★ Back from NY

I got back from New York on Sunday but I haven’t had the chance to write about it until today. I had an amazing time. We only had 2 full days to see NY but I felt we accomplished a lot.

My first New York story happened on our taxi from the airport to our hotel. They have taxis that bring you to anywhere in Manhattan for a flat rate. As we were heading to the back of the line, someone asks if we wanted to split a cab to New York. $45 divided 3 ways sounded like a good deal. On our ride to our hotel, our fellow passenger started making phone calls. At first, I didn’t think much of it, but I couldn’t help but over hear his conversation. He was talking about picking up “stuff”, if they would have “it” by tonight, and “how much” it would cost. He was throwing out numbers, I’m assuming dollar amounts, and to me, it was pretty clear he was setting up a deal. Nevertheless, he turned out to be a cool guy and even told us where to go around the city.

On our first full day, we hit up:

  • The Empire State Building
  • Ground Zero
  • SoHo
  • Little Italy
  • Chinatown
  • East Village

We also did a bunch of shopping at H&M and Zara. That night, we checked out 2 bars in East Village, Open Air and Guernica.

On our second day…

  • Apple Store SoHo
  • Staten Island Ferry
  • 5th Avenue
  • Rockefeller Center

At night, we wandered around Lower East Side, where we found a cool bar called Bob’s. It was a small bar, so once a lot of people showed up, it got VERY crowded. My partner in crime ended up meeting new “friends” that night.

After one hour of sleep, we headed to the subway for our long trip to the airport. We agreed that an hour and a half subway trip is better than shelling out for a taxi. We made our flight with plenty time to spare. I plan on making a dedicated page for all my pictures, but I have posted some of my pictures on my .mac homepage in the meantime.

★ Big Apple

I’m going to New York for the weekend. It’s going to be the first time I’ve gone since I was 10 years old. I’m an idiot most of the time and I usually don’t get excited for things up until the minute I’m about to leave. So yes, the excitement is hitting me now. I’ll be back on Sunday. Until then…

: Big Apple Heartbreak by Yellowcard from the album One For The Kids

★ Isola

After work today, Jody invited me to the grand opening of Isola, an Italian restaurant in PB. When I heard that it was in Pacific Beach, trendy and upscale usually doesn’t spring to mind, but once inside, it’s actually a really nice place. We were treated to free samples of the menu and, best of all, free sangria for 2 hours. We sampled lobster and shrimp ravioli and all this other Italian food whose names I couldn’t remember. It was really, really good. Can’t wait to go back. Too bad next time isn’t going to be free.

★ Commencement 2004

Congratulations to the Class of 2004. A good number of my friends and loved ones walked across the stage over the weekend, and I’m glad I got to see most of them. I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to everyone’s ceremony. I can’t please everyone, but I tried.

Dar, congrats to you. I’m sure you can get a job there in Irvine, so you can stay, rather than move back to Temecula. You could probably also afford to get that iPod mini you’ve been wanting or maybe even a Powerbook to match mine! Hehe.

Joseph, I told you, you could do it. All the long nights and study sessions at Commons paid off. Congratulations on getting that piece of paper and for having a job lined up already. Even I couldn’t pull that off.

Mirabel, the smartest person I know. I can’t even comprehend how you managed to earn your degree at the top of your class. When you start your own engineering company, please hire me!

Mike, it took me 5 years to finish college. You got kicked out, changed majors, got readmitted, and still managed to finished in 4. How the fuck did you do that? Congratulations little brother.

Rochelle. I don’t even know where to start. I don’t think you know how proud I was to see you walk that stage. I don’t even think there are words that can express how proud I am of you. You accomplished so much as an undregrad, “congratulations” isn’t enough. Let’s just say, you did good. Very good.

★ School Pride

UC Irvine Chancellor Ralph Cicerone was selected to be the next president of the National Academy of Sciences. I didn’t know this was going to be a big deal but apparently it is. According to the article, he’s been courted constantly by top universities, more prestigious than UCI, to be their chancellor only to stay in Orange County. The top position at the NAS, however, was something he couldn’t turn down.

It kind of sucks that he’s leaving. In the 5 years I was at UCI, a lot of changes took place, and I’m sure he had a hand in most of those changes. The article talks about different things he’s done for UCI, such as increasing enrollment and increased donations, such as the Henry Samueli donation to the School of Engineering. That’s all well and good, but not so good when all those people have nowhere to park and those donations go towards funding an excessive structure with your name on it when engineering students and their senior projects could benefit from better resources and facilities.

Sorry for that rant, but Mr. Cicerone did a lot of good things for UCI. In 5 years, UCI has gone from being a back up school, to being one of the more competitive schools when it comes to admissions. It’s gone from obscurity to being one of the more recognized UCs. And it’s gone from having one major sports team, to having two..major sports teams…and neither one of them is football.

Zot Zot!

★ APhiO Banquet and Dashboard Concert

Saturday

I had the honor of escorting Rochelle to her last APhiO banquet as an undergrad. This year it was at the Embassy Suites in Santa Ana. The restaurant in the hotel wasn’t the best place to hold a banquet since there wasn’t a central area for making announcements, giving out awards, or presenting a slideshow. And the dance floor was laughably small. But the food was good and this year, Rochelle and I did the best job of coordinating our outfits.

Monday

Rochelle was born 23 years ago on this day. To celebrate, we went to BJ’s for happy hour the night before. I also gave her Bean. For my birthday last month, she got me tickets to the Dashboard Confessional/Thrice/The Get Up Kids concert, which appropriately enough, fell on her birthday. I’m not too into Thrice or The Get Up Kids, but I did enjoy Dashboard’s music. I was looking forward to going to this concert when I got my tickets. Dashboard didn’t disappoint, although I wish that he stayed solo, instead of recruiting a band. He played both older acoustic songs from his solo efforts and songs from the latest album (which he recorded with a supporting band) and I just like him better with just him and his guitar. That’s the way I was introduced to him and that’s the way I like his music. So at the end of the night, the band played their “last” song, the lights went out and everyone started leaving. I’m thinking to myself, “They can’t leave without playing “The Best Deceptions” and “Hands Down”, but everyone was still filing out. I don’t know if they were satisfied with the show, or if they just forgot about those songs, or worst of all, didn’t even know about those songs, but they can’t leave without playing those songs. As we expected, they came back out and played the two songs that we came to hear. Wish I heard more acoustic stuff, but otherwise, another good concert.

Happy Birthday Shellie. Here’s to many more…

: Hands Down by Dashboard Confessional from the album So Impossible [EP]