Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Rocking out on Thanksgiving !m!

(In case you couldn't tell, the above m surrounded by exclamation marks is supposed to be a 'KISS'-style rock and/or roll sign.)

Thanksgiving in New York should mean a good opportunity to see the Macy*s Day parade, but we had other plans. Wendy invited us to have thanksgiving with her family over in Ronkonkoma, which is about halfway down Long Island. We always enjoy going out there as an excuse to escape the city. (To give you an idea of the tranquility of their neighborhood, it's about 45 minutes PAST a place called "Hicksville". )

We did, however, go out the night before to 79th street and Columbus to see the parade balloons being blown up. "It's nice, usually no one is around, and you can see the baloons up close. We had the whole place to ourselves!" one internet site stated. "If you get there later, most of the people will have gone home". Said another.

The internet is a liar.

Takeshi, Phil (visiting from California) and I braved the 30 block hike, had terrible and expensive food for dinner, and waded through the crowd for the privelege of seeing 1 (one) Energizer Bunny(tm) balloon's *ear*, the body of which was blocked behind an enormous bus. That was when we saw the line to enter the balloon inflating area.
It was about the size of all Disneyland rides put together, extending four city blocks. We took one look, shook our heads, and went off to a pub.

The next day we did catch a glimpse of the parade on our way to Penn Station to catch a train to the suburbs. Unfortunately we were in a rush, and were running all the way from where the cab driver was forced to drop us off on 5th and 35th... dodging in between people, strollers, and the odd bicycle. We caught the train with about a minute to spare.Needless to say, it was also packed.

Once we got there, Wendy and I got busy. I made our family's traditional yams and green apples dish, and she worked magic with her brand new futuristic dual oven (with meat temperature probe!) and roasted an 18 pound turkey in under 3 hours, a feat accompished by few. There were about twenty people, and everyone brought something delicious, be it an amazing salad with candied pecans, about eight kinds of wines, or the homemade pumpkin pies and lindt truffles that no one had room for but somehow managed to dissapear.

WHile in many households the boys wander off to watch football, in Wendy's house, we all wandered over to the XBox and plugged in various musical accoutrements for some serious music making with Rock Band. Unlike Guitar Hero (which they also have), this game allows input from not only fake guitars, but a fake drumset and microphone for some hardcore synthesized sound. (jury's out on the realism of the mic.) While some might poo-poo use of these cheating tools, it is quite clear to all involved that the quality of music produced is approximately 100x more pleasant than if we were holding real guitars in our hands and attempting to reproduce, say, "Keep on Rocking in the Free World". And, in a bonus move, we looked almost authentically rock-band cool, with our loved ones able to watch the performances with a minimum of cringing....(I'm not saying there wan't any cringing, as we were only able to unlock about 8 songs and played them approximately eighteen times each... but it was kept to a respectful minimum.)

Rock 'n Rollllllll! come on guys, stick your tounges out!

... Hope you all had a similarly rockin' turkey day. ^_~

Thursday, November 01, 2007


(the pumpkins are supposed to be, from left to right:
  • Mika (Wendy & Matt's dog),
  • Stitch from Lilo and Stitch fame,
  • a japanese ghost (Takeshi's very impressive first pumpkin carving attempt!),
  • and my evil Totoro.

Since this was Takeshi's first Halloween in America, I wanted to do it right. But we didn't have any parties to go to, and it was on a Wednesday, so I wasn't sure what we should do. Luckily, there were signs on the entrances to the subway mentioning different routes to a 'Greenwich Village Halloween Parade.'
Halloween parade? I thought to myself. Hm. I wonder if it's anything like the West Hollywood street party...

"So I'm thinking of going to the Greenwich Village Halloween parade" I casually mentioned to my coworkers, trying to get a feel for what I was getting us into.
"Oh, I heard it's a lot of fun" said the new guy. "Yeah, just as long as it's not too warm. The trannies come out wearing practically nothing" smirked the cynic.

Yep, that sounds just like the west hollywood street party.

So anyways, Wednesday night found us at the corner of 3rd Ave and Spring street. We were supposed to get to 6th, but at that area of town the street names stopped being numbers.
"I think that way is North. That means that way is 6th" said Takeshi authoratively.
We started walking, and it was not long before we noticed we were surrounded. "Don't look now, but there's a very frightening and realistic Dracula behind you" I wispered. But he was too distracted. "Hey it's Mr and Mrs PacMan!" he said, pointing to two yellow half-crescents walking across the street.

But three blocks later, the people were getting fewer and fewer. Takeshi's coworker (our mountain climbing expedition leader Shue) scratched his head. "I don't think this is the right way..."
In the end, we ended up asking a Rollerblading Pirate directions. Good ol' Rollerblading Pirates. Is there anything they don't know?

Thanks to our good friend R.P., we were able to find the parade. Or rather, the human wall surrounding the parade. After about 15 minutes of standing on benches, jumping, trying to squeeze our way in, and at one point being me being carried on Takeshi's shoulders, we gave up and went to get drinks. But we while we were there, we were able to see some pretty neat floats, and the specators wandering around were hillarious. One girl was wearing an inflatable giant penis costume, and needless to say, she was very popular. ;)

"If we're here next year, we should definitely come in costume!" I enthused.
You know me, any excuse I can get. Even Takeshi grinned sheepishly.
"I might go as Tsurikichi sanpei. I'd have to get a big straw hat though." Hee! (I know what I wanna be for my costume. No stealing!)

Between the parade and the scary movies (Rosemary's Baby and The Ring) and pumpkin carving, we had a great time. The only dissapointment I suppose was the lack of candy. ^_^