November 2007 Archives

Moments Of Remembrance...

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I was in Washington DC for Thankgiving for a few days, staying at my brother's and his wife, with their beautiful two year old daughter, "A".

Seriously, she looks like a cuter version of an Olsen Twin. She is going to be a heartbreaker. I'm usually not a "baby kind of guy", and my sisters had to put up with my lack of interest for years. Maybe it took 6 nieces and nephews to warm up, but Baby A was a lot of fun to play with.

One of my sisters lives in Virgina (previously in California), about 20 minutes from my brother, with her husband and their two children. They visited on Thanksgiving also, along with my mother who was staying with her.

It was a very good Thanksgiving, I had the job of carving the bird, and followed the instructions that they had on The New York Times website. Worked perfectly.

Combine that with some great red wine, gorgeous Cockburn 20 year old Tawny port, and 12 year old Macallan sherry-cask scotch, and I was feeling great that night.

The next night, on Friday, I thought it would be fun to have an "adults night", in which the kids of the family went out, had dinner and drinks. They chose Zeffirelli's, in Herndon, VA. I followed along, and found out that fantastic italian, does indeed exist in Virginia.

If this place were in Hoboken, it would blow the doors off every Italian restaurant. It. Was. Outstanding.

The owner was from Sicily, and we got to chatting with him. My sister and brother-in-law are going there next summer (I think it's their 6th or 7th trip to Italy...my brother-in-law worked in Italy for a few months also), and promised that they would visit the owner's home town and take his mother out for lunch.

Trust me...they are going to do it. That's the way they are. They will show up unless somehow the trek is impossible, because it isn't about the sights and the tourist attractions, but they like to make their trips more about the human experience of making new friends in far away lands.

Very cool people, my family.

While at dinner, and savoring our meal, I heard a song play. Just listen to this first, i'm sure you know it:

Kitchen Renovations Completed!

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I took these pics a few weeks ago of the completed renovations, and just uploaded them today.



I'm very happy with the condo work, except on how long it took to complete. I have been getting into the spirit of doing my own work on my home, and today did some minor work like adding brass door strikes to my bedroom & bathroom door jams.



Also headed over to the new Home Depot in Jersey City.



These were the directions from their website, using MapQuest:

1 Start out going WEST on NEWARK ST/NEWARK AVE/CR-636 toward CLINTON ST. 0.22

2 NEWARK ST/NEWARK AVE/CR-636 becomes OBSERVER HWY/CR-681. 0.10

3 Turn LEFT onto MONROE ST. 0.05

4 Turn RIGHT onto NEWARK AVE/NEWARK ST/CR-636. 0.12

5 NEWARK AVE/NEWARK ST/CR-636 becomes JERSEY AVE. 0.41

6 Turn RIGHT onto N MARGINAL RD. 0.01



I tried using that, and the whole "right onto Marginal Road" part is bogus (unless someone out there finds this mystical road).



Here's the best way from Hoboken, which took me a solid 35 minutes to figure out, because of how quirky the traffic is around the tunnel:



1. Take Observer Highway (becomes Jersey Ave) to 12th.

2. Make a left on 12th towards the Holland Tunnel.

3. Stay left. The entrance to Home Depot is on the left, right before the tunnel entrance.



Sure, sounds easy now. But I had multiple loops around Newport and criss-crossing the tunnel traffic to finally figure it out. Maybe someone else knows - can you just take Marin to 12th and then make a left on 12th?

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Anyhow, enjoy the pics of my new kitchen.

Giving Thanks....

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Over my years living in Hoboken, I probably never really sat down and thought about what i'm thankful for. I think we often get swept up in the day to day nuances of life, and don't really reflect upon our lives. I have had a great life in my 35 years. I was extremely fortunate to have two great parents, a cool older brother and fantastic older twin sisters growing up. My parents were very successful, we reaped in the benefits of hard work, and that work ethic was passed down to the rest of the kids. My entire family are proud of our accomplishments. We all graduated from college, continuing into successful careers or raising our families.

But we can't do what we do without the people around us. Our friends, co-workers or family that make it possible. So i'm going to take this day, to think about those who have touched upon my life over my years, and give thanks - and of course to say something snarky.

1. The #1 person has to be Mom. She put up with me as a hyperactive child & a hyperactive teenager - I calmed down to a managable level when I hit 15 or so. Over the years we have gotten closer, and this year she was a big help with my new condo purchase, offering advice and support when I needed it. Thanks Mom. Santa is bring you computer lessons, so I stop getting hoax emails from you.

1a. The second guy is Dad, so he gets 1a. I wouldn't be the man I am today without his guidance, and discipline and years of psychological scarring after I borrowed his hankerchief that one time when I was ten. Nothing quite like a well-used hanky from your father to shock and disgust a child who needed to wipe his nose on a cold winter day.

2. My sisters are #2, only because they read the blog more than my brother & email me about it. No, i'm kidding. This year they, too, were great in helping me with my new home. I only wish I never said the word "World of Warcraft" to them, ever. Nothing quite like getting player killed by your own family online, especially by 10-12 year old nephews.

3. I'd like to thank my brother & sister-in-law for hosting Thanksgiving again. Last year was a monster Thanksgiving, we had about 20 people, with food to feed about 50. I love getting my once every four month phone call from my brother that starts with, "Sorry, I was in Florida again on vacation..."

4. Brad & Matt have been like two brothers to me, even if the only time i'm welcome at the shore house is when they aren't there. Thanks guys. :)

5. Thanks to "Tiffany" for helping me quit smoking and join a gym three years ago. If you weren't sexy, this never would have happened. Congrats on your wedding. This is what I need - more married, hot friends. Great.

6. Thanks to Melissa & Kathleen (not Kathy) for helping me start the Philadelphia Eagles Club of Hoboken. It wouldn't be as successful without you both as my unofficial diplomats & drinking partners. Hopefully this is the time of year you can forgive me for all the stupid things I have said over the years without thinking. Nothing like alcohol to bring out the best in me.

7. Thanks Mike & Cindy, the very kind & funny owners of Mikie Squared for giving me a job for Saturday nights. It's very hard to get a weekend bartending job in Hoboken, especially as a 35 year old guy. They are very fun people, their current joke is setting up the outdoor furniture when it's 40 degrees out on a Saturday to look "open". There are three times of the year I look forward to: Christmas; the day I get Corporation X's bonus; and the day that we stop setting up the outdoor furniture at my bar.

8. I'd like to thank some of my fraternity brothers at Delta Tau Delta from Villanova: Brian T., Kevin T., Gomer, Buck, Denton, Kaz, and Gaffney (technically he wasn't in DTD, and left us by Junior year, but he was my best friend at the time). Villanova, as it was known as Villa-No-Fun, which was fitting in 1990-1994, would have been much, much worse if it wasn't for you guys as my friends...except for when I lit myself on fire. Also, Brian T & Bucky were the guys who got me to move to Hoboken in 1995. Them? Married with kids? Me? Same life as 1995.

9. Special thanks to ex-roommates Jon & Kristen. Easily my favorite two roommates aside from Bucky & Brian T. Also i'm not just saying this because you two were my only two roommates who paid me back on my PSE&G bill. Good karma to you both!

10. Thanks to you, blog reader. I watched my small site grow from only a few friends, family and my ex-girlfriends who read this site to an average 150-175 readers a day. I feel bad only because if you are reading my site you have to realize this is the dead-end, unpaved side street of the massive internet. Yet here we are.

To those I forgot, i'm sure I will get an email from you. But i'm driving to Washington, DC to visit my family on Wednesday like I did last year, and should be back by Saturday (i'm not bartending Saturday night, however).

God bless you all, and remember for one day to be thankful (and snarky).


A Taste Of Hoboken 2007

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Last night I worked the Mikie Squared/Margarita's tables for 'A Taste Of Hoboken'. It is a charity event with tickets which cost $60 (or $80 if you want the Champagne event - a pre-party where champagne is served), which benefits the local YMCA.

A few thoughts from working last night:

1. In years past, the setting was in a smaller room, and the crowds more compact which made getting around difficult. With the size of the gym, it easily dwarfed those attending and make it very easy to get food.

2. There's no chance you leave hungry from event. The portions is just a sampling, but there's like 30 tables to sample!

3. Mikie's wasn't allowed to serve the sangria at the event, due to some restriction. I didn't think it was a Robert's conspiracy theory, and just shrugged and helped Margarita's and Mikie's serve samples.

4. I think the logistics of a sit down dinner would be much more difficult than just letting people wander around trying the food.

5. $60 can be expensive, but it is a charity event and, again, you don't go away hungry. I read negative comments about an event, and it makes me roll my eyes. A benefit is a bad thing? There's not enough food? There's not enough to drink? These are the same people who go drinking all night in NYC and spend $250, and people complain about spending $60? I sneeze and spend $60 around here.

6. I wouldn't spend the extra $20 for Champagne, the crowd at 7pm was moderate, at best. We were cleaning up before 9:30.

7. All the leftover food was donated to the homeless shelter.

8. I got to see a lot of people I know, quite a few local city council people, constitutents and Mike Jerrick made an appearance.

If i'm not working, i'll be attending the 2008 event. It's a great way to try various restaurants dishes and help the YMCA at the same time.

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The Kiss of Death wins again, as I got to watch the Flyers vs Devils on Thursday night.

My friend Kathy scored free hockey tickets (Thanks Matt O!) to the new Prudential Center in Newark, aka "The Rock".

We took the NJ Transit 6:19 pm NJCLL train, which cost $2.50 one way & was about a 20 minute ride from Hoboken to Newark Penn Station. It's an easy 4 block walk from Penn Station to The Rock.

Getting home, the only NJ Transit trains running to Hoboken first stop at Secaucus Junction. So we took the PATH home, which is a bit more complicated. It's located on Track 1 at Penn Station. You can take a train from Penn Station to Journal Square. Switch at Journal Square taking a 33rd bound train and getting off at Pavonia/Newport, then switching to a train at Pavonia/Newport to Hoboken.

Service between Journal Square and Hoboken starts at 11:26pm, but most of the hockey games will be done by 10pm, which is why it's more complicated getting home. Timetables are located here.

You also could take the PATH from Newark to Exchange Place, get off there and then board a Hoboken bound train from WTC back to town. Again, check the timetables to coordinate.

A few thoughts about The Rock:

1. Everyone was extremely nice. The staduim employees, the NJ Transit people, the officers of Newark. "Please, Thank You, and You're Welcome" were heard all night, along with "Sit down, asshole, the Flyers suck!" when we first scored.

2. 1 Captain & Coke and 1 Yuengling? $17. Um....yea.

3. The tickets were superb, in section 24, which is a special area called The Goal Bar. There's a large bar, seating area, and three rows of seats, to watch the action. The stadium itself is large, open and clean. Very easy to get to the stadium for a Hobokenite.

4. Devils fans really hate the Rangers. I heard five chants of "Rangers suck" during the Flyers/Devils game.

5. They have free wi-fi access. I was able to use my iTouch to read the PATH website and check when the latest train was leaving Newark station.

6. Someone can make a fortune in Hoboken with this idea:

There are 42 home Devil games. Figure out a way to arrange a "Hoboken Transport" service for the game. Get a small bus, sell seats at $7 per trip ($14 total). Leave Hoboken at 6:20. Drop off your passengers. Arrange departure for 20 minutes after the end of the game. Anyone who is late or hangs around Newark after the game takes the PATH home (it's not like you are stranding anyone). A small bus seats about 20 people...$280 for the night...maybe $40 for gas? $240 profit per game. 42 home games, $10,000 (assuming you fill the bus each time both ways) - maybe more if you get a bigger Devils following and advertise properly.

Did I mention how nice and helpful everyone was? It really should be mentioned twice. I know the stadium just opened, but everyone there are beyond nice. The employees at the ground floor elevators asked if we knew where we were going (we didn't), and one of them walked with us the entire way to show us our seating area. I didn't know where the Will Call window was, and a very polite police officer pointed it out, with a kind, "It's over there, sir."

They talk about the revitilization of Newark, well if this is any indiciation of the direction of the city, they are doing an outstanding job putting on a professional, safe atmosphere. At no time did I ever feel threatened or worried walking to and from the station. Plenty of employees in yellow jackets, and I saw mounted police (who were very nice also, when I took their picture), and plenty of other patrolling police outside the stadium.

Some pictures from the game:
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Story Of My Life...Running Late

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If there would be a running theme in my life, it would probably be my constant issues with time management.

I'm always running late. It is for various reasons. Like for work, i'm always trying to squeeze out as much sleep as I can get, and always pay for it by walking in the office late. I have a strong hatred of "wasting time", and even find myself dreading the idea on my walk home after work to walk an extra two blocks out of my way to get dinner. I'm always trying to optimize everything I do, with mixed results.

Sometimes, it works out great. I figured out how to bypass the Holland Tunnel on holidays, and get home much earlier than all the saps who wait it out at on the NJ Turnpike.

Other times, I want to strangle myself...if that were possible.

I get home Friday from my 4pm-12am shift, the last day of that shift and settle in with a cold beer and some "Must See Tivo". Grey's Anatomy is on, and sadly thanks to the Glossinator (my old roomie), i'm a fan. I putter around a bit more, made something to eat, and then played around on the computer for a bit. Fell asleep around 6am, and figured i'd sleep until 2pm, and have plenty of time to get to the 3:30pm wedding in Scotch Plains.

I sleep. And sleep. And sleep.

Waking up on my own, even before the alarm, I check the clock and i'm all set, thinking how it is 2pm, and I have lots of time. I get out my suit, look around the house for some Crane's paper to hand write a wedding card for the bride and groom, and take my time. After a bit, I get in the shower and thinking about what I need to do before going to the wedding.

Then it hits me.

I get out of the shower at a near run, and don't even grab the towel, with water splattering all over my tile floor. I look at the clock again.

It's 3:10pm.

What? Who? Where? Why?

Oh, I set my alarm clock for 2pm, thank you very much. Just forgot to activate it. I slept until 3pm, and when I woke up, my addled mind didn't comprehend that I overslept. I saw the clock and even though it clearly said "3pm", it took me a full 10 minutes, while in the shower, to realize what was going on.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Scotch Plains was a good 30 minute drive from Hoboken. I wasn't even ready. I was fully expecting to be calm and ready to dress, drive and do whatever I needed.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

I shower fast. Get dressed fast. Get in the car fast. It's already 3:30pm and i'm still in Hoboken. I get on 78 and drive as fast as my car can get me there.

Segue: I'm a big car fan because like a goldfish I like bright, shiny things. Has anyone seen the new Mercedes C350 sport? I'm normally a BMW fan, but WOW. Really sharp looking car, there. I can't really justify paying $600 extra a month for a car I use twice a month, but I certainly would give it a strong look if I were a car shopper.

Ok, back to the story.

I make the drive in about 25 minutes, get to the ceremony, and walk in just at the moment that the bride and groom are exiting the wedding chapel with Wedding March (A Midsummer Night's Dream) by Mendelssohn playing.

Story of my life, people. Story of my life.


I have had a problem over the last year or two. I really haven't talked to many people about it. It was kind of embarassing.

I didn't own a suit.

Oh, I had older suits. They were about 6 years old, and if I tried them on, it would be like this scene from "Tommy Boy":

Going to a gym will do that to you, I probably gained about 40 pounds in the last six years and wasn't the 180 pound beanpole anymore. I had been putting off getting a suit for simple reasons.

Laziness was a reason, i'm not a big fan of clothes shopping. Also, spending lots of money on a suit for something that i'd wear maybe once a year was a second reason. I wear jeans & polo shirts to my office, Most of my casual/work wear in my closet is by Kenneth Cole, Hugo Boss, Banana Republic and J. Crew.

I had no more excuses, because there was a wedding coming up and I needed a suit. It is this Saturday and I kept putting off my suit shopping until Wednesday.

I had two choices for getting a new suit. One, which was inspired by my buddy Chris was to get a kick-ass suit that i'd just wear for those special occasions. I was thinking i'd go to Brooks Brothers, drop a boatload of cash, but know that I got myself something which makes me look like a million bucks at weddings, funerals and job functions. My only angle against this is that i'd hate to spend lots of money on a suit like this and never wear it. I certainly could understand if I was in a job where i'd meet clients and need a great suit, but I don't.

So choice Two was go to a discount store. I was a bit leery of this, only because I didn't want to look like a schlep with a bad suit. So, I asked around the office over the last few months, basically pulling aside co-workers who looked sharp and asked them, "Where did you get your suit?"

It seems like everyone answered the same thing: "Syms"

I didn't know Syms. I knew of Men's Warehouse. But I figured i'd give Syms a try, at the store located on Trinity St., near the World Trade Center.

The store is old-school 1970's feel. I don't like stores like this. Yes, i'm a product of my generation, I like shiny crisp stores, not uncle Bert's love shack with taupe paint-job and shaggy green rugs that smell musty.

But, in all fairness, I have to say they have quite a good selection of brand-name merchandise at a fraction of what the retail costs.

I picked up a really sharp double vented, three button, 100% wool, charcoal Calvin Klein suit for $300 (Reg $495). A white and blue shirt by Ben Sherman for $40 each (reg $80), a new Polo belt for $19 (Reg $40), tie ($12), and tailoring would cost ($8 for the cuffs on the pants) & had a coupon I got in the main for Sims for $100, which was extra sweet. Total cost was about $419, but $319 with the coupon. I'd like to thank our customers from Halloween Night for making this possible.

Afterwards, I knew I needed shoes to go with my suit. I really wanted something simple, and was, believe it or not, inspired by what Tom Cruise wore when I was reading the Superficial. So I walked over to a store that an ex-girlfriend introduced me to, which is Century 21 Department Store. Grabbed a really great pair of black Kenneth Cole "Be Cool" Oxford cap shoes for $90 (reg $180).

I'm headed to Mad One Jack's for a haircut, the tailoring should be done by tomorrow, and i'm getting the Ben Sherman shirts laundered by Saturday morning.

Then i'm off to attend Tiffany's marriage.

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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