In My Brain While Sleeping… You’re Looking At The Creator Of “Ilusión Óptica Mexicana Brillante”

I’ve been on a bit of a drought in regard to dreams lately.  I’ve had a few false starts, such as:

  • A dream about a movie starring The Two Coreys (Haim and Feldman, back in the day in their prime) and they were trying to get their parents to marry each other à la the Parent Trap.
  • A dream where I went on a Muppet hunting safari but didn’t know it.
  • A dream where I realized how funny it is to put “The” in front of various subjects, like The Fonz, The Hamburger, The State, and The Sex.

But last night, I had a vision about a vision like no other… I had inadvertently developed a new art form dubbed:

Ilusión Óptica Mexicana Brillante

Okay, I’ll admit that I don’t know Spanish, and I don’t exactly remember the hack job that went on in my subconscious (although it was kinda close to the above Babel Fish translation), but for you gringos it means:

Shiny Mexican Optical Illusion

Turned out I wasn’t the one that originated the name.  There once was a Mexican artist/philosopher that initially proposed the possibility of what I accomplished.  His theory:

Two images can be created on top of each other.  One will be visible in reflective light, and one will be visible in non-reflective light. – a Mexican artist/philosopher

So in some alcoholic stupor reeking of brilliance, I drew a picture that looked like this in “reflective light” (whatever that means):

yellowcar

And in “non-reflective light” (again, whatever that means), the artwork looked like this:

3dmap

I drew it as a doodle.  A throw away scribble on crinkled scrap paper.  But someone – the right someone – saw it, and heralded me as a mathematical genius for pulling off the Ilusión Óptica Mexicana Brillante manually. 

In fact, it was a forgotten art theory, and I was thrust into the limelight, not unlike Andy Warhol.  My fifteen minutes were beginning after my scribble was purchased  for $500,000 by an unknown collector.  Duplicates of my work were sold in bulk at mall stores built just for my Shiny Mexican Optical Illusion.  The hype was similar to the interest over those pictures you stared at to see sunken treasure ships and sharks.

But I couldn’t live up to the expectations and failed to duplicate my success.  14:58, 14:59, 15:00 minutes hit, and I woke up.

Here’s the thing… I feel I could duplicate the Ilusión Óptica Mexicana Brillante  in real life.  I only need to figure out to create “non-reflective light.”

INGREDIENTS: Two cold pieces of pizza and a couple pitchers of Blue Moon.

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Drunken Recollection… Going For The Goldfish?

I wouldn’t exactly say that I’ve been around the block (although technically, as a child, I rode my bike around the block a ton… I don’t know what I want this metaphor to mean!).

Let me begin instead with this: I’m for all intents and purposes (or is it “intensive purposes?”)…

I’m a bar frequenter.  An aficionado of affordable alcohol.  If you have drink specials, considered a seat filled.  It’s been this way for me for quite awhile, as I haven’t been tied down by much of anything.  Tumbling tumbleweed is how I often refer to my life.

So it’s safe to assume I’ve seen a fair amount of oddities in my bar days.  I went to New York City to participate in a Snuggie Pub Crawl for Pabst’s sake!

But now I’ve discovered this:

Yup.  Goldfish racing.  In the bar.  For prizes.

It's better than swallowing goldfish when drunk. Barely.
It’s better than swallowing goldfish when drunk. Barely.

Apparently, this is not a new practice either.  It (seems to have) started back  in Utah, as long ago as 2004 (whooohoooo), and it’s been a subject of controversy since it’s inception.  A press release by the Humane Society:

Words, words, words...

Words, words, words...

 There are a few styles practiced.  There’s the squirt gun style, as seen in the above video.  Some people use straws, and they blow above or below the water, depending on the arena.  And of course, some guy in Japan’s turned it into an art form… not unlike NASCAR:

Why do I bring this all up, you ask?  As we were leaving one of the bars I frequent, a friend mentioned he saw a sign saying something about goldfish racing.  I laughed and thought he was making it up, yet here’s this post.

Now if I can just remember which bar we were at…

Coast-To-Coast Snug Job A No-Go

How’s that for a headline?  Can’t you just hear the newsies singing screaming that one?  As it turns out, two weekends ago I went to NYC for a Snuggie Pub Crawl (and also met a friend).  This weekend, I went to Seattle to visit a friend… and almost went on a Snuggie Pub Crawl! 

snugpubnogo1

"Pub Crawl or Bust!" - soon to be printed on the front of my Snuggie

Alas, my travelling compadres on this latest sojourn weren’t too keen on picking up some “Slankets” (as they were referred to on last week’s 30 Rock), and we opted for traditional bar hopping, which was just as well.  Albeit Seattle was a tad cooler than New York the week prior (making “blankets with sleeves” more comfy), which is ironic, because NYC is simply ‘cooler.’  No offense, Seattle, but no other city can compete.

SIDENOTE: Whenever I use the word ironic, I’m always afraid I’ll pull an Alanis.  Am I alone in regard to this ‘worry?’

BONUS SIDENOTE: I’d say the biggest difference between the East and West Coasts (or at least New York and Seattle) is what follows the prefix hip-… Do you prefer –sters or –pies?

Anywashington, the trip was a great time.  To conserve my energy, which is a euphemism for I’m feeling lazy today, here are some pics I took with explanatory captions.

The NYC Saga Prequels

The NYC highlights are finito, so now I shall present the problems that almost made the trip impossible.  And to keep up the nerdery spirit, I present them as… the Star Wars prequels, because they’re just as shitty.

EPISODE I
THE FENDER MENACE

To keep it short – I was going to drive my car to New York.  It’s a bit newer than Steve’s car, and it gets better mileage.  On the why to get its brakes checked, an accident occurred that smashed my radiator (and my front fender and headlights).  So much for that…

EPISODE II
ATTACK OF THE PLANS

I’m not sure on all the details, but Steve was on a business trip for the first half of the week.  He was supposed to get back Wednesday (we were leaving Thursday).  Then his job needed him to stay a bit longer.  Then his flights were delayed.  Then his layovers were lengthened.  He made it back barely in time for our night soccer game.  He didn’t get to get the oil and tires on his car checked, like he hoped.  So much for that…

Oh yeah, so that, plus I woke up at 6am on Thursday, hoping to get home early from work in order to nap before soccer.  But instead, a client’s computer blew up on me and it consumed – no, devoured – my day.  I was at the office until 8pm trying to fix it, and to print out all the maps and instructions for our trip.  So much for that…

EPISODE III
REVENGE OF THE SPECTRAL FOX

On the drive to the Big Apple from the Motor City, I was wired.  Steve slept a bit for the first part.  Around 5am, I drank one of those 5-hour energy boosters, and Steve woke up to talk.  All of the sudden, I hit the breaks.  I thought an animal ran in front of the car.  It wasn’t until the shock of it all settled in that I could describe it.

A small red shadowy smokey spectral creature, like a fox, rushed into the road, looked at me, then darted back to the brush.

Needless to say, at the next exit, we switched.  So much for that…

(Not So) Artisitic Representation

(Not So) Artistic Representation

So what’s next?  Perhaps this:

Drunken Recollection… Return Of The Hangover

On the taxi ride from Tom’s Restaurant back to East Village, Steve passed out quickly, and not soon after, I followed suit.  Tim bid us farewell, and I remained awake for our ride back to Midtown.  The taxi that narrowly missed crashing into the backseat where I was sitting probably helped…

EPISODE VI
RETURN OF THE HANGOVER

Upon reaching our final destination without reaching the final destination, Steve decided he wanted some more food.  I think I agreed.  We remembered seeing a Taco Bell on our way to the pizzeria the day before, so we ambled forth in search of late night seasoned beef and cheese and tortillas and rice…

The next morning, after awakening in our dirty Snuggies, we tried recalling the run for the border.  We remembered that it was more like a regular deli that had a Taco Bell in the back.  The Taco Bell was closed, yet the front remained in business.  Weird.  Steve didn’t think he purchased any food, and I cannot confirm or deny that fact, but I do know he inquired about it.

Steve – “How much for pizza?”

Worker – “$3.50 a slice.”

Steve – “I’ll give you three for a half.”

The rest is fuzzy, and so was Steve.  He wasn’t feeling too hot on the morning of our ride home, whereas this time, I felt fine.  Upon learning of my faux pas regarding the hot dog joint/secret bar, we made the decision to seek it out properly before leaving.  We had to know if it truly did exist.

So on the way to the subway station at Times Square, we stopped at this place to get cupcakes:

"No doubt that bakery’s got all da bomb frostins/ I love those cupcakes like McAdams loves Gosling." RIP "The Notebook" Love

"No doubt that bakery’s got all da bomb frostins/ I love those cupcakes like McAdams loves Gosling." RIP "The Notebook" Love

While outside enjoying “da bomb frostins,” we bore witness to a scene straight out of Police Academy.  A short cop was surrounded by tall European women,  in their late teens to mid-twenties (with an elder or two over-seeing them), and he was posing for pictures with them. 

There were well over a dozen of them (a baker’s dozen?), and he had to make sure there was variety in his stylings.  When Steve and I walked into Magnolia, he was letting them put on his hat and hold his night stick.  When we were eating, he was fastening handcuffs on one of the girls.  I just imagined that if he was called for an emergency, he’d leave her behind locked up.

From there, we took the subway to Union Square, and met up with Tim and Mike again.  Tim was excited and had this to say:

I’ve finally made a union with someone at Union Square.

Anyhotdog, our final mission before leaving NYC was to locate this secret bar.  It was not far from our point of departure the night before, and here’s what we found:

Not too be confused with Mark's Place.

Not too be confused with Mark's Place.

Once inside, I stared at the counter of the narrow establishment seeking out the phone booth that would lead us to the bar called P.D.T. (Please Don’t Tell).  I turned left, and there it was:

Get Smart... or Superman?

Get Smart... or Superman?

I pushed open the door, and the guy behind the counter told me it didn’t open until six.  Bummer city.

Lift the receiver and wait for approval to enter the secret bar.

Lift the receiver and wait for approval to enter the secret bar.

We ordered some dogs.  I had mine made Seattle-style, in honor of this upcoming weekend’s trip.  (It’s cream cheese on a hot dog in a bun.)  From there, we made our way back to Madison Square Garden and Penn Station.  And from there back to Newark, and then back

toward 

home.

*sniff*

Drunken Recollection… New York: The Saga Continues…

Okay, so where was I?  Ah yes.  On Wall Street, which was under construction.  We were looking for the giant bull statue for the hell of it, even though we (Steve and I) were unsure if there was a giant bull statue in New York.  (There is… but we couldn’t find it.)

Around this time, I finally got to hear the voice of a fellow blogger (we’d eventually meet up later during my trek through East Village).  Our phones were running lower on energy than we were, so we decided in order to make it through whatever the night held in store for us, functioning electronics seemed important, and we returned to home base.

At the hotel, we plugged in our cells and due to the lack of sleep (this will be explained in the prequels), the Snuggies (this will be explained in the sequel) and bed were mighty tempting.  Yes, I typed “bed” with no “s.”  They only had a queen available (which I should probably specify is a bed size, seeing as how people might have preconceived notions about NYC).  Apparently, a four-star hotel according to Hotwire consists of this criteria: if they don’t have a pair of twins available (again – bed size), they’ll give you each a cookie.  A cookie that was prepared earlier in the day.  Possibly for the continental breakfast’s dessert?

But I digress, and as such, our digestive systems had processed those cookies long ago, so dinner sounded like a plan.  We asked the concierge to recommend a pizzeria (one that served booze was our only criteria).  He recommended one nearby – Angelo’s, on 55th and 2nd.  (Don’t I sound all local-y?  My confidence in understanding the map of the city ultimately proved to be a bit too confident.  Sequel…)

We ordered the flat-bread pizza and $6 beers.  Steve quickly learned that when the choices for $6 beers are Bud, Bud Light, and Bass Ale, you choose Bass Ale.  As we ate, we eyed the happy hour going on across the street ($3 beers!), and as soon as we finished, we headed over there for a few more (choices: Miller Lite, MGD, Sam Adams?  Sam Adams, of course!) and then back to the hotel to retrieve our banes of existence means of communication.

We headed toward Central Park to await our first fellow bar hopper – another Steve.  As we wandered the streets, we passed the bridge that Spider-Man battled on with the cable cars (I’m soooo cultured), and I missed the entirety of the quiet beauty that was the sunset that night.

As we began slinking in and out of a plethora of East Village bars, our group’s number grew to four with Tim, and five with Evan.  Eventually my fellow blogger met up with us after a lot of phone- and text-tagging, which was cool.  The hookah joint we were waiting to get into was taking too long, so we headed to another bar that carded people for some reason (nowhere else did).  In the sorta dark, sorta empty, martini-ish bar (what would be the opposite of a hole-in-the-wall?) we ended up at, I brought up Lost, I investigated something weird on the table with my fingertip (thankfully it was Guinness foam), and I think I even mentioned Twilight (the movie – not the book, as if that makes a difference).  Oh yeah… wonderful, wonderful Guinness was ordered around.  One guy selected a bottle of wine “with one glass.”  And mussels somehow ended up on the table.

Members of our group started parsing off at that point.  I recall a sliver of a diner that was stopped at by the solo wine drinker and that it amazingly carried no smell whatsoever, good or bad.  And somehow Steve and I made it back to home base.  (Taxi?  Subway?  Feet?)

I’m beginning to feel like this may be Uncle Sean’s Drunk Story Time all over again… So much more to go!

Drunken Recollection… The Saga Of New York

Holy Magnolia cupcakes… New York City rocks!  In preparing to tackle the monumental amount of momentous situations that occurred over my weekend in the Big Apple, I thought, “What would be the nerdiest way to unfold such adventures?”

As if it was the Star Wars saga!  (I’m not sure if I’ll do the prequels… I’ll probably do the prequels…)

EPISODE IV
A NEW YORK

As we arrived in Newark, NJ (that we being cousin Steve and I), we parked our car in a 24 hour lot, stored our ticket to retrieve said vehicle, and noted that we needed gasoline prior to our journey home.

Realizing we had no idea exactly how we were getting to NYC via the train system (each for our various reasons), we flew by the seat of our pants, as we’re prone to do, and which usually tends to be more expensive.

We walked up some train tracks to find a NJ Transit machine, and luckily, a woman offered to help us the entire way through the process.  She almost missed her train, which ended up being our train as well.  Guilt-free help!

May not be inspiring to the locals, but to a guy from Detroit: "This city is alive!"

May not be inspiring to the locals, but to a guy from Detroit: "It's alive!"

Upon arriving at Penn Station (we thought we were heading to the WTC station – we were way off!), I witnessed a monk wearing a baseball hat and an old man in a super pimped-out Little Rascal cart.  We reached surface level and my first view was this:

We had attained some sizable pamphlets from underground, and after ripping away all the advertisements, we had all the map that we’d need.  We pinned down our location (Madison Square Garden), and our hotel’s location, and we got moving.

On the way, the saw Fuse Network Studios, the Sbarro restaurant that I thought Michael Scott on The Office referred to as “authentic New York cuisine,” and a comic shop that had a Silver Surfer in its window.  (We stopped inside because of this, but not much else was going on.  This is obviously why they have a Silver Surfer in the window.)

"Look up for power lines." "But I don't see anything." "That's good." (Detroiter inside joke)

"Look up for power lines." "But I don't see anything." "That's good." (Detroiter inside joke)

Then I had a chance to take this photo up above.  When I take things like this, I hope to impress my sis that’s a photog.  Eees good, Becks?  (Too bad she doesn’t read this blog.)

I think it's so the pigeons can be comfortable.

I think it's so the pigeons can be comfortable.

At my hotel, we had a nice view of the back of buildings, which I still thought was cool.  For some reason, there were a bunch of pillows, down below. 

Anyhotelincidentals, I have to put the brakes on this post.  To quickly wrap up the rest, we walked from our hotel to 30 Rock because of the show (the skating rink is not as big in person).  We hit up Broadway and Times Square, and figured out how to take the subway down to the World Trade Center reconstruction.  The Statue of Liberty was visible in the distance (has anyone realized her initials are SOL?), and I think we found the area that Will Smith rented jet skis in Hitch (over in the financial district).

Okay, there’s more to come for sure.  Stay tuned!  (I’m losing my TripleDoubleU connection shortly hence the wrap up… EPISODE IV is not finished.)