Love Is In The Air:
So, Valentine's Day came and went this past Friday, and the amount of F's I gave remained at an all time high of: zero. That's right, zero F's. I actually went to see the new rebooted Robocop in theaters after work. Oh, young naive me. I remember remarking to a friend earlier that day that V-Day is the perfect time to go to the movies. What with all the young couples feeling all romantic-y and googly-eyed for each other, the theater should be quite empty, right? I mean, not only is Valentine's Day when you should be out at some candle lit dinner gazing into each others' eyes, but it's a Friday to boot! I would have thought you couldn't find an empty seat at a New York City restaurant on such a night.
You would not believe the amount of young guys bringing their younger dates to the movies. Or, let's be honest, vice-versa. I was amazed. So many ladies carrying single red roses (tacky!) standing on line next to their boos to see Ride Along or that Hunger Games sequel. WTF? But hey, it's the sign of the times I guess. I should get off my old man soapbox now and reminisce wistfully in the corner, eh? Ah, young love ...
Anyway, at least not many of them went to see Robocop. Was a pretty good flick, more philosophically pondering that I had expected, but definitely not date movie stuff. Unless you're both into that sort of thing. No one at my midtown theater seemed to be. Just mostly dudes were there, and this one group of very obnoxious girls whom nonetheless really enjoyed the film's climax.
Nothing Is Certain But Death And . . .
I'm so relieved to have filed my taxes for 2013 and get that out of the way. Was expecting it to be more complicated than it actually turned out to be, and I even learned a few new things about my situation that makes me feel all good inside. Turns out I'm doing pretty well. And as an added bonus, I'm getting a sizable chunk back. Oh yeah! I have to say, last year was very touch and go financially for me. What with the move and all that jazz. Add to that a very nasty speeding ticket that just seemed to get worse and worse, and a false alarm medical lollapalooza of tests and specialists visits that in the end turned out to be a whole fat lot of nothing, and I wasn't so sure I was going to make it to the end of 2013 out of the red. But, everything worked out in the end. I'm very good at buckling down and doing what needs to be done. Not only did everything blow over by November, but I was able to add a good amount to my savings by year's end as well. Was tough going, but I'm fortunate in that I'm very responsible with my bills and credit cards. So with this tax return and my additional efforts, things are looking much better for 2014. I even have more than enough for a vacation or two. Now if I can only figure out where to go . . .
What Happens In Vegas:
My best friend has been going through a very rough emotional time these past few months. So much so that he's actually asked if we could go on vacay together this year, just two single guys out and about. He needs the break badly, though. No, I mean REALLY bad. As in, it will be critical for his health and emotional well being if he doesn't go someplace warm and relaxing. Problem is, I'm not particularly in the mood for a beach vacation. It's his ideal, however, especially since he's never been on a real vacation before. That's right. The guy is my age, but has really never done anything for fun and relaxation away from home. I think he needs this STAT! So far, the ideas he has floated by me are: Las Vegas, Miami, or Dominican Republic.
Hmm, places I have no desire to see. I've been to Vegas twice already. Don't really know what more there is to do there but spend a ridiculous lot of cash for really no worthwhile return that I can think of. Admittedly, this is probably last on his list. Miami sounds really crowded. Also, kinda bland and Spring Break-ish. Definitely not as good as he might think it is. I suggested instead of Miami that we drive a little ways south and visit the Florida Keys. That sounds like a nice compromise, and I'm hoping not as popular. Crowded, yes, but not the drunken frat fest that South Beach seems to be. Still, I know there is a lot more to do in Miami than go to the beach. The night life is very festive, to say the least.
Last, Dominican Republic. I think some of you know how I might feel about visiting the land of my father. Not something I ever particularly planned on doing in my lifetime. If I had to go to that part of the Caribbean, I'd rather go to Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands. Places with no ancestral baggage for me to rifle through, or cultural expectations from the locals I'm not equipped to supply. Still, this vacation isn't about me. It's for my friend. In the end I sympathize with where he's at, and really I can become excited for any one of these destinations if I set my mind to it.
Surprise, surprise . . . I'm actually leaning more toward DR. Yeah, I'm as shocked as you are.
The Gods Are Not Smiling:
So, the Winter Olympics are upon us. Even though I loathe, hate, DESPISE these games and think they are a fraud (I'm much more of a Summer Olympics guy, despite my love for winter as a season), I have to say I've found myself sucked into the drama and tension of it all. I still think it's a very pale (pun intended) cousin to the more famous and prestigious regular Olympics, and at times tremendously boring and exclusionary (seriously, only the Nordic countries clean up at these), but I'm starting to feel there might be some legitimacy to these games. Case in point: snowboarding. I used to think snowboarding was a cop-out inclusion to please weed heads and granola types, but I have to say it's finally maturing into a real-deal, nail-biting sport on par with its skiing brethren. In fact, in some ways I find snowboarding to be even more athletic than skiing. Color me surprised. I also got into bobsledding this time. Learned a lot more about the sport. So, you mean it's NOT just hurtling down a super long ice slide and praying for lots of luck? There's actually science and skill to it? Whoa! That being said, I like the 2-man bobsled events more than the 4-man. More personal and less showboating, I find.
For me, however, the Winter Olympics has always been about the ice skating. It's my grandmother's favorite sport to watch. She finds it all so magical and dreamy. Haha! Traditionally I'm all about the individual competition, but what I was shocked to discover this time around was how mesmerizing the ice dancing portions are. Wow! How was I missing this all these years? Truth be told, I always dismissed these events as just a lot of pretty posturing. Boy was I wrong! And in the end, I ended up falling in love with the arrangements and technical prowess of the skaters themselves. So amazing what they are able to achieve in unison. I might be hunted down and dragged through the streets for saying this . . . but, is it just me or does pairs and ice dancing seem to involve even more skill than the individual skate events? You'll have to forgive me, I'm just in awe of the high level of precision it takes to do those twizzles in complete, perfect synchronicity the way these skaters do it. It really is like ballet on ice.
|Hot for Meryl? You betcha! Damn, but she is a cutie. :)|
Still, as much as I enjoyed seeing Team USA make history in ice dancing last night, overall I have to say this particular Winter Olympics has been a great letdown. Sochi is the most horrible place they could have ever placed such an event. For shame, Russia! The men's halfpipe snowboard was especially a travesty to watch. And I'm not talking about the meltdown of Shaun White's performance, but rather the literal meltdown occurring on the pipe! Who the hell okay'd that nonsense?
Enough Is Enough Already:
Lastly, I never thought I'd say this, but . . . can Spring come already? Wow. I'm a die hard winter fanatic, and all. I mean, I love the season SOOOO much! And usually, the more snow the better! Usually. But not this year. NYC alone has received close to 60 inches of snow this season! A typical season is 22.5 inches, and we haven't even had many of those in the past decade. Lately we've been getting 14 inches or less. But not this year. Oh no, baby! It's been snowing here every other day all February it seems. So much so that even I'm starting to feel it. The way I see it now, when eventually it does start to get warmer and the trees to bud around here, I'm going to be in a very jolly mood. And this is definitely not me!
So, that's what's been happening in my neck of the woods. How's it with you?