Back to Life

May 30, 2007

Vegas was nuts, I stayed up way too late and drank too much and walked around in the heat too much. We did go see Ka by Cirque de Soleil, which was unbelievable and definitely worth every penny. Then we went to see a hypnotist. I had high hopes that it would be as funny as the show I saw in D.C. Instead, it was just about making people look stupid by putting them in sexually loaded situations- like trying out for a stripper job or working as a porn star. Not my favorite.

Over all, I would have to say it was an interesting trip. We stayed at New York New York. Next time I would stay at either the Venetian or the Mirage, they were both beautiful and at a good location in the middle of the strip. We had an unbelievable lunch at the Venetian.

We also rode all three ride on top of the Stratosphere. That was pretty fun. All in all, I know I will be back in Vegas at some point, but hopefully not in the next few years. I've been there twice in two years, I'm ready to visit Europe or other places. Vegas is nice, but I really could never live there.

Vegas, baby, Vegas

May 25, 2007

Well, we're off tonight to visit sin city. Hubby's parents wanted to get remarried by Elvis for their 30th wedding anniversary and they wanted us all there. Seeing as they got remarried by him for their 25th, they decided to cancel the actual wedding festivites, so now it's just a family trip to Vegas.

Things I plan to do in Vegas? Lay in the sun by the pool, get a massage, workout in their gym facility, see Cirque du Soliel, visit various casinos that we didn't get to see last time we were there like the Luxor, the Bellagio, MGM Grand, etc just to see how they look- I'm a sucker for good set design. I'm not planning on doing much gambling, not my style. I'm sure hubby will make up for my abstinence, though. He can gamble, I'll be in the bar drinking mojitos and eating ceviche...

Now I'm off to the bank, I gotta drop off the dog at the kennel, etc... lots to get done to button up around here.

Fortune Profiles Gen Y

May 23, 2007

There's an interesting article in this month's Fortune Magazine profiling the Gen Y worker. It's a little scary how exactly I fit in to Gen Y even though I'm just on the cusp of Gen X (they define Gen Y as those people born between 1977-1995). Aside from being a little freaked out at being grouped as a generation with 12 year olds, they are pretty spot on about how we look and how we work, but I'm not so sure about the way they think we're SO attached to our parents. Read the article here.

Some of the things I think they're spot on about me are:

As the rest of the nation agonizes over obesity, Gen Yers always seem to be at the gym. More than a third of 18- to 25-year-olds surveyed by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press have a tattoo, and 30 percent have a piercing somewhere besides their earlobe. But those are considered stylish, not rebellious.

And speaking of fashion, this isn't a group you'll catch in flannel. They're all about quiet kitsch - a funky T-shirt under a blazer, artsy jewelry, silly socks - small statements that won't cause trouble. The most important decorations, though, are electronic - iPods, BlackBerrys, laptops - and they're like extra limbs. Nothing is more hilarious than catching a Gen Yer in public without one of those essentials. Let's just say most wouldn't have lasted long on Walden Pond.

AGGGHHHH! That is so me, artsy jewelry, tattoo, laptop, blackberry, iPod. But it's more than just the superficial stuff that they pick up on, it's also our work ethic.

They're ambitious, they're demanding and they question everything, so if there isn't a good reason for that long commute or late night, don't expect them to do it. When it comes to loyalty, the companies they work for are last on their list - behind their families, their friends, their communities, their co-workers and, of course, themselves.

Wow, I work from home. I moved away from Manhattan because I was sick of it and when I resigned from my job there I told them that one of the things I wanted was to be able to work from Jersey. And I loathe working past 6pm. I mean, this is me precisely...

"I had a conversation with the CFO of a big company in New York," says Tamara Erickson, co-author of the 2006 book "Workforce Crisis," "and he said, 'I can't find anyone to hire who's willing to work 60 hours a week. Can you talk to them?' And I said, 'Why don't I start by talking to you? What they're really telling you is that they're sorry it takes you so long to get your work done.'"

This is a really interesting article. They go a little into some weird stuff like how Gen Y-ers are supposedly really attached to home and parents, some companies apparently invite the parents to recruiting sessions or to final interviews or first days at work. That sounds a little sick to me. They talk about how Gen Y-ers will move back home at the drop of a hat and some have never left... That's a little out there to me as someone who moved out at 18 and never looked back, though my brother-in-law lived with his parents (even after he was married) until he was about 27, so I guess there's some truth in it.

Anyway, it's worth a read. I wish I could compare this article with one about Gen X. Weren't they the slackers? I wonder what they thought would happen with their generation. I wonder if they predicted that they would get stuck in middle management positions with inflated titles (I have several friends who are Vice Presidents of something or other with only one person under them). I wonder if they predicted that they would be trapped under the Baby Boomers who refuse to retire and free up some of the executive positions...

And here's the thing that really sealed my thoughts on it. I am a Gen Y-er because of this:

Big headphones
A boombox for the ears, because even Jessica Simpson is better with bass (and they look good).

Hipster clothes
Jeans, sneakers, hoodie - and a jacket? Behold, the new corporate uniform.

Yoga mat
He isn't a Gen Y if he isn't into "wellness."

It's how Gen Y does work. Who needs the office when you've got cafes, parks and your own living room?

Designer coffee
Half-caf, nonfat, short, tall and sometimes not coffee at all, it's a Gen Y staple.

E-mail is only the beginning. Gen Y craves connection, and these gadgets are the fix.

Digital camera
A must for Gen Yers to chronicle their fascinating lives (and post them all over cyberspace).

The identifying mark of the Gen Y flock. Enough said.

Ben Folds' Bitches Ain't Shit

May 22, 2007

In the same vein as that Alanis Morissette remake of "My Humps," Ben Folds has gone and remade Dr. Dre's & Snoop Dogg's song "Bitches Ain't Shit." It's excellent. Now, remind me why Don Imus got in trouble for his one line when Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg are spouting off for 4 entire minutes like this? That's what I thought.

El Mariachi & Lifting Weights

May 21, 2007

I had a nice weekend. Starting on Friday night we went to Westfield, which is a very cute town about 30 minutes away. We needed to pick up one of our regulators from a scuba shop there, so we used that occasion to go to dinner in a different town. It was really nice!

The houses and neighborhoods around the town remind me of Dilworth or Myers Park (not very helpful references for those of you not from Charlotte...) but the downtown is full of shops you would see in a mall, like Coach and Pea in the Pod, etc. It reminds me of Englewood a little bit, but cuter (not a very helpful reference if you're not from northern NJ). It's what Hoboken is trying NOT to be, I think Hoboken is trying to keep reasonable rents for the stores on Washington Street so that it doesn't just become huge franchises.

Later we came home and watched Corpse Bride, which was much better than I had anticipated it being. I avoided it in the theater because the character played by Johnny Depp looked just like him and I thought it would annoy me like the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (some movies just don't need to be remade, they were as good as they needed to be the first time around).

Anyway, Saturday we went down to Dutch Springs to try out the DUI dry suits at DUI Dry suit Day. Later we met up with our friends Jeff and Anna and had a nice little dinner at a hibatchi/sushi place nearby.

Sunday was a little cool and rainy. Hubby went diving and I laid on the couch and watched TV. If you haven't seen it, I recommend you check out The Mariachi. I got it from NetFlix and managed to watch it in Spanish with Spanish subtitles, which was really nice. I love it when movies include subtitles in Spanish. The we followed that up with the latest episode of The Sopranos- man, what's up with that? That show is getting crazy.

I started working out with a personal trainer last week. So far so good. He's helping me do weights (which is my least favorite thing). He's from Mexico, so we're doing the training sessions in Spanish to help with my vocabulary around sports and exercise. If I've never had to talk about it, I don't have the vocabulary for it. Before I started working with him, all I knew was corrida for "run." I'm getting there...

"Safe Kids" is not Good TV

May 17, 2007

This is hilarious! Straight from What Would Tyler Durden Do.

Sea Monster 1, Pirate Ship 0

May 16, 2007

Productive Weekend

May 15, 2007

The weekend began early on Friday, when hubby came home from work a little early. We went to the electronics store to talk to the guy about outdoor speakers for the pool area. We left with an order in for two "granite" speakers- the kind that look like rocks. Then we headed over to the tattoo shop where I got to watch hubby turn pale and whinge as he got a full back piece of a sea monster taking down a ship. (I'll post a picture soon). Then we grabbed a quick slice of pizza and I went off to a swing dance.

Saturday we had a huge yard sale and made almost $700! Then we went to HomoDepot (as we call it) and got some landscaping lights to put around the pool with the two "granite" speakers. Then I proceeded to watch two excellent netflix movies in a row, Wetback , a documentary about people trying to immigrate to the US from Central America, and Amar te Duele, a modern day Romeo and Juliet story set in Mexico City.

Sunday we did a little puttering around the yard, I did some weeding a pruning and hubby took the last load of clippings to the recycling center. Then we shoved a wiring snake down these tubes that the previous owners left in the yard for wiring to see where they went- that was fun... Then we went to the mother-in-law's and hung out, then dinner and a quick stop by some friends' house.

All in all, it was a nice weekend. Sounds lame, probably, like in Old School when Will Ferrell tells those kids about their nice day planned tomorrow, Home Depot and if there's any time left over, Bed Bath and Beyond! I guess I'm officially a yuppie, ugh...


May 11, 2007


May 10, 2007

While we were in Playa del Carmen walking through the main park by the ferry, we ran across a woman selling Ciruelas. We'd never seen anything like it! They were little, hard, green fruits about the size of a key lime, but clearly not citrus. I asked her what they were and she said they were "Ciruelas."

Anna and I exchanged looks and decided to buy a little bag of them. The woman selected a bag, opened it and asked, "Do you want salt?" I told her, "Sure, we want them however people eat them. We've never seen them before." Then she asked if we wanted lime juice on them. Of course we wanted lime juice, isn't that how people eat them? Then she asked if we wanted chili. Um, yeah!

So we walked away with the little bag of ciruelas to see what delicious concoction she had just prepared for us. They were some what hard with a little pit in the middle, so we bit off the flesh around it (this was after I asked her if we were supposed to peel them). They were so unbelievably bitter that it not only made your mouth pucker, but it made your tongue feel furry. Anna and I each ate one and decided that we would save the special ciruelas for our friend Miguel whom we were meeting when we got back to Cozumel that evening.

Over drinks with Miguel we told him that we had a special gift for him and presented him with the ciruelas. "Oh, ciruelas, great! I can eat all of those and get diarrhea!" was his response.

This morning I finally looked up what the english word for "Ciruela" is. Apparently we were eating green, as in unripe, plums with salt, lime and chili powder. Mmmm.... interesting.

A Quick Trip to Old Mexico

May 9, 2007

I just got back from a week in Mexico with some friends. It was a great trip, we did a lot of diving and margarita drinking and sun tanning, but we also talked a lot to some locals about life there and I got to flex my Spanish muscles.

Here's everybody at dinner:

The first part of the week we were with a group of people from our dive shop. Some of them were getting open water certified, some were getting advanced certifications, and some were just along for the good time. After a couple days of squeezing in as many dives as possible and group dinners, everyone went back to the US except for me and my friend Anna, so we got to hang out and kick it vacation style (Anna was the instructor, so her vacation didn't really start till all the students went home).

Here's Mike, Mike and Anna at dinner:

Anna and I latched on to a local and learned about an ongoing religious festival in the other town on Cozumel, El Cedral. The festival lasts about a week and is basically like a state fair, only they have cock fights and bull fights, horse racing and boxing matches, etc. in addition to rides for the kids, art exhibits, live music, games, food and drinking.

We spent some time watching the cock fight. The roosters they were using were rather small and had been plucked from the center of their back down to their toes. They had about a two inch strip of feathers down their spine that had been trimmed, feathers on their heads, wings and tails. We were told that the size of the rooster depends on the size of the ring. In this case it was a small ring and small roosters. I was offered a seat, which was nice, though the view wasn't great from where I was seated. I did snap this picture which shows both roosters, though my camera decided to focus on the back of the guy in front of me, so I had to alter it a little to be able to really see the roosters. I don't know what was in the air that made the dust spots- could have been the roosters stirring up the dust:

There were lots of people filming it with cameras and using their camera phones to snap pictures. Lots of people were also making a strange sound, somewhere between a cluck and a kiss sound, that supposedly makes the roosters angrier. You're supposed to bet money casually with the person next to you if you want to. I didn't bet money, but I called which rooster I thought would win. Here's a picture of the other rooster chasing my rooster when my rooster chickened out (ha ha, get it?):

When they prepare a rooster for the fight, they remove a little digit or nub on the back of each leg and replace it with either a knife or a pick depending on the size of the rooster and the size of the ring. For this fight they were getting picks. We stood right over the guy who attaches the picks. Apparently it's a very specialized job because if the pick comes off and the rooster loses because of it, people will be very angry since they tend to bet money (and sometimes a lot of money). So we watched him file the spot and attach the pick with some sort of resin that had to be melted over a flame. The he uses some thin white tape to go around the pick and the rooster's leg. On top of the tape he puts thread that he wraps around several times. Then he puts the resin on top of the thread, covering it all the way around the rooster's leg. After that they wash the rooster with water and give him a little to drink and they're ready!

The coolest thing about El Cedral is that we only saw 4 other tourists. I thought I would feel uncomfortable being all American looking, but I didn't feel uncomfortable at all! It was nothing like the time that hubby and I walked into the Columbian breakfast joint in the next town over from us in Jersey and we were the only white people there. It was like the record scratched off and everyone turned around to stare!

Anyway, later in the week we went to dinner with a friend of ours from the dive shop. He took us to his mom's house and she cooked us a real Mexican dinner. She's a little Mayan woman who speaks only Maya and Spanish. The food was awesome! She made Chiles Rellenos stuffed with beef and raisins and topped with a red sauce, another chile and cheese dish using the same type of chile as as the Chiles Rellenos, Rice, Beans, Spaghetti, and tortilla chips. She makes her own tortilla chips by cutting flour tortillas into triangles and frying them. For dessert she made a nice Flan that had another name that I can't remember. We learned a lot about their family, saw some family pictures and learned about Maya cures for ailments and sacrifices to the land and whatnot. It was really a memorable night.

When we got back to this hotel we saw this hoppy toad that we thought was a statue. It wasn't! He was huge- there's nothing to compare him to in the photo, but trust me. Actually, he's standing in front of a step, that's some reference.

All in all, it was a very nice trip. I had a great time and I think my Spanish really improved! I've been trying to watch some Spanish TV every day to keep up the progress I made.

Here are some pictures from the trip hubby and I made in February to check out Playa del Carmen. Here we are at the ruins in Tulum followed by two shots of the cenote we went to swim in, El Jardín de Eden.

Tupac and Elvis might be roommates

May 3, 2007

I love this skit from Dave Chappelle- it's gotta be the funniest one he did...

I Love New York

I'm really glad the '80s are coming back in fashion. This video pretty much sums up every thing I love about New York... I can't wait to get my hair done like this...

All I have to say is, "Betty, why ah we heah?"