16 July 2012

13,14 July 2012: Yummies and Ink

As was the case last week, our date began on Friday; this time, Friday the 13th. After I got home from work, Richard and I got in the car and headed over to Coffee Buddha, a fantastic private-owned cafe on Perry Highway. Check out their website here.

This is the Dark Chocolate Almond Latte I had. Delicious!

Richard and I shared a small blueberry pie.

This is an Iced Peppermint Tea in an Iron Man glass. Yum!

Since it was Friday the 13th, they were playing the second movie of the same name. Every time we go, there is usually something interesting on the big screen television. We also got free popcorn that night, and stayed nearly until closing.
I like this place a lot. So-called "home-grown" cafes like this one are my some of my favourite places to go out for a coffee. These places tend to focus on organic ware, and although it tends to be more expensive, the difference in taste is very noticeable.
This particular cafe also features a meditation room, true to its Buddha name, where customers can take the time to relax in peace whilst enjoying their drink.

On Saturday, I tried desperately to get my PA license, but it didn't work out, due to certain circumstances. An interesting thing happened whilst searching for my birth certificate, though: I found $60 in a wallet I hadn't used in months. For me, the only rational thing to do with this money was to spend it on one of the tattoos I'd been planning all summer. So Richard and I drove out to Lawrenceville's Inka Dinka Doo (Link to their website here) to meet with my friend Nichole, who was already there for a tattoo. I brought in a design I had been toying with for a while, and the owner, Tony Urbanek, offered to do the job for $90. After fully seeing the design, he worried he wouldn't be able to complete it, as it involved a lot of small details, and he wasn't sure he had a small enough needle. He found one, however, and he did it in less than an hour! I was so pleased, I gave him $120.
Work in Progress

Art Complete

Here's a little bat that's been hanging outside of the tattoo parlour
 This is my third time at Inka Dinka Doo, and I've been very satisfied with their work both times. The atmosphere of the place, too, is very easy-going and fun, with everyone putting their own energies into the parlour. One time, whilst I was there for a touch-up, they offered me some pizza. Further, the artists are extremely talented.

Comments: As far as the cafe goes, if you can't make it to Coffee Buddha, I recommend finding a place that is small and privately owned. Search for just the right atmosphere for you. And if you don't like the first place you find, don't be afraid to try another. As I mentioned before, they tend to be a bit more expensive, but the quality of goods is definitely worth it in my book.
As far as tattoos go, there are always a few things to keep close in mind: 1) Always look at their work first. All respectable parlours will have binders or books of work they've done before. Make sure to take a peek to see if the artists are up to your personal standards. 2) Have a design, or at least a concept, in mind. If you're not sure exactly what you want, the artist can draw it out for you, but keep in mind that this will cost more. 3) If you've never had a tattoo before, be prepared for it to hurt. If you are scared of it hurting, you're probably not ready for a tattoo. 4) Tattoos are forever. Make sure the design you're getting is one you'll want in thirty years. I would suggest AGAINST names (in general). 5) Bring cash. Most people don't know this, but most, if not all, parlours will NOT take credit cards. Be sure to visit the ATM before you go. 6) Always tip your artist.

That's it for this issue of the Endorphin Walrus! We hope you enjoyed reading, and we gave you some ideas. As always, feel free to leave questions, comments, and suggestions in the comment section.

11 July 2012

7 July 2012: Buying a Car

So... my car basically died. Well, not entirely. See, I used to have a 2003 Dodge Neon...
Like this guy right here...
And it was starting to run into some issues. I had a bushing to replace, a tire that needed reseating, transmission fluid that needed to be flushed, and some other, smaller things that needed to be done. I had set up an appointment to have it all taken care of. It was going to happen tomorrow, in fact.
Last Wednesday, however, the car decided enough was enough, and stalled as we were heading home. After that, it wouldn't make it past second gear. A read from the computer told us that the issues with the transmission got drastically worse way way faster than the mechanic had told us it would, and the car was basically useless. I didn't have the money to fix the transmission, and quite frankly, I was fixing something or other every other month, so I, too, decided enough was enough. I went car shopping, and Richard came with me.
Since neither of us had the time for this until Saturday, I had a couple of days to shop online to figure out exactly what I wanted. When we left Saturday afternoon, I had a list of cars in my head I wanted to test drive and ask about, starting from the Prius as my dream car and a Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic towards the bottom of the list. Since I no longer needed a car large enough to transport the things necessary to survive in a college dorm, I had some leeway into what size I could look into.
At Honda, the salesman was super irritable and wasn't willing to work with us. So that took the Insight off my list. It was a super nice car with excellent fuel economy, but I just cannot afford the proposed $400/month payments that the salesman would not budge from. Oh well...
Next we went to Toyota, where we found only higher end Prius's available, in the price range of $22,000 and up. Moving towards my second choices, I stumbled upon this:
A Black, three door Hatchback 2012 Yaris
And after a test drive, I fell in love. It is sleek, a good size, has way more intuitive internal environment controls I've seen in a car (that is, heating and air conditioning), fantastic gas mileage (we've gone through Richard's whole work week and only ate up 1/4 of an 11.1 gallon tank, whereas with the Neon we would be at less than 1/4), and a wonderful USB port for my iPod. The port transfers all the information and controls  to the radio, so I can leave the iPod in the glove box and still listen to the things I want to. Riding it on I-279 feels like I'm flying down the road. It's gorgeous, and I love it.
After being handed keys, we returned my friend Niki's car, as she had let us borrow it until I got a new one (and now I owe her a steak for her generosity).
Afterwards, we celebrated with an ice cream on the way home and a good old fashioned American barbecue, with hot dogs, hamburgers, and corn on the cob.
Still, the Neon sits in our parking lot. I have yet to remove all my things from it. It's a little sad to see it go. Having talked with the dealer extensively about the car, I have learned that, with its issues, I would get more money for it selling it to a scrap yard than to the dealer to go up for auction. I had that car for four years, and in a lot of ways it was like a second home for me. I was devastated when it was broken into the first winter I had it. That car and I had some dangerous adventures, dealing with Syracuse weather. It got me to Old Forge and back, driving through Adirondack downpours you can't see through. I've slept in that car during long trips, when I only had two hours of sleep the night prior...
And then I remember all the issues it's had recently, and I think of how awesome my new Yaris is, and then I kick the back bumper a little as I walk past it on the way to the bus in the mornings.

Comments: It's hard to make any suggestions here. Again, this was a really unconventional date, as this was a necessity sort of thing, but since this was how we spent our Saturday together, it counts. My best suggestion: Don't buy a car unless yours dies in the middle of the road.

Dear Neon,
We had some crazy good times together, and then you dumped all the transmission fluid in the Le Moyne College Commuter's parking lot, ran out of gas on McKnight Road unexpectedly, and stalled on Rochester Road. Yes, we had some good times, but now, you can suck it.
Love, Andrea

Thank you for reading this article of the Endorphin Walrus! As always, feel free to leave comments, questions, or suggestions in the comment section below this post.

4 July 2012: Independence Day Celebration

Although Independence Day did not fall on a weekend this year, Richard and I still considered this a sort of "date" for us, since it was a day we both had off of work to spend time together. Although I'm sure our experience was very much like that of most Americans, we decided we would discuss it anyway, for two reasons: 1. It falls under our category of a "date;" 2. We are aware that we have a few foreign readers out there.
Our July 4th started out with waking up nice and late and enjoying the early afternoon as our morning. As everyone knows, July 4th barbecues don't start until the later afternoon!
For our barbecue, we had purchased hamburgers, hot dogs, and corn on the cob. A friend of mine from schoolwork joined us, bringing liquor.
When the food was done, we watched a movie and enjoyed a relaxing dinner (Although I would not call The Edge "relaxing). Afterwards, we went to the top of Mt Washington to see the fireworks. From this vantage point, you can see them nearly at eye level, and it's really a nice sight. I personally could have done without the drunk teenagers, though.
Afterwards, we came back home and lit a few sparklers and a small firework of our own.
We do have a video of part of the Mt. Washington show for you down below. Just keep in mind this was taken with my phone's video recorder, and although it boasts being able to take HD Video (and for most things it does), the constant shift in light made it hard for my phone to remain focused.
Comments: As I mentioned before, this is a pretty typical American way to spend July 4th, so we really weren't being all that creative. I guess that my biggest suggestion would be to try and see fireworks from the best vantage point possible. Another thing to keep in mind would be to always, always have good food for a celebration like this. Nothing puts people in a rotten mood quite the same way as a meal gone awry does. Company doesn't hurt, either!

And that's it for the July 4th, Independence Day date day! As always, thank you for reading the Endorphin Walrus, and feel free to leave any comments, questions, or suggestions in the comment section for this post.

30 July 2012: Tomfoolery

Sorry we haven't updated you all lately, world, but things have been busy! In this post, we'll tell you a little about a more general date day, where we didn't do anything all that crazy.
Our date day actually started on Friday, the twenty-ninth, with a trip to one of our favourite restaurants on McKnight, Tokyo Sushi Buffet and Grill. Here, they serve delicious buffet-style Asian food, with everything from the familiar General Tso's Chicken and Tuna sushi to the less known and more exotic Pork Dumplings, Salmon Sashimi, and Hand-Roll sushi. The atmosphere is really nice, although the televisions displaying sports or cartoons. Here, they brew the green tea right, so lovers of correctly brewed green tea, will enjoy themselves.
The only real downside to Tokyo is that it's a little expensive. A meal costs something like twenty dollars a person on the weekend, so for the two of us, it usually comes out to forty-something. That said, it's a buffet, so as long as you take advantage of that, it's worth the price tag.
The second part of our date, which did occur on Saturday, was a trip to the Ross Park Mall. I was in need of some summer clothes, and we also needed to find a shirt for Richard for the wedding we are attending in August. Throughout the day, we explored stores, had lunch, and just hung out.
At the end of the day, I had purchased some summer dressed, and Richard got his shirt. It all worked out very well.
The nice thing about the Ross Park Mall is the same thing that is nice about every large mall; variety. I was able to walk through various stores that I had interest in, not really knowing what I wanted, and find things that I liked that were not all the same. It's also nice to kind of get lost in the crowds.

Comments: There's really not much to be said, here, since this is a very narrow sort of date this time around. That said, some people really like clothes shopping and some people don't, so if you have that dynamic in your relationship, make sure to be careful with how long you spend at the mall.

That's it for this article in the Endorphin Walrus! It sure was a short one! As always, thank you for reading, and feel free to leave any questions, comments, and suggestions in the comments section of this article.