Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Ocean City

Just so you don't think that I am totally lost, I should have posted this yesterday, before all the sorrow. This weekend I spent two days down in Ocean City at my good friend's family summer casa. I had a blast.

this is the whole crew, feasting on homemade wine, kielbasa's, sausages, brocoli and pasta salad. Grappa, coffee, and canoli's for dessert.

After dinner we headed to the boardwalk. We had frozen custard, we thought about doing one of those old time photo's, but they were closing and being jerks. We rode the ferris wheel, shown here in this cool shot i took from my stomcah. Overall I really was psyched to be there, it was inspiring my visual eye to pop out of my head. Upon previewing most of my shots I was pleased, but of course you can never tell if they are in focus until you dump them from the camera, alas, my little cybershot might be reaching the end of it's life.

I love this shot, and the three others that I took that were similar. This swing ride has always been my favorite out of all rides. I like how it looks like a giantic mechanical mushroom from Alice in Wonderland...maybe with a bit of an S&M spin with the chains.

Now we're actually on the thing. I believe we had a few sceptics, that did not think it was "adult" enough to get on. everyone changed their mind when they realized this thing went a lot faster, or felt like it did, than when we were all little kiddies. Joe is in the front, then Linds, and the green blob is my pal Ad.

Last day on the beach, I bought a giant shovel, all the kids had them. We worked with Joe, the master sculptor to create a whale, complete with a 3-D tail. It didn't last long, but long enought to draw a small crowd. The beach there was a blast. Adam and i played tennis ball, a game entirely made up by us, where you throw the tennis ball and try to dive to get it. The next day we played "Kadima" the paddle ball game. Yesterday I noticed that my right forearm is about 50% bigger than my left, probably from all the throwing and hitting in the two days, it's all swelled up.

The last night we couldn't help ourselves (well, most of us, Lindsay was a straight up party pooper) we had to hit Atlantic City before we left. Paul had been schooling me over the weekend with the rules and strategy of Craps, so we hit the $10 tables as soon as we could. I started with $40, he started with $200. After the first two rolls, his and mine, we were both up, I believe I was up $60 (up being profit, not including what I started with). But after 30mins of bad rollers I lost all my profit and my $40. So.....having time left before the 12:20am bus back to NY, I grabbed another $40. This one lady was hot, and at the end of the night I was back up. I cashed in my chips for $168, making a profit of $88. Not bad for the first time. Paul, being the more experienced and bigger gambler, walked away with winnings of $375.

So I had a great weekend, followed by a crappy Wednesday. That's life for ya.


Saturday, August 27, 2005

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Sorry! Sorry! I'm teaching an animation class all this week, and even though it's like a beautiful paid vacation in comparison to my "real" job, it's taking a lot of my focus (a great thing). I will try to get a meaty blog in here ASAP!

Children are a wonder. Thier minds are so open and vast (and for the most part) refreshingly honest. It is, in fact.......refreshing.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

...they aint leavin till 6 in the....6 in the mornin!

Last night I had my first foray into being on the opposite side of the bar then I usually attend...the side where there is less drinking...well....kind of. The host of my travel show is the music consultant of a SoHo club. I had expressed interest into learning how to sling our modern day poison. She passed on my request and thus, I got to train behind the bar last night, and hopefully other nights to come.

The club is really nice and Wednesdays are a slow night in retrospect. They had DJ's playing house music and their was much dancing. I showed up at 9pm, I don't think we saw a person until 11pm. By Midnight the crowd was getting thicker. From 12 to about 12:45am it was a bit busy, and then the pace slowed to like a drizzle until about 3am. By then, there were maybe 6 people left, by 3:15 am they closed entry, and by 3:30 am the place was empty completely. I stayed until about 4:45 am, watching my trusty mentor, Tristan, a very good looking (in that typical Bartender/NY fashion) close out, count money, wash glasses, etc.

I was originally set to "shadow" him, meaning follow and watch, but it became very appearent that for me to actually learn anything, I was going to have stuff. So, slowly and surely, I started to make drinks and grab beers. Beers are of course way easy, $6, Corona's get a lime. I made anything else that didn't require much thought, i.e., Gin and Tonic's, Vodka with this, vodka with that. Anything that I didn't know how to make I just asked Tristan to make and then I watched. I got a lot of waters and sodas.

So all in all, once you know the more "complicated" drinks, i.e, cosmopolitan's, silk panties (Vodka, peach snapps, with a splash of Cran), kamikaze shots, margarita's and such, and then you have a feel for how the computer system works, and how much everything cost......well....that's really all there is to it. I quite enjoyed the experience. Being behind the bar, was way better then being in front, that's for sure. In the course of my first night, and not even being anywhere close to an actual bartender, I received three kisses on the cheek, two winks, a request to dance. That's more action than I have had in months.

Tristan explained the scenario. "Women like to feel powerful over the guy behind the bar. I don't know what it is, they just like it. It's not the same way with men and female bartender's." I would have to agree, having done my share of "hitting on" female bartender's. I wonder why that is?

I did learn some very interesting things about bars in general. This might surprise some, this first bit makes me want to open a bar. The establishment makes a profit.....after the first drink they sell. For example. A Vodka Tonic at this establishment cost $8......that's with well liqour mind you. Now, $8 is a bit pricy, even for Manhattan and especially for well liqour. But the BOTTLE of Vodka....the entire bottle cost $6. So that one drink just threw that whole bottle into the 100% profit range after one drink. So it makes sense, points out my mentor, that for the extra dollar, you might as well buy top-shelf liqour.

So after really only 4 hours of actual bartending, but 8 hours of work, including setting up and breaking down.....I was curious, on this slow night, a Wednesday, how much my mentor made. The bar-back, who did nothing but cut limes and lemons and buss glasses was tipped out $75 from the bartender, he tried to give me $50. I told him that wasn't fair, I was here to learn and I really didn't do too much, so he gave me $30, which I accepted and half went into a cab home. All in all he walked away with $290 himself. The bar made about $1,400. A quarter of what it makes on say, a Friday or Saturday, but then of course there are three bartender's and not just one.

So let's throw these numbers into perspective, from my point of view. Let's say you work three slow nights a week, like a Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Let's say you average $300 a night......$900 a week...that's like $3,600 a month....which ends up being $43,200 a year.......under the table mind to speak. And that's only 3 days a week.....12 days a month...roughly 40% of the year......Out of 365 days, you work 144.....and have 221 days off!?!?!?!

Am I insane, or is that crazy? No wonder so many people put themselves through college bartending, and no wonder so many people bartend through the summer non-stop and then take extended vacations. And that's just all figuring that your working slow nights. What about the people who bartend on Friday and Saturday and make a considerable amount more than the slow nights?

This is all very interesting. Something I think would be perfect for my interim between the end of this job and possible Peace Corps service. And it's such a good fall back skill. Anywhere you go in the world, you could always find a job bartending if you had the experience.

I love fall-back skills. You can never have enough of em. So I work next Wednesday too, I probably won't stay till close, because I'm doing this animation gig that week, which I'm STOKED about, because it means I won't be working in the office at all. But I hope I can keep this thing going for a while, I mean, I'm not getting paid, so what do they have to lose?? And then maybe I can scoot right in there at a later date, or start bar-backing for pay, or just use them as a reference for another bar.

Doing the bull dance...feeling the flow.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Sharp Curve Ahead...

Yes. Yes it's getting clearer. I am ready for a life change. A typical Friday night turns into a not so typical evening, details to follow.

I went to a movie with some friends tonight. We saw "The Aristocrats," A movie about the lore of a single joke told among the comedian circuit. It was very amusing. OK, normal so far, you with me? We leave the theatre and head to a bar for a few pitchers. What's a few pitcher's between friends? I have a sandwich as well, still normal. This group begins to part and split and head in different directions. For some reason I am not tired, so I decide to join my best bud Greg in his further escepades to meet up with his wife and some other friends at a Karaoke bar. We arrive, stay for aboput an hour. Singing was good, singing was bad, drinks were spilled, laughing was to be had. I didn't take the mic tonight, but joined in on a few, and helped some people keep time. The teleprompter in this place was not top notch. This group breaks up now too. It's 2 something am I think at this point. Not even the hint of drowsiness. On the way out I had a good laugh at a guy doing a very entertaining version of "Patience" by Guns N Roses.

Life changing moment getting closer.

Now I'm in an area of a city that is particularly like, a dead zone to me. It doesn't make sense to take a subway one stop just to wait for another train, so When in the East Village I usually walk to my transfer stop and just wait for one train. It's a warm night, hot, but pleasent, so I'm looking forward to the stroll.

Phase 1 of Life Changing Moment occurs. I feel very lonely. There are cuoples staggering about. I think to myself, "shouldn't these be the best years of my life?" And here I am alone in a New York. I wish I had someone to share this evening with.

I get on the J-train at about 3:20am, take it deep into the ghetto of Brooklyn. I get off, crab a coke through a revolving bullet-proof glass window, and notice a commotion across the street. Normally, or after my neighborhood experiences I bet you would think I would just keep on walking past. But I don't, there are about 40 people gathering in a crowd, something is up. A fight breaks out between two women. The men let it go mostly, it grows in intensity, it moves into the street and stops traffic. 15 minutes go by and it's still escelating. No cops in sight.

Phase 2 of Life Changing Moment occurs. The women takes a bat out of her car and beats the living daylights out of the other women, more jump in, people are rolling in the middle of the street, still no cops. A car next to me, that had been there at LEAST 5 minutes total, throws on some lights and hits a siren. An undercover car...that did NOTHING. They drove close to the quarrel, but still, no law enforcement stepped out of the car until everything was already over and people were breaking up.

What the hell was that all about? I wondered. Now I start thinking, maybe it's time for me to think about other people other than myself. What can I do to change the world? To help others?

Phase 3 of Life Changing Moment, I enter Peace Corps into a google search and start bookmarking like crazy. I think it's time I leave this country and go do something for someone else...for a while. Maybe build a school, or teach english somewhere, or help an endangered species proliferate. Dig irrigation or plant corn, or help sick children.

Sound crazy? Not to me it doesn't. Not tonight. I'm seriously considering this. Get myself out of the miniscule debt I have compared to others and just leave.....leave for good, to do good. Just the thought lightens my mood.

I have a feeling I'll be doing a lot of research and reading tomorrow.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

NY Underground shopping

Yesterday I spent the day with my Aunty D and my cousin Hannah. They came into NY for half a day to do one thing and one thing only. Shop. And not just your regular shopping.....but UNDERGROUND SHOPPING.

These two might look all innocent and nice but these two are capable of shopping where no man dare shop before! I knew that they wanted to get certain...shall we say....contraband, only to be found in NY City. I happen to know the general area where these items could be obtained (although I did have to call a female source to confirm). The first item was a bit tricky to find. I had seen them before, I looked for 30 mins up and down Canal St. to locate this rare item. I had no luck. However, the two pictured above, my flesh and blood, have noses for shopping. Straight out of the cab they were able to locate item #1 on their list

Yes. They came to NY to buy baby turtles! This is of course, not legal, for selling or purchasing. One turtle cost $10 but 4 only cost them $25....what a deal !! I am very pleased to say, out of all patrons of the underground turtle racquet, these two have the best intentions. They will bring these cute little buggers back to CT, raise them for a while in a roomy, heated tank, where they will dine on shrimps, and when large enough they will be released into a very cool and clean, coi pond on the farm. Yeah for the turtles!

The second item, found with a little more effort, I'm sure you ladies will recognize.

The coveted Louis Vuitton designer knockoff, the original can be seen here;
Now, I will never understand the fascination with these bags. If you ask me, they are very ugly. I just don't see the appeal in the design, but I guess it's a women thing. These things go for hundreds if not THOUSANDS of dollars for the real thing. I have known for a long time that you could get knock-offs in Times Square and Chinatown. Wherever you see a gaggle of woman pushing eachother around waving dollar bills, or huddled close together peering into a dark bag on the ground, you can place your bet that Louis Vuitton bags are what they are after.

But....I had never needed to get one...ya know.....for real, so I was surprised when in Chinatown and we were actually LOOKING for one, that I couldn't find a damn one. How interesting I thought, that they are never around when you need one. That is.....until I heard....the voice. From a little Asian women on the side of the road comes, in a hushed almost imperceptable (not the word I'm thinking of, nor probably a real word at all) tone, "purses, desinger purses."

So I make a B-line toward the voice and I look at her and return in a quiet tone, "Louis Vuitton?" I say with a raised eyebrow. She smiled, "yes, yes, come with me." So we follow this woman half a block to a little shop with purses hanging on the wall. The woman meets another woman at the front of the open store and kind of block it off. The guy at the cash register gives a look. I repeat the password, "Louis Vuitton," he takes one more look out to the side walk, turns around......and.....opens a SECRET DOOR! Secretly, I was ammused. We step into a very hot, enclosed room, into walls covered with the bogus booty. We took our time, chose two of the new models, paid the man $110 cash, and we were done. I went to push our way out of the door and was quickly stopped by our salesperson, "no no no no, wait, wait." I stepped aside as the man walked up to the door and kind of lifted this little flap, scanning the sidewalk for possible cops. All clear. And we were off and on our way with some bags. I just find it so hilarious that this whole process and deceivery exist. Truly, only in New York!

After that we did some sunglass shopping. I bought a pair of green mirrored aviators for $5, still in Chinatown. I'm quite fond of them. Here's me wearing them later in the day in Times Square after I saw the movie, The Island, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Then again I enjoy every movie with Scarlett Johanssen.

And here's just a picture of me at work today, very bored, nothing unusual here!

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Healing Waters of Hopeville Pond: Deux

View Previous post before this one.

This is Jeremy, doing what we call, the "Waterbird." Look at his wings of water! We had a blast in the pond. Some of us got water in our ears, I'm still waiting for mine to come out :( , some of us went underwater and lay on our backs to look at the sun, and some of us got nibbled on by fish.

My second purchase for camping was my new camping vest. I have been lookinf for a vest like this for years. Light enough to be worn in the summer, with as many pockets as I could find. Picked this badboy up at an army navy surplus store, it's a fishing vest. It held my wallet, cell phone ( which remained off for the entire trip) matches, lighter, camera, Deet, Afterbite, my utensils, a gerber, some Ibuprofen. I'm sure there were other things as well. I have flour all over me, and for good reason our dessert Pizza. We made this after Breakfast on the last day. We had been discussing it the night before but never got around to it. Sure, we did smores too, but like I said, we like to up the anty every year in the "kitchen." We also make fluffer nutters with marshmallows and peanut butter on a hot dog bun. But this pizza was loaded. Rolled out with flour, and then sprinkled with sugar. Once one side was done, we took it off and plastered it with Peanut Butter "sauce", sprinkled it with Marshmallow "cheese" and then for good measure threw on some pieces of chocolate, crumbles up "Twist-os" which are like oreo's and then put on some Vanilla Wafer "pepperoni's."

Some of us didn't feel to good after, especially the ones who washed it all down with Grape Soda. But it was delicious nonetheless....delicious and SO bad for us.

All in all, the whole weekend cost each person $50. That was for all day Friday, Saturday, and half of Sunday. Pretty cheap if you ask me. That covered all the food, cost of the campsite, and even all our "Road Soda's, " which is code for Beer, because your not supposed to bring in alcohol.

I had a blast, and am very bummed to be back in the big city. But hey, only 364 days until we do it again!

The Healing Waters of Hopeville Pond

Camping this weekend, as it always is, was awesome. In my book, there are two kinds of camping. The first kind is the isolated, carry everything on your back, If you take it in, take it out, extreme camping. I have done this kind only twice in my life, both times at the Sequia National Forest in CA.

The second kind is the kind my friends and I try to do every year. It's more like family camping. There are campsites, they are numbered and right next to other campsites. You park right on your site, there are showers and bathrooms, and a store is only a few minutes away. I first started going to Hopeville pond with my buddies Greg and Prior, when we were in middle school. As we got older, we decided to keep the tradition alive. We fell off the horse for a few years, but we stuck with it this year.

The Amazonas portable hammock, you can buy at for $20, is being enjoyed here by Lindsay. In fact, this hammock was a huge success for this year. It has the amazing ability to slip the user into a long and deep coma. You really have to be careful, as I fell asleep for 4 hours on Saturday and missed out on lunch and throwing a tennis ball in the water.

Camping at Hopeville is great. A typical days Itinerary looks like this:

- wake around 9am
- start fire, eat Breakfast
- Convene in the "party tent"
- Swim and fun
- Lunch
- Nap
- Swim
- "Party tent"
- Dinner
- Nightime stroll
- Smores
- Douse fire and sleep around 1 am

But the beauty of the Itinerary is it's interchangeable, you can always swap around an activity for another one, swim when you feel like it, read a book, take another nap. We pride ourselves in the eating part though, that's a big deal. We plan out the menu ahead of time for each meal. This year, we had several tricks up our camping sleeves and a few surprises.

The first surprise was this. These are Venison steaks that we scored from Bernadette's step-dad, Kirt. We swung by their house to grab some firewood, and paid a visit to their locked cooler full of Venison goodies, steaks and sausage mostly. It was really choice meat and was enjoyed by all.

A new activity enjoyed was the Handstand contest. Witness the majesty of Bernadette's form as she blows away Jeremy. We also adapted this contest to a Handstand fight the next day, where two or more people Handstand at the same time and try to knock eachother down with their feet. Last legs standing wins. We also made up a frisbee game where two pairs of people throw frisbee's across from eachother and try to knock the other pairs frisbee out of the air.

For dinner one night we did Pizza. yes, that's right, Pizza over the open flame....ohhhhhh so good! This one is half mushroom and half venison sausage and peppers.

Following the Pizza, Lindsay wowed us with this camping goodie, hollow out an Orange, fill it with Gingerbread, wrap in Aluminum foil and place in hot fire embers for 30 mins, unwrap and enjoy! Only problem with this one was we were stupid enough to mistake Grapefruits for Oranges, so it was a bit more bitter than we wanted, and some of them rose too much and kind of exploded. I'm sure we will refine our technique next time.

I need to repost to squeeze in more pics.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Nobody views my profile

I have been doing some research on other peoples profile. it is to be noted that i have only 116 views of my profile. I have noted that there is a big difference in numbers for men then there are for women. Thoughts on that?

How cute is my cousin?!

I know, I know, they are still sideways. I still haven't figured out why. I promise you if you save any of the pics to the desktop, you will see, that they are saved right side up.

But MAN, I can't get ober how great Violet Dove is. Can I get a WITNESS!

I am a man of my word

I am a man of my word, as you can see. Although I did only get two donuts as opposed to three. But watch what happens next. Chocolate cream is my 3rd favorite donut. Boston Cream my 2nd, and Chocolate Frosted, but only from Flanders Bakery in East Lyme is my number one pick. I just don't get this...

This Chocolate Cream donut has no chocolate inside. Now, I just want to can this happen. There is someone in charge of making the donuts, are they not consist, or checking, or do they just don't care? I guess maybe I wouldn't care if I had to make donuts everyday at like 4 am. But then hey, maybe they shouldn't be making donuts if they don't care. This is NOT the first time this has occured, and I'm sure it won't be the last.

Quick update form the Bed-Stuy Bulletin. I came home at about 11:30 pm tonight. There were cop cars slowly rolling down the street, not one but two. Then I'm standing outside my place, talking to my neighbor and the security guard who watches the new building next door, and a cop strolls by with a flashlight. I inquire to my neighbors. Apparently I missed some cops chasing down a drug dealer who just got in a shipment. He ditched his stash, so they were looking for it. Well....ok, not surprised there I guess. I was surprised however to find out that they didn't get him, because the cop was a large man. From the giggling from my neighbor, it must have been a comical sight to witness a spry, young, athletic drug dealer sprint through the street followed by a very large man who, as she put it, "looked like he was barely moving. Like he was runnin in slowmo."

Sigh. Ghetto Fabulous my friends, Ghetto Fabulous

Going camping this weekend with some friends in CT, so i bought a Thermarest and a portable hammock today. Super excited to see these in action. I also went to see the movie "Stealth." it was to my surprise, pretty good. It had one of the best visual explosions I have seen since "Swordfish," and one of the wierdest end lines I have EVER heard in a movie. Now I'm not saying they should have ended the film on this note, per say, but I applaud the Director for sticking to what was obviously a choice on his part.

This line might ruin this film in a sense, that is, if you go to see an action movie and are expecting or hoping to get a love story to boot.

The line was from the female lead to the male lead, "Just tell me you love me you pussy." annnnnnd CUT TO: BLACK.

Hilarious I say, Hilarious!

Also of note, i have added a few new links, most notably to the blog section. Take a gander if you like.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


I am having an annoying day at work. I have been working at home because my laptop is in the shop. I was up early, 7am, which is wierd, I usually don't get up after only 7 hours of sleep. It's either like 5 or more than 8, it runs the gamut. And low and behold, my e-mails will not be sent due to some kind of server error? What gives!

It is hot in my little office, and I am annoyed, so i shall brave the streets of my ghetto and venture to Dunkin Donuts, where I shall treat myself to 3 donuts of my choosing and a very cold and big ice coffee. I have been very good with cutting down on the sweets and soda and eating more stuff that's good for me, but today my friends, is not going to be one of those days.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


This is me outside of the "Captain Kidd" Bar in Woods Hole. This lovely hat, purchased for $20 dollars was lost to me the very next day. It had a short but fulfilling life on my head I'm sure. I wonder where it is now?

Woods Hole was awesome. I had the best of times up there, it is quintesential New England. The Barista was received very well, and I believe it has a chance at the winning. There were a few that could give us a run for our money, so we'll just have to wait and see. A whole bunch of us went up together, we stayed in "Tent City," people came from all over, New hampshire, New York, New Haven. Pretty much any place starting with the word "New."

The icing on the whole trip for me, was our extremely awesome and gracious hosts, Chris Meani and his lady Kristen (apologies if misspelled) They became our local guides, showing us all the nooks and crannies and hot spots of the area. They opend their yard to our tents and their grill to our stomachs. Beer flowed like water. Chris even flyered and promoted The Barista ahead of time, and did a kick ass job if I do say so myself. I saw flyers all over and in all the right places. Those two, very simply, rock my world.

After the film festival party we were all eager to go skinny dipping in the ocean. Unfortunatley, It wasn't meant to be as we were stopped by a very sneaky guard, sitting in the darkness of night, keeping the WH beaches safe. So, we opted instead for a midnight (or more approximatley 2 am) stroll. I was in heaven! it was really foggy, dark, and the roads were all covered in a tree canopy. Who knew walking could be such a blast. I snapped this of the group while lying on the ground for steadiness.

Me at the Beach the last morning. That's Kristen and Chris there behind me. I thought it was funny shot, Kristen's tongue sticking out was of course just pure luck, but it makes this shot what it is. The group we convened with up there belong to my friend Adam. It is a shame we have not met these peeps before, as we all got along like old friends immediately, even if most of us were meeting for the first time. I love it when that happens. We were up very late both nights. At least until 4 in the morning. Much shenanigans occured as illustrated from these photo's below

Rob illustrates here that middle fingers were flying like mosquitoes and one beer at a time just stopped making sense. This guy was a hoot, and he almost died of sal manila. I didn't get to hear the story, but it sounds pretty crazy. I'm glad he pulled through. He was however unlucky enough to NOT get to go skinny dipping and to have to leave at 7 am Sunday morning. Ouch.

And this lady here, what can I say. I mean, she is eating plastic forks! Her name was Gusty, a very cool nick name for I believe Agustus. I could have posted a whole slew of even funnier pictures than this one, but i thought that would not be fair to her. She was however, often, the life of the party and entertainment, so I did want to introduce you.

The whole trip made me think, yet again, of other things i could be doing in my life. I could work on the Liberte, a three mast, 74', sailing vessel that leaves out of Falmouth. Or another sailing ship. I have always wanted to learn to sail. I have sailed a few times before, but to make it a lifestyle would be wicked. Sailing for me is the ultimate freedom. You have the boat, and logistically, if you know what your doing, you can go anywhere.

I'll throw it into my "bank" of ideas for the future. I am seriously thinking about pursuing real estate in New York, become a broker. It sounds like a good job, suited to my personality, with the possible paycheck to match. if I could do that for a year or two, I might be able to squeeze myself out of this city and be financially secure at the same time. That would be nice.