Life: March 2009 Archives

Quick Hits

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Still wracking my brain for a "good thing to write about". Nothing incredibly new since St. Pats, so a day of quick hits...random thoughts, etc...

My brother turned 40 on Saturday.

His wife arranged a surprise birthday party in DC, and my whole family arrived at a restaurant called "Marrakesh", along with some of his friends and his wife's family.

It was an interesting Moroccan restaurant, with belly dancers and traditional fare. I liked the food, and discovered a very good beer that they had called "Almaza". It was ice cold and I drank three of them in quick succession. Gotta see about grabbing a 6 pack for my fridge around here.

Back to the gym

I somehow had a strange injury to my chest that was driving me nuts. I was on anti inflammatories from December to January and stopped with all workouts since late October.

I haven't gained "more" weight, but definitely feel the effects of not working out and eating badly. Feel...flabby. Not like I was rock hard before, but you start to notice the change with clothes not fitting the same.

Well, been back on the treadmill in my condo gym for about 2 weeks. Just slowly getting myself back into cardio shape and then will see about going to Club H in April. I hate lifting again after a long break. Back to struggling with low weight barbells. Sigh.


Villanova to the sweet 16!

I hated the fact that when I went to Villanova, it's social scene was terrible. From what I heard it's much better today, and often get quizzical looks from recent graduates when I tell them how much I hated it.

But I did love the basketball program, and have followed it since I graduated. Looking forward to Duke vs Villanova on Thursday. Very cool to see so many Big East teams representing this year.

Xbox players: Buy Fallout3

Was told about this game by Brad. Bought it. It sucked me in and I was playing non-stop for every free moment I had for about 2 weeks until I finished the game. You need to like RPG games with first person shooters to get into it. Lots of exploring, fighting and the ability to either be good or evil as a player. I liked this a lot.

Trying to figure out a vacation spot

I want to go on vacation, since I won't be going to Bradley Beach this year. I'd like a vacation that's warm, prefer a beach. Prefer not incredibly expensive. Prefer not to be isolated or on some island where it's all couples (read: Aruba). I always liked Las Vegas, but I am leaning towards just doing something...different. If there was a fun Caribbean island like Vegas or a Miami hot spot or a place in Mexico that's fun for someone in my situation (read: single, a guy, looking for a fun time, but not a frat party).

Any ideas? I wonder if there's some Greek party islands like Kos, Ios, Mykonos, Crete...but closer to America. Seems that most islands are for couples celebrating. Thought about doing Club Med Turkoise, but not 100% sure if that's for me.

Open to suggestions, you can email me at philly2hoboken (at) gmail.com.

Scotch Tasting?

Everyone has wine tasting in Hoboken, and I was toying with the idea of doing a scotch tasting in Hoboken. Been kicking that idea for the last two years, since I got turned on to scotch. Seems to me that a more sophisticated crowd is replacing many of the younger kids in Hoboken, and with that tastes have become more discerning.

I'm not a scotch expert, but would love to try to put something together, where you get 8 "tastes" of scotch from varying regions of Scotland. Was trying to figure out costs and logistics. Paul from Mulligan's offered me his bar, so that's good. But also have to figure out if it would go over well. I'm sure people ARE interested, but how far does that interest go? With the economy and many people in Hoboken being frugal, not sure if I can get 20 people to pay $35-45 each to try 7 good scotches and 1 superb scotch.

Would you do a scotch tasting? What would you pay ($0 isn't an option)?

Hoboken Mayor Race

Lots of strong emotions in this race for mayor. Right now i'm leaning towards voting for Zimmer. People point to her lack of experience, but everyone voted in Obama for President just a few months ago, who was also just a community organizer only a few years ago.

The key to Hoboken is the facts. We have many people all clamoring to get paid. The police, firemen, city workers and other city costs. We have taxpayers crying about paying too much money. We have a system that needs to be corrected.

We need to look at state averages for salary. What does a police officer in NJ get paid? What does a firemen in NJ get paid? Hey, my grandfather was a cop. I'm pro-police and pro-firemen. I'm all for paying my taxes to have the proper force in place for our safety.

We need insiders and outsiders to look at our structure, the employees, and say "Does this make sense" for a city of 1 square mile to pay $35 million a year (nearly 1/3 of our budget) in payroll and retirement to our first responders.

But i'm also someone who thinks with logic, that we need to be fiscally responsible with the city workers and with our tax payers. We need to understand why people who have been living in their house since the 70's pay taxes from 1970 and people who have new construction pay the "new taxes". There needs to be a reassessment of all property taxes, for everyone with transparency for all to see.

We need to end PILOTS now, and any new renewals need to be stopped. We have plenty of people who want to live here and lots of available housing in Union City, Weehawkin or Jersey City for those who don't want to pay the premium of living in Hoboken. We can't put the burden on just homeowners, the renters in PILOT buildings need to start paying their fair share, too.

What can you do?

Simple. Vote. In a town of 40,000 people only 4,000 actually vote. When I was renting I voted, too. Sadly, I voted for Dave Roberts, thinking he was so much better than Russo. Dave was just a criminal in a different form...paying all his cronies and friends with hidden funds that he pushed forward for us to pay today.

They say that the darkest part of the night is just before the dawn.

Ironic saying, now that we have Dawn Zimmer running for mayor. If you can, take the time to get to know all the candidates and make an informed vote.

St. Patrick's Day was this weekend in Hoboken. It's my 14th year in town, and every year it seems that more and more young people come into town to celebrate.

Personally, I don't care about the kids having fun. I guess that's because i'm not married and don't have kids and still care about having F-U-N. Most of the people that are against banning the parade are the same people that 10 years ago were throwing up or pissing in the alley, but now that they have kids they are typically selfish yuppies who want the world to revolve around them.

Hey, I don't care if the kids want to have a good time. If people in your building trashed your courtyard, maybe YOU should take responsibility and have your condo board or building management make swift decisions banning parties on holidays. My condo board was smart enough to deliver fliers to each resident saying basically "Have fun but if you bother any neighbors, the cops are coming and you will be fined by the condo board."

Surprise, surprise - our 100 unit building was on lockdown and everything went just swimmingly.

This year for the parade, I wasn't bartending. I stopped working at Mikie Squared last April, since I had a shore house at Bradley Beach & just didn't pick up a new shift when the summer was over.

I skipped taking pictures of the parade this year. I figure I wasn't missing anything new that I didn't have from 2007 or 2008. I went to a few parties, met a few friends, and around 4pm, wandered over to my 'local' - Mulligan's.

Over the years, if you know me, I have had a few locals. Hennessy's, Farside, Moran's, Dipper's were all my homes away from home at one point of time in my Hoboken life. Now it's Mulligan's. The bartenders are great, the owner is always kind and the people I meet there are the down-to-earth kind of people that I enjoy hanging out with.

Plus, it doesn't hurt that my Eagles and Phillies clubs operate out of the same bar.

I went over to the bar, and talked to Paul, the owner, for a bit. We chatted, and he says "Hey, did you have your bar card?"

Now to those who don't know, in Hoboken to work in a bar you need a "bar card". I wrote about it a bit before, but it's basically a license to work in a bar in Hoboken. Or as I call it the "Bartender Tax" because you need to renew it every 2 years and pay over $100 for the renewal.

I had my card at home, which is a few blocks away, and he asked me to get it. I figured that he needed me to help for a bit, and I grabbed the card and came back.

Paul said, "Ok, here's the deal. I had another bouncer working here but he was an idiot and started to accept money from patrons outside trying to get inside and circumvent the line at the front door. The shift is until closing and i'll pay you XXX dollars."

I was fine with that. I figure i'd help out Paul who has been great to the Eagles & Phillies club and some extra money never hurts. I was hoping it was only going to be a few hours and not the whole night, but whatever.

It was pretty easy work, but ran into a few issues, which I will just list in no particular order, with how to deal if you are in this situation (in reverse):

1. On a parade day you get a lot of grief as a bouncer. I don't know everyone, especially VIPs (friends of the owners or regulars) - so I got a bunch of people giving me grief when I wouldn't let them in. I'd just send them over to the head bouncer and if he said OK, i'd let them in. That was the first annoyance.
How to deal: Ok, you are Joe VIP, personal friends of someone. Just ask me when i'm free to go inside and ask Paul or whoever if they know them. I did that on a few occasions if they asked nicely enough and in some circumstances got "yes" or "no" if they should bypass the line. It's not the bouncers fault they don't know you.

2. Secondly, you get plenty of people from out of town who get separated from their friends, who are inside, and then they give me a sob story (usually chicks) about how "All my friend are inside and I CAN'T GET IN!!!". I tell them they have to wait in line and pay the cover. I usually get more grief from them over this.
How To Deal: Really this is a bit more tricky. One person was a complete bitch to me, and I gave her my full wrath, which really shouldn't be reprinted here. Another little Indian girl was all alone, pouting and she waited a good 30 minutes outside until I finally broke down and let her in. She wasn't necessarily nice about it, but she was persistent and didn't try to berate me.

3. People who came up to me with "Hey man I was JUST IN THERE can I get back in." Um, no. They all got shot down unless I, or someone else, remembered them leaving. It was hard to remember everyone, but I did my best.
How To Deal: I had people admit to me, when I shot them down, that "Yea, dude, i was lying, sorry....but can you let me in anyhow?" - They still didn't get in. Wait in line, pay the cover.

4. Someone was dumb enough to get into a fight. How? Well, they brought INTO the bar a can of beer. Opened it right next to the bouncer (not me), which sprayed all over the place and into the bouncer's face. Not only was bringing the beer in a no-no, but the fact that the bouncer got doused in beer didn't help matters. The offender was escorted out, but started to lean back and give the bouncer trouble, and then the offender's friend jumped the bouncer. Melee starts at the back door, and who is standing right there? Me. Once again...I just grab one of the dudes, and put him into a Three-quarter nelson, like I did a month ago, except this time I have my arm around his neck in a choke hold. He struggled with me at first, but I released some tension when I heard him start to have trouble breating and since my head was next to his just whispered in his ear, "Calm down dude, i'm the bouncer."
How To Deal: Ya got 5 bouncers outside a bar, the way to deal is back down. He did & we let him leave without stomping his head into the pavement.

5. You don't know anyone working at the bar. You want to bypass the line. How?
How To Deal: If you are a girl, cute, and have cute girl friends, you really shouldn't have to wait in line - most smart owners or bouncers will just let you in. If you are a guy - bring cute girls to the bar. One lone dude was outside the bar and asked if his girlfriend and her friend could get in. I asked "Are they hot?". He said yes and pointed them out. Easily they two hottest girls in Hoboken and they were all inside in a heart beat without paying a cover (Yes, I was given the approval to do this ahead of time). Why? It's good for the bar. You want cute girls in the bar. I couldn't help to think about the club scene from the movie "Knocked Up" while I was doing this.

Quick segue: My buddy told me a story a few weeks ago. His wife had a bachelorette party. She was going to get 15 of her girlfriends, in their late 20's up to the city and wanted to go out to a bar. She knows a few promoters, made a phone call - and they were set up. All 15 were going to a popular club, provided with free table service & booze, and they don't wait in line or pay a cover.

I was a bit shocked at this. What? No cover? They don't pay for drinks?

My friend looked at me and shrugged. "That's the way the world works, dude. The bars want 15 young, cute girls dancing in their clubs. Doesn't matter if they are married or have boyfriends or whatever, but they don't make their money from the girls...they make it from the guys who go there, pay a cover, pay for bottle service, buy drinks for the girls..."

I shook my head. Must be a wonderful city if you are a girl and know how to play the game.

The rest of the night was fairly uneventful. A girl did come up to me and say "You are that guy...right...the blogger...philly to hoboken, right?" - not sure how she recognized me, but that made me chuckle.

Also, I did get to hook up a few of my friends, which is another side benefit to bouncing. Like I wrote about the VIPs, there are the VIPs in my life, who take care of me and I take care of them. I saw them in line, picked them out of the line, walked them up to the front and into the bar to the chagrin of the rest of the people waiting.

Five Places To Mention...

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It's a snowy Monday, and here are five places that deserve a brief write up...

Sweet (343 Garden St): I have a fairly big sweet tooth. Love me some chocolate Juniors by Tastykake. My second favorite treat are the cupcakes at Sweet. Even if you are on a diet, you are allowed that one "cheat day", right? Make sure you cheat here. Try the Red Velvet cupcakes, you will thank me even if you curse your waistline.

Vito's (806 Washington St): Every Saturday I walk over there and grab a London broil with mozzarella (mutz!) sandwich - it's a 10 minute walk for me from Newark and Clinton, but so worth it. The trick to this sandwich is going no later than 2pm. The London broil dries out a bit when it's sitting all day. If you get there by or before noon, it's perfection. I have been to Fiore's on Saturdays multiple times for their roastbeef. I keep finding myself wanting the London Broil for Vito's more. Luca Brasi's, which is 2 blocks from my condo, is woefully average when compared to Vito's or Fiore's.

Napoli's Brick Oven Pizza (1118 Washington St): Before I begin, pizza is like talking about cars. Some people like sportscars. Some like SUV's. Some like luxury cars. The same is true about pizza, everyone has an opinion on slice thickness, sauce flavor, cheese, etc. So it will be hard for me to convince people that this is the "best" pizza in Hoboken. But I can only thank Hoboken411 for writing about it. I would have never discovered this gem. Excellent, thin, brick oven pizza, and far better than Grimaldi's.

Energy Kitchen (96 Hudson St): When I start feeling guilty for eating cupcakes and pizza, I will head over here to make myself feel better. Love the turkey meatloaf, with low sodium marinara. Usually add some spinach and lentil soup to complete the meal. Super protein power punch meal, perfect for a post-workout meal. It doesn't come cheap, but i'm someone that is willing to pay a few extra $$ for a nutritious meal versus saving some money and buying a Subway sandwich.

First Street Cafe & Deli (263 1st St): Mustafa! That's my man behind the counter and he's always in a good mood. Love grabbing a breakfast sandwich from him on Sundays, and he's a super nice guy. I stopped going to Bagel Smashery, and been his regular customer for a year now. The Bagel Smashery people could learn a lesson or two from Mustafa and his casual, kind attitude.

There you go. Try those places if you haven't been there yet.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Life category from March 2009.

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