May 2009 Archives

Did You Know?

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Surprisingly, I got this link from my MOM. Only goes to show how the internet has changed the dynamic of family relationships when i'm getting links to cool stuff from her. Enjoy!

(Also I must be an anomaly according to that video...since I have had only 1 job since graduation in 1994 with Corporation X)

There's no real rhyme or reason to my list. Just was trying to put together my favorite songs from the 80's, ones that defined "New Wave" or "Classic Alternative Rock" for me. These were the songs that I loved to listen to on 120 Minutes, and to this day are part of my standard rotation on my iPod.

10. (1981) Depeche Mode - Just Can't Get Enough http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xcqyf_depeche-mode-just-cant-get-enough_music

9. (1987) The Sugarcubes - Birthday http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbw4cxQvkTQ

8. (1983) U2 - Sunday Bloody Sunday http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQVyXiXrI7E

7. (1987) Midnight Oil - Beds Are Burning http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10BbpGKLXqk

6. (1987) R.E.M. - The One I Love http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AKycxKtHLo

5. (1982) Modern English - Melt With You http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuN6gs0AJls

4. (1980, 1988*) Joy Division - Atmosphere http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMA33Bs3zAk

3. (1979, 1986*) The Cure - Boys Don't Cry http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8CDERzun4k

2. (1985) Hüsker Dü - Makes No Sense At All http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1sYN0PuRs4

1. (1985) The Smiths - How Soon Is Now? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U5HpeA_WSo

When I first moved into Hoboken in 1995, I moved into town with my friends Ryan* and Lucky*. I knew both of them from Villanova, they were friends and fraternity brothers. We moved into a place on 6th and Bloomfield, a converted single family brownstone that was now divided into three single units on three floors.

On the first floor & basement another two of our post-college fraternity brothers lived with three other people. As the way things work in Hoboken, people move out & around and eventually all five on the ground floor left and my brothers and I decided to take over their larger unit, with 5 "bedrooms" (technically they were two basement windowless rooms, and the pantry, dining room and family room converted into "bedrooms").

Looking back, the place was absurd. But, after college, you really don't care too much about where you sleep, and the rent was cheap. I paid the most, taking the "living room-bedroom", and paying $475 a month. Ryan and Lucky paid $350 each. We used hobokeni.com to find roommates, which was long before craigslist was popular.

Ryan, Lucky and I had at least 10 different roommates over the years. Guys and Girls. From all walks of life. Some would stay as little as a few months, others would be for much longer. It was easy to find people, since our rent was so cheap, and we had a lot of fun living there.

But, with roommates, sometimes bad things happen, too.

I think the one that stands out in my mind the most was when I was living there with two roommates Ben* and Karen*, along with two other people (In the haze of memory, I can't recall if Ryan and Lucky were living there at the time).

But what I do remember was that Ben was some random guy we met from an online ad. He was very handsome dark haired guy, and had a quiet charm about him. Karen was a blonde haired girl, with an on-and-off again boyfriend, and she liked her drink. She was a very fun roommate, who would be out at the local bars many times a week. To this day I don't know how she did it and could function at work the next day.

Ben and Karen were instant friends. He just moved into the house and the first few weeks there was a definite "spark" between the two of them, much like you watch on TV shows like the Real World, where two roommates get that instant attraction, but they are at just the "flirty fun" stage of things. They both lived on the basement floor, in seperate "bedrooms" (the bedrooms were tiny, I think people who lived there paid $275-300 for rent), but the bedrooms were connected to each other with a common door between rooms.

Things were going well, and I came home from work to find Karen there, not in her usual bubbly mood, but with a somber look on her face talking to another roommate. I asked what was up, and was told, by Karen, that Ben tried to force himself on her.

Say what?

Apparently, they had been drinking at Sullivan's, which was less than 150 feet from our apartment. I would hazard that Ben had been living with us for about 6 weeks, and everything was just going fine. This was a bit of a shock to everyone.

Karen explained further. They were drinking at the bar, having fun. They got home around 11pm. She went to bed. He went to bed. Next thing she remembers was him crawling into bed with her, and kissing her. She says she fought him off, telling him to get out and he did.

She was really freaked out by it, left the house and stayed with her on-again-off again boyfriend who lived in Hoboken, not telling him what happened.

Lots of questions cropped up, but the bottom line was that Karen felt it was rape. She did not want to call the police. She just wanted him out of the apartment.

One of the main problems with everything going on here is that Karen and Ben were, at least from my perspective, in that dance of courtship. Karen had a boyfriend, but they were so up & down, you never knew what was going on there. Ben was definitely getting signals from Karen that she was interested over the last few weeks and i'm sure the booze didn't help. Also we didn't ask Ben his side of the story.

The roommates got together the next few nights and basically agreed Ben had to leave, I don't recall if we ever asked Ben what happened. Ben was away for the next couple of days on work, and by the time he got back, we found out he had a job offer in Washington DC. He left and a week after the "incident" he was gone, in such haste that he left his guitar behind, and a few other things.

Things calmed down once he left and our next roommate was Trudy*, and Karen stayed for another year and moved to Sleepy Hollow, NY.

We never heard from Ben again.

Everyone has their nightmare roommate stories, but that was the one that I will never forget. In a way I felt bad for both Karen and Ben because I have seen alcohol make a lot of good people make bad decisions over the years. I have had some great roommates and others that betrayed my trust. My only suggestion to new roommates is something I learned after many years - if you do live with roommates, get a lock for your bedroom door. A good lock that needs a key. That may seem like overboard, but it will solve about 50% of your problems, from nosy roommates to those who had too much to drink and feel frisky.

Weekend was "chillax". Yes, I promise never to use that word again.

Phillies on Friday was good, sans the outcome. Chan Ho Park needs about 1 more start and then we can drop him to the minors. I was "good" Friday night. Only drinking a bit because I had golf the next day.

I love to golf. But I seriously need lessons. My game has issues and I don't even know what the fix is anymore. If anyone has suggestions, i'm all ears.

Also, it's not easy to find a course close to Hoboken. My friends and I tried out Highpoint Golf Club in Montague, New Jersey. It's a solid hour drive from Hoboken, depending on traffic.

But has two key things going for it:

1. It's cheap. I played Saturday and green fees, with golf cart, $35 (I think "normally" it is $65 on weekends). Compare that to Architects, which is $110 for a round and easily an hour from Hoboken.

2. The course isn't bad. I have played quite a few public courses, and all things considered, I enjoyed it, even if my iron game was terrible (my putting was on fire, however).

After we golfed, the drive back was a bit longer, maybe an hour and fifteen minutes, because of traffic.

We went to 10th and Willow to watch the Kentucky Derby. I sincerely wish I lived close to 10th and Willow, for two reasons. One of my major complaints to moving downtown is that there's no really good "go to" bar for me. By "go to" I mean a bar like Court Street, where I can sit down, feel in "my element" and know that most of the food on the menu is good and the bartenders are friendly. Mulligan's serves me well for the drinking...and I have tried McSwiggan's, Dubliner, Buskers, Zack's, Four L's, Black Bear, Oddfellows, Texas Arizona, Hobson's...but most of them are average at best. Need something like Court Street or The Madison (as much as I hate the bar, I hear the food is very good).

At 10th and Willow, I had the hummus which was fair enough (I liked the pita, but the hummus was so-so), and the full rack of baby back ribs which were fall off the bone delicious...but extremely expensive at $32. Plus, to add to my eating enjoyment there was a dark haired waitress there who was easily one of the hottest girls in Hoboken. I definitely liked what I saw on the menu, and would be there every week for the food and the eye candy.

While at the bar, I did my best to avoid looking at the Mets/Phillies score on the TV tuned to ESPN. I recorded the Phillies/Mets game, with the expectation that i'd watch it when I got home on Saturday. I don't usually record live sports games, but I figured the game was on at 3:30, and by the time I got home around 6 or so, I would be able to watch the game, skip thru the commercials, and enjoy myself. Next time I need to plan better and tell my friends my idea. At the bar, one turns to me and says, "Hey Phillies won in the 10th...6 to 5!"

Sigh. I should have told them that I was recording it.


At Home Again...With The Dead

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I'm not really a "concert guy".

Over the years I have probably been to about 18 concerts and 1/2 of those were Grateful Dead shows. I have friends of mine who go to 18 concerts a year. That's not for me, there's few kind of concerts that I like. I enjoy any concert where I can relax and enjoy the show.

Shows like Lollapalooza or The Grateful Dead...big shows where I can just pull out a blanket, sit on a hill and watch the show.

I feel right at home for a Dead show. For one, everyone is very friendly. Of course, there are some obvious reasons why they *could* be friendly, but suffice to say 99% of the people I have met at a Dead show are relaxed and in a good mood.

After 9 or 10 shows watching this band, I feel in my element.

This also transcends the way I go out in Hoboken. In years past I kind of had the same routine for bars, I usually had one "main" bar that I felt "in my element". Hennessy's was my first bar (1994-1996), then Farside (1996-2000), then Dippers or (2001-2004), then Mulligan's. It's not like I didn't go to any other bars in Hoboken (like Moran's). But for the most part, I would go to bars where I felt like I was comfortable.

Some people like new exciting places. I do...to an extent. For example, when I wrote about Raoul's the other day, I was anxious that it was going to be a snobby bistro, and I would be uncomfortable. It was far and away not that at all, and I plan to go back a few more times this summer, and even just by myself to sit at the bar.

The Dead show was on Wednesday, and it was a lot of fun. The music isn't for everyone, and I will admit that Wednesday's show was a bit to "jammy" for my tastes. I knew about 3 or 4 songs out of 12, and i'm someone that knows a good clip of the Grateful Dead songs.

But I got my one Dead show, and that's about good enough for me. Had a great time and look forward to a summer of Phillies baseball...then coming soon, Eagles football...

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