. But I still went to class during my lunch breaks, and my coworkers could usually guess where I was going, except a couple of them didn't know what Spinning was. One day when I left, I overheard a friend of mine at work ask someone else, "What's Spinning class?" My friend told him, "Oh it's some DJ class that Terence takes."

Well obviously I am not DJ Terence by night (or maybe I am? Is that how people see me?) But little did my coworker know that I do have an inner-DJ in me. I have close to 100 Spinning mixes that are all carefully designed and mixed to provide a soundtrack to all of my workouts. And I like discovering new bands. So I was pretty pleased with myself when I "discovered" Darius. Pretty soon, I looked up the lyrics and was singing along to my new favorite song. If you were to ask me though, what exactly I was singing, I probably would have had a pretty tough time telling you. I often don't really pay attention to the lyrics when I'm singing a song. That's why you can hear me sing the words to Spanish songs, even though I don't speak a word of Spanish. It's usually after a few listens that I start to listen because at that point, I've gotten sick of just humming the tune, and want to learn the lyrics.

So for a few days, my latest tune du jour was this new song, "Incredible" by Darius. After a few days, I had done gone through my 5,000 repeat cycles of that song (omg, THAT used to drive my old roommate crazy) and began to really read the lyrics. A couple of the lyrics go "You are incredible. You are amazing," and the rest of the song is more cheesy stuff like that, making me think this was a romantic love song. I got more curious, and looked up some info on the band. That's when I discovered that I had inadvertently become a fan of a Christian Rock band!

I've always thought the idea of "Christian Rock" to be an oxymoron. Regular rock music is kind of "rebellious" music against your parents, the government or whoever you want to put in the role of the "establishment."

But Christian Rock praises Jesus, and I am not a Jesus-praiser by any stretch. I'm the type of person who would call having the exact amount of juice left in my ipod for my run at the gym my path towards official sainthood. This actually did happen to me. At the exact moment of the end of my 25 minute run on the treadmill, my ipod died. When I saw my friend later in the day, I told him, "I experienced a miracle at the gym today" with the same amount of seriousness and gravity you would use to announce a family tragedy.

I considered this new affinity for the music of the religious right as just a fluke. I kept picturing those delusional looking girls I've seen on those crazy televangelist shows swaying back and forth, singing the exact same type of lyrics that I found myself singing. It didn't stop with the folks from Darius. I realized I had plenty of Christian Rock hits in my iTunes library. Jars of Clay, Ronan Keating and Everyday Sunday (how the hell did I miss that that was a Christian Rock group!?!) have also found their way into my spinning mixes.

I'm just so embarrassed about this. Christian Rock is much more incriminating than my love of R&B. At least I haven't gone into a record store and asked "Where's your Christian Rock section?" You could substitute "Ultra-thin Tampax Tampons" in that sentence, and it would make no difference.

But now, I have a new favorite song. And so I close this post with a video from Rascal Flatts singing the ultra-sappy "Bless the Broken Road." You'd probably find these guys in the Country music section, rather than Christian Rock, but these guys are close enough. Besides, I suppose if I'm a 29 year old guy who likes the music of teenage black girls and Jesus worshipers, I might as well embrace the music of country hillbillies too.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Com*uter Hazards

S*illing coffee all over my keyboard, not to mention all over my desk and the floor underneath it, made me realize how it really sucks not to be able to ty*e a certain letter. Let's just say that it's the letter that *oughkeepsie, *aul *rudhomme, and *otato all begin with. Good thing I don't need to ty*e, "*eter *i*er *icked a *e**er."

Friday, January 12, 2007

I Need Cheese

I've been wanting to make this recipe that I cut from the Times for Finnish Meatballs, and the recipe calls for some Gouda cheese. But I haven't seen my crush in a week! Where'd he go? Maybe he's on vacation. Damn. I hope he's just on vacation or something. I knew I should have bought more cheese last time I saw him.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Most Exciting Moment of TCho's Life in 2006 (Confessional #3: I Love TV)

By now, it should be no secret to my readers that I'm addicted to TV and am completely unashamed of my addiction. When people tell me "I don't watch TV" or "I don't have a TV", I'm like "Who the fuck doesn't watch TV? What the hell do you do at night?" If anything, TV is important to my mental health, since I meet so few interesting people in real life, and choose instead to bond with characters from a sitcom.

I jest, of course. Believe it or not, sometimes while I'm watching TV, I actually do think "I could be doing something a lot more constructive. I'm a smart guy who could get so much more accomplished if I get up off this couch." But then the commercials end and the show comes back on, and I'm back to my happy, catatonic state.

So because of my love for TV, I couldn't write a year end review without a category dedicated to TV. In 2006, I got DVR! I got it through my cable company because I didn't feel like buying the official Tivo unit. And I am so happy with it. No more commercials; no more fiddling with recording shows on my VCR or my elaborate calendar, and most importantly no more missing my favorite shows. DVR has changed my life. Although, I do feel left out because my DVR doesn't have the "blub, blub.....ka-CHONG" sounds that Mr. Tivo makes. Plus if I had Tivo, I could have had a cute title to this post like "I'vo got Tivo" or maybe "We'vo got Tivo." But that latter title doesn't quite work since I live alone.

And that concludes my 2006 review. Thanks for reading! Now I'm ready to catch up with the rest of the world in 2007.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Biggest Disappointment of 2006: Bode Miller

Bode Miller came into the Turin Olympics as the most hyped athelete, sure to win gold at multiple downhill events. But after several disappointing runs, including a disqualification and a DNF, Bode disappointed American and enraged the entire country.

To me, the athletes at the Olympics never really let their countries down. The Olympic movement is about as idealistic as the Nike advertising budget. So I didn't really have a problem with this slalom slacker partying it up "olympically" (yes, Bode found a way to turn the Olympics into an adverb) till dawn. But, geez, this guy has a big mouth. Earlier, before the Olympics, Bode told 60 Minutes, Time, Rolling Stone, and Newsweek that he frequently was drunk off his ass on the day of a race. While, I didn't think that was that bad, he went on to say a few weeks later that Lance Armstrong, Barry Bonds and a lot of other athletes "knowingly" cheated by taking performance-enhancing drugs. OMG. Is there a mute button on this guy?

To be fair, who wouldn't want to live the life that Bode lives? In 2005, he became the first American to win skiing's overall World Cup title in 22 years. What does that mean? Simply put, he's the best skier on the planet. And to get paid over a million dollars year to kick ass at skiing, while partying hard in some of the coolest towns in the world and meeting lots of girls is a life that I'm sure many guys would kill for. When he left Turin, he told reporters:
"The expectations were other people's. I'm comfortable with what I've accomplished, including at the Olympics. I wanted to have fun here, to enjoy the Olympic experience, not be holed up in a closet and not ever leave your room. I got to party and socialize at an Olympic level. I just did it my way. I'm not a martyr, and I'm not a do-gooder. I just want to go out and rock. And man, I rocked here."
Ok, he's not a martyr. I'll give him that. And I don't really mind that all he really got accomplished at the Olympics was lots of drinking and getting laid. In fact part of me applauds him for being real and unapologetic for his desire to just have fun. He was actually kind of endearing. But you won't see me proudly displaying my Bode Miller jersey anytime soon because Bode and his "Let's go get a beer!" mantra got old really fast. Like you do when you drink, I think Bode should have been thinking moderation. Before the Olympics, Bode was charmed with the image of a normal all-American (and can I say HOT) guy blessed with limitless skiing talent. But he really abused that image by showing up to races wasted, making moronic statements to the media, and just acting like a complete ass. I think the whole world including his own fellow Americans began to just see him as another selfish American, another potent symbol of our self-satisfied society.

I have nothing against athletes who are human, rather than sport-playing robots. But I do have a problem with spoiled famous people who act passive aggressive and whine that all they want is to be left alone. In Bode's words:
"Some people say I make mistakes. i just say that in fact this is the secret of enjoying life. I hate monotony. Why don't they leave me freedom of choice? People want to impose choices which aren't necessarily mine. That's the mistake people make."
What bugs me so much about Bode Miller in 2006 is that he just came off as a complete and utter retard, and an ungrateful one at that. His whole performance just smacked of no effort, while some poor guy is sitting back home in the U.S. wanted to kick Bode's ass for losing his spot to a guy who acts like he isn't even trying. And furthermore, cheering for him would be a pointless exercise because I would want to to extend any of my expectations on him, since Bode only listens to what Bode wants to do, and not anyone else.

Anyhow, if there's a silver lining to all of this, at least Bode didn't ask more from others than he was willing to contribute himself. He really just acted like a jackass last year, which is ironic, since a jackass would have done better than he did at the Olympics.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Best Investment of 2006: Arugula

Of course I had to have a year-end post about food, given all my food knowledge and general love of food. Earlier in September of last year, the nation had a spinach scare due to some pesky e. Coli found in some bagged spinach (total aside: I can't look at bacteria the same way ever since watching Nick Park's bacteria on Creature Comforts). As a result, spinach was taken off the shelves in grocery stores and from restaurant menus across the nation and you could hardly find it anywhere. People shunned it while looking for another leafy green to satisfy their Popeye craving. Enter arugula. I've actually always been surprised how many people have never heard of arugula. I remember asking a friend of mine (who lives in New Jersey, so not exactly the boonies), if he liked arugula. He replied, "What's arugula?" Granted, this was the same person who asked me "Why don't you just say 'cornmeal'" when I was explaining to him what polenta is.

As a result of the spinach scare, our nation's green leaf gurus decided to introduce America to Arugula. So, like Deena from Dreamgirls, Arugula stole spinach's thunder and emerged as a star. As the scare continued, farmers couldn't grow enough arugula, and you began to see dishes like "Arugula Salad" and "Sauteed Arugula" at Fridays and Chili's, the surest sign that America was ready for this bitter green.

You might have thought that Youtube was last year's best investment, but I would have put my money on arugula.

P.S., I realize that I'm a little late with finishing my 2006 review, but I just have two more topics! Then I'll join the rest of the world in 2007.