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I read this article from Bloomberg the other day, about Maxwells closing & other obvious "news" that Hoboken demographics are changing.

I think most everyone who has lived here for over 5 years knows that the days of frat boys moving to Hoboken post-college has been replaced by those same frat-boys who got married, had a kid or two and decided they didn't want to do the 90 minute commute daily from Princeton Junction into NYC, which was the typical life of a suburban dad who worked in NYC.

Now people are staying in Hoboken. Also, lets be clear about who these "people" are. They are not your blue collar types. They are people who can go out, and afford, to buy 800,000 to 1+ million dollar homes - and have extra money to buy that BMW, Land Rover or Mercedes SUV - and send their kids to chartered schools or the $3,000 a month day care.

What does this mean? With Baby Gap & Anthropologie opening up along Washington Street, I think this is the first step of how the demographic shifts will affect many businesses. Think about bars in this town. I remember way back when that bars on tap would simply have the following:
1. Bud Light / Coors Light
2. Guinness
3. Bass
4. Harp
5. "Something Different"

Now "Something Different" often depended on the bar, and the year in Hoboken. Remember when Sam Adams was "Something Different" in the mid 90's? Then Yuengling, Blue Moon & Stella Artois came along which caused beers like Bass and Harp to disappear completely from most bar taps in the 2000's.

New bars like Pier 13 or Pilsener Haus Beer Garden opened up to cater to a new generation of Hobokenites. These are not people who are searching for the perfect Guinness pour at a local Irish pub - but looking for something different and unique that other bars in Hoboken don't have.

For example, if you listed these downtown bars:
Four L's, Black Bear, Republic, The Shannon, The Dubliner, Cooper's Union, Cork City Pub, Green Rock Tap & Grill, Hotel Victor & Biggie's...to name a few.

Is there anything unique and different about them? Do they have a great food menu or specific beers or an extensive wine list?

No. These bars, to a greater or lesser extent, and basic copies of each other. When Hotel Victor underwent an extensive renovation I was hoping that something NEW would open up - something like Bin 14. What downtown Hoboken needs is a good wine bar, not another boring bar with 8 beers on tap and an uninspiring menu of wings, burgers and quesadillas.

The next generation of bars to open will understand this. Mark my words. They are going to cater to Hoboken Moms (and the Dads). They will be kid-friendly. It wouldn't be surprising to me if these same moms & dads rise up and start asking a simple question:

Why do we have bars open until 3am on weekends?

We get a lot of kids from out of town who come to Hoboken to drink. Sometimes that causes trouble. Read the nj.com police blotter every Monday and you can see it for yourself - police reports of fights & crimes that occur from 1am to 3am because people are out too late, drinking and causing mischief.

What if we make bars in Hoboken close at 1am on weeknights & at 2am on weekends? I remember the abject horror of this when I was in my 20's. Now that i'm older and i'm surrounded by residents who think staying up late means "11pm", you kind of wonder if this is something that will change. I can only imagine the City Council meeting with a bunch of moms in there shrillishly crying, "THINK OF THE CHILDREN" when they want to change the laws.

If I could wave a magic wand, here are five things I want to see in Hoboken:

1. Shake Shack to open in Hoboken. They are opening one in Paramus, for crying out loud. Hoboken is a mile square with 50,000 residents. It makes no sense to me how Shake Shack isn't opening in Hoboken before...Paramus. As much as I love Five Guys Burger and Fries, I would open up a Shake Shack along Sinatra next to Club H where the old tanning place used to be. It would be a perfect location.

2. Wegman's or Whole Foods - the two super markets we have in town are ShopRite and A&P. There is a teeny-tiny Kings supermarket on River, but is there anything super about that market? There is a Whole Foods in Edgewater - which is nice if you own a car. I don't own a car. Most of my shopping I use Fresh Direct, which is like Whole Foods delivered to your door. But still. A&P is a dump. ShopRite is OK, but its a fucking zoo unless you time it right. City Hall should be calling Wegman's corporate to woo them to open a new store in Hoboken. Tax breaks or other incentives should be used.

3. Wawa. People who aren't from South Jersey or Philly have no idea why people love Wawa. There are three key reasons. One, great coffee. Two, great deli. Three, "the unexplained". Wawa has a great selection of coffee and don't let an old pot of coffee sit for more than an hour. Sort of like how Au Bon Pain is smart about timers on their coffee. The deli section at Wawas have good, fresh rolls and some of them have a cool touchscreen system that you "build" your perfect sandwich, in which you can specify various cheeses or meats & what you want on it - which gets transmitted to the guy behind the counter so they don't fuck it up. The third point I won't bother explaining but Wawa's are just sprinkled with Awesome Dust in which you don't get the same feeling when walking into a 7-11. A 7-11 to me is the cold corporate clone that people decry when they hear about chain stores moving to a town.

Perfect location for a Wawa: Knock down the old Rey Foods building & other eye sores at Madison and Newark. Put in a sparkling new Wawa gas station and super store:

4. We need a real steakhouse. Palm, Strip House, Del Frisco's, Wolfgang's, BLT Prime, Peter Luger or even Old Homestead- if one of these restaurants opened up in Hoboken I would be in heaven. I'm sorry to anyone who thinks that Arthur's is a real steakhouse. Dino & Harry's I heard have fine steak, but to call them a "steak house" is a bit of a stretch. I'm talking about a restaurant that dry ages their own steak. They use things like "goose fat" when frying their potatoes and people leaving their restaurant gush over the creamed spinach they had with their meal. I did include Old Homestead which technically isn't a steakhouse, but I would welcome that too with open arms. For the love of God if someone is reading this and works for a steakhouse, beg them to open up here. Thank you.

5. Dave & Busters: Hoboken. Tell me this wouldn't work. You have Hoboken moms who could go here for lunch with their kids. At night, it would be more of an 'adult' crowd. I would love to see the Dave & Busters open that has a bowling alley in it which they call D&B Lanes. This would be an instant hit.

Hi! Welcome to Hoboken!

Isn't this city so much better than {enter your previous city here}??

I know you are just getting settled, and might have just gotten out to explore the world, we need to have a little talk about Hoboken. Now....this isn't Disneyland. This isn't the suburbs. This isn't Harlem, either - but its sort of like Harlem meets the suburbs. Hoboken! So, with that said we need to go over a few key things to remember now that you live here:

1. Drink, eat, have fun - but shut the fuck up. No...no. You listen here. If you have a party in your condo or apartment or brownstone it's cool. Invite your friends over. Then when the party is going on if you can stand outside your street or neighbor's door and hear you nimrods playing your shitty music - It's. Too. Fucking. Loud. This also includes walking down the sidewalk anytime after 11pm. Shut the fuck up.

2. You have a baby? CONGRATS! We seriously need to talk about a whole subset of rules here.

a. Babies and children should not be in bars. That includes beer gardens. I don't give a shit what they do in Europe - you aren't European, you are an entitled asshole who thinks its cool to have a baby in a bar. Yes, I know you are the "cool parent who has a great kid that don't bother ANYONE!" - get a babysitter if you want to come to the bars. You are fucking it up for the rest of us who go to bars to get fucked up and get laid.
b. You are in the way with your stroller. Lets repeat that. YOU ARE IN THE WAY. YOU ARE. YOU. (pointing a finger at the screen)
c. If you bring your kid to a restaurant in Hoboken, that doesn't mean they can act like it's fucking Chuck-E-Cheese. You got a kid screaming at the top of their lungs - go outside. You got a kid who wants to run circles around the table, grow a sack and be a father or a mother and tell them to stop. Jesus Christ.

3. If you own a car, don't leave anything important in it. This includes GPS. See, what happens is at 3am a dude walks by your car, smashes the back window in and steals your stuff. That includes a backpack full of gym clothes - because to the thief he just sees a backpack that could be full of expensive things, not sweaty gym clothes.

4. Lets say you decide to unload your car from that great vacation you took. Or, maybe you are new to town and are moving into your new condo. Do not. Repeat: DO NOT leave your things unattended. Or this will happen.

5. If you aren't following local politics you are seriously missing out on the best Reality Show there is. You can watch Kardashians or Big Brother or The Amazing Race or whatever - but as my friend Billy said, "It's the best free theater in town". I would highly suggest reading "Hoboken Horse" before reading any other biased site in Hoboken. Yes, he's pro-Zimmer. But I find it tedious to read other blogs that aren't telling the whole story. Roman Brice is many things but at least he's one of the few people in this town trying to tell the truth, and you have the "Old Guard" of Hoboken (those who want things to go back to the old ways of back door deals and corruption) who doesn't like this very much. He's got a lot of heat on him from people who want him to shut up. Read his site. Get to know who the local council people are. Get involved - and VOTE. We have a town of 50,000 people (34,000 are registered voters) and only 12,000 of them voted in the last mayoral election! 35%. Think about that. You had about 22 THOUSAND people who didn't vote in our town. That's absurd.

Well that's all I got. Sorry I haven't been posting much lately, but I figured this one would be part humor and part "get out the vote".


Top 5 Tips From An Office Drone

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Well, i'm 40. The big 4-oh. It's been fun in Hoboken all these years, but now that I look back on my time here, and my time at "Corporation X" (the company we don't speak about), I will over some vague advice to the Class of 2012 and how to get far in this world...as a drone.

Yes. I know 2012. You are going to go out a conquer the world! Trailblazers! Write the "Great American Novel". See the WORLD. Own your own company. Be either a lawyer, a doctor, a CEO - you knew that when you were 12, living under your parents roof.

Well, congrats and good luck on that. In the meantime you may need to work in an office like the rest of the unwashed masses and do the old "9 to 6" (it's not 9 to 5 anymore, there you go that's LESSON ONE!), and while you are in the office toiling with the pathetic nobodies like me, here's my TOP 5 things you should know about working in an office.

1. Shut The Fuck Up. Now I mean this in the nicest way possible, but you need to learn from Uncle Sean here. I'm an outspoken douche at times with my friends. Sometimes they find me amusing. Sometimes it means you get unfriended on Facebook because of a municipal worker who thinks that reducing taxes is a BAD IDEA because it means less tickets to Bruce Springsteen for him and his family. I get it. You can be bold, brash and funny with your friends but let me be clear:

THIS. DOESN'T. WORK. IN. THE. OFFICE.

Oh, your co-workers will think you are a hoot. Your boss? Not so much. I'm speaking from experience, people. Keep your head down, do your work, pipe up only when asked or if you actually have a good idea tell your boss, so he can claim credit for it. He will like you for that.

2. It's Not About You. It's About Your Boss. It took me years to figure this out, and scientists in Cambridge have discovered a revolutionary new secret: "Figure out what your boss wants - and do it."

Lets imagine your job was putting together TPS reports (Testing Procedure Specification, which describes the testing procedures and the testing process). Your boss hammers you about putting the cover sheet on his TPS report:

See now this works out well with Shut The Fuck Up (STFU). What did the drone do wrong here? He should have said, "Yes, sir. I will fix that right now!"

That's it. Less headache from a boss giving you a hard time, and most importantly: Everytime you get that TPS report don't forget the cover sheet. Become the cover sheet go-to guy. Make the best damn cover sheets anyone has seen. Let Bill from the other cubicle keep making the mistake without his cover sheets and you will look like the smartest damn cover sheet maker in all the city! Will this make you the CEO someday? NO CHANCE IN HELL. But what it does mean is that you don't have anyone bothering you, which is what most office drones want. STOP BOTHERING US! LEAVE US ALONE!

3. Often, You Will Be Smarter Than Your Boss, Get Over It. There are some bosses who will be smarter than you. But more often than not if you walk into a hospital, the nurses who have been working there for 20 years are going to know more than the wet-behind-the-ears doctor who just graduated medical school. Some bosses know they have talented, smart subordinates and let us do our jobs with minimal guidance. They are great bosses, and very rare. Other ones...not so much. Your best option is just do a good job and never, ever, show up your boss. Always have his back. Never talk smack about your boss to coworkers. Why? Here's another secret:

Your coworkers talk smack about you to the boss: It's called "Character Assassination".

Because you failed to STFU, and didn't put together the TPS reports right, your coworker who does everything the boss says and keeps their head down then gets their yearly review where they proceed to tell the boss everything you said while they weren't around.

Oh, yeah. Which brings us to point number four.

4. Your Co-Workers Are Not Your Friends. Be cordial. Be friendly. You can talk sports. You can talk shopping. You can talk about how your girlfriend snores like a chainsaw. But, don't sit down and tell them about the strip club you visited or all the pot you smoked at Burning Man. If you work with people long enough you think they are your friends. Sort of like how the Stockholm hostages felt with their kidnappers. If you understand point #3 above, that your coworkers are going to back stab the fuck out of you every chance they get with your boss, then you should be able to figure out what to NOT TALK ABOUT because they will tell your boss. And this does bring me to point #5...

5. Your Co-Worker Probably Will Be Your Boss Someday. Oh, I know Trailblazer - YOU WILL BE THE BOSS! But, until that time that the CEO of the company glides down from his office and taps you on the shoulder to take over, more than likely you will have to work your way up to the top or hope that Daddy gives you a nice job as an executive. Until that time, you will be a drone like the rest of us, and more often than not you will see Susan from the cubicle around the corner, is now your boss. And she hates you because she couldn't stand you because of the jokes about why every stripper you met is "going to medical school", how all Democrats are Socialists, and that your boss is such a moron, and "you could run things better".

Bottom line is that you always want to treat your coworkers well. You never know when they will be your boss and the last thing you want is the guy who has a grudge deciding on giving you a raise next year. Or, your coworker could go to a new department and when that new team leader position opens up - who does he or she pick to take charge? Goofy Gus and his crazy stories about getting hammered with his "boyz" at Lana Lounge or Good Gus who works hard, watches his coworkers backs and is friendly to everyone?

Good luck class of 2012! I know you aren't to be like the rest of us. You are destined for greatness! But if you do end up as a corporate hack, just watching the days go by and humming "Loverboy" songs at 4pm on Fridays, then just remember my advice. Good luck!

Penny Pincher?

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Life is funny.

As I get older, I start to notice things differently. When you are a kid, or even a teenager, or even a so-called "adult" in college, you don't notice the little tricks that business owners do to fleece you from your money.

One example was a local Italian deli that I was at the other day (not Fiore's, who I love!). They were selling Boylan's soda, and I wanted to buy a orange seltzer that they had. They were making my sandwich, and I asked the cashier how much was the 12 ounce seltzer.

$2.50.

Two dollars. Fifty cents. For orange flavored seltzer water. Normally I don't care. But I started to think about it. I mean, really? It costs THAT much? I was expecting maybe $1.25, at the most. Frustrated, I put the water back into the fridge. It really wasn't the PRICE but to me it was just absurd they would charge that much for such a tiny drink. Instead I walked a few blocks on my way home with my hero, and stopped in a local bodega, bought a can plain seltzer (not Boylan's) for $.85 cents. I'll spend my $1.65 somewhere else.

Another example.

I work out at the CrossFit. Often, I will grab a bottle of the 23 ounce Poland Spring sport bottle at a deli. They charge me $1.75 for a bottle. I don't really think about it until I looked at FreshDirect, and they charge $12.69 for 24 bottles: $.52 per bottle! I ordered two cases of those and keep them in my fridge. Insane in the membrane! Insane in the brain!

A third example:

Coffee. I drink coffee in the morning at work, and now that I embraced more Paleo-style eating, I drink it black. I used to HATE black coffee, until I realized that Dunkin Donuts coffee is woefully average. You don't realize this until you stop pouring cream and sugar all over it. Bottom line is that a cup of coffee now is $3.25 for a large cup at my local NYC Dunkin Donuts. Instead I started making my own coffee, with my french press, and even buying "cheap" Costa Rica or Puerto Rico coffee at $7 for a 1/2 pound. It's fantastic. I bring it to work in a 16 ounce Thermos. I can make about 15 thermoses of coffee, or 3 business weeks. If I bought Dunkin everyday - that's $45 bucks. My way? $7, plus whatever electric costs i'm paying to boil water.

This isn't some new concept. The idea that you can save money buying in bulk isn't something novel. But here's my "million dollar idea" that does with what I wrote.

Now there are other apps out there that allow you to scan barcodes & find the lowest price on the web. But think of it more like how FourSquare works. Lets say you go to a local deli, and know that cans of Coke are $.75 cents. You enter that into the FourSquare app. It uploads it. Everyone using FourSquare if they look for Coke, know that XYZ deli sells Coke at $.75 each. Now taking it further, imagine all the bodegas in town were linked that way, by manual entries by the users. Aside from the obvious ways it could be manipulated, you could have a map of where you can buy food or drinks.

Now I know some of you aren't going to walk 7 blocks to save $1. But, lets say next door to that Italian Deli uptown I knew there was a bodega which sold the same exact Boylan soda for $1.25. I think most people would do exactly the same thing as me. You could do the same for beer. Lets say you wanted to know the cheapest place in town to buy a 6-pack. Or maybe a bottle of Grey Goose. Most places I know (aside from specials) pretty much keep the same price of their liquor or beer.

A good example was Hoboken Vine versus [left blank on purpose]. I would go to LBOP to pick up a 6 pack of Corona. Cost? $12. Then one day i'm in Hoboken Vine, which is 2 blocks away from my house and Corona six pack was $9. Why would I ever go to LBOP again? Even other things at Hoboken Vine were cheaper, like Grey Goose or Ketel One.

At the end of the day, you just start to notice this. There has to be a way that social media needs to combine with SAP-style inventory. An easy way for consumers or business owners to scan inventory and let the world know. Stopping popular businesses to gouge the consumers because they either don't know (or don't care) about it. There has to be a better way.

It's the final week of my paleo diet and here's my final thoughts (which may be a rehash of old thoughts):

1. It's sort of like a "smart" Atkins diet. Basically it says "OK dummy, here's what makes you fat: sugars and carbs. Don't eat refined sugars and carbs. Eat everything else." So you can nit pick and question "IS THERE SUGAR IN KETCHUP?!", and count calories if you want. The bottom line is just avoid wheat, dairy, rice, beans/lentils and sugar and any product that is made with those ingredients. Eat meats, veggies and fruits to your hearts content. Don't worry so much about fat. Fat doesn't make you fat. Carbs and sugar makes you fat.

2. It's an easy diet if you plan. It's difficult if you don't plan and/or have food/leftovers in your fridge. There were a few nights where it got late, I didn't have food on hand and suddenly...I'M HUNGRY!!! I would get like Taco Truck tacos (without shells), add in a veggie or fruit, throw in a handful of nuts and - that's dinner.

Also along with the "planning" part is the time part. Most of my dinners took at least 20 minutes of prep (chopping, etc) and then time to cook, etc - and usually was a solid hour of 'dinner'. That really cuts into your time. By the time i'm home from CrossFit and showered it was 7pm. I have to walk Rocco, which is another 20 minutes. Then make & eat dinner, and I was done by 8:15 to 8:30. Then you have maybe 2 to 2 1/2 hours of whatever to do until bed.

3. I'm frankly amazed how everyone I met has zero willpower. You mention not eating dairy and I always get the same reaction, like I told the person they had to take cold showers for the rest of their lives. "Whhaaaattt? No dairy? No cheese? No yogurt!?"

Also on a related topic. Try not eating dairy for 30+ days and then eat something with milk, and watch your body's reaction. For me it was cramps and some quality "toilet time". A bit TMI, but really makes you wonder if we were meant to drink cow's milk.

4. Believe it or not the hardest part of the diet wasn't the alcohol restriction. I was fine. There were a few times where I would have liked a beer or a glass of wine, but for the most part, it wasn't hard to give up drinking. The only problem I did have with giving up drinking was my social life (and lack thereof) was basically zero. You ask your friends to do something that doesn't involve getting a drink and you hear crickets on the other end of the phone - or replies by text of: "That sounds like an option" and never hearing back from them again for a week.

What was hard was "missing food". Like missing that big cup of coffee with cream and sugar. Or pizza from Grimaldi's. Or getting a cupcake from Sweet.

5. I think it's sustainable, and do-able as a normal diet. I plan to continue it, but the big problem I can start to see is 'cheating'. I plan to resume drinking. I plan to have foods that have rice in them. I'd like to avoid wheat. I'd like to avoid sugar. But I guar-an-tee you I will be walking down the street with a box of cupcakes and run into someone who is going to be like, "OOOH! That's not on the DIET!"

Willpower is one thing, like I mentioned before, and that willpower is basically going to be focused on reducing the bad foods that I mentioned above. I hear from my friends all the time how they eat so well, and then watch how they check into Foursquare to places where I know they aren't ordering something healthy. Or I ask the same people "Keep a food log for ONE WEEK. Just one week. Write down EVERYTHING you eat or drink. Then you will immediately see why you can't lose weight."

I love the people who do eat 95% right but are out drinking 3-4 nights a week and claim "It's just wine! That's good for you!". It's good when you have one glass of wine, not a bottle of wine. Trust me, cutting out alcohol was probably the #1 reason why I was able to lose 2-3 pounds a week.


So, that's it. My 'final weight' was 211 pounds from 222. 11 pounds in 6 weeks. Only had 1 true "cheat" meal which was my birthday on Feb 12th. Otherwise I stuck to the diet, and I do have some "before and after" pictures, but not sure if I want to put them up on the web. If you shoot me an email at philly2hoboken (at) gmail I will share them with my friends and answer any Paleo-centric questions you may have.

Foursquare is a novel little app to use, and even in Hoboken has some real value. For example, if you check into Village Pourhouse 20 times, you get a $20 gift certficate. I was at a bar the other night and when you check in and buy a drink, you get a free shot. So it may be lame to some people, but there are businesses that use it to promote things.

I watch where my friends check in. Sometimes it's funny to see where they are. Other times you roll your eyes on where they are checking in - and here's my examples:

1. Checking into places that don't 'really' exist and/or a residence. For example: Fred's Couch or The Fortress of Solitude (unless you really did go to Superman's Lair in the North Pole, then I digress). No checking into places you live. I mean, really you have to be the mayor of "The Watchtower", Frank? Stop.

2. Checking into places you really don't frequent. I mean, really, you have to be Mayor of the Chase Bank in Hoboken or The Port Authority in NYC? Congrats!

3. Checking into places you work = lame. I'm looking at you, Mulligan's bar DJ Matt for the last 2 years...

4. Going to a mall, checking into every single store at that mall. Oh, this includes Airports, too. I mean someone needs to be the 'mayor' of Gate 8B in San Antonio, TX?

5. Fake check ins. I lost my mayorship to a guy who clearly has never been in the store, but waits for his bus OUTSIDE the store. I saw him check in when I was in the store ("The Mayor's in the house!") and saw him standing outside.

Hey! It's A Top 5 Random Stuff!

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I didn't have any great, major "events" to write one post about, so this will be a few quick stories to chew the fat on...but each one is mildly interesting...

1. Beer: Pacifico is dead, all hail Leinenkugel! Yes, it's true. I was out with friends the other night, and we are at the Cigar Store in Hoboken. Great thing about the Cigar Store is that you can smoke in the store, bring your own beer or liquor, and watch TV on their flat screen TVs. So, the other Saturday night i'm there with Jason, Chris and Keith - and Keith whips out a 6 pack of Leinenkugel. Leinenkugel? I never heard of that beer before. I scoffed it off, and drank my Pacifico.

The next night, my buddy Matt is watching his son, and his wife had a night out on the town with her friends, so he invites me over. I figure, hey, why not grab a 6 pack of Leinenkugel, and we can watch some NBA games. Bottom line? Buy Leinenkugel. Buy it now. This beer was so popular that on Super Bowl Sunday I went to Hoboken Vine, my favorite beer store in Hoboken, to buy Leinenkugel - and they were sold out. FUCK.

2. Whud Up Wid Dat? My "Whud Up Wid Dat" moment was the next day after #1 I woke up pretty tired on Saturday, cigars and alcohol gave me a wicked hangover, so I took a tylenol (which I normally don't do) because I had a massage scheduled at Body Balance for 10am - I didn't want a massage while my head was pounding. I took Rocco for a walk and nearly got into a fight.
There was a guy who parked his delivery truck in our condo driveway, effectively cutting off the sidewalk because of the large snowdrifts and the angle of his truck. His truck was wedged in such a way that there was no getting around him, I would have had to pick up Rocco, walk into the street around the back of his truck, through a puddle of slush & water. This delivery guy was working for the new construction at the Jefferson Trust Bank, and from Day 1, this new construction has been a pain in our ass at the condo. The developer has been rude and inconsiderate of the tenants living on the block. His car, and the cars of others are double parked along the street every weekend. It was just another aggravating instance, and with my hangover, my fuse was short to begin with.

I look around, and see a few construction guys milling around the outside of the building and say "Who's truck is this?", they all shrug their shoulders. I can see through the tinted window of the truck that there's a driver sitting there. I yelled at the window: "MOOOOOOOOOVVVVVEEEEE". The driver rolled down the window, with an angry look on his face and snapped back: "Bro, who do YOU think you're talking to? F*ck you, bro."

Well, i'm not one to back down - so we had a good 1 minute "Fuck you, no FUCK YOU" fest. I 'm telling him he's on our easement and it's our private property and he's telling me he's on the sidewalk, not the driveway. He's refusing to moving and snarls, "Go fuck yourself, I would have moved if you asked me NICELY." Fuck that. He's a fucking delivery guy driving a van, and thinks that *I* need to ask him all nice to move his fucking van from blocking the entire sidewalk??

It was getting to a point where either a fistfight starts or I call the cops. The delivery guy simply refusing to move and me being stubborn about walking AROUND his truck, I just called the Hoboken cops to report the guy blocking our driveway. A minute after I hung up the phone, a police cruiser was driving by with his window down. "Officer!" I yell. The police cruiser stops. "I called the front desk about this truck blocking our sidewalk...", I began. The police officer says, "OK, you called the front desk? Someone will be down to help you..." and drives off without saying why he couldn't take two minutes to help me.

His sirens weren't on. He was just rolling down the street. Maybe he had another call to go on - but I didn't get that impression. I got the impression he didn't want to deal with it.
The next cruiser shows up about 5 minutes later, but the guy driving the truck left by then.

3. Gambling: Every year I do a Super Bowl box. A friend of Chris's does a Super Bowl box, and it's $300 a box. $30,000 in the kitty. Well, wouldn't you know that we pull GB 1 and Pitt 7. Not bad numbers. NOT BAD AT ALL. Turns out we hit in the 3rd quarter on Sunday night, and won a cool $2,000 each. Huge win for a $150 investment. Although, i'm sure after all the years gambling on Super Bowl boxes i'm only up $500.

4. Online Dating: I really have to write a new and improved Dissecting A Personal Ad, after reading all the online dating personal ads - seems like not much has changed. I haven't used the site for a date, i'm kind of curious about it, and figure what the hell, may as well look around. I was out at Mulligan's last Saturday night, and the age range of women was 22-26 years old. Sorry, a bit too old for that age range & I detest the Manhattan bar scene.

5. Crossfit & Diet: Crossfit starts Tuesday & Thursday nights. Got a lot of email about that, and will write up my experience on it in a few weeks. I have been good about my diet. I have been strict during my work-week, cooking up my protein the night before, baking sweet potatoes on Sunday and refrigerating them, and steaming my vegetables (broccolini or asparagus) while I get ready in the morning. I pack it all in a tupperware container, and bring it into work. So far, I have had a few "cheat" meals, but if I eat maybe 20 times a week, I'd say I had 3 times where I ate something off the diet. 15% isn't bad. I lost about 10 pounds, and i'm back in my old jeans again. I still have a bit more to go, and hoping with Crossfit that it accelerates the process.

I wrote a few years ago a list of things people should get for a rainy day. With all the recent snowstorms and cold weather, I thought of the things I enjoyed wearing on a cold, snowy day which have made a big difference in my walk to work. Enjoy!

1. Boots, real boots. Far to often I see people walking in the slush and snow in sneakers. You got to be kidding me. Man up and buy actual boots. What I did was buy hiking boots, from Asolo. I'd get the Moran GTX. They are made in Romania. You think they know snow? You bet they do. These are like winter tires for your feet. I plow past the other slowpokes on the sidewalks who are walking in the tamped down snow. Plus, if you get hiking boots you can use them - to go hiking or camping, so you can get year round use out of them. I'm going hiking/camping in a few weeks.

2. One wool sweater. I have one wool sweater I bought from J. Crew about 6 years ago. It's thick, but not too heavy. Fits me really well and doesn't itch one bit. I put this sweater on, and I can be outside all day long in cold weather. Wool is where it's at. It was good enough for our copper-age brothers, and still perfect even today. This sweater I have is so warm that I have literally had to unbutton my coat sometimes because I would get so hot, but wool breathes so well - that I don't sweat, unlike cotton.

3. Fingerless gloves. My one friend laughed called them "Hobo gloves", but they are simply awesome. One would think "Why buy it - my fingertips will be cold!" That's not true. I don't know why, 20110121.jpgbut I guess the fact that 90% of your hands are covered just doesn't make my fingertips cold at all. Plus, having my fingertips exposed, I can easily use my iPhone, whereas with gloves, i'd have to take my gloves off and then put them back on. Also with gloves you lose your sense of touch, so when I reach into my pocket and pull out my keys, wallet or metrocard - its a trillion times easier. Definitely my #1 purchase I made this winter, and I bought it on gap.com. I got the green colored ones and not the red ones - to match my next topic...

4. Flip Your Lid - get a winter hat! I remember for years and years I would go to work in winter all bundled up, with my sweater, coat, scarf, gloves - and i'd never wear a hat because "I didn't want to mess up my hair". As I got older, and more annoyed by the cold - I have completely changed my view here. Hair be damned! Plus, my "style" is messed up hair anyhow, so the hat actually helps. Personally, I recommend you buy your favorite football, hockey or baseball team hat and wear it with pride. I sport a Philadelphia Eagles winter hat or a Philadelphia Flyers winter hat (I haven't found one besides the basic black that I like yet).

5. Winter is the best time for port wine... I have long written about how much I love port wine, and it really is a cold weather kind of love I have for it. If you haven't had port wine, I can honestly say you are missing out and I feel sorry for people like you. But then again, just means more port wine for me. The other day I was at Hoboken Vine. Really an underrated store that more people in Hoboken should know about. I was going to pick up my Taylor Fladgate port, when I saw they had another 10 year old tawny rated at 92 by Wine Spectator, I think it was Cockburn's, but I have to double check. Suffice to say, I loved it. Hoboken Vine has all sorts of helpful people working there, and worth checking out their other wines, too.

I have been quiet lately, I know.

I have had things to write about, but every once in a while I just don't feel like expressing myself online. But, after a few weeks of silence, I have a few things to talk about, and if you are REALLY BORED at work, you can read along this week, I will try to update on a few topics. Today is my beloved Phillies, and how I feel after this season.

Phillies: Boy, what can I say about this. Lots of things, but mostly this sums up how I feel: "The Phillies hit .215 with a .309 on-base percentage in their nine postseason games. If that's not a recipe for elimination, then a .186 average with three extra-base hits and no home runs when runners were in scoring position certainly is."

That's nothing new for them all season long. Injuries didn't help the situation, but we signed someone like Polanco because we didn't have a small ball hitter and everyone was always swinging for the fences. These are the top FIVE things i'd do if I were Ruben Amaro, GM of the Phillies.

1. Sign Werth. If you asked me a few months ago about him, I kind of felt that he was too expensive, at the end of his career (he's 32) and not worth 5 years and $100 million. Now, i'm changing my tune. Sure, I dread the idea of signing him and having 3 good years with the possibility of 2 bad years like we had with the splashy six-year $85 million offer to Thome in 2002. Remember, Thome was 32 and at the peak of his career, too. Thome only lasted 3 years before we traded him, along with $22 MILLION DOLLARS to the White Sox. Even after that trade, we still had him on the payroll until 2006.

But here's my counter argument to why we need to sign him. We need three years. If you look at the core of our team, we have a "window" of about 2-3 more years with what we have to stay at the top of the elite teams in MLB. Money can't buy World Series (hello, Yankees fans), but it puts you in a greater position to get there. I think having Werth is priority #1.

Oh, and for the "WE CAN'T AFFORD WERTH" shrillish response I have heard all season long (and sometimes I have said this myself...) - What I would tell the Phillies is that 2011 would be a tight year on payroll. No doubt. But the expectation would be that you lose Ibanez in 2012, and save on the payroll then. It gives us enough time to properly groom Domonic Brown to be his replacement. The "real cost" is eating $11.5 million in 2011 on Ibanez. How many Citizens Bank Park sellouts does it take to make that money back? If the Phillies sign Werth, I guarantee you that next season the Phillies fans respond like they have in the last three years - by going to a lot of games and buying a lot of merchandise.

2. Sign a good utility man/pinch hitter. This is easier said than done, but one of our biggest issues this season was getting a key hit. We needed Dobbs from 2008. A guy who, when the key single was needed, could deliver. I think Gload & Francisco were robbed in the NLCS. They had two good chances to deliver a key hit. Gload's line drive to the 1st baseman that resulted in a double play was one of those situations were "destiny" just seemed to be in favor of the SF Giants. Francisco had a nice hit that would have been a home run in Citizens Bank Park, but was 5 feet short from a home run in San Fran. Someone mentioned Juan Uribe. You know. The guy who hit the winning home run in Game 6 of the NLCS or the Game 4 sac fly in the NLCS. That's a clutch hitter, folks. How many times did we strand a guy on 3rd with 1 out all season long and couldn't get the sacrifice fly?

3. Bunt. Bunt. Bunt. How many times in the regular season or post season did you watch the Phillies ruin a good start because a pitcher couldn't bunt. How many times did you watch other teams bunt on us up the 3rd baseline & get on 1st with a speedy player. How many times did you see runners at 1st and 2nd and the other team bunts to get them to 2nd and 3rd?

Oh, I know. That's not PHILLIES baseball. We are built for power. Well, seems that isn't working anymore, and the reason why it isn't working is because teams have figured the Phillies hitters out. They give Howard a steady diet of off speed pitches and play a shift on him. They know that 85% of the time that Chase Utley doesn't swing at the first pitch, even if it is a meatball down the middle. They know that Werth loves the slider, and will chase it when he gets lazy (down on one knee and swinging that goofy strech-swing, anyone?). They know that Rollins has been popping up all season long.

If I was Charlie next time they put the shift on Howard, i'd have him bunt. Lay a bunt to third. Oh, I know "Howard is a power hitter, we can't do THAT."

What. The. Fuck. Guys whatever conceptions we have for our team is out the window. Whatever worked in 2008 isn't working now. What works is keeping the other team guessing and i'm not saying that Howard needs to bunt every time he approaches the plate, but he should keep the other team honest. Imagine if he bunts, gets to 1st and now you have Werth standing there with no outs? Gonna throw Werth those sliders now and risk one bouncing off the plate and advancing Howard? Maybe instead of Werth seeing three junk pitches, when no one is on base, it forces the pitcher to throw a fastball.

Bottom line is that we aren't a small-ball team because we stopped THINKING like a small ball team. Next spring training I would have the entire team in for bunting practice. I would have situations designed around bunts, especially with Victorino and Rollins. I would have all the pitchers in there, practicing bunting. Don't like it? Too damn bad. That's what you get paid to do. Get on base. Advance the runners. Score runs. Swinging for the fences doesn't cut it anymore in a league where the pitchers dominate. A good manager adapts with the time, and that's what the Phillies need to start thinking about.

4. Early Game Relief Bullpen. After Chan-Ho left us in 2009 we never really had that "go to" guy when things got sour in the 5th inning. We cobbled together our best situation with Contreras or Dobbs and crossed our fingers, but we really only had Madson for the 8th, Lidge in the 9th and a whole big mess if our starters couldn't pitch 6 solid innings. Look at, again, San Fran as an example of a team that had a great bullpen. Normally, if I saw the starting pitcher leave in the 2nd or 3rd inning, i'd watch the Phillies destroy the other team. When I saw Sanchez leaving Game 6, I was thinking the Phillies would open up the game, and sail to a nice lead without a problem. Even after they shut us down I kept thinking "Well, we will get to them one of these times..."

It never happened.

Why? Because San Francisco had the best bullpen ERA in the entire league. I don't think the Phillies are THAT far off, especially with Madson and Lidge as our 8th and 9th inning guys. Not sure who fits the bill here, but that's the job of the scouts to look at our minor league system or free agents and tinker a bit.

5. Learn from the mistakes of other Philly teams. If you look at the other teams in Philadelphia that have nearly been great, but fell short, you can see where the Phillies are headed if they are not careful: "The Land Of Mediocrity".

I don't claim to be an expert, but looking over the 2010 salary you can see some major issues on our team, see my payroll spreadsheet here: philliespayroll.xlsx

a. Jamie Moyer at $8 million for 2010. Did he do anything this season for $8 million besides ride pine? He's gone this year and that's $8 million the Phillies have to play with when signing Werth.
b. Joe Blanton at $7 million for 2010. Yep, he has TWO MORE YEARS as our #4 pitcher when he signed that $24 million extension in January 2010. I'm not against this, but considering that Joe is our #4 pitcher and he's making $1 million more than Cole Hamels AND Cole is signed only through 2011 is a big issue, too.
c. Even without the various bench players, bullpen pitchers & Werth our payroll is already at $146M. I made this spreadsheet using this website: Cot's Baseball Contracts.
d. Lots of contracts up in 2011. Ibanez, Rollins, Hamels, Madson, Lidge (1.5M buy out). As much as we are focused on "SIGN WERTH", that's something Amaro has to be weighing now. Who's going to replace THEM. Where's our payroll at if we restructure/extend contracts now?

Lots of things to consider. But I would love to play GM for a day. So far, you have to hand it to the Phillies, fans give them a hard time, but there's a lot of contracts on the payroll that were really good calls. Look a Polanco vs Ibanez. Or the fact that Ruiz we have for 2.75M next year. Or that Valdez cost the Phillies $400,000 in 2010 and was basically a steal. Valdez deserved triple that for basically saving our season.

But...you are only as good as your last year. Next year has all new drama with all new issues to sort out. What was a great player in 2010 is the goat in 2011.

Top 5 Tricks and Tips When Dieting

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http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/health1/exercise-has-minor-effect-on-weight-loss-claim-new-studies_100432261.html.

I read this study the other day, and I don't claim to be an expert, but after starting my exercise routine for the last couple of years, I have learned a lot about dieting, exercise and weight loss.

I think the study is accurate to a point, but I want to add in my own observations about how exercise works, and what the gyms don't want you to know:

1. If you want to lose weight, diet is about 80% of the trick to losing weight.
2. No matter what the study says, you need to do some kind of exercise that involves upping your heart rate, and creating a sweat that lasts at least 30 minutes.
3. People want results fast - so they don't see a change, get discouraged in about a month and stop dieting.

Then many people are out a year membership with their local health club because they don't get how to lose weight. I have heard a thousand "reasons" from my friends about their weight loss and some utterly stupid diets. The problem with weight loss can be summed up easily:

We love food.

It's not shocking to say that. But when people are deprived of what they love, they feel bad. Maybe not crying that they cannot eat a cheeseburger, but after a month of eating salad for lunch every day, they miss their favorite foods. The brain is amazing at tricking us into eating. You are basically fighting emotion, and some people are simply better at this than other people.

What I would suggest are these tricks which have worked for me. I'm not here to lecture people, I'm not the peak of physical perfection. I'm still someone who struggles with staying on my diet and exercise. But these things have worked for me, and if you are someone looking to get into shape, this is what I would suggest:


1. Small changes add up. Drink water, not juice or diet soda. Instead of eating potato chips, try soy crisps or at the very least - pretzels. Substitute sweet potato into your diet. Avoid sauces, gravy or dressing - they have so many hidden calories and sugar. Avoid white bread, use wheat when you can. Order turkey burgers over regular burgers. Buy the book "Eat This! Not That!", which is a good guide to other small changes that really add up. I had a bagel the other day - a WHOLE WHEAT bagel. I had light cream cheese, which had less fat, and I didn't use very much. A bit here and there.

2. Cheating is OK, but that doesn't mean cheating everyday. My diet is 5 days "good" and 2 days "bad". There's going to be the unexpected days where you are supposed to be on a "good" day and you eat unhealthy - THAT IS OK. Just get back to being good. I drink 1 cup of coffee everyday. I use cream. I use sugar. I don't care. Have your coffee in the morning. Have a bagel with cream cheese. Order a cheeseburger on a Saturday afternoon WITH fries. The key word is: MODERATION. Friends of mine look at me and will quip about "OFF THE DIET, HUH?" when they see me eating junk food. No, i'm not eating bad when you add up how I eat during the whole week.

3. Eat like a caveman. When choosing foods to eat, don't reach into the frozen foods section and get a "Lean Cuisine". The majority of your meals should be food basics. Most of my dinners each night are chicken and asparagus, with a small bit of BBQ sauce on the side (about a tablespoon). I dip an edge of the chicken into the BBQ sauce, and that goes back to my "moderation" comment. People get dismayed about dieting with flavorless food. Don't kill yourself when dieting. Have a bit of sauce on the side, but don't SLATHER your food in sauces or gravy.

4. Do not starve yourself, it doesn't work. I have seen this a thousand times. People starve themselves, get miserable, and they are off the diet in a few weeks and back to their old weight. Everyone has these little diet solutions that they read in a magazine, and they never work. The key is just moderating diet & eating whole foods, not processed foods. Eating complex carbs will make you feel fuller, longer. Foods like brown rice or sweet potato are excellent choices as side dishes.

5. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.. If you need to pig out, eat more in the mornings. After 5pm, avoid carbs like the plague. My morning routine is coffee (milk and sugar!) with honey nut cheerios (more sugar! heaven forbid!). I tried switching out sugar for a substitute, but it goes back to Adelle Davis's saying - I figure that I can get away with it in the morning. I can cut it out completely, and go hardcore, but like I said before - if you need to cheat, and are dying to have a tasty treat, do it in moderation and do it in the mornings, not 8pm at night when you wolf down three slices of pizza with a couple of beers.

In closing, I would say don't get discouraged when you diet. Especially when you get derailed. I get derailed all the time, and what you do is just get back on track again and don't beat yourself up over it. Rome wasn't built in a day, and I love the changes I have seen from working out. There's always more I wish I could do, and a few pounds I wish I could lose. I'm very happy with my body, and have gotten to this point from many different lessons learned about how to trick your brain into getting the body that you want.

My friends and I often email back and forth, playing armchair coach if you will about the Phillies. I think, on paper, it is one of the best teams in the history of the franchise. My current expectations is that they will win 90 games and either just make or just miss the wild card.

With that being said, this is what I would do to tinker with the team a bit and see about getting the offense going again.

1. Tell Ryan Howard to stop swinging. Yep. Stop swinging - on the first pitch. I would flat out say to him, even if he thinks it is a perfect fastball and bases are loaded with none out - just stare at it. How many games all season have you seen Howard with the 0-2 count? The guy gets into a hole early and then pitchers have their way with him and he strikes out. He needs to start getting to 2-0 counts and seeing that juicy fastball come over the plate.

2. Lineups should be based on batting, not ego. I fully respect and understand that we want Jimmy Rollins to lead off. But it hasn't worked in 2 years. Who is our best hitter? Polanco. Time to make Polanco lead off and get on base. I know, I know, he isn't a base stealer. But imagine if Polanco, who has 23 doubles this season (which is 9 more than Rollins), leads off and is in scoring position. This would be my lineup:
1. Polanco - R
2. Werth - R
3. Utley - L
4. Howard - L
5. Victorino - S
6. Ibanez (or Brown) - L
7. Rollins - S
8. Ruiz - R

Think Rollins would flip the fuck out? Yep, but it may also motivate him and take the pressure off him.

3. Get more aggressive. This season it seems that stealing & going for extra bases is good, but I would be even more aggressive. I remember a few games where Sam Perlozzo (3rd base coach) was holding up runners too many times and it cost us the game. I think Davy Lopes (1st base coach) is excellent, but I think that we have to be even more aggressive with going for second base in a steal. Also lets try to get more aggressive with Rollins (or even Victorino) & bunting. Other teams do this, why not our fastest player to bunt about 1 time a game and run to 1st?

4. Stop pitching Halladay, Hamels or Oswalt more than 105 pitches. Pitching hasn't been a big issue, but I can't stand watching games where we have a good lead and our pitchers are treated like workhorses. It is late in the season, and we have to keep those arms fresh. There are certain situations where I can understand keeping a pitcher in - like if we only have 1-2 run difference and/or our bullpen is gassed from the previous game, etc. I just think keeping Halladay in when we have a 5 run lead after the 7th inning is ridiculous.

5. Every pitcher gets bunting practice. There is nothing that drives me more insane than watching pitchers who can't bunt in the National League. That would be 1 hour a day for all my starting pitchers. Bunt. Bunt. Bunt. Learn how to pay it down along the 1st and 3rd base paths. Too many times we have a runner on 1st and can't advance them to scoring position because our pitchers can't figure out how to bunt.

What do you think? Leave a comment below and give your own ideas on how to fix the Phillies.

I haven't done a Top Five in a while, so here you go...

You have had every pundit chime in the last week or two talking about the good, bad and ugly about the Roy Halladay trade to Philadelphia. Here's my .02 cents.

1. Love Cliff Lee. Solid guy, and if he wanted to play for the Phillies, i'd love to see that too!! But lets get realistic, you have Halladay who also wants to play in Philadelphia, is equal, if not slightly better than Cliff Lee...and isn't looking for a revenue busting contract.

2. I'm a fan of Kyle Drabek. I hate to see him leave, also. I think that kid COULD be a great pitcher...someday. Here's the key, Phillies fans: SOMEDAY. We don't know what we have with Drabek. He could be a Cy Young winner or some overhyped kid. We don't know if he will be good next season or in three seasons.

3. This is what we DO know with this trade - we have the Michael Jordan, the Wayne Gretsky, the Barry Sanders of this game. Will Roy alone carry us to a World Series? No. But he's a game changer. Lee was that same game changer, no doubt - but Lee didn't want to stick with us for the next 3 to 4 years. He COULD have returned after next year, but do YOU want the Phillies to get into a bidding war with the Red Sox & Yankees over Cliff Lee? I don't.

4. The Phillies basically have a limited window with their contracts right now. Mostly everyone is signed through 2011 (except Werth who becomes a free agent after next year, unless he signs an extension). Like I said about Drabek before...there's a "win now" mentality before the Phillies will have to go into a rebuild phase.

5. Phillies attendance and revenues have been skyrocketing in recent years, and note this from Sports Illustrated: "The Phillies represent the biggest growth brand in the baseball industry, similar to how the Red Sox began to rise in 2003 under new ownership. Their farm system is so flush that they could trade for both Lee (who cost them four prospects) and Halladay inside of six months and still have hay in the barn. Their attendance has risen 38 percent since 2006, climbing from 2.6 million -- ninth in the league -- to 3.6 million. Their payroll in those three years jumped 49 percent, from $88 million to $131 million and is likely to approach $140 million in 2010. Local television ratings for the Phillies on CSN Philadelphia, their regional sports network, soared 24 percent last year alone -- the team's seventh consecutive season with increased viewership. The Phillies' 7.13 rating and 210,000 average homes are team records. Only the Yankees and Red Sox reach more households with their local networks -- making the Phillies the most watched team in the NL."

Translation: Philadelphia LOVES baseball. You build a winning team, and the the fans respond. I have been going to Mets vs Phillies games since I moved up here, supporting the team when they were dreadful. Wearing my Phillies cap with pride for many a summer. If you are a fan like me, this is your time to enjoy watching probably the best Phillies team in the history of the franchise.

If we didn't face the Yankees this year, we may have had another World Series trophy. Who knows? But to be the best, you have to beat the best. Yankees were the best team in 2009, and getting Roy Halladay is part of the way that the Phillies are putting our team in a position to win another World Series in the next three years.

We all have been affected in various ways by the recession. One of the benefits of working at Corporation X is that I have been at my job since right out of college. Coming up on 15 years. Corporation X has fairly solid fundamentals, and there won't be mass layoffs anytime in the near future.

I think.

But that still hasn't stopped me from trying to make small changes in my life to make my dollar stretch further. I have been doing a few things to be more "fiscally responsible", if you will. But it also doesn't mean that i'm going to completely stop spending my money!

1. Body Balance Discounted Massages: I reviewed the massage therapists at Body Balance, and think they are outstanding. Sitting in a chair & typing all day and running on a treadmill take their toll on my body, and this is my gift to myself on a bi-weekly basis. They have some excellent discounts on their website, and I bought a package deal to help save some money.

2. Refinanced my mortgage: Good time to look for loans, if you can get it. I was able to offset my property tax increase with a lower mortgage payment. I still say now is a good time to buy if you are in a stable job and can get financing. Many of my friends have refinanced at 4.5% on 30 year fixed loans in the last few months.

3. Coffee! Mmmm. I bought a coffee maker from Amazon, and recently bought a coffee grinder, too. I tried Illy coffee from Italy and it's excellent. Considering that a large coffee at Dunkin Donuts costs $2.50-3 up here, the money I save is great. I bought a large metal thermos and bring my coffee into work.

4. Slow-Cooker: Also known as a crockpot, it's about taking food, cooking it while you are at work, and then walking in the door to a meal waiting for you. I have yet to use this, but just got it a few weeks ago. Need to figure out what to make first, i'm guessing some kind of beef stew would be nice. It's always a good idea to save some cash by making more homemade inexepensive meals.

5. Pre-Party: This is as old as my college days, but easily the smartest move. Grab a few red bulls & A bottle of Belvedere Vodka. A six pack of Yuengling. Captain Morgan and a bottle of Coke. Having a few drinks at your house before you go out is classic college move, but damn smart in this economy. Heck, invite a few friends over first and have a pre-party and then go out. Bars are barely affected by the recession, but your wallet is. Always a good idea to limber up before you excercise and just as smart to liquor up before a night of drinking that can save you a ton of money. With the extra money you are saving, use it to grab brunch the next day.

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.

2008 Eagles Season Perspective

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What a wild season!! For me, I have been saying we have been playing with house money, and just was happy to watch our Eagles romp over Dallas in Week 17 and destroy the Giants at home last week. I would have been 10x more unhappy with losing last week over this week and probably even would have hurt much, much worse if we didn't win the Super Bowl. Hats off to the Eagles for even getting this far, and congrats to Steelers and Cardinals fans.

A few quick hits to end the Eagles season...

1. Defense wins championships. You hear that mantra all the time. Up until today's game our defense is what carried our team to the NFC Championship, but let us down in the big game. Letting up 32 points, and 3 touchdowns by Fitzgerald is the fault of the defense and coach Johnson.

2. Sometimes I'm tired of hearing how the Eagles need a #1 wide receiver, but after watching Fitzgerald make a 37 year old quarterback look like Steve Young, you wonder a bit. I think we have a good cast of "B" WRs, but hope the Birds make some moves in the offseason.

3. The Cardinals/Eagles was a winnable game, I think the key was the Eagles not adjusting until the second half on defense. If they played the first half defensively like they played the second half, Eagles would be going to the Super Bowl.

4. I'm still thinking that only a few weeks ago everyone, including myself, figured the season was over and today you have people cursing the high heavens that we didn't go to the Super Bowl. Today's game was a perfect example of our entire season, we should never have been down 24-6 to begin with, and that falls on the coaches for being underprepared for today's game.

5. I still think McNabb is a very good quarterback. I still think Reid is a very good coach. Sadly, none can really be called "excellent" until they get a Super Bowl ring. 5 Championship games in 8 years is remarkable, but if you are the owner, something has to be done to fix this. Personally, I think the first step is getting Reid to step down from the GM spot. He had multiple years at the coach/GM position and we need to get someone in there to evaluate talent & the draft day trades a bit better.


Bonus...my top 5 draft or free agent needs...in order of true needs...

So the season is over, where do the Birds need to fill up holes? I still believe that the Eagles have a good core group, i'm not one of those fans who are howling for Reid or McNabb to go (but firmly believe that Reid needs to step down from GM...the experiment is over and no Super Bowl rings means that we have to change something).

Remember that next season, both Runyan and fellow offensive tackle Tra Thomas are among the Eagles' seven potential unrestricted free agents. That group also includes safeties Brian Dawkins and Sean Considine, tight end L.J. Smith, running back Correll Buckhalter and cornerback Joselio Hanson. Receiver Hank Baskett and Nick Cole are both eligible to become restricted free agents.

1. Offensive Lineman. I'd be shocked if the Birds don't use 1 of the 2 1st round picks on someone to replace Runyan or Thomas. Expect Andrews back next year barring any setbacks from his depression, and I would think they slide him to the outside.

2. Safety. I expect that the Eagles will sign Dawkins to a 2 year deal or something, but we have to build for the future now. I love his heart and hard hits, but Dawk is a liability in coverage. Everyone knows it. We need to get some young talent in the secondary.

3. Defensive end. Trent Cole can only do so much alone. This is a definite top 3 draft pick, depending on who falls where. Everyone is double teaming Cole and if the Birds get a great defensive end (Julius Peppers is going to be a free agent for example, imagine landing him...) - we would have an incredible line.

4. Running back. We need to either sign Buckhalter or get another younger 3rd down back or both. Westbrook is an exceptional player, but isn't capable to go the entire season as the only running back. Every year we hear by week 12 that he isn't practicing anymore. The guy needs help.

5. Wide Receiver. I would hope that the Birds pull something out of their hat this year and maybe grab Boldin as a free agent. Imagine Boldin, Jackson and Curtis as #1, #2, #3 WRs, and that wouldn't be too shabby. I wouldn't cry if the Eagles package both #1's, trade up to the #7 or 8 spot and get Crabtree. As much as i'd rather save both those picks for two GOOD players, the Eagles need a "sexy" pick for once. Something like that would placate the fans tremendously during the offseason.

A friend of mine texted me on Sunday saying that Five Guys Burgers and Fries were opening up on Monday. I was excited, because aside from In and Out Burger, I think FGB&F make a damn good burger. I talked to another friend of mine later in the day, and they were unhappy that another chain restaurant was opening in Hoboken, and the Mom & Pop businesses were getting shoved aside for corporate America.

I have a simple philosophy about Hoboken retail businesses:

If they were better than the chain stores, then the chains wouldn't have to open.

Result? There's not a restaurant in town to get a good, consistent meal.

Now hold on.

"Good" and "consistent" are my key words.

There's lots of places I have been to in town that I had a great dinner. Then i'd go back again and be disappointed. Rarely have I found any restaurant in town where I really have enjoyed myself over and over again. There's a few places that are my favorites:

Before I get a bunch of comments - Court Street, Triple A's, The Madison, Amanda's, Cafe Elysian & Augustino's I think are good. Not great. But good.

But there's also a ton of mediocre restaurants in Hoboken, and to me - i'd rather have a good "chain" restaurant than some of the local average restaurants that we are saddled with.

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You can knock the chains all you want, but they provide a consistently good meal. Here's my Top 5 casual dining chain restaurants (not fast food) that would destroy the competition in Hoboken, keeping in mind our demographics (young single people and middle aged married yuppie couples):

1. Chili's. I know. So Middle America, but hear me out. Chili's isn't fine dining, but it's consistently good, like I wrote. Baby Back Ribs? Fajitas? Burgers? Seafood? Steaks? Sandwiches? It's got something for everyone and make awesome frozen margaritas that would give Baja on 14th a serious challenge (I hate Baja's food, but do like their tequila selection and frozen drinks). Plunk a Chili's next to Baja and who would get more business? You know that Chili would put them out of business in a heartbeat.

2. Outback Steakhouse. Yes, there is one in Edgewater, which isn't really walkable and lots of Hobokenites don't have cars (and consider that Hobokenites think walking 10 blocks from uptown to downtown is "too far"). This isn't premium steak like Peter Luger or The Palm or The Strip House - but they make a consistently good steak and have other good grilled food on the menu. Everytime I walk into an Outback it is packed. Everytime I pass an Outback, I think about going back there.

3. Cheesecake Factory. Hate it all you want, but the place is jammed packed everytime I walk in for dinner and can you imagine a restaurant like this in Hoboken for the casual meal that people want? It would be gangbusters. Close down The Melting Pot Restaurant and open the Cheesecake Factory right there. Would be busy every night.

4. Buffalo Wild Wings or Hooters. Again, stick with what works in Hoboken - beer & bar food. Buffalo Wild Wings would take on the the reigning champions like Rogo's or Black Bear and humiliate them. Hooters, albeit a more risky choice in a town like Hoboken (I wonder what the Hoboken411 backlash would be like...), make some of the best wings in the business.

5. IHOP: Everyone was estatic with Turning Point (which, remember isn't some Mom & Pop restaurant). An 24 hour IHOP, in the right location, would be always busy. Someone go to Malibu Diner, buy them out and put an IHOP there & then open another IHOP downtown (somewhere near Zebu Forno). Tell me that the place wouldn't be packed on Saturday and Sunday for brunches. Tell me that the place wouldn't be packed from 2am - 4am after drinking hours. Tell me that for lunch it wouldn't do good business with the waterfront business crowd. Tell me that for dinner it wouldn't get a crowd. No chance. It would kill in this town.

Lots of people would also ask "Hey, where would you build these places? Hoboken has such bad commerical real estate, that chain restaurants cant even open here if they wanted to..."

First place i'd say is the new building they are putting up next to the W Hotel at 2nd and River. There's going to be enough space there to open any of the above mentioned restaurants.

The municipal parking garage was sold, and the new building there should have 8,000 square feet of retail space. Perfect location on Observer Highway that would draw people with the right kind of restaurant (depending if they can get a liquor license or not).

Don't forget about Metrostop. It's not the most desireable location, but there's lots of Hobokenites that are moving to the area of the Metrostop and they need places to eat, too. I'm sure the retail cost per square foot may be cheaper than the other locations.

If tomorrow I won $5 million, that's what I'd do with my money. I'd buy a franchise and open it in Hoboken. I know how the market would react to any of the five I listed and would rake in the profits.

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Hoboken, if you haven't heard, is a windy town. Situated along the Hudson River, the howling winds crash into our town often when storm fronts move through the area, since we don't have any big buildings to shield our town.

Today, on an especially rainy fall day, I decided to write a list of things a Hobokenite should have on a wet, windy day in Hoboken, calculated from years of living here and my tried and true research:

1. Gust Buster Umbrella. Haven't heard of a "Gust Buster"? You aren't alone, because on my walk into work today I had the pleasure of watching everyone fight the wind and rain with their inside-out umbrellas. They are extremely well made, and can withstand winds of up to 55 miles per hour. They come in a variety of sizes. I bought the Metro model, for its compact size, it easily fits inside my messenger bag. It does have a small drawback with a small handle, which is hard to hold for those who have larger hands. Also, The Metro may be expensive to some, costing around $40, but it easily pays dividends compared to the sidewalk $5 umbrellas that break in windy weather. I roll my eyes when I walk down the street and see someone holding a forlorn umbrella, clearly on it's last legs and they too cheap to buy a real one.

2. Jack Spade Nylon Canvas Day Bag. I love this bag and I was happy to find out that I didn't have to question my heterosexuality while carrying it. Orginally I wanted to get a leather Indiana Jones kind of bag, but I couldn't find one I liked. I did see that Jack Spade made a great bag to carry my day-to-day items to the office: my gym clothes, my camera, my iPod Touch, magazines for the PATH and my Mangum Research Desert Eagle .50 AE handgun. Oh I keed, I keed - but if guns were legal to carry, that is what i'd have. But the bag is well made, with a rain proof lining, which keeps all my items nice and dry. It's large enough to carry what I need, but not too big and bulky. Also I think it's sharp looking and I can wear it with jeans or if i'm dressed up in my "business casual" work wear.

3. The North Face M Venture Jacket. Big fan of the jacket, because it's just a waterproof nylon shell with some extra features. The hood is great, especially on windy days. It has a few zippers that allow the jacket to "breathe" a bit better, allowing it to stay cool on damp days. Its easy to roll up, and stuff in my Jack Spade messenger bag when the sky clears up. It's great to wear into work, or to The Hunt, or to an Eagles game. I just and check the weather channel, layer appropiately, and leave my condo.

4. Wellington Boots. Known as "Wellies" I love these boots, and and really like the Men's Short Boots in black. Many girls in Hoboken opt for more fashionable, colorful boots, like those from J. Crew. I spied a girl walking to the PATH with yellow boots and her matching yellow umbrella - but was inside out while she was pulled by the wind down the street. There's a fine line between fashion and utility and she, sadly, was on the wrong side of that street. With all the flooded streets in downtown Hoboken, having boots like these are great on rainy or snowy days.

5. Single Malt Scotch. Nothing ends my rainy days better than a nice glass of scotch to warm my bones. I won't call myself a traditional scotch drinker, I mostly like the scotches from sherry casks (probably due to my love of Port wine), and I alternate buying either a 12 year old Glendronach, the 12 year old Sherry Cask Glemorangie or the Balvenie Double Wood. Yes, I drink all on the rocks (ok you purists, pipe down). All are available locally at Sparrow Wine and Liquor for around +/- $50 a bottle, or you can always buy scotch online and save some money, too.

Top 5 Rules For Shore Roommates

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I definitely have a lot of experience living with roommates, after counting 18 different roomates over my 13 years living up here.

Most of my roomates were great people, some were weasels, some were generous and some were selfish assholes that deserve a karmic boomerang.

I have written before about how to choose a roommate, and included my "rules" to a good roomate:

Be considerate. Clean your dishes. Pick up your clothes. Be tidy. Don't like to clean the litter box - pay your roommate $30 a month to do it for you (yes, I did this). Do you have a special other - don't bring that person into the apartment all the time to "sleep over". A good rule of thumb is a overnight visit twice a week. If you have a boyfriend or girlfriend who is over 4 nights or more a week - that is unfair to the other roommates. Maybe have them kick in some rent while you are at it.

Be quiet. This isn't a dorm room. No blasting your music or TV - the subwoofer travels easily thru hardwood floors and to the upper floors of condos and brownstones. One of my roommates reminded me that squeaky beds can be heard thru hardwood floors, too.

Be responsible. Pay your rent and bills on time. The last 10 years I have held all the cable & electric bills in my name. I usually pay them right away and then collect what is owed to me by my roommates - time and time and time again they always forget to pay me. I think if I calculated over the years the money I have lost to roommates who didn't pay me would easily be in the hundreds of dollars. Its partially my own fault, I don't hound my roommates to pay me back - I just leave the bill out, and expect them to do the math. John, if you are reading this - you still owe me 2 months of bills, buddy.

Be kind. A lightbulb is out - how about buying a new pack and fixing it? Notice that the bathtub is dirty - maybe clean it? Cooking dinner - maybe see if your roommate wants some. Its the little kind actions which will endear you to others.

And now after living in a shore house, with multiple roommates (some full shares and some half shares) in a no frills shore house, this would be my Rules For Shore Roommates (which some points may mirror points in my previous comments):

5. The bars have closed, you are drunk, your friends are drunk - don't assume it's cool to bring back your drunken mess to the house for an "after hours party". We have already a few instances of people coming back to our shore house, and drunk people making far too much noise for our sleeping roommates and our sleeping neighbors.
Bottom line: Unless you are bringing back all the roommates to the house, or if you roommates are still up - ya gotta call it a night or find some other place to go.

4. Sex happens. Overcrowding at a shore house is the norm, and often people are sharing beds in the same room. There has to be consideration on both sides (those getting some and those getting none), come up with a good system to say "DO NOT DISTURB" if you are "busy" and consideration for those couples who want to be alone in private.

3. Generousity is the better part of valor. If your buddies and you are drinking someone's else's Grey Goose, don't replace what you drank with a cheap knock off. If you are drinking good beer don't bring in a case of American Light Beer and expect that's a fair replacement. If people are buying groceries & making dinner for you each week, it isn't a bad idea to throw down some cash on basic communal foods (bottled water, burgers, dogs, chips, soda, toilet paper, etc.)

2. Clean up! I think this is very important especially when people disappear on Sundays without taking the trash & recycleables out, cleaning the sinks, wiping down common use areas or even sweeping the floors (we don't have a cleaning person). The only times I have gotten others motivated is by stopping people on Sunday for an hour of "clean time" (yes, do you believe it? ME telling people to clean up of all people...) to get the job done.

1. Ignorance is bliss. Everyone will be on their best behavior for the first few weekends (in some cases for the first 24 hours), and you only see most of these people on the weekends. I have had disagreements with some of my roommates and rather than confronting and defending myself - I simply walked away. Normally i'm someone who WILL get in your face if i'm angry, but I have found that it's a million times easier to keep the peace and walk away from a problem or a conflict. I think it would be a different story depending on the severity of the situation (like if you had a real problematic roommate), but you should try to let most minor infractions just roll off your back and not let that other person know they are a troll. You are just there for summer, and there's no reason to ruin it by starting drama.

Maybe you have some rules of your own? Leave a comment or drop me an email if you do!

Most of my Phillies watching over the years was like how I watch the Sixers - if they are playing well I paid attention. Every year up here, I would still buy Mets vs Phillies tickets each year at Shea, and one year I remember I got to watch the Phils vs Yankees in 1998 which was fun (except the score was 9-2, Yankees). I may have not been a die hard Phillies fan, but I still was a fan when they stunk.

Even though the Phillies were bad, they were "my team". Take my brother, who moved to New York in 1999 and started to root for the Yankees! He claimed the Yankees were his American League team! That was shocking to me. I couldn't imagine myself doing that. I'm Philly, baby. I'd root for the Philadelphia hopscotch team if they had one (ok, not really, but you get the idea).

If you are a die hard Philly sports fan, and live and die by our teams, then you gotta be excited this year for the Fightin's. Here's the top 5 reasons you should be watching my Phillies:

1. Chase Utley has hit 21 home runs. Chase is on pace to hit 58 homers, 26 more than his career high in 2006. The record for second basemen is 42, set by Rogers Hornsby in 1922 and tied by Davey Johnson in 1973.

2. In the last six games the Fightin's have scored 55 runs. Their bats are on fire. Only one team in the entire league has scored more runs to date than the Phillies (320) - the Cubs (331).

3. The Phils have two Most Valuable Players: Ryan Howard (2006) & Jimmy Rollins (2007), with Utley in the mix to be the MVP in 2008. When was the last time three different players from the same team won the MVP in consecutive years? Not since Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle and Elston Howard ran off the MVP hat trick for the Yankees in 1961-63. You could be watching a historic season here, folks.

4. This year we have a deeper, more talented bullpen compared to last year. In 2007, twenty one different players threw at least one pitch out of the bullpen for the Phillies and we finished the regular season ranked 13th in the National League with a 4.41 ERA. This season? Phillies relievers entered last night with a 2.71 ERA, by far the best mark in the National League. Six of the seven arms in the bullpen - Lidge, Gordon, Durbin, Romero, Ryan Madson and Rudy Seanez - have an ERA under 4.00, and four have an ERA under 3.00.

5. The final reason is that we have a the Philadelphia Phillies Club right here in town. What? You didn't know? Here's our "Google Group" link, and it works like this - we meet up once a week at Mulligan's bar for a "game of the week" (usually a Thursday or Friday game - with the random Wednesday night thrown in). That night, we watch the game while enjoying frosty Yuenglings and Bud Light drafts for $2 each. Of course you can always go into Mulligan's, on any night, and ask for any baseball game - they have the MLB package. But our "game of the week" is just a fun way to get other Phillies fans together from Hoboken and socialize while the game is on. It's not like the Eagles Club where we are getting 100+ people a week, it's a smaller more social crowd. If i'm not at the shore, i'll be at the bar. Just pop in, and say hello. If i'm not there, just ask the bartender to turn the game on and tell them you are with the Phillies Club to get the specials.

If both teams could lose a Superbowl, that would be my wish. I didn't like either team, for different reasons and someone had to win. I'm 10x happier the Giants won than if the Cowboys would have won. Oh. My. God. That would be much more terrible.

I haven't done a Top 5 list in a while, so today is a special Two For Tuesday (except it's Monday) edition of the Top 5. The headline may be confusing to some, but one list will be why it sucks that the Giants won and another list will be why it's great the Pats lost, to me, an avid Eagles fan and hater of just about every New York/New Jersey sports team.

Also, I wrote this with the Giants bandwagon fans (about half of you) in mind. There are a ton of friends I have who are die hard Giants fans (McNally, Chris, Brendan, etc) who deserve it, and have been fans when the Giants sucked (but even like an Eagles fan would gripe when their team stinks). I'm writing more about the NY fans who are the Yankees fans all year and turn into a Giants fan when they win. So spare me the "But i'm a fan!" emails. Even the die hard Giants fans will know i'm right about some of my bitching.

Top 5 Reasons Why It Sucks That The Giants Won the Superbowl:

1. Having to hear all the bandwagon fans, who only 2 months ago were slamming Eli, chant on Newark street "E-LI MAN-NING". Lets do a quick poll, how many of you bandwagon fucks have an Eli Manning jersey? Yea, I didn't think so.

2. There are many New York fans don't deserve it & some that do. Now when I say this, I mean it this way: You guys won, great, congrats, you got it, but I can guarantee you that a Giant fan won't savor it like an Eagles fan would. Lots of people took Monday off for work, because they are hungover, but in Philly people would have taken today off because we would still be at the bar the next day, drinking and celebrating.

3. I lost $200 bucks on the game, betting $50 per game since the Tampa Bay game. It isn't losing $200, it's just the annoyance that I lost it to a team that, to me, wasn't that Super, just peaked at the right time.

4. Now everytime the Eagles face the Giants in the regular season we will be reminded ad nauseum about the Superbowl for at least the next 3 years by the fans & the media. Ever hear the Cowboys fans harp about their Superbowls from 15 years ago? Yea, it's like that.

5. Having to watch Steve Spagnuolo (yes, he was on the Eagles before you, bandwagon fans) use the basic Jimmy Johnson (the Eagles defensive coordinator) defense (blitz, blitz and oh yea, blitz) to get the Giants in a position to win. I won't tip my hat to Eli at all, but I honestly believe the Giants defense & Spags should be the MVP for their season. Good luck next year when Spags jumps ship to become the head coach of the Redskins.


Top 5 Reasons Why It's Great That The Pats Lost The Superbowl:

1. The Golden Child is now a bit tarnished. I hate Brady only because he's like that smug rich jock kid from high school who has everything. Perfect girl, perfect life, etc. It's great to revel in that loss and watch all the Pats fan get denied a perfect season.

2. It's great to now hear for the rest of history about the Patriots who were "almost perfect". Sure, they had a perfect regular season, but couldn't quite get it done...which denies them the title of "best team EVER". Ha ha ha ha.

3. Spygate make me furious, and you really have to wonder - imagine if the Pats didn't get caught? Imagine if they were still taping and had the Giants signals? Think it would have been a different game? Sure. Also now think about it - all those years of cheating do you think that the Patriots may have won some Superbowls and cheated? I bet they did. They didn't look so dominant this year in the post season. Cheaters never win.

4. It's great just because of this observation: The camera shot of Gisele sitting in the luxury box watching the game, and watching in horror as her and the girl next to her sip wine from a crystal wine glass. Come on! This is fucking football and they are drinking wine??? If I were in that luxury box I would have slapped that glass out of her hand on principle alone. Oh yes I would! Ok, maybe not, but you have to agree with me: No wine allowed at a football game! What's next, going to have some sushi at halftime? Let the real fans attend these games, and it's great to watch crap fans like Gisele LOSE. I'm sure she woke up today, and doesn't even care that the Patriots lost the game.

5. I used to cheer on the Patriots, because I subscribed to "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". But I have to hand it to their fans, coach and team for taking a good team, and great franchise and driving everyone away from liking them. The Patriots fans I meet really do fit the term "Massholes". The coach is an arrogant fuck. Did you see Eli greet Brady before the game with a friendly pat on the back, while jogging past and get a cold stare back from Brady? What a fucking dick. If any Patriots fan out there thinks that anyone who really likes football really feels any level of sorrow that the Patriots lost - they are wrong. The only people who like the Patriots are Patriots fans now - or the loser ESPN commentators like Chris "I always pick against the Eagles" Collinsworth.


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Originally uploaded by Furey
In the last few weeks, I knew that June 16th weekend was going to be a weekend where I got my first taste of real outdoor camping & backpacking. Last year, I had an experience in "car camping", where we drove to a campground, unloaded our gear, and camped about 20 feet from our vehicles, along with about 60 other people. I wanted to really get outdoors, away from "civilization" and other people for my next trip. Matt told me about Team Hike. A group of guys who hiked various trails for the last 17 years, about 3-4 times a year - even in winter (That's "Team Extreme"). I told him that i'd like to go on his next trip, and it wasn't a problem, the more the merrier was their attitude.

Before the trip began, I started doing my research. If you don't know, I have a tendancy to analyze things (perhaps over analyze, in some regards, like buying a condo...), and I started to read and read and read all sites. I searched on Google for "How to Backpack", "How to prepare for a Hike", "What to bring backpacking for a weekend". Stuff like that. The basic stuff like "Tent", "Backpack", "Boots", "Water", "Sleeping bag" were all coming up, but I didn't want to be caught unprepared out there. I made a list, shared it with Matt, and he told me what he thought. I kept reading over and over how weekend backpackers always overpack, and I tried to whittle down my list of gear to little as possible.

Packing wasn't too bad, but I did run into a snag. My sleeping bag was a regular sized bag. It wasn't a compact one, and I kept telling Matt over email that my backpack must be too small, the sleeping bag wouldn't fit. Without a visual, Matt didn't understand. When he came over to look, he pointed out that the backpacks he was familiar with were designed to be more compact. I didn't know this, and we decided to lash the sleeping bag to the backpack. It wouldn't be a major problem, just a bit awkward.

On Friday Matt and I were joined by Dan, who he met on Team Hike and also lived near Hoboken. We drove up together (leaving at 3:30pm) to Wind Gap, PA, taking 78 the majority of the way. It should have taken us less than 2 hours to get there, but 78 was a mess with construction. We got there about 6:30.

I discovered that in hiking there is something known as "Trail Names". Matt is known as "Popper" and Dan is known as "Hummer". When we got to the parking lot we were joined by "Spugs" and "Gramps", who are the original members of Team Hike. Gramps maintains the Team Hike website. Spugs hasn't missed a single trip.

We get our gear on, and hiked about 1.8 miles from the parking lot to our campsite for Friday night which is called "New Tripoli Campsite". It's great. Its far off the trail, with a big stone firepit, three large logs around it, and plenty of flat area for the tents. No one was there, and we had the campsite to ourselves.

Everyone busted out their tents, got their beer/alcohol (which is technically illegal at this part of the trail) and we started the campfire. I have said it before, and I will say it again, but it is my firm belief that if campfires were illegal, no one would camp. Everyone gets out their inner pyromaniac, and loves to partake in getting a fire going. These guys made the most of it, breaking out meats, fish, shellfish, and appetizers that were pre-made & marinating the night before. Since the hike was less than 2 miles from the parking lot to the campsite, it wasn't too hard to carry a bit extra baggage Friday night - knowing that your pack would be much lighter on Saturday afternoon for the hike.

We ate, drank and were joined by Fallon, Grant, Rocco and Hicks who came later with their own food in tow. Easily one of the best outdoor BBQs I have been to in a long time. Popper even hiked with his guitar, and was busting out songs that had us laughing, singing and clapping. At 2am - TWO AM! - two more of our hikers joined us after they were at a Stevie Nicks concert with their wives. They got harassed for it as soon as they showed up by an off-key warbling by everyone: "Just like the white winged dove / Sings a song / Sounds like shes singing / Whoo... whoo... whoo..."

The guys were all in their late 20's to mid 30's, most married or engaged, and some with kids. They were the same kind of guys that were in Delta Tau Delta at Villanova - just fun, laid back and loved to get their drink on. Even though it was my first hike I felt like I was included right away, and joined in with the various bantering. I was able to hold my own with the movie quotes ("Milk was a bad idea...") and discussion of the upcoming footballs season to the various jokes and gags that crop up when you get guys together. Popper learned why you don't drink and then try to saw wood - due to a poor position of its axis, his decision to stomp on the branch to break it and getting clobbered by the branch that flipped up and nailed him in his right temple. Concern quickly turned to laughter after that one, with Matt taking a 10 minute break recovering.

We were up Friday until about 5am Saturday morning. Slept a few hours and left the New Tripoli campsite around 11am.

Saturday's hike was...tough. Now this was my first hike and I have nothing to base it on, except that the others in the group kept reminding me that other hikes weren't this hard (remember, 17 years of hiking with some of these guys). There were parts of the hike where we had to skip along rocks with a 40-50 pound backpack. You make a mistake and slip and it meant a very severe injury (look at the pictures for some examples).

While on the trail I kept thinking two things:
1. I am SO HAPPY I got my Asolo boots. I was thinking of just using gym sneakers, and read far too many times about backpackers getting sprained ankles. If I didn't have a backpack, i'm sure sneakers would have been ok enough. The boots were the best $160 spent on the trip.
2. You seriously needed to be athletic to do this trip. I don't care what age or gender you are, but this wasn't an easy hike. More than half of the trail were filled with rocks that required very good dexterity to navigate especially with a backpack. Most of my trail walking was me looking down at where to place my next step, so that I didn't twist an ankle.

Saturday's hike provided a few scenic views. We made it to Bake Oven Knob & stopped for lunch. We met other hikers there and Webelos scouts. We noticed thunderstorms in the distance and we decided to make haste towards our next camping site which had a shelter.

Along the way, I developed a blister on the ball of my foot and Spugs was quick to help me, since he had some experience with this and also was known as "Doctor Feet" on the trips. He broke out some Dr. Scholl's moleskin plus padding (I discovered later that I had moleskin in my first aid kit), and I was ready to go again.

Also, Spugs and Gramps were smart enough to stash three coolers of water & beer at another parking lot along the trail (mid way between New Tripoli & Bake Oven Knob). We were able to load up on cold water, cold beer and ice. We put the coolers back into the woods and would pick them up on Sunday. That really helped because I was thinking of bringing a lot of water, and left a 4 liter bladder in my car when Spugs told me about this.

Once we got to the shelter we were joined by other thru hikers. One was "Chillout", I would hazard he was about 60+ years old, with white hair and a white beard. Thru hikers are the hardcore hikers who started in Georgia, and live on the "AT". I'm sure weekend warriors to him are like Benny's from the shore to the locals. He hung out with us, while the storm passed, and a few other thru hikers showed up also. Some were a bit...ripe. I'm fully aware of the lack of showers on the AT, but it was hard to sit next to them in a shelter during a rain storm.

Saturday night was a bit more low key. Everyone was really tired from the night before, and around the new campsite we had trouble finding wood & the rain got everything wet, which made starting a fire tough. We were joined by Manning who quickly got the name "Johnny Cakes" because he hiked in wearing a pink long sleeve button down shirt. He never watched the Sopranos and didn't quite get the joke, but we had a good laugh over it. He came from the opposite direction, at the end of our trail and parked there. He was able to bring us a case of cold beer, which was pretty sweet.

We drank some more, listened to Popper play guitar and made the best of it. This campsite wasn't as good as the New Tripoli one, but it did have a shelter that some of the guys opted to sleep in rather than pitch a tent.

We woke up at 7am, packed our things and hiked out. Lots of us were very hungover, and the hike to the last parking lot took about a hour and a half. Matt and I drove home and were back in Hoboken by 11am Sunday.

Now after all that here's the Top 5 things I learned backpacking:

Top Five Pet Peeves of Bus Drivers

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On a rainy day last week I didn't have my umbrella, so I hopped on the 126 NJ Transit Bus (Clinton Street) to give me a quick ride from the PATH station to my condo, instead of being drenched by walking in the rain. I watched the bus pull out of the station, make a right on Hudson, another right on Observer Place, and wait at the light in front of Texas Arizona. A girl comes running up to the bus and slaps her palm against the bifold glass door, looking at the bus driver and shouting, "Let me on!"

The bus driver looks at her, and says, "Hey, calm down!"

The girl continues to slap the door as the bus pulls away and leaves her standing in the middle of traffic.

I was sitting in the front seat and said to the bus driver, "Doesn't that annoy you?"

She says, "Yea, I woulda let her on, but she was so rude!"

Watching this from my seat I was happy the bus driver didn't let the girl on the bus. Far too many people that live in Hoboken, who think the world revolves around them.

"So, what's your top 5 pet peeves when driving a bus?", I asked her. This is what she told me...

1. Standing next to her while she is trying to drive the bus. If you look, there is a line on the bus which you shouldn't stand past. If the bus is packed, don't be rude and stand there - wait for the next bus.

2. Having your money out & ready before the bus shows up. If you are standing at the bus stop, before the bus pulls up, dig into your wallet or pants and have the change ready, rather than getting on the bus, rummage through your wallet, and take a minute to find the money. She also added that when at a bus stop, don't jump out at the last second to wave down a bus. If you stand in a visible location and give a friendly wave when the bus is a 1/2 block away (like you are flagging a cab), that is helpful.

3. When the bus drops you off - don't jump in front of the bus to cross the street, make eye contact with the driver and then cross.

4. People who shout at her from the backseat - she can't hear you. Then, she says, people get all upset when they have to get up, walk to her, and explain what they want. Imagine that. Talking like a normal person to another person versus shouting at someone from a distance.

5. Cell Phone users - she can't stand people who sit near her and yap on the cell phone like its their job. I totally agree with that, I hate taking the bus and listening to people talk. There should be a ban for cell phones on public transportation - unless it is an emergency. No, an emergency isn't calling your special other to tell them you are on the bus and to decide what you are going to have for dinner.

Top 5: Hoboken Politics

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Here's my Top 5 take on Hoboken Politics after living here for 13 years...

1. There is a strong sense of cronyism (Favoritism shown to old friends without regard for their qualifications, as in in political appointments to office.) Hoboken.

2. With such a small town, there are many families who hold various offices. For example, Terry LaBruno is the head of the city council. Her husband is the Hoboken Fire Department Battalion Chief, Joseph LaBruno. Terry's uncle was Steve Cappiello, served the city of Hoboken from 1963-1991 both as a city councilman and three-term mayor. Theresa Castellano is a councilwoman, her husband Robert, is a member of the Hoboken Detective Bureau. Then there is Michael Russo, a council person and his father, Anthony, was also mayor of Hoboken and was incarcerated for corruption.

3. I have had my own experiences with City Hall, and the people that work there. My own personal opinion is that the "newcomers" (i.e. those who aren't Born and Raised in Hoboken) are mostly held in contempt for their opinions. We don't count because we haven't lived here our whole lives. But the same Born and Raised people are more than happy to collect our taxes and rent money. Hey, I have only been here 13 years, what do I know? Also there is a strong sense of: "If you speak out against ANYONE in Hoboken city council, they will retaliate against you."

4. There are a lot of people who I call "entrenched". They are fortified in the city government or are city workers and they can't see past their paycheck. You talk about balancing the budget or reducing taxes and they are horrified at the prospect of losing money. They will rally their friends, family, everyone they know to protest the loss of their pay over the idea that Hoboken should reduce the overblown spending.

5. Getting an honest answer to an honest question is nearly impossible. Try it. Next time you see Mayor Roberts please ask: "How we can have the Chief of the Hoboken police department paid MORE than the Chief of the NYC police department? How are you, Mayor Roberts, paid $25,000 more than the mayor of Jersey City?"

With that being said, I fully hope everyone gets out for the elections on May 8th. I hope all our residents take the time to visit Hoboken411 to read about their candidates, and pick the one which best represents them.

Voting in the first ward, i'd choose Ron Rosenberg for first ward council. I have had the chance, in the past, to speak personally to Ron about the issues I have about Hoboken, and he is the progressive, independent choice for a way that the residents can clean house in city council. He has lived in the first ward for 25 years, and helped create "People For Open Government", which is a grass roots citizen group that fights for government reform.

I mean if you ask me, look at the council people in there: Castellano, Russo, LaBruno - it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that they are basically a family-based coalition running this town into the ground. Pay police officers MORE money? No problem! Keep open a failing hospital! No problem! Screw the taxpayers! No problem!

Look, if you are for the "Rubber Stamp Council" of Hoboken, then vote for the other guys. If you want change, I can wholeheartedly endorse Bill Noonan (Great Today, Better Tomorrow) in the 6th Ward, Ron Rosenberg (Our Clear Choice For Change!) in the 1st Ward and Frank Raia in the 3rd Ward.

Oh, and spare me the mud-slinging in the comments.

Myrtle Recap & My Golf Story

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I'm back.

Myrtle was a good time, with golfing, drinking and lots of laughs. We played at Barefoot Love (Wednesday), Arrowhead (Thursday), Grande Dunes & Waterway Hills (Friday), Meadowlands (Saturday).

Honestly, there isn't a ton to tell. My golf game was poor. Normally, years ago, i'd shoot about 100 a round. I was shooting around 120 a round (double bogie & triple bogie with the occasional par showing up). Fortunately, one of the guys on the trip gave me some great advice on the last day which seems to fix a major hook that has appeared in my game over the last 6 years. My chipping and putting are fairly solid. I just need to seriously think about a golf camp or some golf lessons to fix a few things. Anyone know of a golf camp, feel free to email me about it.

Wednesday and Thursday it was warm, about 70-75 degrees each day. Friday was a major rain day, with our groups getting rained out after 9 holes at Grande Dunes, which really sucked because it was a beautiful course. Saturday was a 10am tee time at Meadowlands and it was about 50 degrees to start. By the 12th hole it was about 60 degrees but a stiff cold wind made it a miserable day. St. Patty's Day we spent it around Myrtle bars, and lots of college kids were out and about.

Here's my Top 5 observations while down at Myrtle:

1. This was priceless, spotted him at Finn McCool's in Myrtle Beach on St. Patty's Day:
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I think he had his required 37 pieces of "flair".

2. It seems that everyone, over the age of 23, is married. I know this isn't just true for Myrtle, but most of the rest of the country outside our metro area. If I moved to Myrtle i'd be an outcast. Single at 35?! The horror! Going out to Broadway on the Beach was a joke. There are 3 groups of people: College Kids, Married People and Golfer Tourists. I'm not one of those guys who goes on vacation and expects to meet someone out at the bars. Shit, I don't even do that in Hoboken, I just go out to have fun. But it certainly is a bit more fun when you have something, anything, to even give you a slight bit of interest to be out and drinking. I was there 4 years ago when one of our crew did pull down an extremely good looking girl on a bachelorette party. But more often than not, that is the exception, not the norm.

3. Slow is normal. Everything is just a bit slower in the south, and that's ok to the locals. We were at a bar with 3 bartenders and about 200 people. The bar was packed, and they were mostly serving beer, shots and the occasional Captain and Coke to yours truly. Slow. Slow. Slow. Give me 3 bartenders from up here, and that bar would have made about $3,000 more on St. Patty's Day from just pumping out the booze faster.

4. Saving $100-150 on a trip to Myrtle by going in March just isn't worth it. I'll pay a bit more to stop this whole Russian roulette with the weather. In my last 3 trips I have yet to get 4 days in a row of nice weather. I can handle rain, within reason, but when it is also 60 degrees out versus 70 degrees, it makes a big difference when i'm cold and wet versus warm and wet. Next year i'm going to spend a bit more and go during April, if I can get the others to agree.

5. Is a vacation really a vacation when you golf 5 days, drink everyday and get about 6 hours of sleep a night? I was ridiculously lucky to wake up without a hangover each day, but coming into work today i'm beat. I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation. I'd like another 2 week trip during the summer (similar to my Australian 2 week tour from 7 years ago), if I can swing it. I'd love to just find an isolated paradise where I can relax, recharge the internal batteries and come back refreshed. Thinking about a place like Turkoise, which was recommended by a friend, but not sure how I feel about going to something like Club Med. Just isn't....me. I'd like everything Turkoise has...too bad I just can't get like 3-4 friends to go along for the ride.

Top 5 Winter Fashion Mistakes 2007

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Last year I wrote about my Top 5 Winter Fashion Mistakes. I don't claim to be Mr. Fashion. I just notice things when I walk to the PATH each morning and they either make me chuckle or cringe. Here's my list this year.

1) Faux-fur lined collar parkas. 013007b.bmpLook, i'm down with all of this, but when I see 10,000 Hobokenites all wearing the same coat, you start to groan with disdain when everyone is wearing it. The faux-fur parka isn't new. It has been around for the last 3 years. It just seems that everyone got one for Christmas this year.


2) Sweater vests. If you are a man and still wear sweater vests, you might want to consider building that time machine and go to 1986, Mr. Huxtable wants them back.
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3) Big-ass headsets. I'm glad you decided to pair your $350 IPod with the $300 clunky headset. Now you look like you are working at the local airport, directing planes to the terminal gates. Wearing such a headset is also another way of broadcasting to thugs, "Please mug me." I wore headsets like this in public, until I was tackled by my friends and the headset was forcibly removed from my head. Places you are allowed to wear these kind of headsets: In the privacy of your own home, or on an airplane, or if you are a club DJ.

4) 013007d.jpgTimberlands. Unless you work in construction or look like you belong in Eminem's posse, you really shouldn't be wearing the traditonal wheat-colored Timberlands. Just sayin'.

5) Scarves wrapped around the head: I know it is cold. When I walk down the street and see people dressed like Luke on the planet Hoth its ridiculous. 20 degrees isn't THAT bad. Buck up. I love scarves. I wear one myself. When it is cold, I will throw on a hat and gloves, too. However, no matter how cold it gets, I won't look like the next Edmund Hillary or Tenzing Norgay commuting on my yak to work. Hey, that's just me.

My Trip to DC & Top 5 Problems With Flying

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Tom, get your plane right on time.
I know your part'll go fine.
Fly down to Mexico.
Da-n-da-da-n-da-n-da-da and here I am,
The only living boy in New York.

I get the news I need on the weather report.
I can gather all the news I need on the weather report.
Hey, I've got nothing to do today but smile.
Da-n-da-da-n-da-da-n-da-da here I am
The only living boy in New York

Leaving Wednesday night for Washington DC. Back in October rumor had it that my brother was going to host Turkey Day in Bethesda. I checked Orbitz and got a plane ticket for $125 round trip. Had to weigh the options:

1. Normally it took 6 hours to drive to DC, with holiday traffic i'd hazard 8+ hours driving with holiday traffic.
2. Gas was $3.00 a gallon, round trip would cost about $60 alone. With tolls, maybe another $15. That's $75.
3. Driving to airport & checking in: 1 hour. Waiting at terminal: 1 hour. Flight: 1 hour and change (If no delays). Getting off plane, getting bag & getting to brother's place: 1 hour and change. Total time: About 5 hours.

To me, for $125, which would be $50 more it was worth it. When I originally made my flight I took into consideration a healthy Donovan McNabb and the Eagles game to be 1pm. I made my flight home for 7pm Sunday, arriving at 8:20pm. Thanks to the new flexibile schedule I get to miss the first half of the Eagles game. This might be a good thing, considering that Jeff Garcia is at QB.

There are 5 problems I have with flying:

1. I'm 6'3 and a HALF. Coach seats are designed for the most of the cast of The Wizard of OZ. I flew business class once and it was glorious...until....

2. I would hazard that 50% of my flights there is some kind of child problem. I get the "Crying baby" or the "Loud Toddler" or "I'm gonna fucking kick the front of my chair Rascal". Last time I flew business I got the Rascal. I turned around, asked his mother to control him (in a nice way). It lasted about 5 minutes. Tonight, with the holidays I fully expect to get on the plane and hear some kid wailing like it is the end of the world...which brings me to...

3. Every time I fly I get that feeling of dread that the plane is gonna crash. It probably started when I flew to London in 1988 and I saw smoke coming from the engine when I looked out the window. I calmly brought this to the attention of the stewardess. Her wide eyed stare and quick dash to the cockpit left its mark on me. Fortunately they turned around the plane and landed without a problem. 9/11 doesn't help, either. I don't need any meds or anything, but really never look forward to getting on a plane.

4. I have flown quite a few times in my life, but certainly not as much as your typical business traveller. On all of my trips, I never got to sit next to the hot/cute/walk upright & has opposable thumbs girl. 90% of the time get the fat guy or the foreign national who thinks bathing is optional. I swear to God. I did once site next to a MILF, with her two kids. She went to Villanova...graduated in 1986 and her husband worked for ESPN. Still, what kind of fun is that? She's cute, has kids and is married. It's like God hates me. Seriously though, don't you think airlines could make like a "singles seating" where the guys and girls who are single can sit together if they choose? But then that could get creepy, like the married guys who click that option much like those married guys who join MySpace to meet lonely women and ruin it for the rest of us.

5. Boarding/Exiting the plane. Easily the most frustrating experience of flying. Ever watch how fucking slow people get off a plane? Everytime I get on or off a plane, it takes me about 30 seconds to get on, find my seat, and sit down. Every other idiot of the planet takes their god-awful time like it is Sunday driving day and every asshole brings carry-on luggage that far exceeds the flight rules, takes up too much overhead compartment space and never fits. Then they sit down, and need a pillow. They get back up, block traffic, get a pillow. Now they need their glasses. Back up again, and get their glasses. Oh, where's that magazine? Up again and getting that. Or when they get off the plane, its like most adults have the arm strength of a 7 year old child. You see them struggling with their luggage in the overhead compartment, arms flailing around and making grunting noises while everyone is watching this display with barely masked rage. What the fuck is wrong with people when it comes to quickly getting off a plane?

Won't be back until Sunday. Looking forward to seeing my family members. Very much hoping there is no major drama. I love my family, but it always seems that every holiday someone will say something to piss me off. Like the time I brought my British roommate, John, to Thanksgiving dinner in 1999 since he didn't know anyone in America. My family knew I had two roommates. And my family also knows that i'm one of those perpetually single family members at every holiday. I never brought any girlfriends home for a holiday dinner...so it is cool until you are over 30 and you start to get self conscious/sensitive about it. Everyone else is celebrating the holiday with their special other/fiance/wife/kids and i'm guy who is drunk, alone and watching TV by 10pm when everyone else goes to sleep. Anyhow, one of my brothers-in-law pulls me aside after dinner and with a dead serious look says, "Sean...I didn't know about you two. You're gay?" Yea, very funny motherfucker. I was told later he was kidding, and he did apologize for a joking around like that, but it basically ruined any Thanksgiving spirit I had. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Also I have been to DC before, but also thinking it would be a good chance to play tourist for the weekend. I mean, I did work there an an intern for Senator Arlen Specter in 1992, but should take the chance to see some of the less-annoying sights (i.e. anything that doesn't have a major line). Also i'm bringing my new camera, and i'd like to get some cool shots.

Good luck everyone. Happy Thanksgiving. God bless our troops for protecting our country and sacrificing their holiday for America and democracy.

My First (Real) Car

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Growing up, I had it pretty good. I was the youngest of 4 children, so I got away with a lot more than my older siblings. Like my sisters were banned from watching Blue Lagoon when they were 14, but screamed bloody murder when Dad and I were watching "10" on cable TV when I was the same age.

Same situation applied for cars. The twins got to share a Chevy Camaro when they were 17. My brother got a Volkswagen Cabroliet at 17. I got a Jeep Wrangler Laredo when I was 17.

I loved that car. Firstly, I went to LaSalle and I lived in Gwynedd Valley and it was *the* car to own as a teenager. Basically the quintessential preppymobile for 1988, and being sucked into conformity at an early age, I was thrilled to have it. Secondly, it was the top of the line Jeep - with the chrome grill and all the extras - cruise control and air conditioning. Thirdly, not to sound too snobby, but the car was a $20,000 car driven by a 17 year old - that does make the ego rise a notch or two.

Before you, my dear readers, get up in arms about my well-to-do upbringing, my parents were all about installing a work ethic at an early age. Part of that work ethic is about paying for things we owned. Every summer working in Ocean City my money would go straight to my parents to pay for my car. End of a day selling ice cream or end of a night being a waiter. Per year I owed my parents for half of the lease, about $3,000.

Conversely, i'm not going to try and make myself out to be "Mr. Self Sufficient". My parents did pay for my insurance. They paid for my gas. Clothes. School. Just about any hobby that I enjoyed they would pay for, and I think i'm much more thankful now about how generous my parents were.

But, with that being said, here are my "Top 5" Jeep memories:

1. Snow Patrol: One day in January I was driving from Villanova to Gwynedd Valley. It was only about a 30 minute drive and the roads were snow covered. I had driven my Jeep in 4-wheel drive all the time in the show, and it was a champ. Everyone else on the road is driving 15 miles an hour, I would "blaze" past them at 30 miles an hour, with nary a slip. But, this one night, the snow-slick road turned to ice. I wasn't driving very fast at the time, only 10-15 miles per hour when I felt the front of the car began to list to the left. So, I turned my wheel into the skid, which I learned at an early age, and was expecting the skid to correct itself. It didn't. I was on an icepatch and I was slowly rotating in a 360 degree circle in the middle of the road. Thank God it was 1am. No one was on the road. So as I was doing 360's down the road in slow motion I just took my hands off the wheel and crossed my arms. I said to myself, "May as well just enjoy the ride" and for the next 12 seconds waited until I skidded off the road and into a snowbank. I slipped the Jeep into 4-wheel drive (the higher torque setting) and easily got out of the snowbank and just continued home.

2) Only fools...- Ocean City + Jeep = A lot of attention from girls. Me, being about as experienced with a girl as a yuppie Hobokenite is with clipping coupons, didn't bode well. One girl, who was about 16 and extremely cute at the time, convinced me to let her drive my car (saying she was learning to drive with her permit). So I drove the car into an alley, and her friends were in the backseat while I told her what to do. This was one of the biggest mistakes ever. It was summer and the roof & doors of my Jeep were off. So I was outside the drivers side, and she was in the drivers seat. She didn't wait for me to get back into the car and she guns it. I was right next to her, so I was able to make a quick move by grasping the top rollover bar of the Jeep and stick my foot on the brakes. She is still - STILL - gunning the engine while my foot is on the brakes and this gnarly squealing sound is coming from the engine. I reach across and put the car into park, while she is fucking GIGGLING the whole time like its some kind of game. Fucking idiot girls. I tell her and her friends to get out of my car and I never see them again.

3) Late Night Drives: Dave (my brother-in-law) had brother-in-law named Chuck. Chuck, who is no longer with us, was a real salt of the earth kind of guy who was very overweight and the typical jolly fat-guy. He also drove Harleys in his spare time, and would tell me that his favorite experience was driving a Harley, on a warm summer night, with no real destination - just riding for hours. It wasn't until I had my Jeep that I sort-of knew what he was talking about. Driving the car with no roof and no doors was about as close to being on a motorcycle I got and I did have the same thrill for life on certain sweet summer nights when the air was warm and would sit at a traffic light in the middle of nowhere and look up - and see the crisp stars shining down from the heavens. It was a Zen like moment, when everything was right with the world and unless you have experienced it yourself, you won't know what i'm talking about.

4) "Offroading": Suburban Philadelphia has its share of industrial parks and fields. Sadly none are really "offroading" places, but when you are a bored teenager and you have a carfull of friends - you do what you can. I broke several laws with that Jeep, taking it across fields and lawns while yelling "Offroading" with a group of laughing teenagers in the other seats. I was kind enough NOT to do any major destruction to landscapes, but I do know that there must have been a few mornings where some guy is going to work, walks out of his house and takes a look at his lawn with my tire tracks going across it and he must have been thinking "WHAT...THE...FUCK!"

5) New York, New York: I was pledging Delta Tau Delta, and in our final week we had a scavenger hunt in New York City. The plan was to get 3 carloads of pledges to drive to New York on like a Wedneday night and we had a series of places we needed to visit. Some items we needed to collect, some photos we needed to take to prove we did it. I was one of the drivers and had 3 uncomfortable people in the backseat, along with someone in the shotgun seat. It was my first time driving to NYC, and I can honestly say I went to Manhattan once before when I was a kid - so I was somewhat nervous about driving my nice Jeep into the crime-ridden streets of NYC in 1992. We were right outside of New York city, on the Garden State Parkway (don't ask why we were on the GSP and not I-95), when my steering wheel started to shake violently. I never saw that before, so I slowed down, signalled to the other drivers and something was drastically wrong with my car. I took it to a service station off the GSP and they told me something or other had broke and it would need to be replaced. The people in my car piled into the 2 other cars and I drove home, alone, going 40 miles an hour on I-95, with my hazard signals on. If I went any faster than 40 miles per hour, the steering wheel would shake and rattle. I feel bad about that day because it was a good pledge bonding experience and I missed out.

Good times. Today I drive Dave's old 1993 Volvo with 120,000 miles on it. It does the job. It is a good weekend car. If I had to drive to work, I have little doubt that I would be driving something else. I still find myself on edmunds.com about once a week, looking at the new BMWs and thinking if a $375 lease on a new X3 versus a $420 lease on an X5 is justified. I crunch the numbers and then also try to guess what my insurance would cost - and by the time i'm done daydreaming about a new BMW, Toureag, Volvo convertible...I always take a peek at the latest Jeep and wonder...maybe I could just recapture some of that magic again...

Then the frugal side of me shuts down any thought of buying a car and keeps me focused on saving enough money to buy a condo & pay my PSE&G bill.

I went to the Apple store at 5th avenue. I needed new earbuds. Just the old, regular crappy earbuds that come with the Ipod, because I lost them at the gym.

What was going to be a simple shop at noon on a Tuesday, turned out to be really annoying.

1. 95% of the people shopping there are morons. Every single person in the store loses about 25 IQ points upon entry. No one can just buy something there, they need it explained to them and spoon fed by the attendants.

2. There were a trillion attendants, who all look like Art School dropouts. Every single one of them were occupied with a customer. As soon as one was free it was like blood in the water of a shark tank amongst the other customers. Someone needs to make some kind of queue help system. Get a tag & you are next in line for help. I was in the store for 30 minutes before I had to wait for a free attendant.

3. I just wanted the Apple brand earbuds. Nothing fancy. Not the Bang and Olufsen or the Nike ones - just the Apple brand ones. I didn't want the Apple ones that had a remote or hung on the back of your neck. I want the ones that came in the original IPOD box. Does the Apple store have this? NO! NO! NO! Oh, they are available ONLINE. But, no, sorry "we don't have them in the store". Are you fucking kidding me? I waited 30 minutes to find this out?

4. The stupid elevator. Ooh! Its like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! We need to take the elevator up 10 feet! Wheeeeee! Look if you are old or handicapped - I think the elevator is a great idea. This isn't fucking Disneyland, take the god damn stairs you tourists.

5. The shelving sucks. To see what is on a shelf you have to basically stand away from the shelf about 3 feet, because all the products are below waist level. Ok, fair enough - but the way they position the shelving, you are also BLOCKING the other products behind you. To grab anything, you are bascially knocking people out of your way like 5 year olds. The Apple store product shelving suck.

I left the store and was ready to drop kick someone into the water fountains outside. As an added bonus, what the fuck is up with people on the staircases of this store? They walk slower than Old Man River. No wonder why our country is so fucking overweight - everyone is taking elevators 10 feet or laboriously climbing a set of stairs like they are at the summit of Everest. Even when the guy ahead of me got outside, he S L O W LY made his way out the door, like there wasn't a care in the world! La la la! Its New York City! La la la! I will just shuffle through this door! La la la!

I was at the point of violence at the end of my shopping trip.

How To Fix Monday Night Football

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I'm so tired of the television schedules nowadays for Monday Night Football.

The seers in the NFL offices try to predict what should be shown on Monday Night, months before the season starts. They put on teams that SHOULD be good, but with injuries and uncertainties with every team every year, you never know who will be worthy of watching Monday night.

Here are my Top 5 Ways we can fix Monday Night Football:

1. Don't schedule any Monday night games. Put in a full 16 week schedule of every team, to play every week on Sundays. No Monday night games are scheduled. Two weeks before, the NFL will choose 3 potentional matchups for Monday night, based on record of competing teams and interest. For example, during week 14 I would have chosen for Week 16, the following matchups:
a) NY Giants at Washington
b) Dallas at Carolina
c) Indianapolis at Seattle

All 3 games are with teams that are either in the playoffs, or in the hunt. You know that there is going to be excitement from not only fans of those teams, but even non-fans to watch two teams really battle it out. Of course, choosing the colts is tricky since you don't know if the starters are playing the whole game, but you know that the Colts aren't going to lie down and let the Seahawks beat them.

The NFL will just randomly select one of the 3 teams to play. If owners want their teams to be on a nationally televised game, they have even MORE incentive to spend money on making a good team & coaches.

By scheduling 2 weeks ahead of time that gives teams PLENTY of time to prepare. We are in 2005 (and soon to be 2006), folks. It's not like a team just can't wait ONE day longer to play football - they knew where they were playing, just the time was changed. As for the fans - we are in a digital age. Emails, websites and blogs will alert all the fans to what Monday Night game was chosen 2 weeks in advance, and give people more credit - if they know Monday Night ISN'T a set thing, they will be checking ESPN or their hometown teams website each week to see when their team is on.

2) I would sign Bob Costas to be one of the announcers on Monday Night. I don't know who to pair him with (NOT COLLINSWORTHLESS!!!), but if you watch the guy on HBO's Inside The NFL, he is a solid pick to call the games. Maybe get Al Michaels and Bob Costas at first, to see how they do together while grooming Costas to be the long term host and looking for a replacement for Michaels.

3) Screw the West Coast! Start the games at 8pm EST. I know that we tried it once in 1998 and the rating dipped in the West Coast, but they knew what they were getting into when they moved there. It's a tradeoff, they get the beatiful weather and we get football. Have them get a Tivo, and record the game. By the time they get home, they can watch the football game, skip the commericals and catch up to the rest of the world by the 4th quarter. No one on the East Coast likes to stay up until 12:30am watching a game, and the East Coast easily has more football fans than the rest of the country - cater to your audience, people!

4) I'm tired of watching sideline reporters who are hired by their looks and not their NFL knowledge. Starks? Guerrero? Yes, they are easy on the eyes, but I watch them fumble their ways through interviews like Michael Jackson during a cross-examination. Lets hire men or women who should be on the sideline, because of their brains, not their bodies.

5) Have a real halftime show. I don't understand why only the Super Bowl we get to see a musical act play. Why not just do the same thing for every week of the NFL? Have one band come on that plays 3 songs, and rocks the crowd. Trust me there are PLENTY of good bands that would this for FREE. Why? Because its MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL. Imagine the audience that you garner for some up-and-coming bands who are well known in New York City, but not so well known in Topeka, Kansas. Trust me, just have ESPN partner with MTV and this is a slam dunk for everyone.

What would you do to fix MNF?

Top 5 Winter Fashion Mistakes

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I don't claim to be Mr. Fashion, but this is what I have observed this winter...

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1) Any man who wears earbands. Sorry, I just despise this look. It screams: "Emasculated Man".

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2) The long quilted goose down coat. I know that for girls they are cold all the time and need to wear warm clothes, but come on - this coat makes you look like you are wearing a sleeping bag. Any guy that wears this should have his testicles removed promptly.

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3) Any of the cavewoman boots. Uggs have been replaced by the furry neanderthal boot look. Me No Like!

4) The "Working Girl" look. I see attractive girls, wearing nice clothes and look down to see them wearing stockings, sneakers and white cotton socks over their stockings. Ugh. I know, I know - no one wants to walk around in high heels. It just screams "I'm a secretary!" Oh, i'm sorry, "...administrative assistant!".

5) No coats at all. I see the girls & guys walking down the street, shivering, and they don't have a coat & loudly complain how cold it is. These are the kind of asshats we get into Hoboken. They don't want to crimp their NJ Guido style - so they leave their coats in their leased BMW and walk 4 blocks to Lana or Trinity. They stand out in line, stamping their feet and they already are holding their money out to buy that first of many rounds of red Red Bull and vodka.

Top 5 Bartending Pet Peeves

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Most of you know that i'm bartending once again. I first started at the bar when it first opened, January 2001. I worked until November 2003, when I was, well, fired. It is a long story, and not sure if I want to blog it, because it will just reopen old wounds. If you are really interested, you can always email me or just come to the bar on a Saturday night and ask me. Bottom line is that the owner and I made up with each other and he was happy to welcome me back.

Now that I am back again, here are my top 5 pet peeves I have while i'm working at the bar. Other bartenders may read this and know what i'm talking about, or maybe they will disagree with me. From this list I excluded my whole tipping principles, which you can find here.

  • Order everything at once & have your money ready. A girl came up to the bar the other night, and said, "A Miller Lite, please." I walk to the cooler, get the beer and walk back, putting the beer on the bar and said, "$4 bucks". They say, "Oh, another one!". I walk back to the cooler, get another one, put that on the bar, and say "Ok, $8 bucks". "...and a Captain & coke!" I make the drink and tell her "$14 dollars." She goes into her wallet, fiddles around with money, then turns and asks her friends for money. Bartenders need to sling the drinks out as soon as they can, and this is just slowing us down.

  • Patrons who order stupid drinks. I get younger drinkers who come in and say, "I will have a Mind Eraser!" or "Three shots of Scooby Snack!" I know how to make Mind Erasers, but when its busy, you don't want to be sitting there making a layered drink. I don't know Scooby Snacks, and I would ask the people, "What's in that?" and they have no idea, either. I will look it up sometimes, and a Scooby Snack has 1 part Malibu, Creme de Bananes, Midori, Pineapple and whipped cream shaken together. In other words a pain in the ass to make, especially when the bar is busy. Sometimes people order a "Pink Pussycat" or a "Purple Nurple" and I have no clue what these shots are - so I just make something that has vodka and then color it to look pink or purple and say "There ya go!" Most people have no clue anyhow.

  • People who have no music taste. The bane of my existence at the bar is the jukebox. There are multiple reasons:

    • People have no concept of playing music to the crowd. You get 3 people in the bar who like Phish. They play Phish on a Saturday night in a packed room and everyone else is thinking "Is that music or is someone strangling a seal?" I just hit the skip key and ask the people to play something better.
    • Everyone wants to hear the "song of the moment". Every 2 months there is a supersong that is on the radio and everyone wants to hear it. Kayne West. Outkast. Beyonce. Kelly Clarkson. The problem is that these songs get played ad nauseum every night at the bar. A patron may come in, stay for 2 hours, play that song and leave. Another patron comes in and does the same thing. Pretty soon you are about to rip the jukebox off the wall.

    I liked the old days when a bartender could set the music tempo and play the songs from their CD collection or Ipod. Sometimes patrons would ask for certain bands, and we would play that for them. When I used to work with Teresa, we would have a slamming good time behind the bar listening to Rage Against The Machine and dancing with each other while we worked. Those were the good old days.

  • Rude customers. There was a guy who came into the bar when I worked who just, for some reason, was always rude to me. There were a series of events where he would order from me and just act rude, saying things like, "You aren't friendly - get the other bartender!" or he would look at the shot I poured in a rocks glass and say "This is it? This is all your giving me?" Now, I like to think I give good customer service, but it only took a few more similar situations where I had to set this guy straight. One night I finally had enough, when he got angry at me for pouring a shot incorrectly. He was right, it was a shot I didn't know, his pal told me how to pour it - and it was fairly terrible. I didn't charge for the shot and he kept giving me grief over it. Finally I went off on him. Keep in mind that this was the cumlination of about 4 weeks of this guy being a jerkoff to me. I laid into him, starting with, "What the fuck is your problem, exactly?" I detailed everything he did the last 4 weeks, in front of his friends and his fiance. His friends were all saying, "Oh, we're sorry. He does that when he is drunk!" and at the end of it even he was saying, "Look, i'm really sorry."
    I wrote before that the bartenders aren't servants. I certainly could have handled it a bit differently, but it was a busy bar night and I was at the end of my rope on tolerance. I saw the same guy a week later, he shook my hand and apologized again. Nice guy when he's sober.

  • Underage kids. I was in college, and I tried to get into bars when I wasn't 21. Sadly, I never had ID because my brother refused to "lose" his license for me and I wasn't the kind of brother that would steal it from his wallet. Nowadays, thanks to modern technology, we have a tremendous amount of customers from Stevens University who come to the bar with NJ licenses that are incredibly real. Some are good customers, who drink, tip and act normal. But the other morons make them look really bad. They punch holes in the wall, steal things from the bar and rarely can handle their drink. It makes me want to get a scanner than you can run a license under and it will verify if it is genuine or a fake. I just want everyone in my bar who is older than 21. There are plenty of young 20-somethings who act like morons, too - but the older the patrons get the less likely they will be a complete asshat in a bar.

    Those are my pet peeves while I bartend. Here are my pet peeves while i'm a patron.

  • Male bartenders that ignore guys and serve girls first. I don't know how many uptown bars I will stand there, with my tried and true technique of holding my money out, and the bartenders serve the girls first. As a bartender, I absolutely treat everyone equally, and this drives me insane.

  • Any bars that have a line. I think any Hobokenite who waits in line for a bar is a complete fucking moron. There are NO BARS in this town that are worth a line. You have a trillion bars to choose from, and you want to wait in line for 30 minutes to drink in a bar? No way, not me. Plus, the bouncers at Madisons keep people outside when the bar is half-full. Why?

  • Going to any bar that has 10 people or more wearing the Man Suit. Now that the winter is upon is, the next variation of the Man Suit is the Sweater Man Suit, where the person wears a sweater over the shirt - but the collar, cuffs and untucked tail are all showing - yes, i'm guilty as charged, here. Places that have the "cool yuppie crowd" always have the same vibe: You go there with friends, get into a circle, talk with each other, and ignore everyone else. Am I right? People go to a bar, to drink, and be around other people who drink - but don't talk to them or socialize.

  • Bartenders who complain. I may have my pet peeves, but I do realize a simple thing about bartending - the ratio of money to work is ridiculously easy. You pour drinks, talk to people and hang out at a bar for 8 hours - then walk out with a fistload of cash. As much as I may make my comments about my peeves, don't take any of this the wrong way - bartending is one of the best jobs ever. If they had 401K and health care, I would be tempted to leave my IT job and do it fulltime. I sit there and do the math, and some bartenders work two shifts a week (16 hours), and make more money than a schoolteacher who works 5 days a week (35-40 hours).

Hey, that's just me. Have an interesting one? Email me or leave a comment. Same rules about comments apply to real life - don't be a dick. :)

Top 5 Things I Hate About The Gym

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I workout 4 days a week and still get laughed at by Ethopians, but here are 5 things I hate seeing at my gym, "Club H":

1. Keep your cell phones in the locker. Working out and chatting on your cell phone? Please stop being a retard and put the phone back into your locker. Oh yea, whoever has the cell phone with the Indiana Jones theme song - turn your fucking phone off. Every single time I walk into the locker room that phone is constantly ringing, uber nerd.

2. Guys who feel the need to walk around the locker room completely naked, please stop. Guys will walk up to the scale buck naked - because you know that hefty towel is going to throw your weight off by 3 ounces! Or you walk into the sauna or steam room and it is a preview of "Free Willy". Towels were invented for a reason - use them!

3. Unnecessary grunting has got to go. Yes, lifting heavy objects may cause a person to grunt. But when someone is lifting and it sounds like they are doing their "Incredible Hulk taking a massive dump" impression, it gets old after the 2nd set. This also includes anyone who has a IPOD and decides to SING while they work out. I was next to a chump who was singing happily along with his IPOD, and he was tone deaf. God damn, people!

4. See a cute girl - don't gawk or leer. Too many guys look like they are one step away from dropping their shorts and beating it right there when a cute girl walks by. Horray - you see a cute girl. One second rule, fellas. Glance, look away and appreciate. This also means don't tap your buddy on the shoulder, point and then make chummy quiet laughter. Har har har - you are a dork.

5. I'm so tired of watching people lift heavy weight without proper form. I don't know how many times I see a guy doing bicep curls and he is swinging his back to lift the weight. Or how many times someone is doing the lat bar pulldown and leaning back to pull it down. Reduce the weight, and stop trying to exercise your ego. Rule #1 for the gym is - Check your ego at the door. Just lift with good form first.

Oh, this is a bonus section, which technically makes this a top 10 list:


  • What's up with the top heavy look?. When you have a buff upper body and your calves and thighs are like twigs, you look like a fool. At least 65% of the guys at the gym never workout their legs. I seriously have to sneak some photos of these guys to show everyone how bad this is.

  • Everyone loses (or gains) 10 pounds when they first start to work out. The key to losing weight isn't getting your fat (or skinny) ass on a treadmill - it's your diet. Eating like a bird for lunch and dinner and then sucking down 3 cheeseburgers on a late night drunk binge on Saturday night isn't going to help your weight loss. I'm constantly trying to follow my high protein diet and my love of cheesesteaks and Captain & cokes isn't helping the situation.

  • Wipe down the machines after you use them. The towels provided aren't to wipe your sweaty brow - they are for wiping down the machines after you get your greasy hair all over it. I was going to use a bench to stretch yesterday when it wasn't wiped down - so gross.

  • For the love of God someone destroy Club H's sound system. They play some of the worst work out music at Club H. They should have IPOD night. Club members can sign up, bring in a good IPOD mix (20 songs max - and it gets reviewed so we don't have to endure 1 hour of German Metal Rap), and it gets played. Yes, yes, yes, I know the whole "why not just wear an IPOD and workout". I can't - it is distracting to me to have wires hanging around and stuff. Next invention - bluetooth IPOD with wireless earbuds.

  • Is it really so hard to put the weights back in order? This is my anal request, but when the 45 pound dumbbells are sitting askew or the 55 pounds are in the 40 pound slot, what kind of stupid lazy motherfuckers are going to the gym? Oh right, I forget the same guys who are shooting up steroids between their toes in the gym bathroom, that's who.

Massage at Spa H

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I decided this week to treat myself to one of my favorite ways to indulge myself - with a massage. I'm a fan of massages, head rubs or back scratches. Any of my ex-girlfriends can attest to this. I will return the favor, and I think i'm fairly good at it.

I had 082205.jpgto decide where in Hoboken to get a massage, and there are many places you can get one. I chose Spa H, formerly known as River Spa (3 months after River Spa opened another spa trademarked the name "River Spa"). I chose the spa for two reasons:

1. It was bright, clean and new. The facility just opened less than a year ago and the design is much like Club H's environment. I have been to some massage parlors in the city that, while cheap, had each "booth" just seperated by a curtain. I wasn't interested in hearing someone next to me get a massage.

2. Club H members get 10% off all services. The massage, normally $90 - was only $81 with the discount. For all the money I pay at Club H - it's nice to get a break for being a member.

I could go into fanciful details about the massage, but it was just as expected. An hour long massage. I chose a Swedish massage, but in retrospect I probably should have gotten a deep tissue massage. I am very tight and sore from working out 4 days a week, plus it really felt great to get my injured leg worked on.

I did talk to my massage therapist and decided to ask her some straightforward questions about her job. I figured that i'd share them with you, so that the rest of Hoboken can learn a thing or two from your friendly neighborhood massage therapists.

1. They are massage therapists, not a masseurs or masseuses. I learned this because I was about to ask Amanda, the massage therapist, her advice on "good" clients and began by saying "As a masseuse...". As soon as I said those three words, I could immediately tell I used the wrong words. We had been chatting amiciably during the massage, and it was a small and slight change in the vibe I got from her that I knew I used the wrong word. I immediately corrected myself and said "Wait - do you guys call yourselves that? What's the proper term". She informed me that a "masseuse" is a bit of a deragatory word which categorizes her profession, but also those that would be found in the back pages of the Village Voice - if you know what I mean. Massage Therapists prefer not to be called a "masseuse". Learn from Furey.

2. Tipping is important. As a bartender, and working as a waiter during my adolescent summers at Ocean City, I learned about how important it was to tip properly. I paid $81 for a massage. If I was at dinner, and had an $81 dollar meal, I would have tipped about $15-20, depending on the service and quality of the meal. The same is true for a massage. If you get a massage, expect to tip in the same range. A $5 tip isn't cutting it, folks.

3. Take your happy endings and shove it. While writing this I was expecting a few snarky emails on Monday asking "Did ya get a happy ending - har har har...". Massage Therapists are performing a job to help you. Guys, no matter how great the massage was, they aren't there for you to hit on them. If you happen to see your massage therapist in a bar, hey, buy 'em a drink - and try to impress them about how much money you make or what kind of car you drive. But at Spa H, or any spa, let the professionals perform their jobs.

4. Hygiene is important. If you just had a big workout - TAKE A SHOWER BEFORE YOU GET A MASSAGE. That means, soap, water and a washcloth. Amanda told me how some people don't exfoliate their skin and during the massage the skin peels off and gets under her nails. How disgusting! It is simply considerate to make sure you don't smell like a New York City cab driver or are sweating like Michael Jackson at a nursery school before you get a massage.

5. Get there early. If you make an appointment for 7pm, try to be there 6:50pm. Massage Therapists are on a schedule. They have clients every hour, so if you are late - that means less blissful massaging for you. Also, that backs up their other appointments if they do give you the full hour. Again, it's another simple way that you, as a client, can be considerate towards the massage therapist, who is trying to give you the very best experience possible.

I thought the massage was good, but at $81, it certainly isn't inexpensive. For the same price, I can get a similar massage in New York City. If you are living in Hoboken, you kind of expect that services around here would be a bit less expensive than the city.

I told Amanda that there were two types of people who lived in Hoboken: Those that love the town or those that can't afford New York. Those that can't afford New York are probably the same people who are poor tippers. They aren't going to shell out $90 for a massage but when they do, they would be the type to skimp on a tip. They are the same people who tip $1 after making them 3 mixed drinks and a Cosmo.

I'm always interested in your comments and emails. If anyone has another spa for me to try - let me know where I should be going for a good massage.

Top 5 Memories of My Father

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On May 23rd, 1942 my father was born to a Police officer and a homemaker from Philadelphia. Last Monday was the first birthday where I can't call my father and wish him a happy birthday. Instead I will just pay homage to him with my top five memories of him.

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Happy Birthday, Dad.

1. "You can't push daddy down" One of my father's games with his kids was basically us trying to tackle and knock him over while he was sitting on the carpet. Imagine if you will, about 4 children ranging from ages 3 (me), 6 (my brother) and two twin 9 year old girls running full speed at their father from various angles, trying to knock him over - like a bunch of mini-Philadelphia Eagles trying to tackle a lineman. Each time we failed, he would sing, "You can't push daddy down, you can't push daddy down...". As most of us know, any rhythmic mocking song drives most people under the age of 53 insane with anger. All the kids would be going bonkers in about 5 minutes trying to knock their seated father over, eventually he would have to let us win before we started to use kitchen knives. It was like Sesame Street meets Gymkata after a while.

2. "Villanova acceptance letter" - I was working at Oak Terrace Golf club during the summer of 1989 - I was the bag drop boy (trust me this was a cake job that I made decent money). One day, while I was clearing golf balls from the driving range I see him driving out towards me on a golf cart. My first thought was that something was wrong or that I was in trouble. He said, "You are going to want to read this..." and it was a letter from Villanova University. It was a proud moment for both of us, I worked very hard to get into Villanova and he was very happy for me (before he got the bill from the university). Had I not gotten into Villanova, I would have gone to LaSalle University - I wonder how different my life may have been.

3. "Family Vacations" - We would laugh later in life about his tendancy to be very meticulous about vacations. If we were going to Disney World - he had a plan. Wake up at 7am. Get to the park before it opened. Get to the fun, popular rides first. Do the less popular rides later. Eat lunch at 1300 hours. Go back to hotel and have the kids take a nap. Wash up - go to dinner at 1800. Etc. Looking back, it was a bit much - but we admit now he was very smart about it. It was part of his nature to be as efficient as possible.

4. "Furey Family Vacation" - Dad visited Italy with my sister, brother in-law and my mother. It was a bittersweet story, and I will have to sit and write it. The best part of the story was our trip from Vietre Di Potenza to the Amalfi Coast. My father drove the rental car to Sorrento, with me in the passenger seat as the navigator and my mother in the backseat sleeping. We get to the outskirts of the town, which is situated at the base of large, steep cliffs around the Mediterranean Sea. There is only one road in, and we arrive on a Friday night. The road is absolutely jammed with cars beeping and honking and lots of people yelling in Italian. My father was an aggressive driver and tried to work his way in, and people are beeping at him and shouting in Italian. So what does he do? He rolls down his window, and shouts back. In Fake Italian. Yes, siree. My father, not knowing ANY ITALIAN, decides that he is going to yell back at them in something that SOUNDS LIKE ITALIAN - but it was jibberish! At the time my Italian was much better, and I turned to him after he yelled and said, "What the hell was that?!" He looked at me, smirked/smiled and said "It sounded pretty good, didn't it?". Makes me smile even to type this - its one of those feel good moments that you never forget. We laughed the whole way down to the coastal town.

5. "76ers Games"- When my father was a partner in an accounting firm in Philadelphia, he used to work for the owner of the Philadelphia 76ers. Being a kid, I was oblivious to this and had no real grasp of reality - especially when my father would take my brother and I to 76er games - with FLOOR SEATS. I used to think it was NORMAL to sit on the floor of the game, and see the players from 10 feet away. A few times we were in the box seats of the owner of the 76ers. As a kid, you don't think much of it. I remember driving him crazy because of my insane food requests - I still do it today. Go with me to any sporting event and I turn into a monster - peanuts, pretzels, ice cream, soda...I remember he used to own a Dodge Omni with a hatchback. We would bring our sleeping backs, and sleep in the hatchback on the ride home from the Spectrum to Bucks County. He would always listen to the KYW News Radio 1060, while I stared at the stars from the hatchback.

Top 5 Rules To Communial Laundry

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Its laundry day for me. I hate doing laundry, its one of those things that cut into my "pc gaming time".

But I realized a few things about doing laundry that I wonder if we all share.

Ever notice that you pick favorite amongst clothes? Come on - we all do it. That "special T-shirt" that you really like? Or those socks which "are much better than the rest of the socks because they cling so well"? Or the great pair of jeans that feels wonderful and makes your ass look great?

Then we have the dark side to laundry - the rejects.

You know what i'm sayin. You are nearing the end of the clean laundry cycle - getting to that steel wool underwear and the mismatched pair of linen socks that never stay up. Or you have the "Hennessy's Bar: Yagermeister Party 1996" T-shirt you got from a bar crawl which is the last clean shirt you have in the drawer.

Then, for some unknown reason - rather than throwing out the clothes we hate - they are there at the end of every month looking back at you like, "Hi Furey! Remember me, the J. Crew Flannel Underwear? Hey buddy - come on - wear me! It's 75 degrees outside - everyone loves a sweaty crotch!"

Ew.

Also, what's the deal with the "clean vs dirty" clothes? How long do you wear clothes until they become "unclean"? Like a pair of socks that I may wear all day - ok, at the end of the day I consider them "dirty" and put them in the hamper. But if I put ON the socks that night, and was just lounging at home - I can see using them the next day - its not like I was sweating them up or anything.

The worst is when you are completely out of clothing. Especially underwear. Then its like a game of "Hamper Hijinks" where you have to sort thru the hamper (Oh, we all do it, shut up) and find that "not-so-used" pair of underwear.

I really have to get my laundry done.

I'm fortunate that the coin operated machines are in a communial laundry room where I live - shared by all the renters in my building. I came up with a few rules and observations about these areas:

1. Clothes on top of the machine means "i'm next" (with a 15 minute grace rule). The 15 minute grace rule is the key to this. You can't put your clothes on top of a washing machine and expect to be next an hour later. You snooze, you lose.

2. Put clothes in the dryer? You better be around when its done or they go on top of the drying machine (I think the 15 minute rule applys here also). Sorry - this does mean a stranger will be touching your clean clothing and putting them on top of the not so clean drying machine. You were the fool who didn't time the dryers right when you went back to your apartment to watch the rest of The Greatest American Hero marathon.

3. Remember that trick we learned in college to get free washloads done (if you don't know it - don't ask) with dental floss, tape and quarters? Yea. Um. Stop it. Really. You cheap assholes are gumming up the coin operated dispenser and now I have to bring a hammer with me to slam the quarters into the slot.

4. If the machines break - please tell management. I remember that for 2 weeks the hot cycle and cold cycle were reversed on the washing machine. My roommates kept complaining to me about it (since i'm the Alpha Roommate - the oldest roommate in the house, somehow I become the guy who has to tell the landlord or management about our problems) - I took matters into my own hands and did the really tricky MacGuyver manuver of REVERSING THE HOT AND COLD WATER HOSES. Maybe if someone could have called management this could have been solved sooner - but noooooooo - everyone sits around expecting the magic laundry mechanic to appear and fix it.

5. Respect your communial space. Some people are the worst slobs on the planet - which is fine in your own apartment - but I walk into my communial area and it looked like the Tide Monster, the Wisk Fairy and Snuggles the Fabric Softner Bear just finished a threesome. Various mystery stains of detergent and tufts of dryer linen are strewn all over the room, with the one missing black sock.

Top 5 Things I Learned From NROTC

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While in Villanova, I was in NROTC (Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps). 'Nova, at that time, had the largest NROTC unit in the country with about 225+ midshipmen and midshipwomen. Both my brother in laws were Naval Academy graduates in 1990, one was an officer on a "boomer" (nuclear missile submarine) and the other was an officer on a "Oliver Hazard Perry" class frigate. Both told me about the best qualities of being a naval midshipmen: leadership, responsibility and getting laid like a champ. Come on. With movies like "Officer and a Gentleman" and "Top Gun" on heavy rotation on local cable channels, it was getting naval recruits laid across the country faster than you could say "I got no where else to go!" or "I feel the need. The need for speed." My parents were very supportive also. At first I thought it was because they liked the idea of military training to instill a sense of discipline into their half-feral child. It quickly dawned upon me that the money they would save was probably the real motivating factor. I joined NROTC on a whim, actually. It was my first day of school, and we were walking around the campus and they were handing out flyers. I spoke to some of the midshipmen, and the officers and they were extremely friendly - even the Marine enlisted Gunnery Sergeant was smiling and chatting amiably. I was a fairly easy sell - the only downside is that since I joined late I didn't have a scholarship I would pay my own way for the first 2 years of school and if I made "Advanced Standing" in my junior year I would get a partial scholarship for my final two years. Once I graduated I would be a commissioned officer. In some respects, i'm happy I joined - I instantly had 225+ friends on campus in the unit. On the other hand, what a dreadful way to begin college.

Top 5 Things This Blog Is Not...

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My friends at Hobokeni.com have decided to add me as the first blog for their "Calling All Blogs" category. I'm very flattered, and also noticed that yesterday the number of new visitors increased tremendously (www.statcounter.com). Last Monday I had 37 unique visitors - yesterday this site nearly doubled the number of visitors to 65. Welcome new people!

The people who have visited this site in the past few months were via word of mouth - mostly friends, family and the random person who somehow found this site via Google.

So now I have a bunch of new stangers wondering "WTF is this site?" I figured now was a good time to let the new people know what not to expect from the blog, so to avoid any future problems...

1. This site is not only about Hoboken. I live in Hoboken, but work in New York City. I am from Philadelphia - and love all the sports teams of that city, while hating nearly every New York team with a passion (especially the Yankees). I will write about Philly teams here often, if you don't like it, well that sucks, doesn't it?

2. I rarely proof read anything I write, simply because I don't have the time. You will find run on sentences, grammatical errors and spelling mistakes all over my entries. I try to limit them as best as I can, but I am reminded by certain anal readers about these mistakes.

3. This is a blog, not a serious professional website by any stretch of the imagination. If you are expecting "Gothamist for Hoboken" - i'd love to get to that point someday. Right now its just me, writing about my life. It was mostly inspired by the death of my father, a wonderful man who died before I could get to know him as a friend. My hopes for this website are to express myself through my experiences and words so my family and friends can get to know me.

4. This won't be a site where I disclose everything. I have certain things that I keep away from strangers - like my name of "Furey". I'm sure some of you may say "Hey I know that picture, his name is...." - cool, you know me. Lets keep that off-line for now. I try to not reveal my friends or family last names when I talk about them on this site. If you see something on the site that you object to - email me and I will alter/fix it if necessary. I'm still learning how much I want to reveal about myself and my life - I won't talk about where I work, for example - nor will I talk about work-life.

5. This site isn't about negativity. Lots of people think the internet allows them to spew hate towards people and its ok. If you see something I write and hate it, or have a negative comment - take it somewhere else, not here. I write the blog for those that enjoy it - if you don't enjoy it, leave. There are plenty of other sites out there for you. Hey - join hobokenchat.com and vent all you want over there!

That's about it. Today I am home from work - my first sick day in 6 months. I'm so bent out of shape about being sick - I so rarely get sick after I quit smoking. Tonight i'm going to a new restaurant with some friends in Hoboken for a birthday dinner (Happy Birthday Lisa!).

I hope to write up a mini-review about it and have some pictures from the night posted this week.

I have a lot of these, and my pain is your enjoyment...don't forget about how I lit myself on fire, which is the best story...

1. One day I had a compound bow. My uncle gave it to me, and I used to practice on a target at my house in Gwynedd. One day, I walked across the street (into a very large, empty cornfield) and put the bow setting to the highest level that my 16 year old arms could pull, and notched an arrow. I fired that arrow into the sky at about a 60 degree angle. Dude - that sucker was gone, I think I shot it about half mile away - it went so far that I had no idea where it went, I lost sight of the thing. I ran from the field in fear that I killed someone. I'm sure that one day, after that event, someone was walking in that cornfield and found an arrow stuck in the dirt and was thinking "Where the hell did this come from?"

2. I decided to drive from from Villanova one night to my house in Gwynedd. It was a snowy night, around 3am, but I had a Jeep Wrangler and I was overconfident with my 4-wheel drive. I was taking backroads the whole way home - and I got on one road that was complete ice. So I slowed to about 10 miles per hour and I swear to God I was crawling down the road super safe. Suddenly, my car just started to slowly, slowly spin on the ice at 10 miles per hour. It happened to slow and I tried to turn into the spin and it didn't work. It was like slow-motion. So I kind of gave up - literally - just crossed my arms and said "I'm screwed", adjusted my seatbelt and waited. In about 10 more seconds I drifted across the ice - into a snowbank - and revved my 4-wheel drive out of there. Had another car been coming in the opposite lane I would have been in trouble.

3. Another time i'm driving my dad's covertable european sports-car down the road, not far from my ice experience. It was summer, and there was a flash shower that lasted like 2 minutes. The rain, combined with the oil on the road = super slick conditions. I turned a corner and did a 180 into a pumpkin patch - sliding into the other lane and off the road at about 45 miles an hour. Again, if someone was in the other lane it would have been catastrophic. That wasn't my fault - I wasn't going that fast, and the freaking sportscar is made in Great Britian - aren't those bastards designed for rain?? That sucked. Fortunately there was little damage to the car (I think the tire rim got scraped up), and I just hosed all the mud off it when I got home. My parents never found out. Except right now as my mother reads this. Oh God.

4. One time I won a 3-point competition when I was 14, they had it during the halftime of my brother's basketball games. I was on fire that day, I just was hitting some great stuff. So they had another one where I was called out to try again...it was like my arms were laughing at me. I must have bricked it 5 times. Plus, my brother's friend, who worked on the yearbook was taking pictures that day and got me, in all my glory, into my brother's yearbook missing those shots with the tag like "Not Even Close". Nothing like destroying the fragile ego of youth.

5. I went to Killington with my high school club, and was snowboarding for a year. I go on the "FIS" ("Fuckin' Insane" run at Killington), and try to do the moguls. It was like the Hindenberg. Oh the humanity! My gloves, goggles, scarf, hat, board and nearly pants all went flying off my body. The first comment, from the chairlift right next to the slope, was "YARDSALE!" - of course making fun of the fact my clothing was spread all over the slope. The next comment, as I slid down the slope, head first, was "SUPERMAN!" because I looked like Superman would be - flying down the hill headfirst. Then, I had to walk BACK uphill, collect my clothing and dodge skiiers who were laughing at me. That was fun.

5. Dungeons & Dragons Club. Yep. Must I go into details here? Photo evidence also exists.

Bonus addition:

My Prom That Never Was

I'm sure a lot of you like the Mom & Pop stores that are along Washington St., but how often do you REALLY shop at these stores?

If you are like me, you shop at a store because of good prices or good quality.

I see these cute boutique clothing stores on Washington - with extremely inflated prices for the most simple of garments. Or there are a restaurants in town - yet they are just as expensive as New York City, but they aren't on the same level as NYC restaurants (quality, service and atmosphere).

Here are my current Top 5 for Hoboken. Remember, these are just *my* wants and needs that i'd love to see in town, and i'm sure everyone has a different opinion - feel free to leave your comments.

FYI, I had to make people register now to comment on the site after some dork came along and put a bunch of advertisements on my site for online casinos.

1. Mid to Upscale Chain Clothing Store - You may be thinking "Wait - didn't you just write that you didn't like the expensive clothing stores?" - That is true. I did write that. But, i'd much rather have a J. Crew, Banana Republic or even Gap in town. From what I was told, there are certain requirements for a store like these to open in town - parking being a chief concern. If there was a J. Crew in town, I know i'd be there all the time. Sorry - i'm a very lazy clothes shopper. I like good quality clothes, and don't shop around for cheap clothes. I also may work in NYC - but I don't like to really shop in NYC - i'd rather be able to hit these places on the way home from work or on the weekends. Taking the PATH, into the city, on a Saturday? No, thanks. I'm waking up, oh, around 1pm and nursing a hangover on most Saturdays - if I want to do any shopping it better be within a 10 minute walk of my apartment.

2. High End Steakhouse - I can't believe that Arthur's does so much business. After eating there I feel like I just did a keg stand on a grease vat. I think that Peter Lugers or MarkJoseph or Morton's or Smith & Wollensky would clean up if they had a steakhouse on Washington. I'm sure some of you think that Frankie & Johnnie's is a steakhouse - they aren't. Yes, they sell steaks. Congratulations, here is your pin & membership card to the "Captain Obvious Club". No, we need, nay - demand - a steakhouse. Not a restaurant that serves steak, along with other dishes - just aged steak.

3. Coffeehouse - I like Starbucks, but its too bright and commericial for a real coffeehouse. You want to order your coffee and escape as soon as you can. I'm talking about a large, dark coffeehouse with chairs, ottomans and couches that won't accept anyone with a stroller or child under 12. It would be nice to have a place to relax on a Friday night with friends that doesn't involve alcohol. Sadly, the exorbant rents on Washington St. would doom such an idea, but I would imagine there has to be some place to build this. Also a secondary idea would be a combination coffeeshop / bar. Think like Panera meets Trinity and their bastard love child is the coffeeshop.

4. A Real Sportsbar - No, this isn't a pub that has TVs which show crappy ESPN Sportscenter over and over. No, we are talking a real deal sports for by men for men. Pool tables, foosball, that electronic basketball game like 8th Street Tavern, beer pong, air hockey, bubble hockey, PS2 competitions. This should be like a male grown up version of an arcade meets a sportsbar. No kiddies allowed under the age of 21. Make it a mecca to all sports, from all cities - not just NYC/NJ. This place should be the combination of: Dave & Buster's meets Hooters and Mandalay Bay's sports area from Las Vegas. Get reclining chairs that let guys lounge all day in front of huge plasma screen TVs - as long as they keep drinking & paying. Also get well endowed women to serve them all day, and you have a bit hit on your hands. Rumor has it from "Joe C." is that some prominent sports stars are already doing pre-production for a sports bar in town. They should get a consultant like me to help, I think.

5. Kick-Ass Cheesesteak Place - Jake's you fucked it up. I had faith in you when you said that you were going to listen to the customers. You didn't listen to me and now what - you are about as popular as a pimple-faced Stevens kid in Dipper's. Its not that hard, people. A few key things are needed: Rib-Eye Steak NOT Sirlion. Yes, Sirloin is the "better" meat but Rib-Eye is fatty & flavorful. Amoroso's bread not some "super secret bread we found in Holmdel" - whoppity doo! I liked the bread, but not on a cheesesteak. Normal onions - NOT carmelized onions. What the hell are you doin?? Seriously folks, if I had about 2 million to burn and wanted to clean up in this town - i'd make a die hard cheesesteak place that would blow the doors off anything this town has seen. This would be my gameplan: Step 1, go to Jim's on South Street and apply to work as a chef. Learn how its done. Step 2 - go to Hoboken, get into a partnership with a pub that has a kitchen like Farside, Dipper's, etc. Step 3 - make steaks EXACTLY the way it should be made that any child under the age of 8 from Philadelphia can tell you how it should be made. Step 4 - Buy a rake for all the money i'd be making.

Honorable Fast Food Mentions:

a. Taco Bell - a REAL full Taco Bell not crappy Taco Bell Express.
b. Pizza Hut - Bennie's isn't that good, i'm sorry.
c. In N Out Burger - if you don't know about In N Out, you aren't alone, its a West Coast thing.
d. Atomic Wings - they are located in Down The Hatch and other bars in NYC - awesome wings, I don't understand why a good wing joint hasn't opened up in Hoboken.

Top 5 Events From Last Weekend

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1. I met Melanie Silcott from The Real World: Philadelphia. Again, my life can be very random - my friend, Matt, has a sweet and friendly girlfriend named Tram-Anh (Tre), who is friends with Melanie. They met in Philadelphia, while Melanie was taping the Real World. Matt's 30th birthday party was in Philly last Saturday night at Mint. Melanie was there, and she was very nice to everyone. I really didn't want to bother her, so I did introduce myself and avoided being a uberdork by saying how much I watch the show. Suffice to say it was very surrealistic when you meet someone that you watch on TV every week. After we left Mint, then went to Denim, Melanie was more interested in hitting a pub, and peeled off from the group. I wish I went with her since I hate clubs. My huge regret is that I didn't bring my fucking digital camera and get any pictures of her. Plus I could have gotten pictures of...

2. Terrell Owens girlfriend. Actually that isn't 100% true. T.O. has the hots for one of Tre's friends in Philly who is a bartender, named Danielle (Dani). She is very good looking, and extremely nice. She is so hot that I didn't even bother trying to hit on her. Tre told me that she & Dani were invited to T.O.'s house to watch MNF a few weeks ago. Donnie McNabb was there, along with about 12 other guests. They said T.O.'s house is incredible: It has two full sized kitchens, one of them has a whirlpool in the middle of it. In his backyard he has a 10 foot grill - 10 feet! Is T.O. cooking a full cow on the grill? Anyhow, while Tre and Dani were sitting on a couch, Donovan McNabb was sitting there talking to them. Two other girls walk into the party, dressed to the nines, like they are going to a club - Tre and Dani are wearing jeans and thinking "Where did they think they were going to?". So the new girls introduce themselves to Tre, Dani, and Donnie who are all seated on the couchand Donovan McNabb says: "Hi, I'm Justin." The two glam girls, who have no idea that they are talking to Donovan McNabb saying "Hi Justin!" - no clue registering on their faces. McNabb, Tre, and Dani wait for the glam girls to walk away and the bust out laughing. Come on - you are going to T.O.'s house for MNF and you have NO IDEA who Donovan McNabb is?! Funny stuff. For the record, T.O. is NOT dating Dani - but the running joke with her friends is that she is "T.O.'s Girlfriend", because she was invited to his house for MNF.

3. It's nice to know people. After we left Mint, and headed to Denim, you see how the rest of the "cool world" lives. We headed to Denim with Dani, Tre, Matt, and Tim Legler from ESPN (Friends with Dani, and was with us for the party. You may remember him as winning the 3-point shootout competition during the 1996 All-Star weekend, he played on Washington Wizards.). We get to Denim and there is a huge line 30 people deep, 4 bouncers and a thin guy with a clipboard and frazzled look about him at the door - obviously he is the gatekeeper here. Legler and Dani walk up to him say a few words and we are all escorted in. Again, its nice to be amongst semi-celebrities.

4. Its nice to kiss and make up. One of the problems I have with this blog is that there is only so far I can delve into my personal life and not have it come back to bite me in the ass. Too many Hoboken people I know read this thing and some know about my problems, and some don't. If I wrote about everything I knew about everyone in this town, I imagine that scorned enemies would start scouting out watertower locations with their sniper rifles. One problem I currently have involves a friendship that went sour. Without going into detail, its nice to finally stop the drama and start being cordial and nice once again. 'Nuff said.

5. I'm stupid sometimes. It's Sunday around noon and i'm driving on I-95 back to Hoboken from Philly. Driving along, slightly hungover, listening to my iPod on my car stereo and thinking. Suddenly it dawns on me that I could have had a cheesesteak at Jim's on South Street. I look in the other lane, back to Philly and its a parking lot - if I turn around its going to be a nightmare. I forgo the cheesesteak and grumble on my drive home. Only sunny spot about the trip is that it took me 1 1/2 hours to get from Philly to Hoboken, which was great.

5a. My Birds crushing the Packers. I sent out an email on Friday to everyone in The Philadelphia Eagles Club of Hoboken about how nervous we should be of the Packers. Wow, was I wrong. Talk about making a statement with a win. Lets just hope the Eagles don't peak too early and keep this momentum going. Unbelieveable game, if the Eagles played like that in the NFC Championship game there won't be a team that could stop our run to Jacksonville.

Top 5 Reasons to Hate Southern California

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Sure, I could have done "love" but isn't hating much more fun?

1. "The Inland Empire" - empire.jpg
Many of you may not know, but the residents of the area of Southern California, away from the coast, refers to themselves as "The Inland Empire". They have a magazine, its on craigslist, http://inlandempire.craigslist.org/, and even watching the news weather they say, "On the coast it will be 67 degrees and the Inland Empire will be 64...". What the hell? Inland Empire? "Hello? Insecurity: Line 1. Its Southern California calling."

2. Disneyland - I was there for 6 hours and got to see 6 attractions. It cost $60 to get in per person (It was very nice of my sister and brother-in-law to pay for the entry fee), lunch was ridiculous, and the lines were enormous. By the end of the day I wanted to get a Valium drip. On a side note, I wanted to rename Disneyland into "The Pedophile Kingdom" because of all the 15 year old girls who were dressed up like they were 18. It was ridiculous. I know i'm sounding old when I say this - but what the fuck happened to kids in the last 10 years? I want to say more, but I don't want to get sued by lawyers from Disney. After seeing what I saw that day I hope that when I have children they are all boys.

Top 5 Diamond Commercials I'd Like To See

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This was meant for Monday, but I was busy!!

After Halloween all the new holiday commercials start. Is it me or is every other commercial a diamond commercial?

Kay Jewelers has: "Every kiss begins with Kay!"
or
DeBeers advertises: "Diamonds are forever."
or
Zales "The Diamond Store" exclaims: "Buy a Zales diamonds and you will get laid."

Fine. Zales doesn't REALLY advertise that, but come on isn't that what all these commercials are really saying? They are simply eluding to what the rest of our shallow and materialistic country already knows - you don't express love through actions but on how many gifts you shower your special other with.

With that in mind, these would be the commercials that I would promote for the next series of diamonds ads that we are getting slammed with ad nauseum during the holiday season.

Top 5 Personal Ad Mistakes For Women

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I love reading personal ads, and critique them here. Most people need to be a bit more creative on personal ads, and get the attention of the readers as soon as they can. Here are the top 5 mistakes in personal ads written by women FOR men:

1. Men stopped mentally maturing at 16 years old. Oh, i'm sure some guys put up a strong front, but deep down they are all children. When writing, key in on those things that you think a 16 year old guy wants. Common mistakes & fixes:

  • Long walks on the beach = bad. Sex on the beach = good.
  • Looking for Mr. Right = bad. Looking for Mr. Right Now = good.
  • Doesn't like a guy who plays games = bad. Looking for a guy who likes Xbox = good.
  • Needs someone that won't tie them down = bad. Needs someone they can tie up = good.
  • Likes classical music & foreign films = bad. Likes classic rock & foreign porn movies = good.

    2. Leave your baggage at home. How many personal ads are really a cry for help? There are some common threads in all the personal ads which really tell a lot about the woman and the guy they were dating. Here are my favorites:

  • "Looking for someone trustworthy." - you dated a liar.
  • "Looking for someone classy." - If you say "classy" you aren't "classy".
  • "Loves to appreciated." - someone was ignored too much.
  • "Loves to travel" - especially when its on my boyfriend's dime.
  • "Someone who is open and ready for a new relationship..." - looking to marry.

    3. Men are shallow. Its sad, but true. When putting those pictures up on jdate.com or match.com - you *may* want a guy friend to give the thumbs up or down. A few pictures that men don't want to see:

  • The cut-off picture. You know that picture. Its the one of you and the half of ex-boyfriend's left arm.
  • 1998 Graduation picture. Usually holding a rose to your cheek or starting off in the distance with a lithium induced smile...no.
  • Blurry or distant pictures. Ok, lets get real here. You have the ad up, lets get a clear picture of you up there. Leave the games for the first date.
  • A RECENT picture. Yes, you were hot at 21 and not at 31.

  • Top 5 Things I Hate About The PATH

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    Here are my top 5 things I hate about the PATH:

    1. What's up with the 1960 decor? The Hoboken PATH station is very much in need of a makeover. It looks like something from Better Homes & Gardens: Bosnia. Can we get more concerete and pale flourescent lighting in there, please? The trains are older than me. I also love how it seems the pillars have about 46 coats of paint on them.

    2. People who wait on the other side of the tracks should be beaten with rubber hoses. You know who you are. You are the people who wait on the side of the PATH train when it rolls into the station - the side where the doors open first to let the passengers off - so you can scurry inside the train and get a seat. This needs to be outlawed for two reasons.

  • The passengers getting off have to shove their way through a crowd of people who are too rude to let them off the train.
  • Really, this is the equivalent of butting in line. Rather than waiting their turn on the center platform for the 33rd Street Train - they are being sneaky.

    3. Take your backpacks, messenger bags and purses off! I'm tired of getting poked and prodded by someone wearing a backpack who doesn't take them off when they get on the train. Simple rule: Get on the train. Take off your backpack. Put it between your feet while you stand.

    4. Time to build an express train. We already have a tunnel in place, if another track was built next to it, for express trains, this would be key. Have the train make two stops: 14th street and 33rd street. A 20 minute train ride to 33rd street now becomes a 10 minute ride.

    5. Combine MetroCard and PathCards. Why doesn't someone get smart and make the equivalent of EZ Pass for public transportation? You have ONE card that will allow you to take the bus, subway, PATH, train - whatever! Make a universal debit card that is used for all forms of public transportation!

  • Top 5 Things I Miss About Philadelphia

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    Top 5 Things I Miss About Philadelphia:

    1. Sports. My previous article should have given insight that most guys from Philadelphia love sports. I'm a huge Eagles fan, big Flyers fan, strong Sixers fan and a lukewarm Phillies fan (its hard to love a team that is sub .500 so many years). Plus my teams are constantly getting upset by the hometown teams. The Devils have been kicking the Flyers around for the majority of the last few seasons. iketina.jpg
    The Eagles were once the Giants bitches - I think the Giants at one point of time beat the Eagles 11 meetings in a row or maybe it was 10 of the last 11 games. Sixers (pre Iverson) were the "Tina" to the Knicks "Ike Turner" beatdown ("Eat the cake, Anna May!"). When my teams get beat - its like the Parade of Putdowns for me from my friends and coworkers. They come marching over to my apartment or calling my cell phone. Fun, fun.

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