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An F5 Refresh of my Mental Browser

An F5 Refresh of my Mental Browser

Amid scarce fanfare and scant publicity, I’d like to formally announce my temporary resignation from engineering. “Temporary”, say you? Well…I suppose so. Could it be permanent? Perhaps. Likely? A shrug of the shoulders “I dunna know”. In a few months, I very well could find myself on the figurative corner begging for enough change to hail a cab to pay the professional succubus of engineering a late night visit. For now though, I’m a week and a half removed from the only career I’ve known for the past 5 years.

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Some Inconsiderate Cat Will Get Sucker Punched

Some Inconsiderate Cat Will Get Sucker Punched

25 hours, 2 stops, and two 5 hour layovers in between. That pretty much encapsulates my Labor Day.

Actually, as of right now, I’m actually writing this from CDG (Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris). The flight to Atlanta departs in about 3 hours, so I got nothing but time to kill. I’ve been to this airport a few times…and…the Airport Nazi is impressed. At least as far as the terminal that I’m in (2E). Not too shabby…not too shabby at all.

More airports need to offer free Wi-Fi. Seriously. I understand the business of making money…

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My New and Updated iPhone Mobile Site

My New and Updated iPhone Mobile Site

If you so feel inclined, check out my new and updated iPhone mobile site layout.  It’s definitely more sleek and user friendly than the previous template I was using.  Check out the screenshot below. Comments are welcome. Let me know how it displays on other mobile phones as well (Wackberries, Androids, etc.).

If you so feel inclined, check it out on your mobile phone.


Enlightened Times of Juno Email

Enlightened Times of Juno Email

Buckle your chastity belts folks…I’m about to penetrate the born-again virginity of randomness like no other before.

Here I am, a few days away from finishing another 3 week stint out in the Middle Easy. Prior to this visit, I had been back in the States 2 weeks following a previous 3 week stint out in the Easy. Needless to say, the past few months have been a blur. It’s difficult to explain…but…

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A Few Undercooked Falafels

A Few Undercooked Falafels

So, my reward for my 3 week servitude out in the Middle Easy is this. Is it worth it? Maybe. I’ve been out here on the coast for 4 days and this is the first chance I’ve gotten at actually sitting on the beach and relaxing. Every night this week, I’ve been getting home past 9 or 10pm, so I haven’t had nary a chance to let my toes get a little O2 and my mind some fresh air. This right here, my friends, is THE glamor life. I’m glad I at least got a chance to get a few hours out here and appreciate the scenery.

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Alice Wouldn’t Dare Slip and Stumble

Alice Wouldn’t Dare Slip and Stumble

From the Middle Easy, I raise my hand and salute you “Salaam”.

Due to the nature of my profession, I can’t exactly make you cool cats keen to where exactly I’m currently at.  Let’s just say that I’m in the Middle East.  In the desert.  Vague enough for you?  Don’t worry, I ain’t no Top Secret super spy or anything.  It’s not like I’ll merck your insipid caboose for reading this.

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Painstakingly Trite and Abundantly Cliche

Painstakingly Trite and Abundantly Cliche

Clark Howard’s blabbering away on the telly (imploring folks to refrain from giving out their social security number) while a toddler’s irrepressible cadence of cries resonate in the background of Gate 29 at the William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, TX.

I am headed back to the A after spending another week in the Boondocks for a site startup in the wonderful, glamourless city of Franklin, TX.

I, momentarily, am back from a nearly 6 month hiatus from this blog.  I know, I know…6 months.  Wow.  I’ve gone a month or two before without blogging nary a syllable, but I can’t recollect the last time I spent 6 months away from my blog.  As I’ve mentioned before, in one of my previous feeble attempts to justify my literary absence, I’ve become the deadbeat daddy of this blog.  I haven’t paid a single dime of viral alimony during my absence.

You must be repeatedly slitting your wrists wondering what the root cause of my hiatus has been, huh?  My reason is painstakingly trite and abundantly cliche.  The reason for the neglect of this blog has been my job.  The last 6 months of my professional career have inhibited my versatility as a human being.  I’ve become one dimensional.  I’ve become so inundated with work that I’ve had little time to devote to anything else.  15, 16 hour work days no longer intimidate me.  I’m not exactly sure if that’s a good thing or not.  My initial analysis is that I don’t ever want to grow accustomed to burning the midnight oil…literally.  How folks work these crazy hours for decades is beyond me.  With as much time as I’ve spent bent over the past 6 months, KY should make me their new spokesperson.  Work has diluted my literary inspiration to an incomprehensibly low level.  I haven’t felt motivated to blog in months.  In the sparse moments where random thoughts playfully tickled my brain stem begging for written exaltation, I found myself too exhausted to even put the effort forth to open up my laptop.  I’ve become a slave to my job.  I never thought that day would come.  Never.  I always swore to myself that I wouldn’t become “that overworked guy”.  Things cannot continue this way…and believe you me…they won’t.  The professional okie doke is looming.  I ain’t saying…but I’m saying…is alls I’m saying.

Anyways, random thoughts are droppin’ ‘bows on one another in my mind fighting for space in the forefront.  Enough with the depressing job talk.  I’m not the first to be dissatisfied and I won’t be the last…

Washington, D.C.  I’ve been there 3 times in the past 6 months.  Let me preface the following by stating that I’m a big fan of the city and will probably return again several times (2 of my close friends will be residing in the DC area for the next few years).  D.C.’s a great city…but…but…why does everything close so damn early?  At 2 o’ clock, clubs and bars shut down.  Literally.  I’m sure there are a few exceptions to the rule, but the majority…no…all of the places that I’ve been to in my past 3 visits have closed at 2am (or earlier).  They don’t even consider having the decency to allow you to meander around for another half hour or so afterwards.  Nope…that hat isn’t in their wardrobe.  They want their joints completely empty at 2am.  There must’ve been a massive gang rape/drive-by/mass homicide that’s sculpted the nightlife circumstances of D.C. to where they are now.  And to think…the city has so much potential to be a legendary party town.

We were at a spot last weekend that turned on the lights at 1:40am.  1:40am!  Are you kidding me?  That’s ridiculous.  New York…it ain’t.  Shit…Atlanta…it ain’t.  We got spots that close early-ish…but most joints in The A will perform last call at 2am and officially close at 2:30am or shortly thereafter.  Moreoever, there are more than a couple of spots in the city that allow you to party past 3.  Besides that shortcoming, overall, D.C. is pretty dope.  Thumbs up from me, mon frere.  D.C. can be on the expensive side, but the plethora of diverse establishments that exist in such a small area compensate for that.  Like any town, cheaper options can always be found.  I might spend some time in B-More the next time I’m out there.  My boy swears by all porn sites considered holy to him that B-More is worth visiting.

The Pacific Northwest.  More specifically the Northern Oregon-Southern Washington area (think Portland).  Stunning.  Unequivocally the most beautiful area of the United States I’ve ever seen.  Ironically, the Pacific Northwest has been the site of my 2 worst startup experiences over the course of the past 6 months.  Those 2 professional experiences have contributed greatly to the fact that I feel burnt out.  So, even though I was in this beautiful part of the country, I could barely enjoy it…besides the half hour drive I had from my hotel to the plant.  However, with all that being said, that area of the country is as scenic as anything you’ll find anywhere else in the States.  Evergeen trees and mountains.  That’s a simplistic way of describing that are of the country, but…essentially…that’s what it consists of.  It is a sight to behold, trust me on that.  Massive Evergreen trees are everywhere (Washington is know as “The Evergreen State”).  Everywhere.  I even saw a couple of homes that had Evergreen trees on their front yard…ON THEIR FRONT YARD!  Unbelievable.  I’ve never seen anything like that.  The major…major downside of that area is the weather.  The rumor that “it always rains out there” holds more merit than you’d believe. For much of the year, cloudy and rainy conditions are an everyday thing.  I’m not joking.   I was out there for nearly 3 weeks total and it probably rained or was cloudy for 80% of the time.  Although, locals swear that the summers are amazing.  When the sun did make a guest appearance or two, the sunlight would illuminate the natural beauty of the area…only to be immediately shrouded again by ominous clouds and perpetual precipitation.  Another thing I learned about Oregon was that they don’t utilize a sales tax on any good.  Even on food.  So, if you order a 79 cent bean burrito…you pay 79 cents.  Now that, mon frere, popped the canister of my thermos.  Genius.  Genius, I tell ya!  It may just be a ploy to get folks to move out there…but still…mad respect to the political representatives of Oregon who decided that.  Mad respect.

Of all the places I’ve been over the years, I’ve never once step foot in Las Vegas.  Times a changin’, though.  Next month, the weekend before Memorial Day, a group of friends and I are headed to Sin City to celebrate a cousin’s bday/bachelor’s party.  I’m curious to see what all the fuss about Vegas is.  Will it be as opulent as described to me by several friends and associates?  I don’t know.  I’ll reserve judgment until we step foot in our hotel.  However, I am excited about seeing what the Vegas experience will be like.  The good, the bad, the crazy.  All of it.  Believe you me, my friends and I are not jonesing to live it up and ball out of control.  I am in a financial position where I can let loose a little and spend decent money…but…why?  After all, as if the Honda Accord wasn’t proof enough, I’m Guju.  Why pay hundreds of dollars to get VIP into a club when I’m more than comfortable with waiting hours in line with bootleggers and scallywags to have a minimal shot at getting in free?  Shit…I always take my chances.  Nightclubs in Vegas even advertise “cut line” tickets that you can buy in advance for $60 (or more).  Basically, you can buy these tickets so you don’t have to wait in line.  However, you’ll still be partying with the minions and peasants who waited in line for general admission (your present company included).  $60 to cut a line?  Yo, on the real, I done been to my fair share of hip-hip aka “were gonna make your ass wait for hours in the balls hibernating cold to get in only to double the price of admission when you get to the front door” parties.  Waiting ain’t but a thang to me.  Word on the street is that the club called XS in the Encore hotel is one of the dopest clubs on the surface of the Earth.  I can already foresee us waiting for 2+ hours to get in only to be denied admission because we’ve got more sausage amongst us than an Italian deli (Baldino’s anyone?).  Regardless, we trudge on optimistically with faint hopes of limited complications and minimal rejections.

I swear uncommitted allegiance to doing a better job at keeping this blog updated.

Have I Missed my Spot in the Rotation of the Passing of the Crack Pipe?

Have I Missed my Spot in the Rotation of the Passing of the Crack Pipe?

Here I am, 10,000+ miles in the air on the way to the Left Coast (‘Frisco) and I’m listening to the Phillies vs. Yankees World Series game and blogging.  I know Wi-Fi on airplanes ain’t nothing new, but the fact that I’m surfing the ‘net AND getting my sports fix on has popped my top.  So, for anyone that ain’t in the know, Delta is offering free Wi-Fi on any of their flights until 12/31/2009 (use promo code “DELTATRYGOGO”).  It’s supposed to limit you to only one free day of usage, but if you finagle the system (as in using different usernames, emails, etc.), then you can pretty much get it free every time you fly.  You could literally have free Wi-Fi on every domestic Delta flight until the end of the year (which is what I’m planning to do).  So, even though I LOATHE Delta, I may consider flying them again before the end of the year just because of that very fact.  We’ll see.  My hate runs deep…but has been known to be fickle in the past  (except for Quicken Loans – “Yes, Quicken Loans deserve to die…”).

By the way, on a not-so-random, thought out, and hypocritical rant, Delta can see these.  Didn’t they file for bankruptcy just a few years ago?  Yet, here they are, charging more for amenities than anyone.  Anything Delta can charge for – they will.  If a scenario exists where Delta can find a way to legally pickpocket you, they will.  Let’s just say that if Delta bumps into you on the subway, you better start patting yourself down and make sure you still have your wallet on you.  Any way Delta can take money from you, they will attempt to.  Case in point, if you want to cancel a flight, Delta will refund you the monetary amount for the segment of your ticket.  Here’s the catch, in order to re-book using that credit, they will charge you a $150 “re-booking” fee.  Ain’t that ’bout a coked-out bitch?  That’s just one example.  Another being that they charge $20 per checked-in luggage.  The airline standard is $15.  I know they ain’t the first and they won’t be the last…but c’mon.  You just filed for friggin’ BANKRUPTCY a few years ago!  Shouldn’t you be trying your best to appease customers and attract new customers?  I know you have to make your money somewhere, but really?  Who I am to bitch though?  I eschewed the hate, disdain, and bitter distaste for Delta and decided to fly with them anyways.  You know what they say…money talks…bullshit walks.

So, here I am, listening to the Phillies vs. Yankees World Series broadcast on my iPhone and writing this blog on my laptop.  The only reason I am listening to the World Series on my iPhone is because I can’t on my laptop.  Most professional sports organizations do not allow the live online streaming of their sporting events.  It’s a legal agreement they’ve made with the radio world.  Some professional leagues, such as Major League Baseball, offer online paid subscriptions that will allow you to listen to any game at any time over the internet.  I, being the acclaimed bootlegger that I am, downloaded the MLB.com cracked app from Installous (if you don’t know, your ignant ass betta ask somebody) on my iPhone and am able to listen to it live on my iPhone.  It’s ridiculous that you can’t listen to games online.  What if you’re abroad and want to catch a live audio feed of your favorite team’s next match?  S.O.L is what you’d be…well, unless you’re willing to sacrifice any dignity you have and PAY for what should be free.  Paying for what I can find for free is an absurd idea I will never fully comprehend (nor do I want to).  Wait, wait wait…what’s that?  People STILL rent movies from Blockbuster?  People STILL buy CDs?  Have I missed my spot in the rotation of the passing of the crack pipe?

Anyways, I’m on my way to Oaktown to surprise my sister on her birthday.  Let’s hope that she isn’t an avid reader of this blog.  That’d be a dumbfuck move on my part, no?  My parents surprised her yesterday.  I implored my parents not to snitch on my surprise plans.  I told my moms, “Yo son…snitches get stitches.”  So, I, being the brilliant liar that I am, called my sis today to wish her a happy birthday and told her that I’m stuck in the boondocks of Texas.  I told her that I wish I could be there and celebrate the birthday with the entire family.  I’m a slick follicle…I know.  I lie like a shag rug.

That slurping sound you faintly hear is me sucking face and getting to 2nd base with Lady Technology.  If I chop my onions right, I may get to officially join the Mile High Club.  I may not even pull out.  TMI, I know.  Shit, no me importa.  Love knows no bounds…come to think of it, neither does lust.

Forget all that, I’m just glad to be done with work for the week.  Bent over am I no more (well, at least for the week).  I worked past 10pm the past 2 nights.  For those that are counting, that’s 13+ hours both nights.  Puff, puff…I’d rather pass.  But…I had no choice.  I had to meet a project deadline.  So I bent over, lubed up, and took it like an amateur pornstar trying to make it in the industry.  No worries, I’m now headed to the wonderful Left Coast where vegetarian and vegan food is more a mainstay than a scarce commodity.

All them veggie joints are whispering sweet nothings in my ear.  I’ll be crappin’ tofu and pissin’ organic juice for the rest of the weekend.  Dreams DO come true (contrary to what my pops has hammered into my head).  I’m gonna meet up one of my old college buddies too (who’s doing a 1-year Masters program at Berkeley).  That dude is a funny cat.  I call him Ichiro (he’s half Japanese).  After graduation, he moved to Tokyo and was breakin’ 24-grain bread.  Cat was stackin’ (he worked at Lehman Bros.).  I vowed to him that I would visit him out in Tokyo, but never ended up going.  Money was tighter back then and tickets were way too expensive.  So, now that he’s returned to the States, I’m gonna visit him this weekend.  Do some catching up.  I remember him telling me years ago that “…flat screen TVs are like toilet paper in Japan…everyone has ’em.”  Funny guy.  Plus, he uttered one of the oddest threats I’ve ever heard a friend of mine direct at someone:  “I will eat your face!”.  Classic stuff.

I’ve become so accustomed to neglecting my blog that I don’t even feel the need to apologize nor make excuses anymore.

I’ve increasingly noticed over the past year that I’ve started to think more like an engineer in my life outside of work (something I thought would never happen).  I’ve always prided myself on being a liberal thinker, especially considering that I work in a geeked-out, technical profession.  Years ago, I was an emotional guy.  Not emotional in the sense that I weeped at any opportunity, but emotional in the sense that I felt more.  How exactly can I explain that?  Well, when someone pissed me off, I would get pissed off.  When something bad happened in my life, I’d labor over the why’s and how’s of the situation.  When things went well, I got excited; I let myself enjoy the moment.  Nowadays?  If something goes awry, I shrug my shoulders and console myself by muttering “such is life” to myself.  This is the coping mechanism I’ve developed over the years.  This system of mine prevents me from getting too amped when things are good and too depressed when things are bad.  Sometimes, I feel like a robot.  I think too logically.  I’ve become a discrete thinker.  Things always seem to be either a 0 or 1.  Black or white.  Gray doesn’t seem to be a color on the paint palette of my thoughts.  I don’t know.  Is it better to be emotionally swayed by the inertia of the moment or is it better to be indifferent?  If not indifferent, I’m at best ambivalent.  Shit, I don’t know.  Ideally, a balance between the two (rational and emotional thought) is ideal, but how can you achieve one without sacrificing the other?  I’m not exactly sure.  Again, these are just scatterbrained thoughts that are floating around in my George Lopez watermelon-sized head.  Do any of them merit any attention or legitimacy?  I don’t know.  Alls I knows is that I’ve changed the way in which I emotionally deal with things.  Whether I’ve consciously decided to take that approach is beyond me.  I just know that it’s gradually happened over the years.

I’ve been all over the place with this post.  I’m glad to see that I haven’t lost my erratic touch.

A Bootlegger’s Guide to Surviving the Recession in The A

A Bootlegger’s Guide to Surviving the Recession in The A

The title speaks for itself, no?  Well well well, my uniformed readers, I am here to enlighten you on various (bootleg) ways to financially survive the recession.  Now, here’s the thing:  this isn’t some kind of recycled, inapplicable guide that you’d find on Yahoo.com or whatever other website you use to inundate your mind with nonsensical rubbish.  This is simply a guide of sorts that will detail a few of the things that I’ve done to pocket a few extra pennies during these unpredictable times.  Consider me the frugal, bootleggin’ man’s Clark Howard.  Anyone who’s had the unfortunate experience of meeting me knows that I am enamored with any and everything that pertains to either the act of or knowledge of bootlegging.  So, if you’re the type of cat who doesn’t download music because of moral obligations and ethical restrictions, take your conservative leaning grill to another site or, at the least, Ctrl+T your ass to another tab.

I myself have fell victim to the succubus of financial temptations.  Funny as it may sound, I’ve finally reached a point in my life where I can drop a Benny Franklin at a club and not wake up the next day feeling as regretful as a desperate schmuck who just gave the shocker to a 5 peso Tijuana tranny.  I’ve finally gotten to the point in my life where I can splurge a little.  But, I’ve realized over the past few months that even I myself have to go back to the basics of saving.  I’ve gone astray of the ways that once defined me.  So, this may be an introductory lesson of sorts for your inquiring minds, but I also consider this a refresher course for myself.

Onwards we go…

Inebriation

Having a few drinks a few nights a week can place a significant dent in your wallet after a few months.  Drinks, as anyone who has had any in the city knows, can be expensive.  Especially mixed drinks.  I’ve long been a Crown Royale cat.  Crown and coke is my drink of choice.  But, ordering a Crown and Coke cocktail will cost you.  What are my viable alternatives, you ask?  Well, I could nix the ordering of cocktails and completely abstain from sippin’ the sinful syrup…but who the backflip are we kidding?  That, quite frankly, ain’t happenin’.  So, what’s the solution?  Well, one simple solution is to continue ordering cocktails, but with cheaper brands of alcohol.  Normally, in most situations, a Jack and Coke (as opposed to Hennessey or Crown Royale) can save you an average of $2/cocktail.  Mon frere, that adds up.  Plus, after you’ve guzzled down 4 or 5 of these, you won’t remember nor care what you are drinking.  You could be chasing down Mr. Boston’s Vodka jello shots with Schlitz and you wouldn’t even bat an inebriated eyelash.

But, if you’d rather sidestep the appetizer and head straight for the platter, then I have an alternative solution that’ll pop the top of your muffin.  Bring a flask with you.  Fill up your flask with whatever alcohol you have lying around.  Stick that mother in your backpocket, order a soda pop from the bar, and mix your drink in the bathroom stall.  No harm, no foul.  Plus, a majority of the clubs in Atlanta (think Primal, Opera, Cosmo/Lava, etc.) don’t offer the complementary security handjob that some other clubs do (Velvet, Esso, or any joint that caters to Black folk).  Don’t believe me?  Head over to Velvet Room tonight and see if you don’t “jizz in your pants” (click on the link – it is a HILARIOUS song and video) during the security check.  Anyways, I predominantly travel with flask to clubs.  There is really no downside – well…besides the probable sacrifice of your sensibilities and dignity.  But, loss of dignity aside, it’s a genius idea that will save you the cost of 2-4 drinks (depending on how strong you like your drinks).  Women, you have an even greater advantage.  You can jam your purses full of alcohol and tote around 2-3 flasks.  Let’s be honest ladies, it ain’t like all of you are fortunate enough to have some naive dumbfucks buy you drinks all the time.  Most of you, admittedly or not, have to purchase your own.  So, take on the task of toting a flask.  You will thank me tomorrow.

The Movies

I haven’t attended a class at an academic institution in nearly 4 years, yet I still use my student ID at the theater.  Anyone who does not do this should be bitch slapped for stupidity.  If you still have your student ID and can still aesthetically pass as a college student, why would you not pose as one?  You, my friend, are a Grade A, 5 star dumbfuck.  Honesty is but a matter of perspective.  Anyways, there are a few other ways to manipulate the system that you may find useful.  First off, this is the shadiest of techniques, but I’m living proof that this technique can work…and can work exceptionally well.  After purchasing a ticket, you simply fold your ticket in half (making it appear as though it is a ticket stub) and flash it to the ticket taker.  More often than not, he will nod his head and tell you to continue on.  Some ticket takers will take the ticket out of your hand and forcefully tear it.  But, if they do not, then you have the green light to bootleg.  Simply put, this method creates the facade that you’re re-entering the theater and that your ticket has already been torn – and therefore creates the impression that you have the remaining ticket stub in your hand.  The optimal time to employ this method is when the theater is busy and there is a large crowd of folks headed in.  The ticket taker will not have time to personally examine every single ticket, so you will have a greater chance of getting away with this.  You can then return to the theater at a later date and exchange your still-intact movie ticket for free.  Technically, your movie ticket has not been cut, hence, the theater believes that you never actually saw the movie.  In this case, the theater is obligated to grant you an exchange for another movie at a later date.  Theaters have gotten a little more hip to the game on this, but this still works surprisingly well.  Another method that I used to employ was tearing the ticket myself.  I would then pocket the other part of the ticket and simply show the stub.  I would then tape together the two torn pieces and exchange the ticket out at a later date.  If the theater would ask why my ticket is taped together, I would explain that the ticket tore in my pocket.  Think about this, if you employ either of these methods just once, then you’ve essentially viewed 2 movies for the price of one.  If you’re ballsy enough to continue implementing this method on the same original purchase, you could theoretically watch 10 movies for the price of 1.  What I normally do is purchase 1 ticket and then exchange it out 2-3 times utilizing this method.  After that, on the 2nd or 3rd time, I let the ticket taker tear my ticket.  During my next visit to the theater, I will purchase another ticket and attempt to start the same process again.  You do not want to get too greedy.  It would be best to alternate between theaters also.  There’s no need to start developing a discernible reputation.  Do not ruin it for the rest of us bootleggers.

Another method that has been tried and true by a friend of mine is the purchasing of children’s tickets at automated kiosks.  Many times, you can go into a theater and purchase tickets from an automated machine.  At those machines, you can normally purchase any ticket – even a children’s ticket (which are priced cheaper).  You can then use those to view your movie.  Technically, theater staff can stop you and refuse you entry if they notice this, but more often than not, the folks who tear the tickets will not notice this.

Save money by sneaking in your own food and drink in theaters.  They don’t pat you down at the theaters, so unless you got a box of Junior Mints popping out of your bra, you should go by unnoticed.  Shit, I’ve even smuggled in  bean burritos from Taco Bell and noshed on them during previews.  Sneaking in a bottle of soda pop has become mandatory for me now.  If I ain’t smuggling in some type of snack to a flick, it just doesn”t feel right – almost as if I feel dirty for not doing something dirty.  Shame?  I have little…if any.  Ahhh…who am I kidding?  I have ZERO shame.  Dignity?  Squadoosh.  Integrity?  Jigga what?  Jigga who?  You must be OUTSIDE your mind.  Only difference between me and you disapprovin’ cats is that I’m not afraid to bootleg.  Most of you folks want to, but can’t pull that trigger.  Too bad, maxipad.

Another less immoral and more legitimate way to save money on the movie going experience is to visit the Starlight Drive-In theatre off of Moreland Ave.  They charge $7/person – and always feature new releases.  With that admission fee, you are entitled to watch a double feature (they normally show 2 shows per screen).  Plus, you can bring whatever food and/or drinks you want and enjoy them while watching the movie.  No one will bother you.  Wanna crack open a few cold ones while watching “The Hangover”?  No problem.  Be discreet and no one will bother you.  So, you save a few bucks on admission and you can munch on whatever molded produce you had lying around at home.  No more having to buy $5 soda pop and $5 popcorn.  Plus, the quality of the audio and video at the Drive-In is pretty superb.  They pipe the audio through speakers outside and also broadcast it on an FM radio station you can tune your car stereo to.  During the summer, a lot of folks bring lawn chairs and watch the movie outside.  In addition, it’s a great experience.  There aren’t that many Drive-In theaters left in the nation.  You can’t beat the price or the convenience.

Eating Out

Coupons.  Coupons.  Coupons.  Capisce?  Use them.  They are your BFF, your booty call, and your wifey.  There are a lot of websites that specialize in discounted offers at restaurants.  The best example I can think of is Restaurant.com.  They normally offer vouchers at discounted prices (ex.  $25 vouchers for $10).  Many times, they have specials which allow for even greater discounts.  I myself purchased 3 different $25 vouchers for $3 a pop.  The only catch is that you normally have to spend a certain minimum (i.e. $35) and/or are restricted to certain days (M-Th, No Fridays, etc.).  Besides that though, there isn’t any other catch.  There are also a few other websites that specialize in the same sort of thing (Halfoffdepot.com comes to mind), but Restaurant.com is one that I’ve recently used that has proven to be reliable.  Believe you me, you may be above the use of coupons now, but when your decrepit ass is begging for change under the freeway, you may find yourself warming to the idea.

Go for specials.  Always be on the lookout in Creative Loafing or on Twitter for new promotions.  Word of mouth can be a powerful tool in helping you save money.

Split meals.  You can kill 2 birds with one stone:  watching your diet and saving money.  If you’re dating someone, sharing a meal is extremely convenient and easy.  Rather than eating an entire personal pizza by yourself, get someone to split it with you.  You can even save money on soda pop by sharing a soda with a friend.  At the least, do like me – let a friend order a soda pop and then take their drink to go.  Ain’t no need for a drink with unlimited refills to go to waste, ya dig?  Or, you could cut out soda pop altogether.  Soda pop can be upwards of $2 now at a lot of joints, so either share with someone or just skip it altogether.

If I can’t find someone to split a meal with, I sometimes take half of my meal to-go and finish it for lunch the next day.  That saves me from spending money on lunch the next day.

Movie Rentals

Enough with the Blockbuster memberships.  Honestly, truth be told, Blockbuster will be but a distant memory in a few years.  Our kids will not even have the faintest idea about what “making it a Blockbuster night” means.  Bet your 401K on that, buddy.  Go with the Red Boxes at your local grocery stores and Wal-Marts or go with Netflix – or forego all of the above and implement yet another bootleggin’ practice:  torrents.  I’m not exactly sure what a torrent is, but it is essentially a compressed file that you download.  You then open it up with torrent software (Bittorrent, uTorrent, etc.) and it will decompress that file and download all of it’s contents to your computer.  There are various torrent websites out there (torrentz.com, isohunt.com, mininova.com, etc.)  Movies can be easily found and downloaded through the use of torrents.  If you aren’t comfortable watching those downloaded movies on your itty bitty laptop or PC screen, you can connect your PC to your TV (like I have) or connect your laptop to your TV with a video cable (s-video, HDMI, DVI, etc.).  What cable you use depends on what ports your TV and computer has.  I use a DVI-HDMI cable.  The DVI end is connected to the back of my PC and the HDMI end is connected to my TV.  Either way, refrain from paying for music and/or movies.  Seriously, bootleggin’ has been the societal trend for the past 2 decades…so get with the illegally downloaded and cracked program.

Hold your Cable/Internet/Cell Companies Hostage

Threaten the Jehovah’s Witness out of any of the above companies by threatening to leave them.  You may have to call back in a few times and speak to different people, but more often than not, you eventually will get someone on the phone who is willing to negotiate.  Even if you have zero leverage, you can magically manufacture some if you bitch enough.  It’s true.  Please believe it’s true.  Lie if you have to…actually…I vehemently implore you to lie.  Tell them that a rival company is offering a better deal.  Better yet, use the recession to your advantage.  Tell them that you just don’t have as much disposable income as you used to because of the recession.  Explain to them that you would love to continue service with them, but that you just can’t afford it any more.  It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there folks – you gotta make it do what it do.  Believe you me, these companies are taking bubble baths in garden tubs of your hard earned money – so you’re more than well served to flip the script on ’em.  Haggle everything.  Heed the wise words of King Leonidas in 300 (“Give them nothing…but take from them EVERYTHING!“).    The time to become an asshole has arrived.

Jailbreak your iPhone

Listen to me, you naive iPhone app buying ignoramus:  jailbreak your iPhone.  Do not dare reconsider this.  Rather than spending HUNDREDS of dollars on useless apps, you can download them for FREE – IF you jailbreak your iPhone.  Once you jailbreak your iPhone, you can download the “Installous” app from Cydia (the jailbroken man’s app store).  Using “Installous”, you can download almost every app from the app store for free.  Is this illegal?  Of course.  But more slap-on-the-wrist illegal than finger-in-your-ass-welcome-to-the-pokey illegal. But…again…your morality is the sacrificial lamb that has to be fed to the Tyrannosaurus Rex that is the recession.  You can google “jailbreak” and “installous” and will find a ton of information and how-to guides on both. Or, you can reference a post that I wrote nearly a year ago (“Do Not Pass Go…Go Directly to JAILbreak“). Some of the references in there are outdated (everything was based on the 2.1 iPhone firmware), but the basic idea remains the same.

Buy Online

DO NOT be afraid to buy things from the internet.  Especially electronics.  Things like digital cameras, computer parts, and electronic accessories (chargers, cables, etc.) are infinitely cheaper online than they are in stores – even with shipping.  If you have the patience to wait a week for your goods, then online is the way to go.  You cats would be surprised with the number of folks who still refuse to purchase online.  Books are something else that are extremely cheap online.  A website that I’ve used a few times with great success is Swaptree.com.  They allow you to swap books, DVDs, and music CDs with another user.  All you have to do is pay for the shipping required to send it to that person.  You can even print out the shipping label directly from the website (the shipping cost is calculated online) and affix that to the packaging (eliminating the need to go to the post office).  For example, you could trade “The Davinci Code” for “The Kite Runner” for about $2.50.  This way, you don’t have to spend $15-$20 purchasing a new book.  You simply “swap” out your old one for another one.

Here are a few reliable websites that I’ve used in the past that offer online promotions and deals:

Slickdeals.net

Woot.com

Dansdeals.com

I could go on all night with more detailed accounts of bootleggin’ practices I employ on a daily basis, but this post has become uber verbose.  There are a ton of other bootleggin’ suggestions that are escaping me right now.  I may or may not post another one or two of these “guides” in the future.

Determined Wherewithal and Gumption

Determined Wherewithal and Gumption

Once a month has been my M.O., so why rock the boat? Here I am punching my timesheet for the month of August. I cut it close, no? No different than last month I suppose (when I posted on July 30). Maybe it’s better to refrain from inundating the masses (all 3 of you) with too much of this arbitrary mess. Better to keep them wanting more, huh?

So, the question that must be incinerating your brain steam like a firecracker’s fuse must be this: What the hell have I been doing for the past month? Well, well, well. I am ELATED to report that this week marks my 4th consecutive week in The A. The boondocks are but a distant memory. You could say that we’re “taking a break”. Please believe, I will not be calling that skank anytime soon. If she wants to indulge in the decadence of all that is Brown (yours truly), then she’s gonna have to pick up the phone and call me. So, even with all this consecutive time in the A, I’ve still found a way to neglect this blog. It’s. What. I. Do. The least you folks can do is slice me a slab of slack for my diminished literary ingenuity. No worries, folks – I know I gotta do a better job of keeping up appearances. I used to be petrified of slapping some generic garbage on here just to fill the void, but that may be the only way I can retain any sort of consistency with this blog. Then again, some folks would probably be inclined to say that it seems as though I’ve already started that. Like I said, cut a Brownie some slack.

Anyways, on to the happenings of the past month.

The Movie Nazi (yours truly) has struck again. Why are my initial reactions to movies so predominantly negative and laced with disappointment? Expectations have rarely met reality it seems. Then again, after a few days have passed and I’ve had time to digest what I’ve seen, I normally warm from a cold, reluctant fist tap to a one-armed, hesitant embrace. For example, “Inglourious Basterds“. What was my initial reaction after leaving the theater? WWW (Wiggity. Wiggity. Wack.). Now, mind you this, I’m a HUGE Tarantino fan, but I found the movie exaggerated (a common characteristic of all Tarantino movies) and slow (also, another commonality of Tarantino flicks). But, after a day or so, I more aptly saw the movie for what it was and scrutinized it not based on expectations, but on reality.

It was a good movie. Deserving of being considered as “Tarantino’s Best”? No. I still think “Kill Bill” holds that tiara. Honestly though, I think I still would’ve been tempted to toss the movie a WWW if not for Christopher Waltz’s stunning performance as the “Jew Hunter” Colonel Landa. The epitome of a (seemingly) benevolent asshole. His performance was definitely Oscar-worthy.

(500) Days of Summer. Checkmark. A really good movie that I also was initially underwhelmed by. But after letting it marinate (no pun intended) for a day or so, I came to really appreciate the movie. It was creative, different, and funny. Definitely a must-see. And, just like the voiceover said at the beginning of the movie, it wasn’t a love story. Well…it sort of was. But wasn’t. You have to watch it to understand what I’m talking about. Check it out. Torrent that mother.

In a little less than a month from now, I will make my return to Spain. My sister pretty much dropped everything to study Flamenco in Southern Spain (Granada) for a few months. Ballsy, to say the least. One of these days, I hope to have the same determined wherewithal and gumption to take that leap. For now, I’ve comforted myself in the fact that I will be headed over there to Southern Spain to visit her for a week. We plan on backpacking through Southern Spain and Portugal for a week. We will probably only go to 2 or 3 cities, but I am extremely looking forward to it. Plus, my brother-in-law and my cousin from the Armpit of NYC (Jersey City) will join me on my travels. It’ll be good to return to Europe. It’s been over 3 years now. Unbelievable. Just 3 years ago we were stumbling through streets cluttered with broken beer bottles while sippin’ on cold brewskis with Germans in the streets of Munich as they celebrated a quarterfinal World Cup victory. Feels like 10 years ago. I’m trying to slowly get back in the flow and hustle of traveling overseas. I’ve vowed to myself to never stop exploring the back alleys and crevices of the world.

And…cross your fingers, folks. I’m hoping to make my triumphant return to India in December after a 4 year hiatus. Wow. 4 years. Really? Although, how triumphant a return can it possibly be when I’m returning without a blushing bride? I’m sure they’ll give me days of grief and ridicule for this. At least I don’t have to slide my feet in the sweaty Chucks of my older cousin. This cat is 30, wears skinny jeans, listens to chick bands, has an inclined affinity for Anglos, and…above all…is still unmarried. He will bear the brunt of criticism. Thank God for family who you can throw under the bus to conveniently avoid the spotlight of scrutiny. Whew. Right now, the major obstacle that stands in the way of my purchasing a ticket is the price. We’re talking roughly 2 G’s right now to go at the time I am looking at. If the price doesn’t come down, I’ll be hard pressed to slice that much provolone. So, I’m doing what I do best: waiting. If prices come down, I go. If not, who the flip knows?

Morningstar. Buy 1 Get 1 Free. Need I say more? I went to the grocery store (Publix) earlier today and grabbed me 12 different boxes of Morningstar products. That’s right, folks. 12. I am salivating at the thought of marinating the faux-chicken with Tikka Masala. Giggidy. Giggidy. It’s the coming that I’m worried about…not the going.

A little over a week ago, I was stuffing my face with achari paneer rolls and falafels in The Fat Apple. Thank the good Lord for the existence of Kati Roll and Mamoun’s. But…what stood out was actually the veggie joint I dined at in Greenwich Village the Monday I left: Red Bamboo. So, Red Bamboo is one of numerous veggie joints in The Fat Apple that serve faux-meat. Faux chicken, beef, shrimp, even lamb chops. To start off, I ordered chicken skewers with a curry dipping sauce.  Excellent, on point, and charred to perfection.  For the entree, I ordered the Southern Creole Chicken. Savory, sweet, and delicious.  Plus, the portions were generous.  It definitely had the taste, texture, and seasoning of real chicken. Plus, the sauce that was served with it was delicious. It was a cajun flavored sauce with a hint of sweetness. I wish I had the menu to accurately describe the food.  My words do little justice to the quality of the food.  It was excellent veggie fare. Definitely worth exposing your palate to if ever in NYC.  If you don’t believe me, read the reviews on Yelp.

Time to slide some cake in the oven, catch up on some of the day’s happenings in the world of sports, and enumerate some Z’s.