May 2010 Archives

Trenton owes 13 BILLION dollars. Billion. We are slashing everything.

But everyone needs to look at this:

http://www.newjerseygasprices.com/Tax_Info.aspx.

Look at the gas tax in surrounding states:
PA: 50.7 cents per gallon.
NY: 59.6 cents per gallon.
DE: 41.4 cents per gallon.

What does NJ pay?

32.9 cents per gallon.

Another interesting fact about NJ is that full service pumping costs consumers about six cents per gallon. Why? Why pay for this? Convenient? Sure. But NECESSARY? Hell no. You have too many soft people in NJ who whine about pumping gas, and that is ridiculous. PA, NJ and DE residents have no problem doing it and i'm sure NJ residents can do it just fine, too.

I can only hope the governor takes two key steps. Abolish full-serve, and raise gas taxes by 16 cents. The total cost to NJ residents would only be a 10 cent increase once we did away with full serve and maybe we can then think about ways to keep some more teachers, police and firefighters.

Rumors, Observations, Hearsay...

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A little birdy told me that an Applebees is looking to develop at the old Barnes and Nobles site. They are looking to get a liquor license, and running into some resistance. I personally think that even without a liquor license that the place would still rake in money. I'm standing firm to my belief that an IHOP would destroy everyone if they built one there.

Another rumor I heard is that Stacks is looking for a second location...might be uptown or downtown. Do you think a second location to Stacks would hurt the midtown location's traffic?

A third confirmation (from the owners) I heard was that Park & Sixth is opening a new deli on Grove St. So you people working in Jersey City get a great new deli to order from for lunch.

Another interesting tidbit I heard was that at the

I was at a community meeting on Saturday. There was a crowd of about 20 people, listening to the presenters. The presenters were parents, who, on their own, reached out to other parents, playground manufacturers and children to come up with some ideas about updating some of our playgrounds in Church Square Park.

They seemed like good ideas to me. The plan was about trying to raise money, use grants or corporate/private donations. Larger donations could involve specific park benches having a plaque affixed, while smaller donations would get bricks with the person who donated name on it. Seems like some good ideas here, and hopefully the park can get some desperate upgrades. Every time I walk Rocco into CSP, the parks are full of kids playing & parents watching over them. Clearly there is a need for better use of our existing park space.

95 Willow Street Fire

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Today marks 310 days since Rocco was born.

He's a great little guy. Very smart. A slight stubborn streak. Quiet, rarely barks. Playful with dogs and children. I would recommend the breed to anyone who has the time for a dog in their lives.

Before getting Rocco I did a lot of research on the breed, and tried my best to find answers about French Bulldogs. I wanted to know what to expect, and the best way to train my little guy. I figure I would outline some of what we went through and if you found this page as a French Bulldog owner, I hope it helps.

House Breaking: When I got Rocco, I took off a week from work. My entire week consisted of taking him out, every hour on the hour. Yes, I did this for an entire week. I would set my alarm and scoop him up, walk outside and when he went to the bathroom, I would say "Parktime. Parktime.", I didn't yell it, just quietly said it. My sister taught me this, because she trains seeing eye dogs for the same thing - teaching them that the word "Parktime" means - time to eliminate. The key was being consistent. Hourly walks. Saying "Parktime" and it did take me longer than a week, but he figured it out in about a month. Also I rewarded him with treats & petting when he would pee right after I said "Parktime".

Crate Training: My personal opinion on crate training is that no dog should be left in a crate all day. Also I think French Bulldogs have a good personality for crating. They are easy going dogs, with a low energy level. That was part of the reason why I bought my Frenchie. I knew I would be working during the week, and wanted a friend when I got home or on the weekends. Also, I could afford a dog walker. When he was a puppy I would have the walker come twice a day, so he wasn't alone for longer than 3 hours between walks. Once he reached three months I had the dog walker come once a day.

My dog walker has a "doggy day care" option, where she picks up Rocco, and drives him to her home. He hangs out at her home, with her dogs and other ones she watches, from 10am to 4pm - he was exhausted by the end of the day from all the playing. I did that after he reached three months until he was five months during the week. After he reached six months, I scaled that back a bit, so that he did the day care on Tuesday and Thursday, and got a walk once a day on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

At first, Rocco did pee in his crate. This was when he was six weeks old until about twelve weeks old. It didn't happen every day, but I spent a lot of days coming home from work and cleaning his crate. He eventually was able to hold it longer as he got older.

Food: Frenchies do best with all-natural foods. I fed him Wellness at first, but found that it caused a lot of gas & loose stool. I switched to Candidae, and found the Chicken & Rice did a good job with his flatulence. Be very careful when doing your dog food research. I used to think Iams (Procter & Gamble) and Science Diet (Colgate-Palmolive) were good brands until I found out they are owned by big companies, which uses filler and additives, not whole food. I measure every 3/4 cup of food that I feed Rocco. I am very judicious with the amount of "treats" he gets - and only give treats when he works for them. There's nothing worse than seeing an overfed dog.

Exercise: Rocco gets a decent clip of exercise. Daily walks during the week, and the doggy day care keep him content. On the weekends, I usually take him out for a long walk or the dog park each day. I think a Frenchie can get a solid 30 minutes to hour of exercise (which can be a long walk) or playtime (with other dogs or the owner) and be happy. A tired dog is a happy dog.

Training: I took Rocco to a dog trainer at three months. I detailed that experience in another entry which you can read in detail here. Even after that training, I still train him at least twice a week doing puppy pushups (sit, down, stand) and stay & come. Part of the training is being consistent and firm. Here's a perfect example of what I mean:

I was at the local dog park yesterday. The wind blew down branches and leaves into the park and Rocco LOVES chewing & eating branches and leaves. So when he would try to eat a branch, I would use the "Leave It" command, and if he already had it I would use the "Drop It" command. He listened. I must have used it about 30 times, but it was like a crack addict surrounded by coke rocks - he was loving all the branches. But that didn't matter, I didn't just give up or get excited. Kept on him. I watched another owner try to command her Labrador. It was useless. She had a pleading command voice, "Baxter, no! Come on Baxter! Don't eat that Baxter!". She talked to him like he was a six year old human, not a dog. I don't do that with Rocco. Firm commands, and if he doesn't listen, I will approach him and correct.

French Bulldogs have a stubborn streak. Training them takes patience and sometimes it wears on you when for the 1,000th time you say "Leave it" or "Drop It" and he doesn't listen. Happened this morning, where I said "Drop It" while he was walking & chewing on a stick. I had to stop him, reach in his mouth, and remove the small stick. He looked at me with a "It wasn't me!" look and I kept walking.

If you can't do this or won't do this the French Bulldog will walk all over you.

Sleeping Arrangements: When I am watching TV, I will invite him up to lie on my lap. Some experts may say this will send mixed signals, but I think the difference with Rocco is that he doesn't jump up on me and lie down. He will calmly sit and stare at me. This could go on for 20 minutes. Then I will pick him up and put him on my lap. He is usually asleep within 10 minutes after that.

At night Rocco sleeps on the dog bed, in my room, at the foot of my bed.

Walking issues: One of my biggest problems that Rocco and I had were issues with walking. From the first day I got him, my French Bulldog wouldn't walk more than 10 steps before just coming to a complete halt. It was almost comical, because it was almost like him being dragged down the street...then he would walk for a little while...and get dragged some more. It was very, very frustrating.

The fix was somewhat simple - you can't give in. It sounds cruel, but if you stop for your dog, that means he wins. Because then he starts to think that if he stops, you will stop. The more you stop, the more he will stop. Eventually, HE controls the walks.

I would keep walking, and praise him when he walked well. I also gave him treats when he would walk by my side. If he stopped, I would keep walking, with him resisting, down the street. It wouldn't be him getting literally dragged, but he was resisting and walking behind me. Just being consistent, he broke out of it. Today, he still occasionally just comes to a dead halt while I am walking him. I don't stop. Just keep walking and just realize this is part of being a Frenchie dog owner.

Another thing I did was early on, around the house, I would tie the leash to my belt. Everywhere I went - the kitchen, the bathroom, the laundry, etc - Rocco would be leashed to me. This was also important to get him used to always walking with me.

Overheating: I haven't had a summer with Rocco yet. So I will have to write more on this later. The last warm day we had, I had him out for an extended period of time. He was breathing hard and it was different than other days. He was stopping on me much more than normal, and I actually got a bit worried and carried him to the last 1/2 block.

Snoring: My Frenchie snores a bit, but it's not as bad as I expected. I was expecting him to keep me up at night and was worried about him sleeping in my room. He's fine. When I watch TV and he sits on my lap, he snorts and snores slightly. Otherwise it isn't a big deal.

Health Problems: I was aware of health problems of purebred dogs. Early on, Rocco had lots of issues aside from the normal vaccinations. He had canine flu, kennel cough, an eye infection (twice!) and ear issues (wax). You MUST be prepared to deal with this. I bought VPI insurance, and didn't get it for minor things but for major issues. To date, I have spent a good deal of money on the vet bills (I would hazard its well over $1,000). But since he was neutered, I haven't had any issues (that's 4 months so far...)

I don't think it was anything more than a puppy & living in a city environment with many other dogs which contributed to those issues.

Walks: One thing I do, since I am living in the city, is take Rocco just about everywhere I go (unless it is a Supermarket or a Mall). Otherwise, walking about Hoboken, he goes to the stores with me. Often, I ask permission if I can bring a dog inside the store. If they don't allow it, I sometimes keep him leashed outside only when I can see him when I am inside the store. This, again, is a personal issue. I want him to get out of the house as often as possible for exercise - and not keep him trapped inside.

On nights where I am going out to a bar or restaurant, like on a Friday or Saturday, I have been letting him stay outside the crate. So far he has been good. I tried to see if I could leave him out during the workday when he was 7 months old and he did well for about 4 weeks until I found one day that he chewed on my wood furniture. Bad, Rocco, bad. So, he's back in the crate again - we will try it again in a few months.

Once he reaches adulthood and is out of his chewing phase, I will allow him full access of the apartment and see how he adjusts.

That's about it. If you own a Frenchie and have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email. I will help as best as I can.

I'm Back! From Outer Space!

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Sorry, I have been bad with my updates. Truth be told I have found that Facebook is just so much easier for updates. But here's a bunch of quick hits to let you know what is going on in my life...

Diet: Remember I was writing about my crazy diet? Well, it basically worked. I have been hitting the gym strong since January 1 and lost a few pounds of fat and gained a few pounds of muscle. My goal isn't a 6-pack or anything silly. Just to look good and feel good. Right now, and my current diet is basically like this:

  • Morning: Power Shake ((Muscle Milk Light), Coffee (half and half w/sugar)
  • Mid-day: 5 Egg Whites with a touch of ketchup
  • Lunch: Energy Kitchen Wrap or Hamburger, no sides or Chicken & sweet potato.
  • Pre-Gym: Energy Kitchen Chicken Stir Fry on Plate or Chicken & Broccolini.
  • Post-Gym: Power Shake (Muscle Milk Light)
  • Dinner: Varies. Try to keep mostly healthy. Usually have 1 Corona with dinner, but that's it.

Sure, I could cut out the coffee and the beer, but they are my little cheats and make me feel like i'm not starving myself. Plus, I allow myself to cheat on the weekends. For me, it works. The reason why i'm sharing this with you is that you CAN diet without killing yourself. You CAN lose weight if you stick to exercising 4-5 days a week (more on this later).

Taco Truck: If you live in Hoboken, read my blog and haven't been to Taco Truck, you fail. This is easily the "Best Of Hoboken" by a long shot. I haven't been this excited for a business since Hoboken Eddie was in town. The food is super fresh. The truck isn't some grease pit, it is clean and environmentally friendly. The staff is awesome. Perfect example is allowing me to create the "Seanito". With my diet, i'm trying to reduce the amount carbs during the week. They make an awesome pork "torta" (sandwich), which I love which has pork, onions, avocado, pickled jalapenos. I told them to make me the sandwich and hold the bread and put it over rice. I called it the "Seanie Special". After a while, they said they wanted to call it the "Seanito". So now it is on the "secret menu". I told some people on Facebook about it, and the Taco Truck guys have told me people have actually ordered it (people who I don't know). I found that funny. So, there you go - try the Taco Truck. Easily the best thing in Hoboken in a long time.

Stefani Pierogi Truck: Another truck? Wasn't I just talking about a diet?! Well truth be told this just opened recently and I had to try it. It's another truck in town, and this is not a diet-friendly truck, but it is very good. I had the pierogis which were onion and potato, first boiled and then lightly pan fried. They were excellent, if a bit small. I also tried the kielbasa sandwich, with sauerkraut and Dijon mustard. I think the sandwich was "good", but not great. Wasn't a fan of the bread, even if it was from Balthazar bakery. I suggested to them they should replace it with a good Amoroso's Italian bread. Would be a much better choice, and if you are from Philly I know you agree with me.

Rocco: The "Rock Man" is awesome. I have a dog walker who walks him daily ($12) & also does a "doggie day care" for him ($20) on Tuesdays and Thursdays. She has a nice big backyard, watches a few other dogs too. I tried to let Rocco out of the cage for about a month (around February, when he was 7 months) and he was mostly good, until he decided to chew on my furniture about four weeks in. He's back in the crate, and I will try again when he is 1 year old. On Friday nights when I run the Philadelphia Phillies Club of Hoboken at Mulligan's bar, I let him out of the crate to be alone for 3-4 hours. So far he has been good. Also, if you are looking for a dog walker...email me and I will be happy to get you in touch with my walker.

Summer: From Memorial Day to Labor Day I took off every Friday from work. No reason. No plans. Just three day weekends the whole summer. I never did this before at my job of 16 years (how many people do you know who had 1 job out of college for 16 years anymore?)

Eagles: People keep asking me, "What do you think of Kolb?" My basic answer is that I hope i'm wrong about him. Honestly, I think he isn't as good as the Eagles have been hyping him to be. He gets intercepted too often. Reminds me of Bobby Hoying. I think next season we will start out strong, but end up 7-9. Also a name you want to start watching is Mike Kafka. 4th round draft pick by the Eagles out of Northwestern. My spidey senses tell me that if Kolb is a bust, this is our starter in late 2011.

Also another problem with the Eagles is that I don't have a jersey. All those years of wearing Westbrook, or Owens, or Corey Simon...and now I have to pick another player to follow. I like Jackson, but EVERYONE has a Jackson jersey. I'm waiting for another player to emerge and decide on a player to root for. I'm definitely NOT getting Kolb.

Phillies: I was telling my friend the other day about how awesome it is to have a good baseball team. In the years when the Phillies were God-awful, I would still go to Shea to watch them play the Mets, but certainly not following them like I do now. I ordered the MLB.com package and watch them 4-5 days a week now. I know about every player on the team. I'm keeping track of the farm system and some of the names down there. I haven't been this obsessed about the Phillies...ever. It's FUN to have something like this to watch over summer, whereas in years past i'd just be counting down the summer months to Eagles training camp and then counting down the days to the pre-season, and then counting down the days to the regular season. With my Fridays off this summer, I definitely want to try to see about driving down to Philly and catch some games now (with the only issue is what to do about Rocco).

Gym: I'm hitting Club H for 4 days a week. I go Monday (Biceps/Triceps), Tuesday (Back), skip Wednesday, and go Thursday (Chest), Friday (Shoulders). I mix up my 25 minutes of cardio each week, trying to keep my body off balance. Right now i'm jogging at 6mph. Next week plan to jog at 6mph and throw in a few 8.5mph sprints for 30 seconds. I benched 215 twice yesterday, and tried 225 with a spotter. This is good for me, and considering where I started a big improvement. I feel better and I sleep better in the last few months, and hope to eventually try some jogging outside soon.

That's mostly it right now. Life is chugging along and i'm having fun. Looking forward to the summer and some new experiences.

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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