Life: November 2004 Archives

Tuesday Eagles Talk

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How 'bout them Birds?

We are 10-1 and we mind as well be 6-5 when you talk to Eagles fans about our record. Its sad, really. Philly fans have been let down so many times over the years, and most people are happy but not overly excited.

We have a team that hasn't let up a TD in 2 games, against two of our dreaded NFC rivals. We have a team that outscored both of those teams with double digit wins. Go to the Eagles message board and see what the posts talk about. Here are a few common ones:

"Pinkston Sucks" - Pinky will always suck in the minds of fans until the day comes that he makes a clutch play. That "aligator arm" catch he shied away from against the Giants isn't going to endear him to anyone anytime soon. Oh, for the record, Pinky and I have nearly the same height (6'4) and weight (200) - I knew I could have started for the Eagles.

"Our Run Defense Sucks" - Welcome back, Trotter. I think we all know our linebacker situation will be addressed in the 2005 NFL Draft. Simoneau was a weakside linebacker thrust into the role of middle linebacker and everyone in Philly villified him for not being a MLB. Give the guy a break - I think he did the best he could. I don't think he sucks, but Trotter is a huge upgrade to our run defense in the middle. I'm still unhappy that he left us for the Redskins - I want Trotter and Corey Simon locked into a room with each other and let Jerimiah knock some sense into him.

"Donovan sucks" - I happen to have some thoughts here that you may not like.

Turkey Day in Temecula

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Forgot to mention that I was going to Temecula, CA from November 22 until November 27.

Yea, my sister Steph and brother-in-law David invited me out to her new house in Temecula. Quite simply, its incredible and I should be putting up some pictures of it this week. After visiting their house I realize how I should have studied a bit more and that getting an MBA from U Penn is a good way to live a very comfortable lifestyle.

Temecula is a very nice community in between San Diego and Los Angeles (about 1 hour from either city). I visited some vineyards, relaxed with family and also stopped by Disneyland. It was a vacation that was more about decompressing from the Hoboken work-life and getting back to a very simple suburban existence.

Every day was about 65 degrees and sunny. If given the chance, I think I could get used to the Left Coast. Not Temecula, per se, because its a very FAMILY oriented town, and its not for a single guy like myself - but if I were to raise a family that town seemed very nice.

What I really enjoyed about the vacation, and I know this is going to sound strange, but were their dogs.

The Exchange, Part 2

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In 1992, I was very fortunate to travel to Italy to study abroad for 3 months with a program through Syracuse University.

It was a bit bitter sweet, since the majority of students were with Syracuse and already knew each other, I was kind of an outsider. Each student was set up to live with an Italian family, and this would allow the student to practice the language, get to know the culture and immerse themselves in Italian life.

I was expecting the a-typical Italian family with Mama Mia and Padre Papa, with a few kids and a lot of food. Of course, this was my life, so everything had to go horribly wrong.

The year was 1991, December, it was a very cold winter at Villanova and I was a new brother in Delta Tau Delta.

I was a sophomore, I moved from the South Campus to the Main Campus of Villanova and was living in an all-male dormitory called Sullivan Hall. Across from that hall was the all-female dormitory called Sheehan Hall. In between the two halls was the "Quad" which was a strip of paved walk way in between the dirt & grass yards of the respective dorms.

Normally there were a few days in between the last day of classes and the final exams. During those study nights the students traditionally would take a break at midnight from studying and let off some steam, it was called "The Rebel Yell". The most common practice everyone would scream, holler or make some noise to let out the pent up frustration of trying to study. There were other things that were done, like streaking ("Hey, Snoop-A-Loop, bring your green hat!") or egg throwing or toilet paper tossing.

I asked one of the older Delts that lived in Sullivan hall, his name was Kaz, for his wisdom for the most impressive thing that he saw during The Rebel Yell. He thought about it for a moment, and then chuckled a reply, "Well, I did see someone light their pants on fire and run through the Quad once, that was impressive."

I repled, "Wow, who did that?"

He turned to me and said, "Why, it was you!"

Bartending: Bar Etiquette

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I was a bartender in town for two years, at a local pub.

Nothing glamorous, just a hole-in-the-wall neighborhood pub that is more about a good conversation and meeting your regular, rather than a meat market bar where you get blasted with your "homeboys" from North Bergen on Red Bull and Vodka.

One thing I knew even before becoming a bartender was the importance of tipping. Early in life my parents made all the kids have a job every summer. I used to be a busboy during my years in Ocean City, NJ when I was 13. When I turned 16 I each returning year I would be a waiter down the shore until I was 21. My "paycheck" was purely on the generousity of others. As a busboy, if my waiters did well - they were (usually) generous with me. As a waiter, I did everything I could to hustle a buck.

I figured that for some fun and some extra money in my pocket that I would try to bartend a few nights a week. It was a lot of fun, and if you ever get the chance to bartend you should certainly go for it. One of the hardest jobs in Hoboken (as a guy) to get is a bartender - you either have to work your way up or know someone who owns a bar to become a bartender. For women, its fairly easy to get a bartending job - as long as you are cute & have a nice body. Its sad, but true - this is a sexist industry.

Lets go over the my rules of tipping and bar etiquette, because it will make your bar experience much more fruitful (read: better tabs, more free drinks) in Hoboken. This is simply my advice, take it or leave it - i'm sure everyone has their own methods and thoughts on how they want to tip, but using this as a primer may help you the next time you are wondering why you weren't getting served as quickly from a friendly bartender...

  • Rule 1: Every drink gets a tip. Order 1 beer? Give at least $1. You can never go wrong with a $1 per drink and a cap at $5 for multiple drinks (per order). It doesn't matter if the beer is $2 or $8. Just tip $1 per drink. Order 4 beers at $2 each? Tip $4, big spender, on your $8 tab.

    I know you may be saying "That doesn't make any sense all they are doing is opening or pouring a beer!" - actually you aren't correct. Bartenders have to clean up after patrons. They have to do their sidework (geting the bar ready) when they come in and before they leave. Many have to restock the bar after the bar closes. On a busy weekend, I wouldn't get home until 4am many mornings. $1 per drink. Live by that rule and you will always be golden in the eyes of any bartender.

  • Rule 2: Tip less on a simple drink, more on a difficult drink.Order something like a Mixed Martini (complicated) or Freshly Blended Frozen Margarita (time consuming). The $1 rule is fine, but it never hurts to think that the more you make a bartender work, the better it is to throw in a $1 or $2 more.

  • Rule 3: Keep tabs if you trust the bartender : Some people like to give their credit card to a bartender and keep their tabs open until the end of the night. This is a ok, as long as you can trust your bartender. The problem is that if the bartender doesn't know you or doesn't care - you don't know until the end of the night if they are going to take care of you (with buybacks - more on those later). Until you establish yourself in a bar as a regular, I wouldn't keep a tab. Pay cash, and make sure you stick to a good tipping rule of thumb. After a few weekends at the same bar, any good bartender should be able to recognize you & what you drink.

  • Ms. Sandman, bring me a dream...

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    So I have this problem.

    It's called "sleeping".

    I'm a walking sleep disorder. I do everything possible to mess up my sleep cycle, and its starting to annoy me. Lets go over a typical week:

  • Monday: Groggy from Sunday I get up for work at 7am. Well, I should say that I set the alarm at 7am, walk across the room. Turn it off. Reset the alarm for 7:30, walk back to my bed and get 30 more minutes of sleep. I usually get to bed around 11pm - which is typically the end of the second quarter of Monday Night Football. WTF is this?! Who cares about the Left Coast, get these games on at 8pm!
  • Tuesday: I have a frigging meeting to attend at 7:30am at work, so i'm up at 6am. I'm a miserable morning person. I don't wake up until I get coffee. I speak in grunts and drag my knuckles on the ground like a Giants fan. Good news about Tuesday is that i'm out of work by 4:30pm - which may sound nice but I get home and try to take a "nap" which turns into a "4 hour nap". I will wake up at 10pm and watch tv until 3am, go back to sleep at 3am and wake up at...
  • Wednesday: ...i'm up at 7am again, and do my alarm clock routine. I feel like crap and snore on the PATH train into 33rd street - even when im standing up. My body is screaming for sleep at work, I fall asleep during meetings. I force myself to not take a nap and stay awake until 11pm.
  • Thursday: Ok, much better morning. Its 7am, I do my alarm clock routine and by 7:30 i'm feelin' pretty good.
  • Friday: Dear Lord, why did I drink last night?! My clothes are still on and my tongue is fuzzy. Need water. Need sleep. I don't want to go to work and crankily get in the shower. Ever seen a grown man throw a min-tantrum when he thinks he isn't being watched? Not pretty. Of course you get a nice second wind once you leave the office and suddenly you aren't tired again!
  • Saturday: Oh glorious sleep. I love thee. Oh sleepy time. I usually wake up around noon, maybe 1pm. Lie in bed with the covers up to my nose and watch TV in the haze of a down comforter warm-filled bed. I think this Serta mattress has tryptofan injectors. So sleepy. You understand how Sinatra and the rat pack used to wake up around 5pm, take a shower and get ready for the next night - cause I have done this a few Saturdays myself.
  • Sunday: Football time! No matter how tired you are - its like a mini-Christmas day each Sunday for us Eagle fans. Of course I got COAL last week, from Pittsburgh! But who cares, next week is another day of glorious football and beer. I feel so rested I could stay up all night...oh who cares about work the next day, I feel fine right now, I will feel fine tomorrow...

    ...and the cycle starts again. Wash, rinse, repeat.

  • The Exchange, Part 1

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    I'm half Italian and half Irish.

    But I really think of myself as Italian. Except on St. Patrick's day when I embrace my Irish heritage. Oh, and any time I meet a hot Irish girl - suddenly i'm Furey O'Paddy.

    Come to think of it, techincally my stats are off. My father's mother was 50% Irish and 50% Italian. My father's father was 100% Italian. This made my father 75% Italian and 25% Irish (...And he could never be a "made man" if you watch enough mobster movies). My mother is 100% Irish ("black Irish" - she has dark, tanned skin and dark hair). So I guess that makes me 62.5% Irish and 37.5% Italian (Stats provided by Brad "The Brain" - hey I was a friggin English major, bite me...).

    Ok, so we have that straight now.

    Anyhow, my parents were extremely generous and giving. Not only did they provide me an excellent education in high school, but they also paid for my college education. Plus, on top of that they were happy to let me study in any foreign country I wished for a semester.

    Tough life.

    I chose Italy for a few reasons. One, I had family there. They were distant family, but I don't know any family from my Irish side that are in Ireland. Two, in the city that I was going to study, Florence, there were two foreign exchange students who lived there that lived with my family in 1988.

    Leonardo Cappugi and Dino Ardino were strangers in a strange land with my family in 1988, they studied in America during the summer with a program for a few weeks.

    Port Wine

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    The crisp autumn wind of Hoboken swept through the streets like an unleashed lion, growling in trees and roaring around newly constructed condominiums the last few nights, which signaled to me one thing: buy some port wine.

    When it gets cold out, I love drinking my port. I have always been a bit of an oenophile, since my days of studying abroad in Florence, Italy. I was not introduced to port wine until I was at a company dinner, at The Post House a few years ago. We had our customary grand banquet of charred animal flesh and bottle after bottle of fermented red grapes. The only thing missing was for the group of men to run shirtless around the streets of New York in search of a mate. Men know what I am talking about, and women certainly must have some experience with that testosterone "Type A" rituals that happen with New York men.

    But this one night was a bit different. Before running into the concrete jungle my boss ordered a bottle of port wine for the group. The wine was by a vinter called Taylor Fladgate, and it was a 20 year old tawny...

    ...and it was heaven.

    Another creative outlet...

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    I'm not sure how my life as a contributor for Hobokeni all started.

    I was living in town for about five years, and after I got my full time job there was one thing that I learned I could do now that I was making a decent salary: I never had to cook again.

    I ate out every night, and sampled many restaurants all over town. Don't get me wrong, its not like I was eating filet mignon and cracked crab every night - it was simple fare. I would eat at places like Cafe Michelina, or Oddfellows, or Ted & Jo's. Or, on more special occasions I would treat myself to a bit more expensive restaurants, along with friends to review them, like City Bistro or Amanda's.

    I have always enjoyed reading literature and writing stories or bad poetry. I also enjoyed eating out. Eating out. Writing stories. Hmmmmm. Maybe I am on to something...

    I emailed the webmaster, offered my services and asked if they were interested; I just wanted a creative outlet. They offered to pay me for every review, but I declined being paid for my contributions.

    To the consternation of my friends.

    "How could you not accept money?? Are you nuts, its free money!!", they would tell me. It wasn't about money for me, as it may be for other writers I know. I was going to eat at these places anyhow - because like I said I would eat out every night. To simply sit down and write a blurb on the restaurant and a story behind it was quite simple. My goal in writing any of the reviews was to be guy a regular guy off the street trying some of the different places in town.

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

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