Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rickey’s Token Decade Retrospective!

This week, we close out 2009 and the decade at large with something special: a fond look back at some of our greatest hits over the past several years here at Riding with Rickey. And while you’d think that a mere three years of blogging might not qualify somebody to post a decade retrospective about their blog posts, that most certainly will not stop Rickey. Not today.

Today, we give you the greatest holiday gift of all: yet more Rickey. Some posts are intentionally funny, while others… not so much intentionally. And now, without further delay, we present some of our greatest hits here at RwR, sorted categorically for your OCD-driven pleasure. Strap in folks, because from here on out, it’s hyperlinks a go-go!

Rickey’s Far-Flung Travels! Generally, whenever Rickey ventures out of the apartment, seriously horrific shit occurs. Witness:

In which Rickey barely escapes fiery death enroute to a Mets game
In which Rickey wreaks havoc at a a bat-mitzvah in Williamstown (the irony is that Rickey pretty much forecasted this turn of events the day before)
In which Rickey seeps himself in Americana in its finest in Las Vegas
In which Rickey travels to an Irish bar and is regaled with a rather shocking story about a deer
And of course, there’s the ultimate: In which Rickey gets stuck in the mud in Costa Rica. If you read just one story this year about getting stuck in the mud on the way to Mal Pais and having to trade your wife for a horse, make it this one!

Rickey’s Middling Movie Reviews! Hey kids, what does one college cinema theory class and the gift of gab give you? Some seriously uninformed movie criticism! Behold:

Rickey reviews Tom Hank’s crazy Catholic romp in “Angels & Demons”
Rickey attempts to spell M. Night Shyamalan’s name 25 times correctly while reviewing “The Happening”
Rickey tries to shoehorn “Iron Man” into a tenuous political argument
Rickey reviews “The Dark Knight” (our one and only positive movie review!)

Rickey’s Guide to Blogging! The internet is a lawless realm of fuckwitterey, and somebody’s got to enforce some order. That somebody is Rickey. Because it’s just plain old fun to make up rules for blogging, we give you:

Rickey’s Commandments of Blogging, Part I
Rickey’s Commandments of Blogging, Part II
Rickey’s Commandments of Blogging, Part III

Rickey’s Cutting Edge Sports Commentary! For a website revolving around a famed athlete, it’s rather ironic that we know relatively little about sports. However, this hasn’t stopped Rickey from churning out the following sports-centric rib-ticklers:

Rickey Previews the 2008 Shea Stadium Promotional Games
Rickey Reports from the Johan Santana Press Conference
Rickey Live Blogs the 2008 Superbowl
Rickey analyzes thrilling advancements in the world of heckling
In which Rickey previews the 2008 Subway Series!
In which Willie Randolph gives one of his last pep talks to the Mets
In which the effects of the recession are felt within the Mets locker room
In which Rickey brings news of Billy Joel crashing his car into the Mets clubhouse
In which Rickey attends a Mets game and sits next to Susan Sarandon and Tim Robins (even two years ago, Rickey saw the warning signs!)
In which Rickey noshes with Joe Girardy and Mike Francessa
A Boston Red Sox employee arrested for public indecency? Oh you better believe Rickey was gonna write a “Dateline NBC” spoof about it…

Rickey’s Prescient Political Punditry! Again, a field that Rickey knows scant little about, a trait that by no means has stopped him from reveling in the absurdity of American political theater. For those longing to relive the craziness the 2008 Election, we think you’ll get a kick out of:

Sarah Palin’s New York City Itinerary
Rickey foolishly attempts to find logic in the rantings of Joe the Plumber
Rickey’s preview of the Vice Presidential debate
Rickey’s Republican National Convention drinking game!
Henry Paulson to Wall Street: “Nothing is Fucked Here Dude” followed quickly by….
Henry Paulson to Wall Street: “Repent Fuckers, the End Times are Nigh”
To kick off a new era in politics, we give you Rickey’s Guide to the 2009 Presidential Inauguration
And wrapping things up is President Obama’s Pick for the next Surgeon General

Rickey’s Beard Bloviation! Nearly two years later, we’re still not entirely sure why Rickey felt the need to constantly blog about his beard. We’ll let future generations weigh the cultural merit of journaling one man’s relentless quest to grow scraggly facial hair. Judge for yourself:

Day 5 of Beard Watch 2007!
Day 18 of the Beard!
Day 25!
Day 89!
In which Rickey bloviates about famous bearded politicians
In which Rickey completely goes off the deep end with this beard thing and imagines himself as a modern day Ernest Shackleton

Cooking with Rickey! Want to know what Rickey’s most excited for in his new house? The nice big kitchen. Rickey can’t wait to spread his culinary wings in an area far larger than a galley kitchen. In the meantime, marvel at some of the most delicious man-food recipes you’ve ever seen crafted, courtesy of Rickey:

Rickey cooks his Recession Blues Chili
Rickey cooks Steak Diane, Dish of the Huntress
Rickey cooks Buffalo Chicken Tenders
Rickey cooks Matzo Ball Soup (this stuff will cure cancer)
Rickey cooks his Tasty Tamil Tenders
Rickey cooks Irish Stew

Rickey’s Potent Potpourri! Pretty much any random cultural item that Rickey blogged about goes here. Stuff like..

Rickey’s mishaps on the company softball team! And back by popular demand, here’s the second installment
Rickey’s expose on the thrilling world of Finger Jousting, complete with angry response to Rickey’s post from the “Lord of the Joust” himself!
That time Rickey made the mistake of hosting a blog carnival about “24
That time Rickey bought a pair of aviator sunglasses and somehow wrote 5,000 words all about it
That brilliant post Rickey wrote about Indiana Jones’ accountant
That awkward post enumerating Rickey’s obsession with a children’s videogame about Piñata animals
That time Rickey reviewed a rather odd piece of food left in the second floor staff kitchen at work
In which Rickey tells you why the Sopranos finale was sheer genius and that you’re a philistine for disagreeing with him
And finally, there's that time Rickey went completely apeshit when his blog got a handful of negative reviews. Good times all around!

Wrapping things up, there’s the always enjoyable….

Rickey Recommends (The link will take you to a page containing all of ‘em. Every freaking 'Rickey Recommends' post. Every single piece of advice you need to live a life worth blogging about.)

Whew, well, that’s it we guess. Did we miss something? A funny post that Rickey omitted, perhaps? Feel free to let Rickey know in the comments section. Happy New Year’s everybody. See you all in 2010.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Your Obligatory "Avatar" Review (Now Complete with Christian Fundamentalism!)

The Hendersons stepped out last night and caught an evening showing of this “Avatar” flick that the kids are talking about and we’re pleased to report that we had a pretty damned enjoyable time seeing it. It’s a helluva great spectacle, even if it can get a little overwhelming at times when the movie pretty much devolves into the “can you believe all the crazy shit we’re throwing at you?!!” trend of cinematography. A subtle movie this is not. It’s just a good rollicking epic with blue cat-like people set in a lush alien world.

Think "Lawrence of Arabia" in space and you’re on the right track. The prerequisite battle scene at the end of the flick is 20 minutes long and yes, it is assuredly mind-blowing. An immense and beautiful movie, “Avatar” is visually stunning—an experience probably very similar to what audiences felt seeing “Wizard of Oz” in Technicolor for the first time. Trust me, seeing this thing in IMAX 3D is absolutely the only way to watch this. Go check it out if you haven’t already. You'll be a far more entertained person for it and overall, a more valuable and productive member of society.

Speaking of productive, sometimes, after seeing a movie, I’ll scour the internet to get others’ takes on it just for giggles. There's an unwritten law that a movie this widely enjoyed absolutely has to attract the critical wrath of some recluse lunatics. This time, I’m pleased to report that I've hit the motherload of craziness. Via a site known as Movieguide, a Christian film review site that implores it’s visitors to “Help us bring God's light to an industry with much darkness,” I found this blurb:

AVATAR is a visually stunning, but slow, shallow and abhorrent, science fiction adventure pitting evil human capitalists against heroic, spiritually sensitive aliens on the planet Pandora, who worship a false diety and nature. Too graphically intense for children, AVATAR has an abhorrent New Age, pagan, anti-capitalist worldview that promotes goddess worship and the destruction of the human race.

Mmmmm, that's good crazy. I haven’t heard this sort of righteous indignation since “March of the Penguins” hit the theaters! Come on now, who wouldn’t enjoy watching blue aliens practice a religion that’s 50% Wiccan and 50% Al Gore? (humorless Christians, that’s who). I think we’d all benefit from a closer analysis of their review, don’t you agree? Continuing on…

If only someone had edited this movie, it may have been more interesting.

I’m pretty sure that after spending the better part of a decade making this movie, James Cameron took the time to edit it a few times. He’s the Howard Hughes of movie making for crying out loud. But it’s always enjoyable to learn that the full extent of Movieguide’s in depth cinematic criticism is: “just edit the freaking thing, that’ll fix it!”

Those who want to be blown away by special effects, or who are on drugs, may disagree.

Yes, and I most certainly do.

Great entertainment puts plot first, character second, dialogue third, idea forth, music fifth, and spectacle last, as Aristotle noted. James Cameron, the writer and director of AVATAR, reverses this. And, all too often, when you put spectacle first, you turn a great little movie like KING KONG into KING BORE.

Ha ha! A pun! An atrocious pun! But seriously now folks, visuals are more than enough to sustain a movie. Have you not seen “2001”? Couldn’t make it past the "Dawn of Man" opening segment minutes with all the monkeys, I’m guessing?

The Na’vi have a special hair like sexual appendage that enables them to physically connect in a spiritual, mental, and even sexual bond with the creatures they ride or fly.

I, like most other moviegoers who saw this, was thinking “oh neat, USB cords in their hair!” but leave it to those wholesome god-fearing types to find the kinky subtext in all this!

There are Na’vi versions of prayer and worship throughout the movie, which are presented as if they’re something noble and beautiful. In contrast, the only use humans have for God is to spit out his name in profanities.

Pardon me while I petition 20th Century Fox to cast Nick Nolte in the sequel. There were not nearly enough belligerent exclamations of “aw, Jesus Christ!” in the script for my liking.

This is a huge Christmas season movie. What audiences need to know is that the God profaned in this movie is real.

As opposed to the make-believe fluorescent Gaiaesque deity who is clearly the biggest threat to core Christian beliefs since Henry VIII went apeshit. Really? You people don’t have better fish to fry? Moving on, this is where the movie review pretty much devolves into a full blown Catholic mass:

The goddess and the spiritual concepts presented in the movie are fiction. The Spirit we need is the Spirit of Almighty God, our Creator, who is only available when we accept the loving gift of His redemption in the name of Jesus Christ, who is God made flesh, who died to pay the penalty for our sins and was raised from the dead to secure eternal life for each of us who accept Him. While we remain here, we are to be stewards of the other living things on earth, not equals.

Hm, yes. I see your point. And it is interesting. Counterpoint: Zoe Saldana is smoking hot.

The reality of life on earth is that there are millions of Christians who worship a loving and compassionate God. Christians who engage in free enterprise are not brutal and greedy. Many of them are kind and generous. They also support missionaries around the world who help the poor and the suffering.

Yep, that’s exactly what “Avatar” needed: Christian missionaries! Kindly folks who tell the blue skinned Na’vi that “yes, those USB cords in your hair are snazzy, but listen guys, I’m here to talk about Jesus.”

The major problem with this movie is that Cameron tells a story that hates people. This self-loathing eventually has the group think natives triumph over the evil human corporations and sends the humans back to a dying earth where they can all die.

Well, let’s be honest now, we do kind of suck. Have you seen photos of that massive floating garbage island in the Pacific lately? It’s twice the size of Texas and it isn’t exactly the Sistine Chapel…

Aside from the theological and philosophical problems with the movie, it is amazing so little attention was made to the dialogue and characters of the alien natives.

Believe me bub, this will not discourage scores of nerds from painting themselves blue and walking around next year’s ComiCon speaking the Na’vi language.

Even the names of the exotic items are ridiculous. For instance, the rare mineral the earth needs to survive is called “unobtainium.” The planet AVATAR takes place on is Pandora. Pandora is a moon that orbits Polyphemus. Thus, most of the names sound like they came out of a midnight session where everyone was smoking dope.

As opposed to this insightful film review, which sounds as if it was penned by Dana Carvey’s Church Lady character from SNL.

Ultimately, AVATAR is bad news. What the people in the movie need to deliver them from their greed and the aliens in the movie need to deliver them from their severe group think is the loving salvation available only through the true God, Jesus Christ.

I get the feeling that 99.998% of this website’s visitors uttered a solemn “amen” under low breath after reading that last paragraph.

Cameron’s anti-capitalist ideology is more dangerous than Michael Moore, whose recent anti-capitalist documentary will be seen by far fewer people. The truth is that we live in amazing luxury today under capitalism, compared to what we’d have if we lived like Pandora’s aliens. Would you like to get up each morning from a hammock in a tree and hunt for food with a bow and arrow? Capitalism can be brutal and ugly if the capitalist is brutal and ugly, but so can every other economic system. Capitalism can be a beautiful thing in a nation where capitalists live by God’s golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Ugh, that last paragraph would’ve made even Regan cringe. Furthermore, I’m pretty sure that modern Capitalism and the value system you’re preaching are essentially antithetical. And I’m assuming that your interpretation of capitalism doesn’t have as much to do with rewarding success as it does with “I don’t want to pay taxes. Ever.”

If you want to live in a kinder, gentler, more compassionate world, don’t go hug a tree or look for some earthly version of an Earth goddess. Give your life to God through Jesus Christy and let Him use you to reach out to those trapped in selfishness, greed, pride, and hatred.

As of this post, they still haven’t corrected the typo “Jesus Christy” which tells you pretty much all you need to know about these people. (Unless “Jesus Christy” is actually what they’re referring to him as these days).

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Yesterday, a real American hero attempted to throw tomatoes at Sarah Palin but missed by ten feet and hit two police officers in the face. His intentions were laudable, but his follow through was sadly lacking. Come on now, would a few practice tosses in the backyard have killed you?

If this guy isn't a candidate for 2010 Mets starting pitcher, I just don't know who is.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

On Televisions, Trees, and the Joy of 30

So because I am now married, I am also now by law mandated to blog about banal husband/wife exchanges that occur in the household. Behold:

Me: "So I ordered a TV online the other day through one of those Cyber-Monday deals."

Her: "Nice, was it pricey?"

Me: "Well for a Sharp 47” display that boasts 1080p and a 120hz refresh rate, I think I did pretty damned well. This is my last hurrah. A powerful crescendo to wrap up the chapter of my life when I still had meaningful disposable income and wasn’t chained to a mortgage like Prometheus to his rock." [editor’s note—perhaps I’m taking a bit of creative license here: my domestic conversations typically do not involve Greek mythical figures]

Her: "Uh huh, good. So you’re going to leave it in the box until we move into our new house, right?"

[sudden sound of a record needle scratching]

Now let me explain to you why this is ten wild flavors of unacceptable. A hulking behemoth like this is not to be contained within a box. This electronic monster has been engineered with one purpose and one purpose only: massive ocular assault. To bombard one’s rods and cones with an image so vivid that it leaves them a stuttering mess, sitting in a pool of their own flop sweat. Will I keep this in a box? Would Michelangelo have dared to leave “David” sitting in a crate somewhere while he waited to close on his new Italian villa? Methinks not.

Meanwhile, it bothers the wifey that I am reluctant to put up a Christmas tree this year due to the upcoming move. The reason for this is easy to understand really: compared to setting up a TV, decorating a Christmas tree takes multiple hours, and I’m sorry, but no matter how good the Vince Guaraldi Charlie Brown Christmas album is, once you hear it the seventh time while hanging glittery ornaments, the urge to stab things becomes rather strong.

In other news, I turn 30 next week. 30, people. 30. It sucks. And don’t bother telling me it doesn’t and that I should be glad that at least I’m not [insert whatever age you are here] because when I am, it’ll most certainly suck even more. Ugh.

Today, I received bedsheets yesterday for my birthday. Bedsheets. The only thing more depressing than getting bedsheets for your birthday is the fact that I ACTUALLY REQUESTED THEM. Because presumably, once you hit 30, this is the sort of thing you're supposed to ask for instead of mammoth TVs or fun stuff like this.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Blog Post Where I Put Together a Half-Assed List and Wish Everybody a Happy Thanksgiving

Tomorrow we give thanks to living in a country led by a president who spends more time thinking about how to resolve the situation in Afghanistan than which turkey to pardon on the White House lawn. (One gets the feeling that it was the other way around with the last guy).

We give thanks that this is one of few holidays where we can gorge ourselves silly and watch football without feeling obligated to offer some sort of tribute to Jesus (man that guy is a serious attention whore…)

We give thanks to the wondrous gastronomical opportunities provided by this holiday. I, for one, am a big fan of Rooster Tooth’s take on the Thanksgiving staple, the Turducken:

“Start off with a hummingbird, put that in a sparrow, stuff 'em both in a cornish hen, then put that in a chicken. Put all that in a duck, then in a turkey, then in a bigger turkey, put that in a penguin, stuff that in a peacock, then an eagle, shove it all in an albatross, then and emu, next comes an ostrich, then a leopard. Put all that in a pterodactyl, and stuff it in a Boeing 747.”

We give thanks to all those magnificent bastards who remain undeterred from deep frying their turkeys, despite the fact that they’ve set fire to their houses the last 87 times they’ve attempted it. Happy Thanksgiving you morons, please try to refrain from napalming your house this time, OK?

Most of all, we give thanks to cranberry sauce. Sweet sweet cranberry sauce. Some people like to screw around and make their own, but let me tell you: nothing beats a perfectly cylindrical blob of cranberry sauce retaining its natural can shape (complete with the ridges!) Thanksgiving isn’t complete unless I hear that slimy sloughing noise as the cranberry sauce slides free of its aluminum confines.

Have a safe & happy Thanksgiving everybody.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Your Weekly Nerdery

So this unrepentantly shitty looking little fellow represents my first attempt at painting a Warhammer 40K miniature. Egad, I suck. Moral of the story, a Badab Black wash over a light colored basecoat yields some really fugly results. If these guys were supposed to be undead space zombies, this would all be good and fine. But they’re not. They’re supposed to be proud and angry Space Wolves. Space Wolves with sizeable cod pieces.

Just look at this poor guy, you can just tell that he's definitely going to have some sort of self-esteem issues. Kids are going to pick on him in Space Wolf school. A few more of these and I'm going to need to thumb through my SW codex to see if some sort of Space Wolf therapist class exists that I can add to my army. Anyhow, things improve notably from here. BEHOLD, THE AWESOME:
For these next two, I switched over to Space Wolf Grey for my primary color, which oddly, isn’t grey at all but actually blue (kind of like how “Nantucket Red” is actually pink). I’m pretty happy with the outcome so far on these guys. Still not impressed? Consider for a moment that these little dudes are only one inch tall. THAT’S 25 MILLIMETERS, PEOPLE!

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Monday, November 23, 2009

On Turbinate Reductions and Real Estate Malfeasance

So the wifey had surgery a few days ago to repair a deviated septum. Thanks to a steady diet of matzo ball soup and oxycontin, she’s recuperating nicely and hopes to be in ship shape for the coming Thanksgiving festivities (because if you’re going to be zonked out around this time of year, it damn well should be on wine and turkey rather than painkillers and antibiotics). Should it tickle your fancy, feel free to wish Erika a speedy recovery in the comments section below. Also feel free to express your sympathies for a man who has to sleep next to someone with splints in their nose and makes nighttime noises that sound like Darth Vader wrestling a wolverine in an earthquake. Goddamnit I miss my 7 hours of sleep.

The medical release form the hospital provided us advised Erika to avoid making any major financial decisions while recovering from the anesthesia for the next 48 hours. This however didn’t stop me from cajoling her drugged up carcass to sign her life away several dozen times on our mortgage application. Look, it had to be submitted promptly, OK? Don’t judge me.

Vital documents signed under duress? Er, I have no idea what you’re talking about…

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Promised Myself I Wouldn’t Blog About the Hiatus…

And yet I still feel somewhat obligated to offer somewhat of an explanation to the five readers who stuck around…

What exactly compels a man to cease blogging? Many things: the perpetual give and take of busyness and laziness, a lack of inspiration, the siren call of the television, blah, blah, blah, but most of all, THIS: Well this can't end well. What you’re looking at here is a pack of miniature Warhammer 40K figurines (Space Wolf Grey Hunters, to be precise) intended for one purpose only: to conquer my tabletop gaming opponent. They may not look impressive, but bear in mind that these snarling fellows came completely unassembled and had to be painstakingly glued together piece by piece. They arrived looking like THIS:And I haven’t even primed or painted ‘em yet. And if you think that’s bad, it gets worse. Oh so much worse.

See, this cringe-worthy endeavor started a few weeks back. Driving to an annual fly fishing trip with a few buddies, a friend asked me if I was interested in an exceedingly geeky activity. Now let me tell you, this man is a total menace. He’s living every 13 year old’s dream: he’s 30, gainfully employed as a lawyer, and has more than enough spare cash to indulge himself in a myriad of hobbies. We’re talking R/C cars & planes, comic books, online gaming, modeling, etc. At one point he had even approached me about renting apartment space in Manhattan for the sole purpose of building a model railroad layout. Like I said, he’s a menace. No man should have this kind of freedom to indulge themselves.

And so he told me about Warhammer 40,000. For those not in the know, (99.99997% of the human population), Warhammer 40K is a British invention and is essentially a precursor to modern day RPG videogames. Only the Brits would come up with something as quirky as this. How does it work? One creates an army on paper, assigns each model attributes, carefully adhering to a set of rules governing each faction, then goes about physically assembling a battleforce consisting of a certain point value. Once you’re all done (this can take months or even years) you duke it out against an opponent’s army by rolling die, assigning hits, and tallying up damage. If you’re a stats freak, it’s an engaging endeavor, kind of like Strat-O-Matic baseball, because you’re essentially doing all the work that a computer would normally do. Oh joy.

It’s all very low-tech and brutally demanding of the participant. Just getting a 40K army builder software program to run involved actually downgrading to an old Pentium II computer that was collecting dust in the apartment. (shockingly, the program doesn’t run on Apple’s OSX).

But being the easily susceptible type, my buddy totally convinced me to get into it. For my army, I’ve selected Space Wolves, because let’s be honest here, if you’re going to build some sort of futuristic space army, it damned well better incorporate wolves somehow. Best as I can figure based on the literature I’ve come across, Space Wolves worship some dude named “Russ,” and like yelling a lot and attacking things. And also drinking lots of Space Wolf mead and presumably neglecting their Space Wolf wives.

If getting married makes a man seem attractive to women as some claim, then engaging in an activity like this completely negates whatever net gains I would’ve made. Here, I’ll break it down in 40K statistical terms:

Marital Viability: -2
Societal Worth: -7
Useless Esoteric Knowledge: +9
Relationship Saving Throw: -17

You get the idea. It’s nerdtacular. I’ve already been exchanging emails with a buddy who uses sentences like “and don’t even get me started on trying to pin down Eldar skimmers.”

Moreover, the stats side of it is just half of the picture. If you’re a hobbyist, this lets you go hog wild: filing down individual components, meticulously gluing them together, spending hours painting tiny details, etc… Anytime you can alarm your landlady by wandering around outside wearing a surgical mask and spraying a 1” tall figurine with an aerosol primer, it’s a good time.

[LENGHTY ASIDE: Things have been rather eventful in the apartment recently. I thought our landlady had died last week when I left the apartment Monday morning and noticed a terrible smell. It was as if a sewage line had ruptured in a Roman vomitorium. Fashioning myself as a bit of an expert on smells, unable to place this horrific one, and realizing that our landlady is of an advanced age, I made the seemingly logical conclusion that she had perished several days ago and her decomposing body was causing the terrible odor. I’ve seen enough police dramas to know how these sorts of things happen. I spent the entire commute to work rehearsing just the right tone of solemnity in which I would deliver my official statement to the police (“yes officer, she was a kind woman who lived an active and social life… I last saw her two days ago”) before I called Erika to ask that she investigate the rotting landlady problem. Meanwhile I weighed the ramifications of how this dead landlady issue would impact our search for a house. Erika of course knocked on her door at 7AM and totally startled our landlady out of the shower, and it was discovered that the smell emanated from the garbage outside. Never a dull moment. END LENGHTY ASIDE]

But getting back to my fledgling pack of space wolves, they’re coming along nicely. I’ll update you with their progress as I go, because I’m certain you’re just gagging for it…

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rickey Recommends

This is where Rickey posts recommendations of noteworthy consumables, practices, and pastimes that have been deemed invaluable for the reader’s betterment. All products and pieces of advice listed herein have been Rickey tested and approved. Again, this is in no way shape or form a complete rip off of McSweeney’s (fa-la-la-la-la, lawyers, Rickey can’t hear you). Enjoy our latest installment of....


Carefully reviewing your local zoning laws before purchasing a flock of domesticated fowl. No, sadly, I don’t have some zany news story involving rampaging fowl to link to. I’m just a man. A man who has an accepted offer on a house and is now one step closer to fulfilling his lifelong dream of raising guinea hens in his backyard. I hear their eggs consumed raw are delectable! (or so I’m told by a miscreant at work). Guinea hens, they’re like chickens but infinitely cooler! Perhaps I just like saying the name “guinea hens.” Guinea hens! They rank right up there with the Jewfish as “animals badly in need of nomenclature adjustment.”

Making your own pepper vodka. Take a handful of peppercorns, toss ‘em in a bottle of cheap vodka (perhaps that one with the robot on it) stick it in the freezer, wait 3 weeks and presto: a tasty adult beverage! Nice sipped straight or even better in a bloody mary.

The Droid. Now this is podracing! a phone. This bright touch screen wonder runs multiple applications simultaneously, it provides turn by turn voice-guided directions, it has wifi, it sports a full qwerty keyboard, it syncs up all your Facebook and Gmail contacts, and it even makes phone calls when you feel the inexplicable urge to have a live conversation with another human being. In 5 years, this thing will be doing your job for you. Apple may rave about its 100K apps for the iphone, but the applications for the Droid are also incredibly numerous and rather impressive to boot. The other day I downloaded an app that stores my bevy of account passwords and only unlocks them after a retinal scan via the 5mp camera on the phone. ‘nuff said. Best of all, it runs on a stable network, unlike AT&T’s, (which one might compare to a lethargic raccoon ambling back and forth from your phone to a cell tower with a basket of bytes tied around its neck). Viva Google and this wondrous device. Did I mention that I can now blog from directly this thing? The a few weeks ago, I saw a bohemian lady on the street with a bird in a cage strapped to her back--just imagine the possibilities had I been able to live blog about it!

“The Prisoner” on AMC. I haven’t seen it yet, but my mom says it’s good. She’s usually right about this sort of thing.

Sunrise Earth. I used to watch the news in the morning. I have officially evolved past that, primarily because the mere sight of Al Roker fills me with an uncontrollable urge to kick things. Now, every morning, I inaugurate the day with a good cup of coffee and imagery of the sun rising over an exotic locale. No music, no narration, just the natural sounds of wherever the camera is situated. It’s strangely mesmerizing and utterly relaxing. This morning’s installment: buffalo roaming across an expansive plain while rosy fingered dawn illuminated the horizon. Solid stuff!

Modern Warfare 2. And on the other end of the cultural spectrum, we have the most batshit intense videogame ever made. Ever wanted to repel a Russian invasion of Washington D.C. while a Hans Zimmer score blasts in the background? Or perhaps see the battlefield through the lens of a Lockheed AC-130 gunship and rain down molten death from above upon your online opponents? Well friend, this game is for you. Not a thinking man’s game by any means, but still a romping good time. In other news, the Mrs. has noticed a serious uptick in the use of the phrases "we're Oscar Mike," "pave low," and "Hooah" in the household as of late...

“Modern Family” on ABC. Are you watching this show? Why aren’t you watching this show? It’s like “Arrested Development” featuring Ed ‘O Neil. Go watch this show. It ranks up there with “Community” as one of my new fall favorite comedies.

They Might Be Giants. People aren't recommending this band as much as they used to, so I’m here to pick up the slack. Nothing says “hey, I know i'm a dork and, post-college, I’ve come lastingly to happy terms with it” quite like owning a few They Might Be Giants albums. Give ‘em a listen to sometime.

Goldcoast Maine Lobster Spread. Available NOW at your friendly neighborhood Costco, this delicious spread consist of 70% lobster, 30% whitefish, and 100% win. Academics and dilettantes may disagree, but in the end, you really don't miss the 30% void of lobster. And it goes without saying that I heartily approve of any seafood that comes in spreadable form. I could eat 17 pounds of this stuff and not even realize what had happened. If possible, I’d eat this stuff in the bathtub, societal conventions notwithstanding.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

“Bring Out Yer Dead!”, AKA, Your Mets Update: The Obligatory Postmortem Edition

Apparently the baseball gods were watching when I decided to heckle Joe Girardi about the Yankees' chances against the Mets. And they smote me. They smote me hard. The latest addition to the black hole that is the Mets DL? My trusty coffee mug. In a moment of weighty karmic reciprocity, the cup slipped from my hands as if it was nudged by some phantom force, and crashed to the floor, resulting in the handle shattering into several pieces.
Imagine it happening in slow motion, followed by me staring blankly at it for several minutes, wallowing in the not-so-subtle symbolism of the event. Yes, when stuff like this happens to me, it is usually this blunt (last night I was playing “Batman: Arkham Asylum” on the 360 and I kid you not, a freaking live bat showed up in the apartment and started flapping around).

I’d spent a helluva lotta time searching for that Mets mug online, so throwing it away wasn’t even briefly taken into consideration. No sir, repairing it became a top priority. And so with a little gorilla glue and some tender love, the mug was made whole once again.
Attention advertising companies: I heartily approve of any product involving gorillas. You slap a gorilla on the label and I will purchase it. For me, the addition of any kind of simian likeness will bolster a product’s appeal by roughly 145%. For example, did you know that there’s an airline company called Air Gorilla? This fascinates me to no end.

And so the mug was repaired. Could the glued together handle break apart mid sip, resulting in hot coffee scalding my face? Why yes, yes it could. Like any true pessimistic Mets fan worth their salt, I’m pretty much counting on that eventuality. The vortex of ineptitude and injuries is strong with this team. The Obama Health Plan damn well better have a clause discussing the Metropolitans, because right now, I’m thinking that wearing a Mets uniform is considered by most healthcare providers sufficient cause to deny coverage.

As others have pointed out, the extent and frequency of Mets injuries is downright spooky. It’s gotten to a point that the five people who still watch the Mets on TV feel like they’re watching a sports version of ‘Final Destination” unfold rather than an actual baseball game: “Oh dear god, what is that? Somebody left a glove on the dugout steps! Oh, I can’t look!”

Now I haven’t mustered the intestinal fortitude to visit the other Mets blogs lately, but if nobody has started up a “Next Met to be Injured” pool, then this needs to be looked into, pronto. Screw it, I’ll do it. As is the norm with my baseball commentary, this is completely free of thoughtful analysis, because far be it from this blogger to let niggling facts get in the way of wanton hyperbole. Here’s what my Mets injury pool looks like at the moment:

Brian Schneider. He has roughly five hits in the past three months. His bat speed rivals that of a medium sized cat. If he’s not already secretly playing hurt now, definitely look for him to sprain his thumb while updating his Wiki page to read “THE BEST DEFENSIVE CATCHER IN THE GAME OF BASEBALL.”

Lance Broadway. With a name like his, there’s absolutely no other way this guy can hurt himself other than in the midst of a frenzied porn shoot. No other way.

Johan Santana. True, he’s already on the DL. But don’t be too shocked when the bastard witch doctors seasoned medical professionals at the Hospital for Special Surgery misdiagnose him with gangrene and amputate his entire left arm.

Nick Evans. This promising young prospect’s career will come to an abrupt halt when he becomes the latest victim of gang violence incurred by Omar Minaya’s questionable decision to recruit members of the Latin Kings to play for the Mets.

The dude in the Mets front office whose job it is to report that Jose Reyes is slated to start rehab “any day now.” Two ways this guy can die: via severe alcohol poisoning or hysterically laughing himself to death.

Ken Takahashi. The victim of an unexpected ninja attack secretly orchestrated by Bobby Valentine. It’s complicated, but it will involve outstanding debts owed by Takahashi for a series of ballroom dancing classes taught by Bobby V. I’m telling you, the David Carradine conspiracy will pale in comparison to this.

Daniel Murphy. Listed as one of the missing passengers when Air Gorilla flight #618 disappears somewhere over the Pacific.

Luis Castillo. Lost for the season when an angry Gary Sheffield kidnaps him and holds him hostage, demanding a contract with the Mets for the 2010 season. An intense multi-state manhunt suddenly and unexpectedly culminates with Castillo professing his undying love for his captor Sheffield and deciding to live his life on the lam with the man of his dreams.

Angel Pagan. The guy’s name is “Angel Pagan.” If ever there was a candidate for “death by singularity,” this is it.

And of course….

The Entire Mets Training Staff. Look, I’m no athlete or anything, but it occurs to me that one can keep injuries curtailed a bit by STRETCHING OUT BEFORE THE GAME. How freaking tough is it to remind your players to do this?! This is something I was repeatedly told to do during 9th grade J.V. soccer for crying out loud. Because I’m feeling charitable, Mets training staff: death by auto-erotic asphyxiation. I know good ninjas.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

It occurred to me the other day that for nearly three years I’ve been writing a blog and most of you know remarkably little about me. Let’s be honest here, for all you know, I could be Carlos the Jackal. Sadly, I’m not, and that’s just the first of many misconceptions that I’ll attempt to clear up in this edition of…

Things You Heretofore Had Not Known About Me

While eating out at a restaurant, I cannot tolerate indecision. Picky folks who gaze at the menu for more than three minutes anger me beyond comprehension. Every time this happens, there’s an excellent chance that I'm really going to lose it. Like, violently lose my shit. On strangers, family, co-workers, the waiter, I don't care. It’s not a pretty sight. When it comes to this sort of thing, I am explosively misanthropic.

I’m a bit of a geek. I own one of these. I possess a large box of “Magic: The Gathering” cards. I traffic in assorted nerdery. On Monday, I scored two free tickets via quite possibly the biggest movie nerd website in existence to an advance screening of “District 9” in NYC. How was the movie? Pretty damned solid. A great indie sci-fi action flick. The last 20 minutes is awesome. It features an FX shot of combat mayhem unlike anything I've ever seen. Watch closely for it. It involves a pig. It is too awesome for words. As my buddy who saw it with me can attest, I was literally bouncing up and down. Yes, I am that dude who rocks back and forth in his seat and makes uncomfortably loud exclamations in a movie theater.

I consider myself to be a spiritual person, yet I’ve never actually picked up a bible and read it. I prefer to just imagine what I’d like the bible to say and I govern myself according to that. For example, did you know that Psalms 14:5 actually states “Check thyself lest thou wreck thyself”? True story.

I am determined. Allow me to provide an example. The other night, I was playing Uno on the Xbox. It’s a web camera enabled game where you play online against other people. It’s a family friendly game. Or at least that’s what I’d thought until I stumbled upon a game session where three dudes have got their junk out and are masturbating furiously. I see this on my tv. In a game of Uno. When they saw my horrified face and that I was wearing pants, I was immediately booted from the game. I quickly researched the matter and found incontrovertibleevidence that this is a known issue with this game. Since then I have made a vow to search out these people like Chris Hansen. I will track down these avid maasturbaters and expose them for the weirdos they are. Point of the story is, that’s how determined a fellow I am. This is my white whale. This is why I haven’t had time to blog much recently. Does this teeter on the side of obsession? I’ll get back to you in a few days on that…

I am an exceedingly vain individual. I work out a lot and make a point of ensuring that others are aware of this. I iron my blue jeans. I like mirrors more than most people. You probably already knew of this vanity from those beard watch updates I provided a while back. As a matter of fact, I am debating growing my hair out in hopes of achieving the highly sought after “yacht hair.” I am using this fellow as my template: I will often torment others with intentionally bad suggestions. The current one? I am steadfastly demanding that Erika and I name our future children “Whipple” and “Spaulding.” The thinking behind this is similar to Johnny Cash’s “Boy Named Sue” logic—our kids will be toughened up by relentless tormenting from their peers, and they will certainly never ever receive any form of scholarship or financial aid, because names like “Whipple” and “Spaulding” are 100% white bread. They start off white and bleach themselves to transparency by the end. No, I will not budge on this issue. Do not attempt to debate me on this.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

House Hunt... The Search Begins.

Intent on buying into this “ownership society” thing we’ve heard a few things about, we have started to hunt for a house. A place to call our very own. The American Dream and all that good stuff. Given our price range and our refusal to end up stuck in a bland condo building up equity on a geological pace, we’re probably going to be purchasing what is commonly referred to as a “handyman special.” At first, this sounds appealing. It conjures up images of us donning overalls and frolicking around a charming old house painting the walls while a peppy 80’s song blasts in the background. After looking at a few “handyman specials” however, I can now report that substantially more work is involved. But we’re still pretty determined to shoot for it.

Now I’ll leave it to more knowledgeable economists to discuss the overall trends in the U.S. housing market. I’m hardly a real estate novelist. What I can tell you is that the area where we’re seeking a place to buy teeters on ludicrous in terms of affordability (which is to say, it isn’t). What makes matters worse is that there are some seriously delusional homeowners out there. Honest to goodness assholes.

Look, I don’t care how wonderful the local schools are—an 1,100 square foot one-level house with a creepy basement that looks like it was lived in by Jigsaw from those “Saw” movies SHOULD NOT cost $439K. Say, what model of house did you say this was? A cape? A colonial? Oh, "A Kaczynski," how charming.

I kid you not about the basement in this place. Something very wrong happened down there. “Oh look honey, there’s the workbench where he carved up his victims! And there’s the wood burning furnace where he tossed the dismembered body parts! And there’s the corner where the dog sat and told him to do it all!” This would be funny, if only we hadn’t seen five houses just like this. I’m pretty certain that the bathroom in one of them doubled as a meth lab (although that is a potential cash cow if we wanted to find a way to pay off our mortgage quicker).

Yeah, so the owners sanded and refinished all the hardwood floors in the house and put in some recessed lighting. In their minds these may be MAJOR SELLING POINTS, but that doesn’t entitle them to tack on $100K to the listing price. Would the homeowners be insulted if we submitted a bid at half that amount? Probably, but I felt offended that somebody out there thinks I’m stupid enough to pay that kind of cash for a house. Furthermore, I’ve played more than enough “Sim City” in my life to realize that residents don’t like to live directly next to a zoned industrial area. They'll leave, now matter how low you slide the bar to the left on the tax meter. And then you've gone and spent all that money building a virtual neighborhood with firehouses, police stations, and schools, all for nothing. And then the rolling blackouts hit, followed eventually by UFO attacks. I'm telling you, "Sim City" is a merciless bastard of a game. Never, ever get into it.

Also, I don’t mean to alarm you, but the taxes in the area we’re looking… well, they just might turn me into a Republican. After closing on the property, there is a substantial tax rebate you can apply for, but there’s a byzantine process involved in getting it and we wouldn’t be eligible to receive it until calendar year 2011. This of course begs the question: why not just eliminate the rebate program altogether and just lower everybody’s taxes across the board?

Yes, I’m familiar with the conventional wisdom: keep looking. We’ll know the place we want when we see it. However, I would like to go on the record and state that I’m giving serious thought to moving under the sea.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rickey's Film Corral: Rounding up Moves You Were too Damned Lazy to See

[Rickey's in-depth analysis of the various cinematic offerings currently showing at a movie theater near you. Rickey will use his critical skills to weed out the dreck from the moderately watchable, thereby saving you money and vastly improving your quality of life. Don't say we never did anything for you, OK?]

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Erika and I saw this one overseas in San José (there’s very little to do in San José other than avoid being mugged) and paid roughly $5 for two tickets to an evening showing. Even that small amount felt like a rip-off. This movie isn’t just offensively dumb, it’s mean, manipulative and violent. Now, unfortunately, I’m on the record as having enjoyed the first Transformers movie for what it was: a mindless fun flick showcasing large robots punching each other. But this one expands upon everything that was bad in the first movie and runs with it full tilt. We’re talking terrible acting, overwhelming use of indiscernible CGI, shoddy editing, and a runtime that extends about 100 minutes too long. Want to save yourself ten bucks at the movies? Try eating paint chips while staring at a poster of Megan Fox—you’ll get pretty much the same effect.

Granted, nobody was expecting director Michael Bay to craft a modern day version of “The Seventh Seal” from a Saturday morning children’s cartoon, but still… something feels very unwholesome about watching flag draped coffins of U.S. soldiers being escorted off a plane by giant robots in a military base somewhere in the Middle East. Kitsch I can take, but perverted patriotism is another thing altogether. And the less said about the movie’s insinuation that the Obama Administration would attempt to negotiate peace with a villainous race of alien robots the better. Oh, and what are your feelings about paying to see a minstrel show in the year 2009? Because this movie features two gorilla shaped robots with gold teeth who “don’t read too good” talking jive to each other. It’s a pretty shocking thing to watch, especially when you consider that Steven Spielberg, the director of “Amistad,” and the upcoming biopic "Lincoln” is the executive producer on this film. I honestly can’t come up with a single reason to recommend this movie to anyone, and I liked “Armageddon” for crying out loud.

Brüno. (I just want you to know how difficult it was to get an umlaut symbol to appear in this post). Well I suppose that this movie attempts to push your buttons in a better way than the previous one we just reviewed. If you consider Sasha Baron Cohen attempting to lure Ron Paul to bed more sublimely enlightened than an alien robot humping Megan Fox’s leg, that is. Brüno operates in the same way that Borat did: it attempts to mine comedy from the conceit of an outsider illuminating our inner prejudices. The problem is that Cohen targets some very low hanging fruit – talk show audiences, a group of redneck hunters, Paula Abdul – and the movie comes off more as a series of cheap shots than a witty social commentary. While it’s true that all good comedy is born from a certain degree of derision, I feel the same way about this movie that I do about some of Andy Kaufman’s stuff: going to an extreme length to rile up and upset people just isn’t all that funny. Also, there’s serious full frontal male nudity in this one. Regardless of how enlightened you may consider yourself to be regarding alternative lifestyles, nothing can prepare you for the first twenty minutes of this movie and the sight of a singing dancing penis. Nothing.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Every year, I get dragged to one of these films about children magicians brandishing wands and saying funny made up words. I agree to this because sitting through these movies morally entitles me to pick the next eighteen films we watch together. This installment of the Potter franchise focuses on some sort of magical book, a talking sofa, and children magicians falling in love. Yay. Between these movies and “Twilight,” I’m seriously concerned about one day having “the talk” with my bewildered progeny and needing to explain that adolescent romance doesn’t necessarily include spells, potions, or general supernatural tomfoolery.

Bottom line, if you liked the last few Potter films, you’ll probably like this too. They’re all kind of a blur to me at this point. You’d think that after six semesters of sending their kids to this Hogwarts place, the parents would’ve sued the pants off anyone associated with a school that subjects it’s students to trolls, giant spiders, dragons, and similar outlandish dangers. (I’m assured that all this will be resolved in the upcoming “Harry Potter and the Order of the 2nd District Court”). Also, they’d better hurry up and make the final movie because the kid playing Ron Weasley looks like he’s about 30 in this one.

On the Docket !

[These are movies that I haven’t yet seen but after watching the last one, am COMPLETELY ENTITLED to see because they are undoubtedly incredible and cannot possibly be any worse than that Transformers train wreck that I convinced Erika was totally worth seeing. Ahem.]

District 9. A sci-fi action movie about aliens arriving on Earth then being rounded up in a ghetto in South Africa? Shot in documentary style by a newcomer director that nobody has ever heard of? I’m telling you, there’s absolutely no way this can fail. I am dead serious about this.

Public Enemies. This one shouldn’t take too much arm twisting to convince the Mrs. to go see. She gets to see Johnny Depp play the charming John Dillinger and I get to watch a slick Michael Mann movie about a bank robber. A win-win situation if I’ve ever heard of one.

500 Days of Summer. Hey look, the kid from “3rd Rock from the Sun” has resurfaced! That alone has me intrigued for this indie love movie. As does Zooey Deschanel. Yes, every now and then, I am capable of picking a sentimental date flick…

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Monday, July 27, 2009

While You Were Out...

Yeah, I’ve been lax with new material. I will now attempt to fabricate lame excuses for this. Turns out that returning to one’s job after a month hiatus doesn’t leave much time for blogging. And then there are the errands. The endless errands. (Those Netflix movies don’t just return themselves, you know?) But most importantly, the wifey and I are starting to search for a dwelling of some sort to purchase. We’re busy, got it? Also, we’re pretty much looking for excuses not to sit in a poorly air-conditioned apartment and write out several dozen heartfelt wedding thank you notes. Ugh. I do have several key updates worth mentioning however:

After much deliberation, we’ve decided to start talking in the first person (the editorial voice remains remarkably intact however). You’ll notice a noticeable increase of the use of pronoun “I” here at RwR. In order to better demonstrate this, here’s an example of how this will work, derived from a real life situation:

Under the old system: “This morning, while brewing his cup of coffee, Rickey bumped over his coffee press and spread shattered glass and hot coffee all over the kitchen floor. Rickey nearly scalded his genitals off.”

Under the new system: “This morning, while brewing my cup of coffee, I bumped over my coffee press and spread shattered glass and hot coffee all over the kitchen floor. I nearly scalded my genitals off.”

Because let’s be honest here, if you’re going to discuss the topic of horrific genital scalding, it’s far better to do it in the first person. Do not be alarmed by this first person speaking development. Change can be a terrifying thing, but fret not: I’m just as capable of blogging like an ignorant pompous schmuck in the first person as I was in the third person.

Judging by the modest uptick in Google hits (I can’t decide which keyword search I like better: “Rickey Henderson shirtless” or “Rickey Henderson batshit crazy”) something rather noteworthy happened to Rickey Henderson over the weekend. You’d think that after three years of pilfering someone’s good name, I’d take the time to honor their induction into Cooperstown, but you also forget how much of a magnificently lazy bastard I am. Maybe I’ll get around to writing a proper HOF speech in a few days, but I’m concerned it would deteriorate into one of those cliché life story speeches about how Rickey single handedly liberated a small Brazilian village using only a paperclip, some string, and his moral fortitude. As always, your input is greatly appreciated.

I am unmoved by the Mets’ current two game winning streak. After a month entirely removed from baseball, it’s difficult to get excited about an injury ravaged team with a lineup that I can only identify 12% of. I am however quite concerned that they’ve decided to steal one of my trademark maneuvers from this past softball season:
Damn you Francoeur, the “curl into the fetal position to avoid the ball” is MY MOVE, not yours. 14 RBIs in 12 games does not excuse you from this blatant theft!

I do however, approve of the Mets organization’s decision to foster a bit of off-field drama. It livens things up a bit when your VP of player development tears off his shirt and challenges minor league players to a fistfight. Who wants to watch a timid and mediocre team anyway? If you’re going to screw up, at least make it fun. Make it big. Hats off to Tony Bernazard for acknowledging the 2009 Mets season as what it really is: one massive episode of “Hell’s Kitchen.”

I, for one, was absolutely delighted by the Erin Andrews scandal and the resulting media uproar. For an entire week, we get to listen to the lunacy of sports experts telling us “Look, I don’t care what your reasons are, you SIMPLY CANNOT bore a hole into a locked hotel room and take photos of a woman undressing!” Uh, thank you very much professor. Way to take a stand there. Your Peabody is in the mail.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Rickey's Costa Rica Travelogue Part VII: Manuel Antonio

Our final stop in Costa Rica was a beach town named Quepos, home of some of Costa Rica's nicest beaches. Upon arriving in town, we wasted no time and headed directly for the Pacific shore. I found the waves to be most excellent, usually towering above my head. Tons of surfers at this beach. And then there was me, just kind of bobbing around and doing some bodysurfing. Later on, I haggled with a beach vendor who consented to rent me a boogie board (don't knock it--it's a lotta fun). Erika quickly retreated from the sea once she realized that waves were twice her height.A word of caution: the riptides were ridiculously strong--so powerful that a coast guard boast was sitting about a hundred meters off shore routinely fishing people out who got sucked out and dropping them off back on the beach. But hey, on the bright side, no sharks were sighted.
The next day, we made for a nearby park known as Manuel Antonio. It was much more remote and less touristy than the one at Quepos (the park officials only let a few hundred people in per day) and as an added bonus, it's chock full of monkeys. Monkeys that, according to the locals, would steal our belongings if we left them unattended. I eagerly looked forward to this possibility, for it was the final item on our Costa Rica travelogue checklist: to engage a simian in hand to hand combat. I estimate that I could take no less than 23 of them on at once before they overwhelmed me.

With this in mind, got into the park nice and early. This view awaited us:We set up our beach towels a few feet away from this fellow. Behold, the Lizard King:He hung out the whole time, watching us and sunning himself. Thinking whatever it is that lizards think of in their tiny lizard brains. We stayed by the beach, frolicking in the Pacific for quite some time and quickly achieved our most severe sunburn of the entire trip. You know, one of those "it hurts when I blink" sunburns. And still no monkeys or monkey attempts to abscond with our belongings. These little guys had most definitely let me down. To say the least, we were disappointed.

Feeling that it was time to make our exit, we packed our belongings and began to head out at around midday. Suddenly, a rustling was seen in the trees above us. This could only mean one thing: monkey business was afoot.Monkeys: so much like us and yet so untrustworthy. It's a well-known fact that they've been plotting against us for quite some time. I'm warning you, long gone are the days when monkeys would jovially wear ties and smoke cigars for our amusement. Just look in this guy's eyes and tell me he's not working things out.We encountered three distinct varieties of monkeys, these capuchins being the last. I'll admit, they are exceedingly cute. Almost cute enough for me to momentarily forget that monkeys pose a clear and present danger to Western Civilization. Almost.Sadly, the opportunity to wrestle a monkey did not present itself. Park regulations prohibit feeding the monkeys, so I'm pretty sure that engaging in fisticuffs with one of them is off limits as well. Fine, be that way park rangers. Just don't come crying to Rickey when Costa Rica is ground zero for the simian uprising.
The next day, we departed Quepos and drove North to the airport in San Jose. Driving along, we paid a toll for an incomplete highway that we had to exit two miles later. Apparently the highway project was behind schedule but the toll booths were finished right on time, so the authorities figured, "hey, let's open 'em anyway!" This sort of planning isn't uncommon in Costa Rica, a country badly in need of their own version of Robert Moses. This is what passes for a bridge:Rusty steel girders supporting wooden planks. And tractor trailers are driving over this. This is actually high tech compared to some of the other river crossings we were subjected to. I feel so much better about driving across the crumbling Tappan Zee after this. You don't really drive across the bridges in Costa Rica as much as hold your breath and make a mental checklist of places you want to see before you die.

We spent out last night in Costa Rica in a hotel outside of San Jose. San Jose is... well, the it's the capital of Costa Rica. A big poor city in Central America. Our decision not to spend much time there was a sound one. That evening, while outside smoking, I heard 5 or 6 popping noises in the distance. Suddenly, the hotel guard's radio starts going off and he starts talking loudly into it. Not having any knowledge of Spanish, I just tell myself that he's saying "it's those damn kids playing with firecrackers again" and I mosey inside. Then the sounds go off again. This time four quick shots followed by one more a few seconds later. I'm pretty sure it was gunfire. We don't sleep much that night. The following day, we got the hell out of San Jose, dropped off the rental car, and made for the airport.
What did I miss while I was gone? Ironically, it rained more back home than it did in Costa Rica, the Mets are in an injury plagued tailspin, Michael Jackson and pretty much everyone everyone else is dead, and I'm pretty certain that the Riddler is lurking in the comments section of this blog.

[OK, anonymous, I figured out that another word for tiered crown is 'tiara' but I can't rearrange the letters into a recognizable name, let alone figure out the consonant swapping thing you need me to do to learn your identity. Stop freaking toying with me damn you!]

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