Happy New Year!

I hope everyone is having a great New Year’s Eve!

My wife and I are staying home. We had a nice meal, we’re watching the live stream Chromecasted to our television and we’re going to enjoy a nice bottle of wine. Most importantly, we’re staying warm. It is extremely cold outside, and I can’t imagine standing in Times Square for hours waiting on a ball to drop in this weather. People usually start showing up to claim spots around noon.

Speaking of the live stream, so much of the show is in Spanish it’s almost not worth watching. I was also disappointed when the old guy that was on stage with his daughter turned the event into a political platform by demanding the legalization of the status of illegal immigrants in the United States.  The United States is the land of freedom and opportunity, but that doesn’t mean you can just sneak across the border, show up at a government office and demand a portion of the American Dream. You have to get it legally. Every country has laws. This one does too. Immigrate legally. If a person can’t respect the most basic law of a country, then why should they be rewarded? I feel like the only reason some politicians are pushing for legalization of illegals is so they can increase the number of taxpayers and further fatten the government’s already over-bloated coffers.

Anyway, the way things are going, I might as well just learn Spanish. This will be a majority Spanish-speaking country before the end of my life. Most jobs in New York City already require a person to be fluent in Spanish. I imagine the same applies for most cities in southern California and the southwest, though that makes more sense since that area is closer to Mexico.

It’s sort of ironic, really. My great-grandmother immigrated to this country (legally) and only spoke only Spanish. My family acculturated and I speak only English. Now I’m going to have to learn Spanish to keep my economic options open.

Anyhow, there is less than an hour to go until midnight. Time to stop ranting about politics and start enjoying the evening.

Happy New Year!

New Year’s Resolutions

Well, it’s the beginning of a new year, 2010.  This is the time to reflect on the past year, evaluate what you’ve done and then make new resolutions.  My holiday weekend was packed!  I went out to meet friends for dinner, did some shopping, visited Little India and Mustafa for the first time, went to a birthday party and still tried to find some time to relax at home with my wife.  With all of that going on, I hadn’t had much time to think about resolutions, so when I did finally put some thought to it tonight I was pleasantly surprised.  It didn’t take a lot of thought or soul searching.  The resolutions I needed to make for this year were obvious.

Later this year I’ll finally be departing Singapore in pursuit of academic success at De La Salle University in Manila where I’ll be taking up Japanese studies.  The curriculum looks rigorous but I think I’ll have an OK time of it, because it’s something I’m interested in already.  Part of that program will be learning the Japanese language.  By the end of the degree program I should be ready to take the JLPT4, which is the Japanese Language Proficiency Test level 4 (the lowest end).

Hiragana:

In addition to the two alphabets above, there are a little under 5000 officially used kanji, which are borrowed Chinese characters that form syllables or stand for words.  Not all of them are in common usage, but I should know 300 of them at least by the end of this degree program.

To that end, my first resolution is to get a head start and continually stay ahead of the game when it comes to character memorization and vocabulary improvement.  I’ve found a great site to get started with too.  It’s called Smart.fm.

One of the things we bought over the weekend was a new pair of running shoes for myself.  Since I got out of the Army I haven’t been too keen on keeping up with my physical fitness.  I started to put on weight that I then had to lose, but just being thin isn’t enough for me.  I want that physical fitness back.  So, I got a new, colorful pair of running shoes.  Some of you may have seen this photo in my Twitter stream.

Hopefully I can get myself toned again.  I probably won’t put as much effort as I’d like into running due to an old ankle injury that still bothers me, but that won’t stop me from trying.  I remember when I was in training in the Army one of the instructors told us, as we struggled on a long, long run, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”  Well, that’s probably not the case for me since it’s the result of an injury, but even so I’ll try to bear a little pain to get back in shape.

So, I guess it boils down to getting back in shape and kicking ass at learning Japanese, both of which are easier said than done.  Any of you guys taking on hard resolutions for the year?

New Year’s Dinner at ‘New York, New York’ at CityLink Mall

We were running behind when it came time for the fireworks show so we had to haul ass down to the Esplanade area without stopping on the way for dinner. Luckily, there’s a ‘New York, New York’ restaurant in CityLink Mall, which you walk through to get to the Esplanade area.

The last time we ate at ‘New York, New York’ it was the DownTown East location and it left something to be desired. I guess it was just what we chose to eat that time though, because our New Year’s Eve dinner was EXCELLENT.

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We started off with an appetizer of dry-spiced spare ribs.

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Then we moved on to our main course! We both had fajitas. My wife had beef and I got the chicken and beef combo (pictured above). They tasted great, and they even came with guacamole. I hadn’t had guacamole in quite a while so that was a nice treat and the strips of beef tasted great!

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Unfortunately we let our eyes get bigger than our stomachs and we weren’t able to finish everything, but hey, it was New Year’s Eve so what the hell? Gotta be a little decadent sometimes right?

The place was packed. We had to wait on a table when we got there. Even so, we managed to get in and out in about an hour. At 10:15 PM we started heading for the Esplanade. It was madness. You’ll see it in the next post. I’m just waiting on the video to finish uploading to YouTube. I recorded the entire fireworks show so it’s taking a bit of time.