Life: October 2004 Archives

Cousin Pam To Make A Sitcom

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I got some fairly interesting news today from my sister. Seems that the popularity of Team America has helped my cousin Pam. Like I mentioned before, she was a long time friend of Matt Stone and Trey Parker, working on South Park - and did some incidential writing on other semi famous sitcoms and "Mr. Wong" on Icebox.com - now she and another writer got the green light to write their own sitcom.

I got this story from Zap2It.com, which detalls a "The comedy looks at a young man who becomes the first of his friends to get a job out of college and has to deal with his desire to hold down work, but also to slack with his buddies."

I think maybe Pam needs to come visit her cousin for a few days and she can easily find about 10 years worth of material.

A few things that I would help Pam with "fleshing her character out":

How To Choose A Roommate

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I'm 32 and I have roommates. This isn't exactly what I was expecting.

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful
Wife
And you may ask yourself, "Well...how did I get here?"

How did I get here? Once Hoboken was a mecca for the youth of the Tri State area - move into town once out of college, get a cheap brownstone to live in and shack up with some post-college roommates.

I have either been extremely lucky or a good judge of character over these years because I have lived with some great roommates. Kind, considerate and interesting people. To be honest, in many ways I enjoy the social interaction of living with roommates. On the other hand, there are some downsides to roommates, too.

I'm a transplant from Philly and the only person I knew up here was Brad. Brad did the typical NYC Shuffle, moved to NYC, did the single thing, met a wonderful woman, got married and is now happily living in suburbia. Brad was the childhood friend, someone I grew up with and at the end of our 7 month stint living together we realize one important fact:
Brad and I should never, ever live together again.

It was strange, because we were best friends. Best Friends should be able to live togther, right? Wrong.

Here are a few guide lines for those out there ever thinking about moving into Hoboken and planning on choosing your new roomates:

The Sleep Out

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Often I find myself thinking about my life, and re-living certain events that I may daydream about while on the PATH going to or from work. Some are benign, like the days when my friends and I would camp outside my house on lawnchairs with sleeping bags and we would laugh, talk and eat junk food during warm July summer nights.

The year was 1983 and my friends and I were all around the ages of 11, while my brother and his friends were 14. We were still living in Richboro at this time, a very typical suburban community 40 minutes outside Northwest Philadelphia. Richboro was one dominated by farmland, and in 1975 my development was created by a very new housing developer, at that time, called Toll Brothers. The name of the development was "Tanyard Farms", which consisted of about 60 cookie cutter single family homes. The development was like a little isolated village, because of its one entrance/exit to the development.

In 1983 parents wouldn't think twice of having their young children sleeping outside under the stars, without parental supervision. Dear Lord, what were they thinking?

Looking back, we absolutely were out of control and frankly, I am amazed we didn't get into more trouble. The first rule of childhood vandalism is that you never vandalized your own neighborhood. Like I said, Tanyard Farms was like a little village, so we would go out and terrorize the other local developments, which were within easy walking distance. The second rule is that you vandalize late at night when everyone is asleep. Saturday night at 3am in suburbia the only thing stirring were trees and pre-teenagers wired from sugary junk food like squirrels on crack. Here is a quick list of vandalism and pranks I remember from my Sleep Out days:

When I first moved up here in 1994, I didn't hate the Yankees. They were wallowing for the early part of the 90's with sub .500 seasons, and then 1996 rolled around and they beat the Rangers (3-1), Orioles (4-1) and Braves (4-2) to win the World Series. I remember cheering for them, heck, it was 1981 since the Yankees were in the World Series previously - only a year after my beloved Philadelphia Phillies won the 1980 World Series.

So what happened? I guess like any other fan, I enjoyed seeing a a veteran team rise from the ashes of mediocrity and win a title. In 1997 the Indians knocked them aside, and they came roaring back in 1998 to win the World Series again! I cheered that one, but not as loudly. Ok, nice victory - they swept the Padres and got 2 Championships in 3 years.

Then 1999 and 2000 rolled around. The bet the Braves 4 games to 0! They beat the Mets 4 games to 1! Now, this is getting ridiculous. Hey, I will be first to say that yes the Yankees did a very good job with their farm system, but what does it take to have a good farm system? What does it take to retain players on your team? What does it take to have good scouts, front office and management?

Money.

Can you buy championships? No. But, money is certainly a very key component into making a sustainable and competitive team every year in baseball. The Yankees spent their money wisely on talent and management to build the team that won 4 championships in 5 years.

Think about that. 4 championships in 5 years.

Philadelphia has 4 sports teams, which have ALL been in a championship draught for 21 years. Not only that, but we have had a ton of "paper champions" over the last 21 years - only to disappoint us again and again. My last article told about how frustrating it is to be a Philadelphia Fan.

Here is some advice from a fan who watches their teams perpetually lose since 1983:

1 year nicotine-free anniversary

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One year cigarette free.

I had my last cigarette on October 13th, 2003. hob1004smok.jpgIt was at Newark Airport, on the day that I landed from a Las Vegas trip with some friends. I quit for many reasons, one of those reasons was my father. Another reason was my health - I had a recourring cough, a dry cough, that wouldn't go away. A third reason was that I met a very beautiful girl who didn't like smokers.

I sought asylum from Marlboro Country after that.

I remember that for years I was adamant about smoking my cigarettes. I was resentful from my friends and my family would would try and guilt trip me into stop smoking. I wouldn't hear it. I was an addict, but didn't realize that I was an addict.

I kept telling myself I could quit "anytime I wanted to". Lies. Smoking a cigarette was, to me, like eating sugar. Can you take sugar out of your life? Of course - diabetics have to control their sugars and they do it everyday. But the problem is - that you miss sugar. You miss eating chocolate cake. You miss having baked cookies. You miss everything about sugar.

The same is with cigarettes. I loved a cigarette with coffee. I loved a cigarette after a big meal. I loved drinking and smoking cigarettes. I loved watching my Eagles and smoking at the bar. I loved a smoke after sex - ok, who am I kidding? Well for the few times that happened it sure was nice!

The thought of not having cigarettes in my life made me think that a certain 'joy' in my life would be gone, and since I was a selfish addict - I wasn't ready to take that out of my life. I would always think "I'll do it next week..." or "[Enter Holiday Name Here] is coming up, and I gotta smoke during that holiday!"

Team America: World Police

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I saw Team America: World Police last night with my friend Melissa. We wanted to go to a restaurant in Hoboken with some friends and review it for Hobokeni, but that will have to wait.

Team America is extremely funny, and well worth going to see in the theater. It is humorous on many levels, first its just plain silly. The puppets jerky movements are very much exaggerated in certain scenes, like fight scenes, and you just can't help to laugh when you watch two marionettes trying to give each other a beat down.

Second, the satire is on target, the filmmakers really are poking fun at the ignorance of everyday poorly educated Americans. Every country in the world is defined by its distance to America. When they show Central America, for example, they describe it 2,536 miles from "Real America". The countries that are created for the movie: France, Egypt, Korea - are purposefully stereotyped. Cairo is made to appear to be something out of an Indiana Jones movie, rather than the modern day city that exists there now. The people of those countries are a cariacature of who they really are.

I also really enjoyed how this movie blasts the movie industry on so many fronts. They laugh at how "action" movies are made, and put every single generic action movie formula into the movie. When a team member dies, the puppet is holding their fallen comrade in their arms, shouting "Noooooo!" while looking up to the sky, with the camera panning backwards towards the heavens with a birds eye view of the scene. Classic. Just one of many things that will have you chuckling to yourself.

team2.jpg

You have to love how people who are "in the industry" bash the self righteousness of their fellow co-workers, who think of themselves as educated, informed Americans - just because they can regurgitate what they read in the papers or watch what the pundit of the moment declares. They basically are telling every actor in the world to SHUT UP - they aren't forming their own opinions, they are being the parrot of other people's thoughts. Are actors somehow more privy to MORE information than the rest of the world? No. They read the newspaper, watch TV and make judgements just like every other person in America - that is the point. The actors are so self absorbed in their own fame and translate that fame into importance. Sean Penn probably thinks he is Jimmy Carter.

While watching the movie, I felt like the filmmakers were taking pot shots at everyone - from conservatives to liberals. They were bashing midwest conservative Americans to roasting a-list celebrities from Hollywood. Really, you should go see this movie, I found myself laughing and chuckling during the entire movie - sure there are a few jokes that just aren't funny - but the majority of those will make you laugh.

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I really didn't expect to enjoy this movie as much as I did - I never was a big fan of South Park, and the main reason why I saw this movie was that my cousin was the third writer who made this movie.

Its October, or as every crappy radio station says "Rock-tober".

The novelty of wearing sweaters, jackets and "fuck-me" boots (you know what boots those are ladies - the thigh high ones) is awash in Hoboken.
badcostume.jpg

I'm busy looking around at possible costumes that I may wear to a party on the 31st and I found the one that would quickly get me beaten up / laughed at the most (picture right).

I figure that I could get this costume, with a trick or treat bag and walk around to houses in Hoboken like i'm some man-child on October 31. I think a hidden camera would make for "Must See TV". Who the hell was the actor that posed for this? Imagine showing your friends - "Hey look at this new advertising ad I was just in...i'm Raggedy Andy!!"

Call your parents after reading this...

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We all take things for granted.

I am guilty of it just like the next guy. I take everyting for granted - my friends, my family, my health, my life.

We, as humans, find our existence as a day-to-day experience. We never really think about "the big picture". In 100 years from now will anyone really know about the trails and tribulations of our petty lives?

We get upset over the most innane things. We always think there will be another day to do something. We rarely remember those who are important in our lives. My life is full of times when I think to myself: "I wish I had another chance".

The most recent one was with my father. For the last 4 years he was battling a form of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma called "Mantle Cell Lymphoma". No one is quite sure how the cancer forms, I have heard that pesticides may be to blame for its creation. It only affects about 5,000 people per year (worldwide), and is a very rare form of cancer.

When he first contracted it, he was a trooper about fighting it. He immediately started chemotherapy at a University hospital in Philadelphia. Sadly, he had a toxic reaction to the chemotherapy, which is very rare, but once again fate has a funny way of dealing the cards.

The toxic reaction mimicked a certain aspects of a stroke. His speech was severly affected, and for those that knew my father, this was a terrible fate. He was a very charismatic person who would immediately light up a room as he entered. People gravitated to my father, in the last month I have heard more quite a few people refer to him as a "mentor".

His balance was also affected, and his immune system was thrown into disarray. He had a constant fight with upper respiratory congestion, too much exertion would throw him into coughing fits. But, he fought on.

He tried stem cell, radiation and experimental drugs. His attitude was that if he could live another day, that was one day longer that he may see a cure. I never heard him complain during all these years. He never told me how unfair life could be. He never said that God wronged him.

Like the man before the cancer, and the man after the cancer - he went about his life with the same steadfast determination that he instilled in all his children. One of many things that I thank my father for after all these years.

But I never got to thank him.

My father died on August 23rd, 2004.

The later years

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So I get to Hoboken. I remember my first memory of driving up here in September 1994, with a van full of random knick knacks and clothing for my new apartment in Brooklyn Heights.

Brooklyn Heights?!

Yea I first moved up to Brooklyn Heights. My oldest friend Brad was living there at the time, right where Atlantic Avenue and the BQE meet.

Anyhow, back to the memory. I remember driving along the BQE, with its view of Brooklyn. squirrel1004.jpg
Abandoned cars, grafitti and the sprawl of urban humanity lay before me like a tawdry nightmare. Cheap, boxy apartment buildings scour the landscape, dejected neighbors shuffle down the street and gone are the familiar trappings of suburban society. Heck, even the squirrels up here looked mean.

Many people from the New York Metro area don't understand Philadelphians.

Especially when it comes to the Philadelphia Sports Fan. In New York I am surrounded by New York fans, and I hear them always crow how we are the worst fans in the country and they usually site one of three semi-famous incidents:

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1. We threw snowballs and booed at Santa Claus.

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2. We threw batteries at J.D. Drew.

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3. We cheered when Michael Irvin was lying on the field at Veterans Stadium and sustained a career ending neck injury during a Dallas/Eagles game.

Who? What? Where? Why?

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Today is day two.

My site has been up for 24 hours and I have been pondering what exactly to do with it.

Do I want to make it a Philadelphia Eagles site? No.

Do I want to make it Furey's Dark Secrets of Hoboken? Well, I have a few that I will share with you some day later. But realistically, no.

Do I want to make it All-Hoboken, all the time? No.

I guess this is a site basically about my life, in Hoboken, and things I think about. Lets start from the beginning, for those of you that think they know me.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Life category from October 2004.

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