March 2007 Archives

Finding A Doctor

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I'm sick today.

I have a "stomach flu", and have been nauseous since Tuesday. I first thought it was food poisoning, but that usually goes away after 24 hours. I woke up this morning, took a shower, and promptly threw up. That never happened before, except when I was drinking the night before.

So I was a bit concerned.

I called my regular doctor in Manhattan. The phone number was disconnected. I haven't seen him for at least a year, I rarely need to go to the doctor, except for the occasional upper respiratory infection. I look up his name on the internet and he is part of a medical group. So I decide to call another internal medicine doctor in the group. For the next 45 minutes I call one doctor after another each saying the doctor is either out of the office or not taking new patients until late April. No one cares to my plight. I ask the other receptionists about my old doctor and they tell me that apparently he retired. No one told me. Never got an email from my old doctor saying he was retiring. One receptionist had his cell number and I called it leaving him a voice mail asking "Where do I go now...?"

Frustrated, I look up Hoboken doctors on Hobokenchat.

I call Dr. Pollack and the receptionist says they can't see me until April 5th. But i'm sick TODAY. I ask her, nicely, why is it that no doctor can see me today if I am a new patient. She tries to pawn me off to call other doctors in Hoboken.

Then I remember that once, LONG ago, I did see a doctor in Hoboken. It was Dr. Messihi on 14th and Bloomfield. This could have been about 5 years if not longer. So I call and tell the receptionist that I was a patient of his, but I haven't been there in 5 years. She's all nice to me. Its like night and day when the receptionist thinks you are an actual patient of his, rather than some rube off the street. She is like "Oh, no problem, I will find your file..."

I saw him ONCE. It was a long time ago, maybe even 8 years for all I know. But I still did see him.

I have an appointment to see him today. Hopefully he can figure out why i've been sick since Tuesday.

Eagles Off-Season Overview

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Well, well, well.

If you are a die hard, like me, and have been watching the Eagles, I bet you have some raised eyebrows today.

Before I delve into the trade, lets go over the people we lost this season:

1. Michael Lewis: Farewell Mike, we hardly knew ya. I'd say that this was a loss for the team, but certainly his production waned in the last year. Part of me thinks that his production waned because the coaches put in other players over him to give them playing time, rather than his skill. That's just my opinion.

2. Rod Hood: I'll miss Rod. I liked him. Sort of like Al Harris but without all the penalty flags around him. He wanted his shot to be a #1, and he can't languish on the Eagles hoping that someone gets injured for his chance.

3. Shawn Barber: I'm still angry he turned us down to go to Kansas City 3 years ago. He should have stayed. He's old, and I don't care that he left.

4. Jeff Garcia: Look, I think Jeff far exceeded anyone's expectations, including myself. I don't think anyone expected he would be such a tremendous player and leader to get us into the 2nd round of the playoffs and nearly upsetting the Saints. As Caesarion learned from Octavius, there can be only one Caesar. I don't think it would have been very good for the Eagles to have Garcia on the bench if McNabb was having a bad game. Imagine the fans & the press in Philly the day after a disasterous loss to the Cowboys or Giants? It would be "Put in Garcia!" headlines. I think Jeff did a great job, and I think everyone in Philly thanks him for it. But that aside, McNabb is our quarterback and will be for the next 4 years, at least, if not longer, before his performance would really be questioned. Look at Peyton Manning as an example. Colts were a good teams, always in contention, for years. He couldn't get over that hump (thanks, in part, to New England). Now that he finally did it, he's the golden child in Indy. McNabb has the same demons to exorcize, but his issue is injury. I'm all for Jeff going to another team and wish him well.

5. Darwin Walker: Hate to see him go, but he basically became expendable with Reagor signed and the chance to snap up TKO.

Here's what I see with notable re-signs and new players:

1. Montae Reagor: I can't say I know who he was on the Colts. He has 162 tackles and 16 sacks in 8 NFL seasons. 2 sacks a season on average? Meh. Also his eye injury isn't thrilling me much. At 6'3 and 280 pounds he needs a few more cheesesteaks in him to crack 300 pounds. We need a fat boy in the middle.

2. Kevin Curtis: Lots of people speculating that he is just as good as Donte' Stallworth, when they look at the stats. I know a few Rams fans who also said they really liked the kid. Considering the Eagles spent $32 million on the guy, I have a strong feeling they did their homework here. For the West Coast offense, I think he will be a good fit. Give me someone who can run crisp routes and have good hands. Just don't give me Na Brown.

3. Takeo Spikes: When he was a free agent 2 years ago, I was hoping the Eagles would try to pick him up. He went to the Bills and had 2 pro-bowl seasons before he injured his achilles in 2005. In 2006 he started off a bust rusty and tweaked his hamstring, missing 4 games. By the end of the season, he was looking very good, but it will be hard to tell how he plays for the Eagles. Personally, i'm cautiously optimistic. I think with Jim Johnson unleashing him on a downhill attack, TKO will be the kind of linebacker that can freak out offenses. I fully expect that Takeo will be replacing Dhani Jones. I expect the starting three to be Trotter, Spikes and Gathier, which I think will be our best linebacking core in the last 5 years.

Ze Draft!

Here's the positions we still need to address for the draft...

1. Secondary: I'd throw a first round pick here. Get me a safety or corner. Why? Well, for one, Dawkins isn't getting any younger. I love Dawk and would clone him to make an army of superheroes for our team, but we can't do that....yet. We seriously need to get depth in our secondary with Lewis and Hood gone. I'd also use a 4th or 5th round pick on a defensive back, too. We should get some compensation picks to use in the 4th round for losing Hood or Lewis.

2. Wide Receiver: Yes, I know we need a WR. This year is a great year for WR, from what the experts say. The problem I have is that it is really a crapshoot with WR. Look at Fast Freddie. Where's he now? I'd spend a 2nd rounder on that position.

3. Linebacker: Sure, we got Takeo. We have McCoy and Gathier in the wings. I still say get another LB, because Trotter is getting long in the teeth, and we will need to address this eventually. If Trotter left tomorrow who would be our linebackers? Takeo, Gathier and...? McCoy? Gathier? Both are questionable, and you gotta have depth there.

4. Quarterback: Sorry, Holcomb doesn't get me that excited. Get a QB in the mix with a later pick.

5. Offensive Line: Worth a mid round pick because Runyan and Thomas are both getting old. I know it sounds like a broken record, but we have a lot of older key players that are an injury away from leaving us with a huge gaping hole. Runyan or Thomas gets injured, i'd slide Andrews out from guard to tackle and plug in Winston Justice as a guard. You are going to want to have depth here, and worth a 4th round pick on this.

6. Running back: Buck is back, but a late draft pick should be set aside for running back. Someone big and quick, used to relieve Buck or for goal line situations. I can see this being used by the 3rd or 4th round.

With a good draft, I think the Eagles are going to be in great shape next year, but there are notable question marks that could make things hard on us. The number one question mark will be McNabb. Personally, since I know a thing about leg injuries, I think its very hard to be 100% before year one. I think when September rolls around, he will be about 85%. He will be able to run on it, but won't be quite as fast. Realistically it won't be until 2008 that he is 100%. Fortunately, he is a QB. Which is good, in my opinion versus being in a position that is so dependant upon speed (like WR or RB). I think he will be able to move around, in the pocket and won't have major issues throwing the ball. Just have to design lots of plays that allow him to quickly dump the ball and avoid getting hit.

Our run defense looks a lot better, and our pass rush is going to be extremely better with The Freak back. Lots of us forget that last season we basically played without our best defensive lineman. Also I expect next season to be a make or break season for Broderick Bunkley. Will he be another McDougle? God I hope not. The kid needs to spend the entire offeseason just working on technique. I think he can be very good if he gets the right training.

With the current off-season moves by the front office, i'm fairly satisfied that the Eagles addressed the LB, WR and DT situation, which gives us depth at key positions that we really needed help at. I'm looking forward to the draft, and just waiting for that first minicamp!!

Panic

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Panic on the streets of London
Panic on the streets of Birmingham
I wonder to myself
Could life ever be sane again ?
The Leeds side-streets that you slip down
I wonder to myself
Hopes may rise on the Grasmere
But Honey Pie, you're not safe here
So you run down
To the safety of the town
But there's Panic on the streets of Carlisle
Dublin, Dundee, Humberside
I wonder to myself...

I was in Myrtle last week, my first day, and basking in the sunshine of a 75 degree day, a cold Captain and Coke in my hand when I noticed my cell phone beeping.

I had a voice mail.

I pick it up and it's my boss (from the bar), Mike, who left me a message saying we needed to sit down and talk before Saturday.

My mind started to race. Why did we need to sit down and talk?

Things at the bar were going....ok. Mikie's is a different bar than Dipper's. Back in the "Days of Dipper's", the bartenders and manager ran the bar. It was great. A very relaxed atmosphere, where bartending was just about having fun and making money. Most of our regulars were also our friends outside the bar.

Our only stress was when Dipper showed up, because he just didn't understand how a bar should be run. He wanted desperately the bar to be a restaurant, with really good food. I would look around our dilapidated bar and tell him he should focus on good "bar food" that fits the bar. Make a killer burger, great wings, tasty fries and that's what 90% of the people who came here wanted.

He would come up with goofy ideas to drum up business. I remember one was that he wanted to hire a belly dancer or a Hawaiian dancer to teach people, in the bar, how to dance. Everyone shot that down, but he kept bringing it up all the time. Also he knew of an act, like a duet couple who would work the crowd, like Sonny and Cher or Captain and Tennille. Dude, i'm not kidding, this was the shit he was saying we should try. I was trying to convince him to just spend like a few thousand sprucing up the place, move away from being such a dive bar and something a bit more contemporary. He would listen to some of our suggestions, but he always had favorites in the bar and I wasn't one of them. Dipper basically tolerated me because the other bartenders were my friends.

With Mikie's it was a fresh start, new owners who actually listened to me and others. The new owners were much more on top of running the bar, unlike Dipper who let the staff basically run the place except for his twice a month visits. It was a blessing and a curse to have this change.

It was a blessing because finally the bar was getting the attention it needed. It was renovated, a new menu was created, new drinks and wines added. They made some changes that I would have done if I owned the bar, too. But they also did some things that I don't agree with. One of them is the dartboard. I know it is a simple thing, but I would have figured out a way to keep the dartboard. Believe it or not, many people in Hoboken love darts. There's a dart league with about 8 people per team, 18 teams (each representing a bar, some bars have 2 teams) and 3 divisions (A, B, C) who play every Tuesday night for 3 hours. Aside from the league, lots of people enjoy passing their night with a game of darts.

Unfortunately the new owners were adamantly against a dart board. I pleaded with them to change their mind. Even if we could try something where the dart board is removed during the day and put up once dinner service was closed. The owners were just against it. The image they wanted with the bar wasn't that dive bar of Dipper's, but something more upscale. It is their bar, and their investment - they have to do what they think is right.

Part of protecting that investment was also being much more strict with the rules than Dipper. When St. Patty's Day showed up, and the police and government were cracking down, the owners had an emergency meeting. At that meeting they were very serious about us not getting into any trouble and reiterated the rules to us about thinks like buybacks, drinking after our shift (can't have a beer in the bar after closing) and keeping the occupancy at a proper level.

Suffice to say, St. Patty's Day sucked this year. In years past, it was a blast to work. We would have huge crowds, make a ton of money, and even throw down a shot or twelve with the customers. No one cared. You would make a decent clip of money working that day in our little pub. I'm sure if you talked to a bartender at Black Bear or The Madison or Nine - they would make that kind of money every normal weekend. But for our little dinky bar, it made us do cartwheels. This year we made only a fraction of what we made before, due to our strict occupancy rules.

With the new rules, and my perception that the owners were stressed - I was stressed. Over the months working started to become less fun and more work. It used to be that working the weekend wasn't a job, it was me hanging out with friends that i'd serve alcohol to and make some extra lunch money. Now it was like something I started to dread. It started to show.

I called Mike back and left him a voice mail saying I was in Myrtle and wouldn't be working St. Patty's Day. I told him i'd call back when I returned. I didn't know what I did wrong. I immediately assumed that I was going to get fired, but I wasn't sure why. Did I do something wrong? Then I thought about last Saturday night.

Myrtle Recap & My Golf Story

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I'm back.

Myrtle was a good time, with golfing, drinking and lots of laughs. We played at Barefoot Love (Wednesday), Arrowhead (Thursday), Grande Dunes & Waterway Hills (Friday), Meadowlands (Saturday).

Honestly, there isn't a ton to tell. My golf game was poor. Normally, years ago, i'd shoot about 100 a round. I was shooting around 120 a round (double bogie & triple bogie with the occasional par showing up). Fortunately, one of the guys on the trip gave me some great advice on the last day which seems to fix a major hook that has appeared in my game over the last 6 years. My chipping and putting are fairly solid. I just need to seriously think about a golf camp or some golf lessons to fix a few things. Anyone know of a golf camp, feel free to email me about it.

Wednesday and Thursday it was warm, about 70-75 degrees each day. Friday was a major rain day, with our groups getting rained out after 9 holes at Grande Dunes, which really sucked because it was a beautiful course. Saturday was a 10am tee time at Meadowlands and it was about 50 degrees to start. By the 12th hole it was about 60 degrees but a stiff cold wind made it a miserable day. St. Patty's Day we spent it around Myrtle bars, and lots of college kids were out and about.

Here's my Top 5 observations while down at Myrtle:

1. This was priceless, spotted him at Finn McCool's in Myrtle Beach on St. Patty's Day:
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I think he had his required 37 pieces of "flair".

2. It seems that everyone, over the age of 23, is married. I know this isn't just true for Myrtle, but most of the rest of the country outside our metro area. If I moved to Myrtle i'd be an outcast. Single at 35?! The horror! Going out to Broadway on the Beach was a joke. There are 3 groups of people: College Kids, Married People and Golfer Tourists. I'm not one of those guys who goes on vacation and expects to meet someone out at the bars. Shit, I don't even do that in Hoboken, I just go out to have fun. But it certainly is a bit more fun when you have something, anything, to even give you a slight bit of interest to be out and drinking. I was there 4 years ago when one of our crew did pull down an extremely good looking girl on a bachelorette party. But more often than not, that is the exception, not the norm.

3. Slow is normal. Everything is just a bit slower in the south, and that's ok to the locals. We were at a bar with 3 bartenders and about 200 people. The bar was packed, and they were mostly serving beer, shots and the occasional Captain and Coke to yours truly. Slow. Slow. Slow. Give me 3 bartenders from up here, and that bar would have made about $3,000 more on St. Patty's Day from just pumping out the booze faster.

4. Saving $100-150 on a trip to Myrtle by going in March just isn't worth it. I'll pay a bit more to stop this whole Russian roulette with the weather. In my last 3 trips I have yet to get 4 days in a row of nice weather. I can handle rain, within reason, but when it is also 60 degrees out versus 70 degrees, it makes a big difference when i'm cold and wet versus warm and wet. Next year i'm going to spend a bit more and go during April, if I can get the others to agree.

5. Is a vacation really a vacation when you golf 5 days, drink everyday and get about 6 hours of sleep a night? I was ridiculously lucky to wake up without a hangover each day, but coming into work today i'm beat. I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation. I'd like another 2 week trip during the summer (similar to my Australian 2 week tour from 7 years ago), if I can swing it. I'd love to just find an isolated paradise where I can relax, recharge the internal batteries and come back refreshed. Thinking about a place like Turkoise, which was recommended by a friend, but not sure how I feel about going to something like Club Med. Just isn't....me. I'd like everything Turkoise has...too bad I just can't get like 3-4 friends to go along for the ride.

Goin' Away & Condo Update

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Going down to Myrtle Beach with some friends to golf. Will be back Sunday. Hope to have a good story or two by the time I return.

In other news, had my home inspection of the condo last night. Everything went well, except for a small hitch. Apparently, the listing agent had my condo as 750 sq ft. I really can't tell the difference between sq footage, and my agent told me last night that the condo is actually 635 sq ft.

That's kind of a big deal. I was absolutely pricing it at 750 sq ft, and my math for the cost of the condo was based on that. Other condos in the same building (don't know what sq footage) have been selling for much higher than what I paid, and even after doing the math for the price per sq ft, I still think the condo was a good buy...just maybe not as good as I was thinking when it was supposed to be 750 sq ft.

A friend of mine mentioned that I could make a stink over this, but I won't. I do actually like the place and like the potentional of how it could look. I am squaring away my mortgage now with Countrywide Home Loans. During the pre-qualification process they showed me some good rates, and the 10 year Treasury was at 4.50 today, which is good for mortgage rates. I'm hoping to get at least 6%, if not better on a 30 year fixed. I'm not a huge fan of ARMs, I like the stability of a 30 year fixed. I *might* peek at a 10 year ARM. Dunno. Thoughts?

Anyhow, off on a jet plane. Happy St. Patty's Day!

Amazon Unbox

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I like new technology. I'm a big fan of electronics and trying new things with any digital medium. In 1984 I was an avid user of Compuserve, which was an early pioneer in the digital age, like a pre-revolution AOL, just using ASCII text instead of HTML. I remember there was a "shopping" section which had all sorts of stores, but nothing like today. Its like a flea market compared to today's corporate dominance of the web. There was a cookie company that made homemade cookies, and I remember using them for special events. Like one time my older sister hurt her leg in an equestrian riding accident. I sent her cookies to make her feel better, and did it all through Compuserve. I thought it was the coolest thing ever and still regret to this day that I didn't see the significiance online shopping.

Fast forward 23 years and i'm still a huge fan of online everything. I do EVERYTHING online. Shopping, research, entertainment, work and communication are centered around my 'net access.

I have a Tivo Series 3 (lifetime subscription). I use Netflix ($15 a month for 3 movies). The marriage between the two has now created Amazon Unbox.

Those that have Tivo (Series 2 or Series 3) or a PC can use this feature, if they have their Tivo or PC connected to the internet. Think of it much like "On Demand" that Cablevision has. Basically people can buy or rent movies that they can download from Amazon to their Tivo/PC. If purchased they are in the Amazon media library with Amazon, and always available to re-download. If rented, the user has 30 days to view the rental, and once they begin watching it, they have 24 hours to complete watching the movie, before it is automatically deleted. If you rent a movie, you have to purchase it again for rental if you wish to watch the movie again, but if you bought it, its free to redownload. Each Tivo/PC can hold, at most, 2 downloaded movies at a time. Also users can put these files onto portable digital players, too.

I went to Amazon to check it out. It was pretty easy to sign up, and new users get a $15 credit towards new Amazon Unbox downloads until April 30. I saw "Borat" was for sale for $15, and figured what the hell.

Results? Impressive in some ways and not-so-impressive in others.

The video quality was good. Unfortunately it wasn't in widescreen, and on my plasma it looked the same as "regular" 480i TV, which comes out like a box on my rectangle plasma. The sound quality was fine, there were no problems or irregularity with that. The download took about an hour, for a movie that was 83 minutes long. I didn't think that was so bad. A cool feature is that you don't have to be home to download the movies. Just log on to Amazon (at work, for example) and by the time you get home you can have 2 movies waiting for you.

Right now i'm not going to run out and cancel my Netflix account. I'd like to see if they eventually come out with a HD widescreen version of the movies (unless it was just "Borat" which wasn't in HD). Maybe they had to shrink the resolution to make them easier to download in an acceptable period of time? I'm not sure.

You can read more about Amazon Unbox here.

Concerts, Autopilot and Ratdog

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I'm not really a big concert guy.

I like music, but when it comes to most concerts I very much like to chill out, sit down and listen rather than be in a crush of people swaying to hard rock band. Just not my thing.

The few concerts I did attend in my life have mostly been Grateful Dead shows. To me they are what I like about a concert, you drink, eat and chill out. Most people are very nice to each other, and there aren't too many deadheads that get into shoving matches.

Last night I went to see Ratdog, Bob Weir's band, again. This time it was at The Beacon, rather than Radio City Music Hall. I went with Matt and his friend Rocco. First stop was Yogi's on 75th and Broadway. My kind of bar, a dive bar with 3 female bartenders behind the bar (one hot, one cute and one slutty), and a crowd of non-pretentious people just waiting for the show at The Beacon.

When I walked into Yogi's I got a bit uptight in new surroundings of the bar. I never been there before, there were lots of rough & tumble looking types around and i'm standing there in my Navy blue peacoat, scarf and messenger bag. I felt a bit out of place for the first 5 minutes when I walked into Yogi's I just stood off to the side, trying to fit in while I waited for Matt and Rocco to arrive. One I overcame my initial shock, I ordered a captain and coke, which was served to me in a tiny 12 oz glass, and it had a big lime wedge and two red straws. I looked around and everyone was drinking beer (PBR, Budweiser, Rolling Rock) or doing shots of Jack Daniels or Cuervo. I got a sidelong glance from a guy sitting at the bar (drinking Budweiser) when my drink was served to me which I translated to, "Look at this yuppie and his dainty drink."

I took the drink, removed the straws and lime and G-U-L-P-E-D it down in one shot, set it on the bar, near the Budweiser guy and told the bartender i'd like another, a double in a pint glass. That got most of the people in the crowd around me chuckling one saying "Thirsty?", and another said, "You don't want that lime to combat the scurvy?", I shrugged and said, "I figure fuck it, what doesn't kill me makes me stronger." That got a few laughs from people around and it made me feel more relaxed. I took my coat off, and gone was that feeling of "You don't belong" and 10 minutes later Matt & Rocco arrived, which also helped. By the time I left Yogi's I felt like it was a bar I can go back to and won't feel out of place.

We got to talking to some of the people there, even a few Eagles fans, who were proudly wearing an Eagles jacket. It never ceases to amaze me how many birds fans there are in the Big Apple. The Eagle fans are easily the number 3 team here, just based on presence of fans, behind the Giants & Jets. You don't see a ton of Buffalo or Patriot fans walking around as you do with Eagle fans.

After a few drinks at Yogi's we headed over to The Beacon. It was pretty easy getting to our seats, and under a haze of smoke we watched Bob Weir jam out a mix of his songs & some Dead songs.

I was sitting there, and realized that for one of the few times in my life that I was relaxed at the concert. When I go to other concerts, especially with bands that I may not be as familiar with, I always feel a bit more uptight, sort of like I felt at Yogi's. I can't explain it other than I just feel a bit out of place, like I don't belong. Like a "real fan" is going to spin around and say "What are YOU doing here?" Maybe that's why I never really liked going to concerts. I went to concerts even where I really knew the band and the songs, like U2 and still was never 100% relaxed.

In the middle of the second set, I went on Autopilot. I drank quite a bit that night and didn't eat anything for dinner. At Yogi's I had about 4 pint doubles of captain and coke (like 8 "normal" drinks), a shot of cuervo, and then 3 more beers at the concert. I was a bit hungry, and also didn't want to stay out too late, because of work the next day.

Being on autopilot is a bit of a new thing for me, maybe it is due to my age now. In the past, i'd get drunk but really never to the point where my conscious would lose control. In recent years, I get drunk I get to the point where i'm smashed, but functional. I still had my share of silly mistakes, but most of them would be harmless. I was well smashed, and decided i'd leave the concert, get some food and go home. I grabbed my coat & bag, shook Matt's hand and told him I was jetting. I left the venue, and started to walk the wrong way. It took me 4 blocks for my error correction. I got to 77th and Broadway when I thought, "Why am I walking uptown?"

That kind of sobered me up slightly.

I spun around and headed to my first destination, which I already knew I wanted to go there before I left - Grey's Papaya. Why? Well, first I never been to a Grey's. All my years in New York, I simply never been to one. I saw it on my cab ride to the Beacon. I was hungry, drunk and in a good, relaxed mood.

I walked over there and ordered 2 dogs. Gobbled them down. Ordered another dog and some of the papaya juice - why not? It was softly sweet, with a tropical twinge. Now I was feeling burpy, and grabbed a cab to the PATH. On the cab ride the cabbie was very talkative and I was babbling to the best of my ability and must have sounded like a complete retard. I basically remember the conversation, but it was like there were 3 people there - the cabbie, drunk Sean and my detached ego watching the whole thing. The detached ego basically was watching this and trying to guide drunk Sean home.

We made it back with nary a hitch. Work the next day was a bit rough, but not terrible. I couldn't do this every week, but every once in a while isn't so bad.

Optical Illusion?

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...To The Big Time...

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I'm out of attorney review. Next step...Home inspection and get my financing squared away.

Also if anyone reading this knows a good contractor in Hoboken, feel free to let me know. I'd like to do some kitchen renovations (new cabinents, sink, countertop, minor electrical work) and if I have the money, i'd also like to do my bathroom, too. Also need to get shelving done for both closets, too, and one wall of the living room is entirely glass. Don't ask me. It makes the place look like a dance studio. I'd like to take that down.

I'm now looking online at various things, like new appliances and Kohler fixtures. I don't want this to become "The Money Pit", but I also think with the right amount of work and money my good apartment can look spectacular.

Hoboken St. Patrick's Day 2007

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Originally uploaded by Furey.
I was out with my camera today, taking pictures of the long lines, the bar scenes and the parade. Enjoy!

See the rest of the pictures here:

http://www.flickr.com/gp/11692493@N00/F2P631

3-2-1 Contract!

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Remember that show, 3-2-1 Contact? Man I loved that show.

Three, Two, One, contact!
Contact is the secret,
It's the moment when everything happens.
Contact is the answer,
It's the reason why everything happens.
Let's Make Contact!
Three, Two, One, contact!

Congrats, now you will be singing that all day in your head.

But I did write: "CONTRACT", not "CONTACT".

Yes, my condo is under contract review. I'm excited and nervous. Of course this isn't a done deal, yet, but unless something drastic happens, I should be moving in to the new place by the end of April. As I wrote before, i'm not a huge fan of disruptions and change. I really do like my current condo and living situation, but here's a list of things that i'm not a huge fan of in my current condo:

1. Finding new roommates. I live in a 3 bedroom place. Finding a new person to live with has been a touchy experience. I found good roommates and bad roommates. Even found a roommate who seemed good, but kept doing bad things to me.

2. The heat! My current condo has gas heat and is 2 floors. The basement floor isn't insulated, so it is very cold. The 1st floor is insulated. My bedroom gets roasting hot (like 80 degrees) when my downstairs roommate cranks the heat. I actually have to open my window and operate a fan in the wintertime some nights.

3. Loud neighbors. We are in a 4 floor brownstone. Floor 2 & 3 is one apartment, and the people have a staircase right above my room. Everytime they come in or go out I hear "THUMP THUMP THUMP" of them running up or down the staircase and slamming their doors.

4. Quiet time. I try to be as considerate as I can, as a roommate. When i'm in my room, my roommate below me can hear my TV at times. I will get text messages of "Can you turn your TV down" on my cell phone. When I get back from bartending at 3am on Sunday mornings, I have to be quiet because everyone is sleeping (yes, i'm not perfect I can make noise) - it will be cool to get home and be able to crank the TV up and enjoy a beer.

5. My stuff = my stuff. In my current apartment I have some nice stuff in there. I have All-Clad pots and pans. I have W├╝sthof knives. I have Riedel crystal wine & port glasses and scotch glasses. I don't mind my roommates using them, but they need to respect that they are using some quality items. I ask that they hand wash any knives they use, and any All-Clad pots or pans aren't left in the sink overnight, specially if they have food stuck to it (the regular stuff I don't care as much). That got on my nerves a bit. Also food or drinks that was used & not replaced was also annoying. My current roommates aren't bad about that, but I had older ones that would use my stuff all the time.

Things i'm looking forward to in the new condo:

1. Location. It is on Newark, and a scant 5 minute walk to the PATH. Even at 6th and Garden, my walk was about 10 minutes each day, and i'd take the bus many mornings to speed things up. It will be nice to be that close to the PATH, and also even closer to getting in and out of town. My car will be parked across the street from my condo, which will make things extremely easy for me when i'm going back to Philly, or golfing or going to the movies. My car currently is parked near the 9th street Rail station, and was always a pain in the ass to walk there and get my car - and hope the battery wasn't dead.

2. Upgrading & its potentional. Actually i'm really looking forward to doing some of the work I have planned for the place. I'm a big technology guy and now I find myself researching refrigerators, ranges, microwaves and dishwashers. I also am looking at new cabinents and tiles online and there is a Home Depot at the base of my building where I work in Manhattan. I want to go down there and price some things out. I think with a bit of work that the condo can be really quite nice. I will have to lean on my experts (my family) for their expert guidance.

3. Solid construction. Brad was with me last weekend, and he rented at 300 Newark about 2 years ago. He goes "Watch this." - and jumps up and down. He then said, "All concrete construction, dude. No one is going to hear you and you aren't going to hear your neighbors - AT ALL." That was a big sell for me. One of the things I liked about my current condo was that it was mostly quiet at night (unless the upstairs neighbor was exiting their place), and my bedroom faced the backyard, not the street. Both times I visited the apartment I always noticed how quiet it was. I couldn't hear anything from the street, not even cars passing.

4. Square footage. I looked at places on 7th and Jefferson in town. New construction, with parking. But SMALL. 600 sq ft places. I had to ask myself, what was more important: a) Having parking, far location from PATH, small sq footage, but new construction or b) No parking, close to PATH, decent sq footage and existing construction? I chose the latter, obviously. If I didn't have to use the PATH each day, i'd probably choose the 7th and Jefferson location. I also said, "If the market turns where would you rather have a condo, back in town or near to the PATH." I feel this place would be a strong rental property, too.

5. Nice to shed the roommates. Hey, I loved living with roommates, until I would invite my girlfriends over for dinner. That got to be a bit...awkward. I'm really very much looking forward to being the master of the mini-castle and doing whatever I want, whenever I want. Walk around the apartment naked - fine! Dancing with the stars - done! Cranking up music while I take a shower - sounds good to me! Having a party - my schedule is wide open!

I hope to close the first week of April if everything works out. Then doing some minor construction work (painting, tiles, cabinentry, shelving) and getting the appliacnes mid-April. Hope to move in the end of April.

To my friends & family - Keep your calendars clear sometime in mid-May when I have my housewarming party.

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