Christmas Shenanigans with Erika – 17-19 December 2016

Erika and I hadn’t hung out for a while, so before I left for Winter Break, she decided to come visit San Jose for a few days to hang out.

First we went to hang out at Target, because she wanted to get new hipster gloves that let you use a touchscreen phone while wearing them. I suggested she just go with the classic hobo-style fingerless gloves, but she wasn’t too keen on the idea. While we were there, we checked out some necklaces and Erika told me about how in-fashion the chevron was.

We decided to have a snack at Starbucks. Erika wasn’t sure what to get, so I suggested this hot Italian sandwich; it turned out to be the best choice.

Next we went to my place to watch a movie. I knew that Erika liked Harry Potter, so I suggested this movie Imperium, which starred Daniel Radcliffe who played Harry Potter. Erika agreed, but little did she know the movie was going to be much more than she bargained for.

The next day we decided to check out Christmas in the Park (a first-time experience for me). While there, we tried some of the famous “Snowman Hot Chocolate,” which tasted amazing. I thought the little plastic snowman on top was edible and almost ate it! The weather was really cold, so the hot chocolate was much needed warmth.

We looked for some food to get next. We passed some fancy-looking hot dogs, but Erika wanted to check out some type of meat she saw while we were driving around earlier looking for a parking space. Turns out the meat she saw frying was even more hot dogs, so we decided to get some. They were wrapped in bacon and topped with onions and more. The guy said “ten dollars,” and Erika tried to give him a debit card but it was cash only. Neither of us were carrying cash, and the guy said to just take the dogs for free, but Erika literally went over to the nearest ATM and withdrew some cash so we could give some to the guy.

After that we walked around and looked at tall the trees decorated by the various local organizations. I noticed one of the trees decorated by a church, (the specific one I forgot), had a gay-pride rainbow flag planted near its base. I made sure to point this out to Erika and rub her nose in it with great glee. (She had a very conservative religious view on homosexuality which I often took jabs at her for.)

The next morning Erika came and picked me up to come to her fancy hotel to try the complimentary breakfast. We had bacon, eggs, potatoes, salsa, yogurt, and juice. As we were eating I asked her how she slept last night in her hotel. She said she slept pretty good, so I said “mas o menos?” (more or less), and she agreed.

Little did we know there was a lady eating next to us with like five heavy luggage bags and when she heard that phrase she immediately got up and started talking to me in Spanish. Now I’m nowhere near conversation level fluent, so I had to look back and forth between the lady and Erika to get her to translate what the lady was trying to say to me. The lady could plainly see this but insisted on speaking to me the whole time instead of Erika, which made it extra confusing.

So as it turns out the lady wanted me to help carry her bags to her husband who was outside somewhere, (they didn’t let people into the breakfast room after 9AM). So I agreed to carry the bags but I was like “the door better not lock behind me once I go out.”

Well luckily the husband was waiting right outside the breakfast room so I was able to pass off the bags to him without letting the door close.



After breakfast Erika went to go visit some old friends in San Jose, but later that afternoon we decided to meet up again one last time before she left. We decided to take a trip to Hobags, (local slang for “House of Bagels”), which is a well known place popular with the locals. I’d never been there before so it was going to be a real treat for me.

Well we got there and they had like ten different types of bagels and twenty different types of cream cheeses. Erika got some cinnamon bagel with some fancy cream cheese. I got a cheese bagel with standard cream cheese. To my surprise it was very warm and soft. I’d never experienced a bagel like this before. In my previous experience with bagels, they’d all been room temperature and somewhat tough. I can definitely see why that place is popular with the locals.

All in all the weekend was a string of crazy adventures and first time experiences.


The Boyos’ Cajun Cookout – 25 November 2016

For weeks we’d been planning to have the Cajun Cookout as a sort of after-party from Thanksgiving, only the Cajun Cookout would be a gathering of the Boyos. It had been planned that we would deep fry five pounds worth of crabs in Kyle’s 5 gallon deep fryer, as well as a whole medley of assorted snacks we would also deep fry.

The day of the cookout, we first did some shopping at four different grocery stores to find the most fitting dishes for the event. To truly have an authentic Boyos’ Cajun Cookout we would need some iconic seafood and lots of spice.


I was tasked with acquiring the crab. I found a suitable very large crab at Winco, but it was already cooked. I asked the lady if we would still be able to deep fry it, but she said the way for one to serve it would be simply heating it via steaming.



So I got back to the house with the crab and was joined by Will, Jake, Kimmy, Kyle, Nick, and Jimmy. Kyle had brought two bottles of fancy champagne and Nick brought some Fireball whiskey. We all went out into the back where I had the honor of shaking up and spraying the first bottle of champagne all over the group. After the first bottle was gone we poured the second bottle and each drank a glass.



I broke out some tortilla chips and a bowl of queso blanco dip. When I brought it into the room for the group to try, Kyle asked “is that pancake batter?” From then on we always referred to the dip as pancake batter and convinced people to try it under the guise that it really was pancake batter.


I brought out the crab and showed everyone just how big it was. I explained how it had to be heated via steaming, but no one was sure exactly how to do that. My dad suggested using the method he uses to steam his vegetables: put it in a container with a thin layer of water, cover it with plastic, and microwave it for 15 minutes.



It worked well in heating up the crab, but it also caused much of the crab juices to spill out into the container. The next problem was figuring out just how to eat the crab. We were able to use a nutcracker to crack open the legs and claws fairly well despite our inexperience. I personally managed to get Kimmy, (who was somewhat reluctant), to try some.


The real challenge was figuring out how to get into the torso and which pieces of it were actually edible. After much struggling, we used a hammer and just wailed on it, caving the shell into the torso and spilling juices everywhere. Everyone was very interested in the inner workings of the crab, which, along with the bits of shell pieces now strewn over the torso, caused the crab to quickly change from meal to science project. We each took turns probing and prodding the various organs and pieces of the crab with great curiosity. Somehow in the mix both Kyle and Will ended up each eating one of the crab’s eyeballs, followed by Kyle chugging the entirety of the now lukewarm crab-juice water on the bottom of the container. It was truly a sight of intense crab-gore.


We broke out a pack of spicy chocolate coins that I had gotten earlier from Trader Joes. Each coin had a pattern or pictures of peppers printed on it. The box came with a key to tell how each coin was flavored and how spicy it was, but we decided to disregard the key and choose randomly, like an intense game of Russian Roulette.



The first round of spicy chocolate roulette had some interesting results. Kimmy and I each got a coin with a green colored pepper on it, which ended up being the spiciest flavor. Nick was already into spicy chocolate, so he decided to try the habanero flavor. He was surprised when it was not too spicy, so we convinced him to try the kind that we tried (jalapeno). He agreed that it was unintuitively a lot spicier than the habanero flavor.


Some time during the night we decided to pick up some more snacks over at CVS. We headed over there as a mob and caused quite a commotion walking through the streets at night. Kimmy got a pack of straws with mustaches on them, and Nick got a case of Dr Pepper.



The rest of the night we spent staying up playing Call of Duty Zombies and taking shots of Nick’s Fireball.


The next day, me, Jake, Kimmy, and Gavin decided to go visit Conor’s house. We got there while Conor was preparing for a D&D game with Will, Steven, and Santos. We decided to make a fire in Conor’s outdoor firepit in his backyard.


Me and Gav were tasked with going out to find some firewood. I remembered a place in the orchard near my house that usually has firewood, so we headed there. We got there while it was lightly raining, and in the mud we found a huge pile of uncut branches. We stuffed as much as we could in Gavin’s car and headed back.


Once we got there we were able to rearrange Conor’s patio furniture into a nice setup around the fire pit. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the fire to actually catch, no matter how hard we tried.


I suggested we try a round of Cards Against Humanity, a game we had previously played at Conor’s house to great success. Unfortunately, the game belonged to Brady, who took it with him while he was off at college. Kimmy came up with a solution: she had been planning to get a gift for her parents, so she would buy them the game, but we would play it before then. So we headed to Target, picked up the game, and brought it back to Conor’s house.


After playing a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity, we left Conor’s to go crash a Gav’s. On the way we picked up some of the extra snacks that were still left at my place, because that night was our last night to finish them up before I left the next day for San Jose.


We had two large hipster flatbreads full of ingredients that I couldn’t even pronounce, some cheesecake, some dynamite chicken bites, and two salads, one Italian and one Caesar. We decided to mix the two salads in a big bowl, which we called “everything salad.” Even after having a big feast, there was still a lot left, so I packed it up to take to San Jose the next morning.



The whole weekend was pretty much a constant string of parties and feasts. The Boyos Cajun Cookout, and the crab we dissected that night will go down as legend.