August 2008 Archives

That Bitch!

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We were having so much fun this summer. Laughing. Playing. Rubbing bellies. And look what I find - evidence that she's not only a Jets fan but also likes the Giants!

Oh God, what a horrible thing. No more treats for little Zoe!

This weekend was fun enough, even if my allergies were killing me. Friday was an early night, I was zonked from a long day of work and my stuffy nose. Went to sleep by 11pm at the shore house.

Saturday was a beach day, I worked on my tan. Someone asked me how I get so dark. For one, i'm Italian. The other, i'm Black Irish.

Chris, being Chris, has been trying to "beat me" with a better tan and can't keep up. He's been doing a good job getting fried to a crisp, however. His face was a nice shade of lobster on Saturday night.

Our luau was Saturday at 2pm and I just wasn't feeling it. It was fun and a nice party, but I was out of it from my allergies and lack of quality sleep on Friday night. I share my bedroom, and my neighbor snored until 5am. I didn't want to sleep on the couch again, so I just sat there and stared at the ceiling.

Saturday night the party lasted until 1am (11 hours of drinking and eating), when we had bodies all over the shore house, sleeping wherever they could.

Sunday was another nice beach day. I had my fill for brunch at a local irish pub, and then snoozed on the beach for a while. It was a lazy sunday, relaxing at the beach house until 6pm, and driving home to watch the Phillies vs Dodgers on ESPN.

I'm getting geared up for football. I'm playing fantasy football and I have the #1 pick in the draft. Itching to pick Brian Westbrook at #1, but really have to think that LaDanian is the smarter pick.

This week is a 4 day work week. I have off Friday...but weather calling for showers. Boo!

Bradley Musings...

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Last Thursday, we had a pre-season gathering with the Eagles Club. It was a bit of a downer. Apparently the bar was out of Yuengling and then the Eagles game was delayed an hour by thunderstorms. Ugh. Hopefully by the regular season this will work out better. But I did get to meet some new fans in the area, and break out my Westbrook jersey.

Friday I stayed in, figuring that the crappy weather there wouldn't be a good reason to hit the shore. I made a super great tasting Stir Fry that I found in Men's Health.

What You'll Need
1 lb egg noodles
½ lb peeled shrimp, deveined and cut in half lengthwise
½ Tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 ½ Tbsp light soy sauce
2 Tbsp peanut oil or other vegetable oil
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
½ lb broccoli, cut into small florets
1 Tbsp dark (mushroom) soy sauce

How to Make It
1. Cook the noodles in boiling water until tender, and drain and rinse with cold water. Meanwhile, combine the shrimp, cornstarch, sugar, and pepper, and ½ tablespoon of the light soy sauce.

2. Heat oil in a wok. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the shrimp and stir-fry it until it's half cooked. Remove the shrimp from the wok, add the broccoli, and stir-fry for another minute. Add rest of the soy sauces and ½ cup of water, and continue to cook until broccoli is tender.

3. Return the shrimp to the wok and add the cooked noodles. Cook until heated through and coated with the sauce.

Makes 4 servings

I was able to get everything I needed at Garden Of Eden on 2nd and Washington.

Also note that in step 2, i'd heat the pan first then add the peanut oil, then add the garlic on medium high. On high - it crisped the garlic really fast. Otherwise, the dish came out great, and I was able to enjoy it while having a friend over to enjoy it with me, along with watching "Into The Wild" and drinking some wine.

Saturday headed to the shore, and it was beautiful. Possibly the best beach weather weekend of the summer, with the baby blue sky dotted with puffy white clouds. The light green water was a warm 70 degrees and perfect for a dip to cool off.

Sunday was another beach day, but I did get to a bar that I had to see at least once this summer...Parker House. I always read from other grass root community bloggers about how great PH was on a Sunday night. I had off from work on Monday and figured what the hell - lets see what the fuss was about.

Getting there from Bradley was a $16 cab ride, and about 5 miles from our house. There was an $8 cover charge (sorry no VIP cards here), and the Parker House setup is two floors and a back yard balcony, the DJ is upstairs and a live band is downstairs. The upstairs bar also had darts and shuffleboard, which I both love to play, lots of TVs and a fairly easy access (if longer wait time) to get alcohol.

I was seriously expecting the average age to be 25 years old, but maybe because it was Sunday, the average age was about 32. Sure, lots of young pretty girls but just as many older cougars on the prowl. There were the assortment of Ed Hardy types - along with a guy dressed like Ivan Drago from Rocky IV. For all intents and purposes, it simply reminds me of The Madison in Hoboken.

If anything, it was a fun time just people watching and commenting on the carnival of people at the bar. Once a summer was enough for me, however.

My other enjoyment is our shore house pet - Zoe! I am able to get my canine fix with the help of cute Zoe and her penchant for enjoying belly rubs, fetching balls and our morning squirrel spotting (apparently a very brave squirrel likes to come in our backyard from time to time and sit in our tree).

Zoe and her owner, Lauren, had to leave on Monday, and having the day off I relaxed at the beach. When I got to the beach, I had a nice spot with a good 15 feet in all directions that was empty. In 1 hour I had multiple families, with screaming kids, who were sitting about 5 feet from me. This, combined with a bit of boredom kept it a short beach day.

This weekend is a 30th birthday party at the beach house for one of our housemates. It will be a luau theme, and I was hoping to score a grass skirt to go along with the theme.

Of course, this morning I wake up with a sore throat. Not a good sign. I definitely want to make it down the shore this weekend.

Mulligan's 2006:
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Mulligan's 2007:
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As many of you know, I run the Philadelphia Eagles Club of Hoboken. We started it 5 years ago with help from my friends and the kindness of our friends at McMahon's Brownstone.

Our gatherings quickly grew and grew and we had to move to locations to accomodate our growing fan base. Two years ago we made our new "nest" at Mulligan's, and we have been extremely happy.

But, as I quickly learned - old friends leave and new friends come into Hoboken, and often, lots of people don't even know that we have a mailing list.

Yep, we have 200+ members on our Facebook Group, and I encourage YOU to sign up, or if you have a friend in town who is a Philadelphia Eagles fan, you can forward them the link:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/hobokeneagles/

It has our schedule, news, info and I sent a weekly newsletter about the next matchup. I don't give out anyone's email address to third party vendors, and you can easily unsubscribe from the group anytime you like.

Our first game at Mulligan's will be Sunday, September 7th at 1pm when the Eagles play the Rams.

Interval Walking on CNN

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Looks like CNN even is jumping aboard the interval training with saying the key to losing more weight is to increase & decrease the pace of your walks.

I'll tell you a secret about my best gains in lifting weights and running in three easy words:

MIX. IT. UP.

Many people, myself included, get into routines. We go to the gym. Lift barbells, do curls, do abs. Same moves week in and out. First six weeks everything is great, and then we don't get that same burn we got before - we don't see our mucles bulging out or can't run as far on the treadmill.

Every time you hit the gym and plan to hit that treadmill or elliptical or recumbent bike, you can't just run for 30 minutes at 5.0 miles per hour. Your body adapts. You have to mix it up. Run for 10 minutes at 6.5 miles per hour. Walk for 10 minutes at 3.5 miles per hour. Run for 10 minutes at 5.0 miles per hour. Then cooldown.

Everytime i'm about to hit the gym, I look over at the ExRx.net site for some ideas on doing different exercises for my muscle groups.

Top 5 Rules For Shore Roommates

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I definitely have a lot of experience living with roommates, after counting 18 different roomates over my 13 years living up here.

Most of my roomates were great people, some were weasels, some were generous and some were selfish assholes that deserve a karmic boomerang.

I have written before about how to choose a roommate, and included my "rules" to a good roomate:

Be considerate. Clean your dishes. Pick up your clothes. Be tidy. Don't like to clean the litter box - pay your roommate $30 a month to do it for you (yes, I did this). Do you have a special other - don't bring that person into the apartment all the time to "sleep over". A good rule of thumb is a overnight visit twice a week. If you have a boyfriend or girlfriend who is over 4 nights or more a week - that is unfair to the other roommates. Maybe have them kick in some rent while you are at it.

Be quiet. This isn't a dorm room. No blasting your music or TV - the subwoofer travels easily thru hardwood floors and to the upper floors of condos and brownstones. One of my roommates reminded me that squeaky beds can be heard thru hardwood floors, too.

Be responsible. Pay your rent and bills on time. The last 10 years I have held all the cable & electric bills in my name. I usually pay them right away and then collect what is owed to me by my roommates - time and time and time again they always forget to pay me. I think if I calculated over the years the money I have lost to roommates who didn't pay me would easily be in the hundreds of dollars. Its partially my own fault, I don't hound my roommates to pay me back - I just leave the bill out, and expect them to do the math. John, if you are reading this - you still owe me 2 months of bills, buddy.

Be kind. A lightbulb is out - how about buying a new pack and fixing it? Notice that the bathtub is dirty - maybe clean it? Cooking dinner - maybe see if your roommate wants some. Its the little kind actions which will endear you to others.

And now after living in a shore house, with multiple roommates (some full shares and some half shares) in a no frills shore house, this would be my Rules For Shore Roommates (which some points may mirror points in my previous comments):

5. The bars have closed, you are drunk, your friends are drunk - don't assume it's cool to bring back your drunken mess to the house for an "after hours party". We have already a few instances of people coming back to our shore house, and drunk people making far too much noise for our sleeping roommates and our sleeping neighbors.
Bottom line: Unless you are bringing back all the roommates to the house, or if you roommates are still up - ya gotta call it a night or find some other place to go.

4. Sex happens. Overcrowding at a shore house is the norm, and often people are sharing beds in the same room. There has to be consideration on both sides (those getting some and those getting none), come up with a good system to say "DO NOT DISTURB" if you are "busy" and consideration for those couples who want to be alone in private.

3. Generousity is the better part of valor. If your buddies and you are drinking someone's else's Grey Goose, don't replace what you drank with a cheap knock off. If you are drinking good beer don't bring in a case of American Light Beer and expect that's a fair replacement. If people are buying groceries & making dinner for you each week, it isn't a bad idea to throw down some cash on basic communal foods (bottled water, burgers, dogs, chips, soda, toilet paper, etc.)

2. Clean up! I think this is very important especially when people disappear on Sundays without taking the trash & recycleables out, cleaning the sinks, wiping down common use areas or even sweeping the floors (we don't have a cleaning person). The only times I have gotten others motivated is by stopping people on Sunday for an hour of "clean time" (yes, do you believe it? ME telling people to clean up of all people...) to get the job done.

1. Ignorance is bliss. Everyone will be on their best behavior for the first few weekends (in some cases for the first 24 hours), and you only see most of these people on the weekends. I have had disagreements with some of my roommates and rather than confronting and defending myself - I simply walked away. Normally i'm someone who WILL get in your face if i'm angry, but I have found that it's a million times easier to keep the peace and walk away from a problem or a conflict. I think it would be a different story depending on the severity of the situation (like if you had a real problematic roommate), but you should try to let most minor infractions just roll off your back and not let that other person know they are a troll. You are just there for summer, and there's no reason to ruin it by starting drama.

Maybe you have some rules of your own? Leave a comment or drop me an email if you do!

Fleet Feet

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Fleet Feet
604 Washington St
Hoboken, NJ 07030
(201) 533-1200

I started my interval training, and I noticed that my shins (in both legs) were getting very sore by the fourth week of running. I made sure I was stretching right, targeting my hamstrings, quads, glutes and calves before and after each run. Yet, I still found that I was plagued with shin splints, and remembered that when I ran track (briefly) in high school that the same thing would happen but eventually they would go away.

Of course that was 20 years ago, and it didn't seem to be getting better as I ran. I took the last week off from running, and did some on line research. Aside from HOW I ran, and HOW I stretched, many sites also mentioned that your running shoes could be the culprit.

My Nike shoes were in good shape, but I bought them about 4 years ago when I first joined Club H, and really just didn't do much research into the shoes. I figured they were by Nike, they were running shoes, and they cost over $100 - so they must be good.

Little did I realize that there are many factors that go into buying the correct running shoe, and we all have different biomechanics and foot shape that affect what shoes we should wear. There were online sites that had various recommendations to guide me, but most said the same thing: "visit a biomechanics expert or experienced shoe retailer" when choosing a good running shoe.

I orginally wanted to just figure it out myself, and buy something online, and asked a friend what were his running shoes. He said "Asics. I buy them at Fleet Feet, I think they take the time to fit your foot properly...my wife swears by them, plus it's a small business in Hoboken providing something different, I like to support that stuff."

Last night, I stopped by the store, which was located on 6th and Washington to see if they could help. I was greeted by the employee, and he asked if he could help - and started to talk to him about running, my running style and what I was looking for (including my problems with my shins). He listened to what I had to say, and I told him that I was interested in Asics (Nimbus-10 to Cumulus-10), and he agreed that Nimbus were a good brand to look at, but first said we should measure my feet and see how I walked.

I have always been the same side shoe over the years, but what I didn't take into consideration was the flexibility of my arch. A "normal" foot has an arch, which also gives (flexes) when you put weight on it. Some people have flat feet, which is when there is no arch to the foot, and others have high arches.

There's also pronation, which is the rolling motion of the foot from heel to toe and you can determine pronation by the wear on the rubber sole of your shoes. Neutral is an even roll, Underpronation is when the outside of the foot absorbs more weight and overpronation is when the inside of the foot takes the majority of the weight - and the wear of the insides or soles of your shoes will help determine this.

These were things that I never really considered when buying a running shoe. I figured shoes were shoes, and it was a bit of an eye opening experience. After working with Shawn, who later I found out was the owner of the store, he knew which shoes would work for me, and we tried on a bunch of shoes from Brooks, Asics and Mizuno. He showed me one model of each maker which were the "intermediate" shoes and one model which were a bit more "advanced".

I had six pairs of shoes in front of me, and I tried on each shoe, feeling how the length and width of the shoe fit my foot. I found that the Asics were a bit more narrow than I liked, but very soft on my feet. The Brooks were good, but I wasn't super impressed. By the time I tried on the Mizuno, I felt like my feet were leaping off the ground and ready to run.

I was even encouraged to try a "test run" with the shoes, and I walked outside, and ran a half block down Washington street, stopping at East LA. The shoes felt really good, and I wanted to go running right away!

I went back to the store, and asked Shawn that they felt good and he told me a few things about buying from Fleet Feet.

First, if you buy them and in the next few days find that the shoes are uncomfortable, you can always come back and return the shoes for an exchange of something new. I really liked that because I was afraid of buying shoes and making the wrong choice. For example, the Asics felt great but they had a more "cushiony" feel to them. The Mizuno were more "springy" to me, as if they propelled me forward with each step. So I was happy that I bought with Fleet Feet versus buying from an online site that may not have such a flexible return policy.

Second, they keep track of your purchase history at Fleet Feet, and once you spend $250 at their store, they send you a $50 gift certificate. That's a nice way of rewarding customer loyalty.

Third, Fleet Feet isn't just some faceless corporate entity. The local running clubs HoHa and The Mile Square Running Club include Fleet Feet & other locations in Hoboken as their local starting point. Both clubs are co-ed, social and always looking for new members of various ages and running paces.

I was really impressed after leaving the store and happy with my new purchase. I was glad I went to a local store to get properly fitted, rather than guessing at a shoe from an online store.

Asbury Lanes: Punk Rock Bowling

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The night was warm, with the mist of salty sea water hanging lazily in the sky, like a whisper of a passing lover, speaking sweet, soft poetry to the twinkling stars in the black velvet canopy above us....

Ok, i'll stop.

So, um, yea. Another weekend at Bradley Beach and Chris mentions about how we have to get out of the house and DO SOMETHING. Most of our weekends at the beach have been about grilling, drinking and hanging out at our house with other housemates and just enjoying each other's company...and I have been fine with that.

You, see, dear reader, I am sort of an extroverted introvert. Like you drop me into a foreign bar, with muscleheads, bikini babes, overly loud music that makes you scream to talk to the person next to you (WHAT? YOU STUDIED ARCHITECTURE? WHAT?) and other assortments of trolls and fools, and I will stand there, like a house plant, and drink my drink and talk to those i'm with and really be about as exciting as a fern can be. But, when it comes to hanging out with friends, people i'm comfortable with, i'm much more animated and fun, more social and talkative.

Simply put, staying inside, with friends, suits me just fine.

Sure, it does put a crimp on meeting women, but my attitude has always been just about enjoying myself, rather than trying to go bars and score women. I have never found that people really "meet" anyone at bars - everyone just sticks to their friends and rarely intermingle, and quite honestly I believe that you would be better off trying to make new friends, and meeting THEIR friends, than trying to get some random girl's number at a meet market bar.

But, to each their own.

Saturday, Chris says three magic words: Punk Rock Bowling.

My ears perk up. I like punk rock. I like bowling. Where is this magical land of candy trees and milkshake waterfalls?081108.JPG

Asbury Park, only a short cab ride away.

Chris, Lauren and I hop in a cab, and drive over to the bowling alley, which appears to my untrained eye to be older than me, in a neighborhood that can be generously described as "post nuclear abandoned civilization".

Remember that movie "Escape From New York" with Kurt Russell as Snake Plisskin? Yea, that bowling alley would be a perfect backdrop, along with the crowd of people that were milling about outside.

They were the various driftwood of common society, bound together by alcohol, music and a fondness for tattoos. We had old greasy bikers, young post-Franz Ferdinand nerd types, fat goth chicks, hot tattoo princesses, and emo-riffic college kids scattered amongt the aging bowling alley lanes that were built before anyone knew who John F. Kennedy was.

I felt right at home.

This was my kind of scene. I enjoy being around this kind of crowd, and far away from the guidos who proudly look for themselves with their puckered smiles and pseudo-gang flashes on njguido.com.

In another day, age and not having parents who would have disowned me if I got a tattoo, I would have been much like the crowd at hand, having fun listening to good live music and chilling out in the cast off corner of the north jersey beaches. It was great.

It was a $10 cover to get in and an additional $10 to bowl. I laughed and asked if it was $10 per game, because I was so used to our outrageous prices to bowl up here.

No, it was basically $20 to bowl until your arms fell off, your fingers blistered or your rented shoes disintegrated off your feet..

To be sure, this was not bowling for those typical Hobokenites who are "pretty little snowflakes" and worry about what brand of sunglasses they wear or when it's martini night or when Green Rock is a bar they regularly frequent. No, to be sure, this was a bar for the punkers, by the punkers.

I have found that in my life I have always had the ability to be a social chameleon. As so much as I can make fern-related jabs at myself, I also am fairly good at hanging with all types of people - from punkers to Republicans to country gents to city slickers, I never really "stick out", with exception to my height.

The gang and I bowled all night, drinking various cocktails out of the house plastic cups, and listened to the band that was set up in the MIDDLE of the bowling alley, taking up about 4 lanes with a makeshift stage. The band would play about 8-10 songs, break down their equipment and a new band would set up and play some more songs. It was great until one moment.

We were at our lane, bowling and a group of three guys start to bowl next to us. I really don't pay them any attention until our bowling balls disappear. We had about 6 balls in the ball returner thing - and we were down to 2 when I say to them "Hey guys what happened to the bowling balls?"

Chris walks off to find a manager and see if they can discover why the lanes are gobbling up our bowling balls and not returning them.

The guys next to us give me the what?us?who?bowling balls? look and sit there. I take one of the remaining bowling balls, walk into their lane, and throw it down the gutter (remember this is an old school bowling alley, there wasn't any mega-computer that kept score - every game was scored by hand and since you could bowl all night, nothing kept track of how much we bowled).

Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.

Five bowling balls return just as the goth manager approaches us and rolls her eyes and walks away.

About 10 minutes later one of the jackasses next to us throws a ball down the lane as the pin sweeper was down, and BANG! the pin sweeper gets jammed, with the bowling ball rejected, and sitting in the middle of the lane. The guys next to us sit there a look on their face, like when you get home from work, see the garbage from the trash can sitting all over the kitchen floor and your dog giving you the "I don't know how it happened? The trash can must have exploded on its own" look.

They used the bowling ball I was using and it was sitting in the middle of the lane, and I snarled at the offending bowler that he better not just sit there, but go out and get my ball back. He sat there with what I can only describe as an idiot savant look, and then Lauren, bless her heart, goes out and gets it herself.

Sadly, her nice action nearly gets us in trouble - the goth manager returns, yells at Chris saying that we are shut down and can't bowl anymore. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

I was playing my best game of the night, we had 4 frames to go, and Chris and I were betting $20 against each other. I wanted to finish up, and then go home.

The other lane was dimmed, but interestingly enough, our lane wasn't. We wait for our lane to dim, and nothing happened. I guess the goth manager assumed we were bowling with the jerk offs next to us, and shut them down instead.

Ha ha ha.

We finish our game (I bowled a 174 and won $20 off Chris), wave to the children of Rain Man next to us and leave.

Even with all of that, it was just a fun time that if you are in the Bradley Beach area, and looking for something different to do that doesn't have the word "Parker" or "Edgars" in the title, it may be something you enjoy like me.

Vera Gets Serenaded

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At Bradley Beach, my housemates have been there for the better part of 10 years, and have gotten to know the neighbors on our block. One of them is Vera, and 80 year old woman, who lives there in the summers, with her children and grandchildren two doors down from us. She's not your typical grandma - my first meeting with her was her vivid description of going to see the Thunder From Down Under in Vegas last year with her daughter - and getting a lap dance from the male dancers!

She's social with us, stopping by during the day, but Vera can be a bit of a problem for our house, because like any older person, she can be a bit "crotchety" if we get too loud at night.

Friday night at the house someone discovered a megaphone that was brought down last year by a group of Staten Island guys who were living next door, and they left it at our place.

Well the megaphone was Friday nights entertainment, with a group of us sitting on the front porch, trying our best to make each other laugh using the device. I, myself, saw two 20-something girls walking by us on the sidewalk, carrying a half-case of Miller Light. I grab the megaphone, and say with an authoratative voice (like a cop would say)...

"YOU...WITH THE BEER!"

Both of them, perplexed, turn around to see me and a group of housemates getting their attention.

"I WANT YOUR BEER!"

I hear the blonde haired one say, "You want a beer?"

"YES. I AM THIRSTY."

They both look at each other and walk over, laughing and give me a beer. They sit, and crack open a few beers, and meet the rest of the house guests. Two girls from Kansas City in Bradley Beach for the weekend, and they get introduced to us by me with the megaphone.

About 15 minutes later, Joe stops at our front porch and he's Vera's son in law. He's very nice about it, but kindly asks we stop with the megaphone at 9pm at night.

We stop, and take our antics into the backyard, where we drink all night.

Saturday was a bit of a washout last weekend, and I was inside watching TV and relaxing with Lauren and Chris and i'm using the megaphone (again) inside the house. One of my housemates walks inside, asking for the megaphone, and I hand it to her. She walks outside and I hear a screeching old woman's voice:

"HEY YOU INSIDE COOL IT WITH THE MEGAPHONE!"

It was Vera. She was outside talking to some other housemates and giving me crap back.

Well then. I thought about how to respond, and then I suddenly had a flash of a movie scene in my head.

Easily one of my mother's favorite movies, and a classic in it's own cheesy right.

It was time to serenade Vera.

I hop outside, at 3pm in the afternoon and get the megaphone back and proceed to sing to our 80 year old neighbor, like I am Tom Cruise and she is my wrinkly 80 year old Kelly McGillis.

Now Chris, my buddy, who is my friend for many good reasons and one of them is his ability to pick up very fast what i'm doing and run with it - he jumps into the song singing too, backing me up as my very own "Goose". Then Jerry, another housemate, starts singing, and soon we have three guys all singing "You Lost That Lovin' Feeling" to our 80 year old neighbor, who was sitting on our front porch, both perplexed and embarassed at us making fools of ourselves.

The megaphone was loud enough that when finished, we had the other neighbors all laughing at (or with?) us with our song to Vera.

Suffice to say, it was a good laugh all around. It was a classic "Sean" moment, I simply was in my typical goofy mood and went with my first implusive thought and hit it out of the park. I didn't care, and it felt great.

Of course you will all want to know if Vera and I are dating now and the answer is no, I have my sights set on another special lady in my life. Click to see who she is...

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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