November 2006 Archives

A Reflection

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A reflection of the Jefferson Memorial in the Potomac.

I haven't talked much about my trip to DC. Excuse me, but I am going to write train of thought again, I hope I don't aggravate you.

My brother lives there, with his wife and one year old daughter. I arrived Wednesday night, and we broke open a bottle of wine and had a chat with him, his wife and his wife's in-laws.

It was a good talk, and it really did reveal a lot about me. One of the themes of our discussion was that i'm "risk averse". This isn't the first time that someone told me this, but it didn't really strike as hard as when you hear a family member say it.

My brother and my sister-in-laws mother were basically saying "You have to take more chances in life."

I didn't disagree with them. It's part of my nature to be very careful, for various reasons. I don't know where it all started from, to be honest. Some examples of my risk adversity were even moving up here. I would never have moved if my boyhood pal, Brad, wasn't already living in Brooklyn Heights. Even then, my father basically told me that I had to leave my house in Gwynedd Valley and find a job in NYC in August 1994. He wasn't throwing me out, but gave me a stern shove out of the nest.

I remember moving up here, and looking at the run-down houses along the BQE. I think I was in a state of semi-shock. My brain couldn't process it. I wasn't excited. I was terrified. Frozen with fear, I think my first week in Brooklyn Heights I stayed in my room for most of the day. I would look at the news paper and I couldn't even comprehend what job to apply for. I blindly sent out resumes to job offers, just trying to get a job, any job.

Did you know what the first job I got in New York City?

Starbucks.

Yep. In 1994 there were 3 stores open in the big city. They had a training program on Bleeker Street. They would bring in a barista, train them for 2 weeks on how to make a cup of coffee, latte, cappuchino, etc. I was very impressed with the training program, but also in the back of my mind I could hear my father's voice saying, "We spent $80,000 on a Villanova education so you could pour coffee?!"

Lucky for me another job offer showed up.

There was a medical university that trained doctors in the caribbean and their home office was located in New York City. I was to be an administrative assistant of sorts. They were offering $19,000 a year. (Again, it's 1994, people).

I was about to get that job when a guy named Scott Lyons called me. Its odd because I also had a neighborhood friend with the exact same name (no relation), too. He told me about a company, about 10 years old and worked in the financial community. I had no idea how this guy got my resume to this day. I remember my father told me that whatever company I chose to make sure they had a "Dun and Bradstreet" report. I had no idea what that was, but I asked Scott if the company had one. I remember him laughing, it was like a scoff, like it was absurd I asked, and he told me that they did.

I went into this new company and as soon as I stepped off the elevator, I knew this place was different. I was up in New York for about 2 months. I went on various interviews with various companies. I remember once that one company wanted to know how fast I could type and sat me down on an archaic PC (even in 1994 terms), and tested me. I don't remember how I scored, but I remember that it was very good. But I looked around the office and it was just...depressing. The office was dark and old. The people there were all like something out of the 70's. I couldn't get out of that office fast enough because my chest was tightening with fear from the idea that i'd work in such a dungeon.

I would see various headhunters, too.

I remember one headhunter, who worked near the Chrysler Building, looked at my resume and said, "After reading your resume it looks like you were just another frat guy in college who had a good time and didn't accomplish very much."

She was blunt. I was embarassed because she was basically right. I never did great in college, except in courses that I actually enjoyed. Anything I liked, I would get A's. Anything that bored me, i'd get C's (and even a D+ in Statistics 101, damn you!)

Once I got off that elevator, I looked around the office and it was alive and buzzing with young 20 and 30 year olds dashing around the office. Everything about the place exuded "cutting edge" and "cool". While I was standing there I remembered what my father told me: Before any interview to remember to mention the "3 R's", Responsibility, Recognition and Respect during the interview. Responsibility: That you are someone looking to take on new tasks that make you responsible. Recognition: To be recognized for working hard and for your accomplishments. Respect: To earn the respect of your peers through hard work and dedication.

Wouldn't you know it? It worked.

What does this all have to do with being risk averse?

Well I have been at that job for 12 years now, and i'm starting my 13th year. I worked hard. I have been rewarded for it. I have saved a decent amount of money over my years and hope to become a homeowner someday. I have zero debt (well, let's not count PSE&G, because technically I can pay that off with one check, but I am gonna make them wait for it!). My credit rating is stellar.

But after that first night down in Bethesda, I sort of felt like I even after everything I did over my last 12 years, it wasn't worth as much as I thought.

Oh, i'm proud of my accomplishments. But its hard to argue with my brother who is extremely successful and sitting in a house worth nearly seven figures.

The jist of it is that I should take more chances in life. I should go out and find out "WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO". Even after 12 years I still don't really know that answer. I mean if I could make a list of jobs, if they paid the same money that my current one did, that I could like to do it would be:

1. Writing something creative (commericals, movies, books, stories, poems, etc)
2. Being involved in the entertainment industry, by writing or directing. I'm convinced we are near a new age of entertainment. You get a digital camera, a few acting buddies, a good script and YouTube and you can make the next Blair Witch Project on the internet if you are creative enough. Look at "Lonelygirl15" as a good example of this.
3. Game Designer (either writing video games or producing them or working on a game like Warcraft)
4. Archelogy (the concept sounds fascinating, put me on a dig where I could research lost civilizations sounds wonderful to me, but I know the reality is more of living in libraries researching).

It is hard in life to say, "Well it's been fun, but time to change". Plus, I think we all have to be REALISTIC of what we can or can't do. At 34 years old, it might be hard for me to switch gears and try Acting. Now, writing may be something more realistic or game designing...I have a serious interest in trying my hand in producing 10 minute short films, but I have no training in how to do this. I just have a vision.

Like I wrote, I first move up to New York because of my father. He was adamant about me getting that first job. About getting my foot in the door and getting something on my resume. I was extremely, extremely lucky. I got a great first job, with a great company that has treated me better than most in this city.

But even now, after all these years, I really don't know what I want to do with my life, much like I didn't know in 1994, nor did I know in 1990.

I envy those who have a driven spirit. I don't. Like I wrote a few weeks ago about being "Driven", it was not only me questioning what she meant by it, but me questioning it in myself. Was I driven? What would she, or others, think of me? Would I be a driven person?

Technically I would say that I have done well, but I wasn't driven. I didn't have a long term goal. I was doing my job, saving money, but in all realistic terms just plodding through life like 50% of the rest of the world. Maybe the other 50% got that law degree or the PhD or was gunning to become a CEO.

Not me, really. I don't think it was my risk aversity stopping me. Well, actually it was. I mean I have a good job and its my fear, once again, that is stopping me from saying, "All right. I did well. I saved some money and I can take a risk with a new venture."

But even then, I don't really know WHAT that new venture...is? But part of me really feels like finding out and a whole 'nother part of me just likes the status quo.

Wow. Maybe I should change the blog name to philly2hoboken2midlifecrisis.com?

"The Beach" of Great Falls

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On our exploration of Great Falls National Park, my nephews kept saying "Are we going to the beach?" to their parents. Perplexed by this thought, I just figured there was a waterfront area near the Potomac with some sand. The first picture, gives the impression that there is a beach...
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But upon closer inspection, it reveals that The Beach doesn't have sand, but shells! Very small, fine shells that have washed upon this area to create a very unique and different beach...

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More pictures to come this week.

Thanksgiving in DC

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Wonderful trip to DC, with a lot of great indoor and outdoor photos (369 in all! The picture above taken at Great Falls National Park).

My brother and sister in law hosted Thanksgiving at their house, and it was really great. All my siblings were there, along with my mother. It is the rare treat to have us all under one roof for a holiday dinner, because of in-law family obligations during the holidays.

Easily my favorite day was hiking in Great Falls National Park. My sister and brother in law moved into a new house about 10 minutes from the park, and we spent Sunday exploring various craggy outreaches along the Potomic River. A really facinating park, with old ruins of a Federal canal system. Here is one picture of me, along the river. I'm spending the night watching the Eagles struggle against the Colts and looking over the pictures.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. On kind of a cool note, the guys over at Gothamist posted my mini-review of a Goodburger that opened up on the east side, on 54th and Lex. I took some pictures with my compact camera, so the quality just isn't the same with my digital SLR.

My Trip to DC & Top 5 Problems With Flying

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Tom, get your plane right on time.
I know your part'll go fine.
Fly down to Mexico.
Da-n-da-da-n-da-n-da-da and here I am,
The only living boy in New York.

I get the news I need on the weather report.
I can gather all the news I need on the weather report.
Hey, I've got nothing to do today but smile.
Da-n-da-da-n-da-da-n-da-da here I am
The only living boy in New York

Leaving Wednesday night for Washington DC. Back in October rumor had it that my brother was going to host Turkey Day in Bethesda. I checked Orbitz and got a plane ticket for $125 round trip. Had to weigh the options:

1. Normally it took 6 hours to drive to DC, with holiday traffic i'd hazard 8+ hours driving with holiday traffic.
2. Gas was $3.00 a gallon, round trip would cost about $60 alone. With tolls, maybe another $15. That's $75.
3. Driving to airport & checking in: 1 hour. Waiting at terminal: 1 hour. Flight: 1 hour and change (If no delays). Getting off plane, getting bag & getting to brother's place: 1 hour and change. Total time: About 5 hours.

To me, for $125, which would be $50 more it was worth it. When I originally made my flight I took into consideration a healthy Donovan McNabb and the Eagles game to be 1pm. I made my flight home for 7pm Sunday, arriving at 8:20pm. Thanks to the new flexibile schedule I get to miss the first half of the Eagles game. This might be a good thing, considering that Jeff Garcia is at QB.

There are 5 problems I have with flying:

1. I'm 6'3 and a HALF. Coach seats are designed for the most of the cast of The Wizard of OZ. I flew business class once and it was glorious...until....

2. I would hazard that 50% of my flights there is some kind of child problem. I get the "Crying baby" or the "Loud Toddler" or "I'm gonna fucking kick the front of my chair Rascal". Last time I flew business I got the Rascal. I turned around, asked his mother to control him (in a nice way). It lasted about 5 minutes. Tonight, with the holidays I fully expect to get on the plane and hear some kid wailing like it is the end of the world...which brings me to...

3. Every time I fly I get that feeling of dread that the plane is gonna crash. It probably started when I flew to London in 1988 and I saw smoke coming from the engine when I looked out the window. I calmly brought this to the attention of the stewardess. Her wide eyed stare and quick dash to the cockpit left its mark on me. Fortunately they turned around the plane and landed without a problem. 9/11 doesn't help, either. I don't need any meds or anything, but really never look forward to getting on a plane.

4. I have flown quite a few times in my life, but certainly not as much as your typical business traveller. On all of my trips, I never got to sit next to the hot/cute/walk upright & has opposable thumbs girl. 90% of the time get the fat guy or the foreign national who thinks bathing is optional. I swear to God. I did once site next to a MILF, with her two kids. She went to Villanova...graduated in 1986 and her husband worked for ESPN. Still, what kind of fun is that? She's cute, has kids and is married. It's like God hates me. Seriously though, don't you think airlines could make like a "singles seating" where the guys and girls who are single can sit together if they choose? But then that could get creepy, like the married guys who click that option much like those married guys who join MySpace to meet lonely women and ruin it for the rest of us.

5. Boarding/Exiting the plane. Easily the most frustrating experience of flying. Ever watch how fucking slow people get off a plane? Everytime I get on or off a plane, it takes me about 30 seconds to get on, find my seat, and sit down. Every other idiot of the planet takes their god-awful time like it is Sunday driving day and every asshole brings carry-on luggage that far exceeds the flight rules, takes up too much overhead compartment space and never fits. Then they sit down, and need a pillow. They get back up, block traffic, get a pillow. Now they need their glasses. Back up again, and get their glasses. Oh, where's that magazine? Up again and getting that. Or when they get off the plane, its like most adults have the arm strength of a 7 year old child. You see them struggling with their luggage in the overhead compartment, arms flailing around and making grunting noises while everyone is watching this display with barely masked rage. What the fuck is wrong with people when it comes to quickly getting off a plane?

Won't be back until Sunday. Looking forward to seeing my family members. Very much hoping there is no major drama. I love my family, but it always seems that every holiday someone will say something to piss me off. Like the time I brought my British roommate, John, to Thanksgiving dinner in 1999 since he didn't know anyone in America. My family knew I had two roommates. And my family also knows that i'm one of those perpetually single family members at every holiday. I never brought any girlfriends home for a holiday dinner...so it is cool until you are over 30 and you start to get self conscious/sensitive about it. Everyone else is celebrating the holiday with their special other/fiance/wife/kids and i'm guy who is drunk, alone and watching TV by 10pm when everyone else goes to sleep. Anyhow, one of my brothers-in-law pulls me aside after dinner and with a dead serious look says, "Sean...I didn't know about you two. You're gay?" Yea, very funny motherfucker. I was told later he was kidding, and he did apologize for a joking around like that, but it basically ruined any Thanksgiving spirit I had. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Also I have been to DC before, but also thinking it would be a good chance to play tourist for the weekend. I mean, I did work there an an intern for Senator Arlen Specter in 1992, but should take the chance to see some of the less-annoying sights (i.e. anything that doesn't have a major line). Also i'm bringing my new camera, and i'd like to get some cool shots.

Good luck everyone. Happy Thanksgiving. God bless our troops for protecting our country and sacrificing their holiday for America and democracy.

OhHi! Welcome to being a Philly fan!

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Of the many things in life I have learned, it is that being a Philadelphia sports fan is all about disappointment.

Yes, we had our years to celebrate...the last celebration I remember was at 11 years old, in 1983.

Otherwise, we seriously have a "lost generation" of fans. Sure, other franchises can point to longer draughts for a championship, like the Chicago Cubs. But i'm talking about an entire generation of fans in a city that has 4 major sports teams and haven't had a reason to cheer in 23 years.

Its always something as the reason why we are "thisclose" to doing well, only to have it ripped out from under us. Should I start listing all the tragedies over the years? Injuries, deaths, strikes, prima donnas and bad fortune boil down to years of angst and disgust.

Bad fortune struck this year, and we lose Donovan McNabb. 3rd time in 5 years we lose our franchise quarterback to injury. Certainly a case can be made for backup quarterbacks who step up when the starter goes down and becomes the next star that takes the team to the next level.

Jeff Garcia isn't that guy.

A.J. Feely was that guy in 2003 and even took an Eagles team to the playoffs when we lost McNabb.

My take is give Jeff Garcia his chance this week against the Colts, and the following week against Carolina. See how he does. If we lose both, switch in A.J. Feely for the rest of the season. We didn't sign Jeff Garcia to hold a clipboard, and he should get 2 games to prove himself.

For me, certainly this really makes the Eagle season a near fatality and the thought of playoffs a sad joke. But the difference between me and other Eagle fans is that i'll still watch my birds, good or bad. I'm not the guy who walks out of the bar in disgust when they play badly. Sure, I won't be happy about it. But for good or bad i'm still proud to be an Eagle fan, if a bit saddened that our starting quarterback is injured until next season.

It's like seeing all those Rutger fans. You know when they are 9-0, EVERYONE was a Rutger fan. They would be walking down the street with their Red shirts, with tags still attached from the Modell's store that they bought it from an hour ago. Where were those fans last year? Or the year before? I heard stories that people at Rutgers could get school credit for attending games when their team was playing poorly. I give props to those Rutger fans who sat in the stadium and watched a bad team play football.

Because i'm that kind of fan, too. For better or worse, i'll keep coming back every year to watch my boys in green and support them when they are up or down.

But, hey, that's just me.

2006 Eagles Photos

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Here are some pics I have taken from Mulligan's bar this year:

http://s87.photobucket.com/albums/k131/philly2hoboken/Eagles%202006/.

Thanks for coming out this year and I hope to see you all soon.





















Boyfriend Bomb

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Semi-interesting story last weekend. I was out at Teak with my childhood friend, Matt, trying their food for the second time and i'm planning to write up a review about it soon (I like to eat at a place at least three times before reviewing it). Afterwards I went over to Mulligan's for a drink and met up with some people. So there are some cute girls there and I mention to the guys there how cute one is in particular, and immediately the guys are goading me into talking to them.

No, not me. I'm not that guy and never have been. I try to explain, but they keep hounding with suggestions and what not.

I know they meant well, but that simply isn't me. Call me a coward or call me shy (although i'm not sure if I am really that shy if you know me). But I completely clam up when it comes to trying to approach cute girls. Once that ice is broken, i'm fine. I'm just not the icebreaker and I hate that "being set up feeling" when it comes to meeting someone.

Anyhow, we left Mulligan's, and went to Moran's. I'm in the bar for about 2 minutes, and a blonde, 30-something woman in jeans and a cool t-shirt approaches me. First thought was, "Damn she's cute.", she looks at me oddly and says, "Hey, aren't you the guy who has the blog on Hobokeni?".

Poker-faced I say, "No, sorry. Never heard of it." and act like I walk away. I turn around and say, "Nah, i'm kidding, that's me."

She laughs and I smile and we make our introductions, and chat a bit about the blog. In the back of my mind i'm thinking "Cool, I meet a cute girl and the blog did all the introduction work". I talk a bit about the recent articles I wrote and about bartending at Mikie's. She says that "we" were there last week.

"We"?

I'm thinking, "Ok, here comes the 'boyfriend bomb'.

The "boyfriend bomb" is a term that I made up in college. It always happened to me, i'd be talking to a very cute coed and it would take about 5-10 minutes of conversation before I get her to mention something about her boyfriend. Usually it was completely out of the blue, like her saying, "My boyfriend has that same shirt!" or "You studied in Italy? My boyfriend is Italian!" I either took it as an innocent, casual mention of her boyfriend or simply her way of saying "I'm not interested, I have a boyfriend." I mean don't you know those kind of people who get wrapped up in a relationship that every 10 minutes they have to say something about them?

A moment or two later, I was able to meet her very nice husband. No harm, no foul. I chatted him up a bit, and introduced both of them to my friends. I just chalked it up, and still liked the fact I met someone who liked reading my blog.

After that, I go over to the bar, near the corner by the opening and i'm about to order a drink. Out of the corner of my eye I see some guy looking at me to my right. I look once, and I don't know who it is. I wait at the bar, but again, out of the corner of my eye he keeps looking at me. It isn't a friendly look, either. It is like someone who knows me and someone who isn't very happy with me.

Finally, I turn and stare back at him. I shrug my shoulders and throw up my hands as if to say, in a non-threatening way, "What are you looking at?". I notice he is swaying a bit, like he had too much to drink, he turns away from looking at me. What-the-fuck?

I get my drink and chat with Lenny, the owner, a bit. I turn and go back to my friends by the Golden Tee machine, and the guy is looking at me again. I glance back his way and everything falls into place.

Sitting next to the drunken guy is my old roommate, Helga*.

Helga lived with me for two years and left my apartment about 3 years ago. Each roommate is different in my apartment they fall into three categories: Tolerance, Cordial or Friends. Roommates I tolerate are just there, they pay the rent and don't socialize with me at all. Cordial ones are semi-social roommates, but really not that friendly with me. Friends are one that we really click and get along, go to movies, concerts and the bars together.

Helga and I we were cordial to each other. She paid her rent on time, and mostly during her years, as my roommate, she had a boyfriend named William*. William was one of those boyfriends who was at our apartement at least every other weekend, for the whole weekend. I called him the "4th roommate". Fortunately, William was cool and we all liked him, so it wasn't a big bother. They mostly stayed inside her bedroom all weekend, anyhow.

Right before Helga moved out, 2 years ago, that she and William broke up. She bought her own apartment in Hoboken and met a new guy, Ken*. Ken and her hit it off and now they are either engaged or married, and soon to move into the suburbs in New Jersey into a new home.

So my brain is quickly adding everything up. This must be Ken, I did meet him once, long ago, but I just didn't recognize him. Why is he giving me dirty looks...?

PSE&G.

Oh, ok, I sort of get it now. The other day, about 2 weeks ago a common friend of Helga and myself walked into the bar. We talked a bit about my PSE&G situation. He spoke to Helga and told me that she doesn't feel as if it is her problem. I was responsibile for the bills. I was responsibile for collecting from the roommates what was owed on those bills. She feels that she does not have to pay me, especially that she hasn't been in my apartment for over 3 years.

The settlement, for those keeping track at home, was $5,500 for 55 months ($100 per month), or 4.5 years from October 2005, which makes that date January 2001.The amount that Helga (and anyone who lived with me from January 2001 to October 2005) owes me, $33 a month. I believe that Helga moved out July 2002 (I have to double check that), she lived with me for 19 months, or $627 (her name was on the lease every year). I sent her an email about it 2 months ago. One to her "normal email" and another via a website she is registered. She never responded back to me.

My ex-roommate Jon, and current roommate Kristen both agreed to pay me back. I emailed Fred* at his yahoo address, but he was always broke and clearly upset with me when he left Hoboken because of his failed relationship.

So, i'm sure Ken was well aware of who I was and wasn't happy that I was in Moran's. I considered walking up and saying something to Helga, but Matt, turned to me and simply said, "It's not worth it." and Matt just shook his head and rolled his eyes as if to say, "Whatever".

I figured that a Friday night at Moran's, with a few drinks in me, wasn't the time and place to have an discussion over $627 contested dollars. I just enjoyed the rest of my night listening to Willie O'Connor play his guitar.

What would you do in my situation?

Driven

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I was at the bar the other night and met two very cute, very nice girls living in town. Right after they ordered their first drinks, I entered in the computer system a tab for them. Most tabs I try to keep somewhat business like with names like "Corner" or "Couple" or "Glasses" or if I know the customer, their first name. When they sat down, I wrote "Hotness".

One girl had light brown hair with blonde highlights and stunning blue eyes. The kind of eyes that you can't help to stare at. The other was just as attractive, but in a darker more myterious way. Both happen to me roommates in our town, and, as I found out over the course of the night, they are both from the Philadelphia area. I did my best to entertain them, and they were easy to talk to and quick to laugh. By the end of the night, and about 6 drinks each later, I decide to ask some introspective questions their way. I ask the brunette, "What do you look for in a guy" question.

She turns to me and says, "I want a guy with a great personality, the kind of guy that I don't have to worry about walking into a bar and introducing him to everyone. I want someone who is personable and fun."

I said, "Ok, but that's kind of a standard, don't you think. No one really wants to meet a wall flower. What else?"

She adds, "I want a guy who is driven. That's very important to me."

Driven.

Now the mechanics of my mind mull over that word. What is "Driven"?

Now, if you ask me, if a girl in Hoboken says "Driven" it becomes interpreted as, "I want a hardworking, successful boyfriend/future husband with money."

I responded, "So, you want a man who is successful. One who has a good job?"

She denied that money, or success, was important to her. Just that he had goals in his life.

The cynic in me kept quiet, so I then asked the girls in my life.

I emailed them, asking what they they thought it meant when a woman says, "I want someone who is driven." Some answers were verbose, and some I had to draw the answer out a bit. I also added if they thought that a schoolteacher or a cop, making 40k a year, would also be considered "driven".

1998 Dom Perignon

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There comes a time in your life that you have to treat yourself with a little present.

This can come in many forms. Some people do a spa package, some do a nice dinner, some tickets to a Broadway show or sports game.

Friday I was out with friends at Three A's. I haven't been to Three A's for quite some time, and truth be told, 110606.jpg
I really don't go out as much as I used to. It is due to many factors. For one, I bartend on Saturdays, so getting wrecked on a Friday and hungover for Saturday equalled a miserable Saturday night. Also, there comes a certain level of compacency when you stop doing the "going out routine". I'm sure the fellow Hobokenites are familiar with this. It's the routine for the weekend - either going to the local pub to meet up with friends or hitting New York with your special other, it becomes "normal" to always expect to be out on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Once you start to break that routine, by staying in on the "normal nights to go out", then soon the routine becomes "staying in".

Well, I was offered the chance to meet some friends out for a drink and dinner at Three A's. Part of me was interested, and another part, the tired, sleepy, part, wanted to stay in. I relented and went out, heading down to unfamiliar territory.

I normally like to frequent bars or restaurants that I am a regular at because I frequently go out alone, and like to see a familiar face from behind the bar. Also, when you are a regular at many bars, most bartenders, the good ones, will give you a buyback for your continued patronage, or at the very least, might give you a break on paying full price.

Two double redbulls and Vodka, and $24 later my friends arrived. They had planned, earlier that morning, for a 7:30 meeting, but I didn't keep up with the email chain letter and it was shifted to 8:15. It gave me a chance to watch a lot of a channel called "GolTV" and listen in to the conversations at the bar around me.

When my friends did arrive, we were at the bar and chatted for a drink or two. Ordered dinner, and I decided to get the Chicken Rollatine, a stuffed breast of chicken with fresh spinach, prosciutto, swiss and parmesan cheese. Looking down the menu at the wine list, I was a bit unimpressed with their bottle selection. The labels they carried were fairly standard for Hoboken, like Markham, Rutherford Hill, Kendall-Jackson, Franciscian and Sterling. Don't get me wrong, I like all of those, but I was looking for something with a bit more...kick.

Then there was the champagne list. I'm not really a champagne guy. I don't know the real labels, but I do know a few. My eyes landed upon the 1998 Dom Perignon. I pondered it for about 4 seconds before I pulled the trigger.

"Hey, do you guys like champagne?", I asked innocently.

My friends shrugged and nodded, not sure what to make of my question.

"Cool, so do I.", then I told the bartender that i'd take the Dom Perignon.

I watched the bartender look at me and then nod with a sort of satisfaction. I doubt it was about my appreciation of the finer things in life and more about watching his tip cup get fatter. The bottle was $200.

Pets + Costumes = Cute

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Some may say "animal abuse", but you have to laugh after seeing these! Happy Halloween everyone!

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