Category: Travel

You Don’t Mess around on the quiet car!

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I sit in the quiet car sometimes on the way home and to be perfectly honest…the “quiet” car i.e. – the place that is supposed to be quiet and relaxing as a train car could be on a commute home ….STRESSES. ME. OUT. Bro!

Every single time, without fail, there are people who don’t abide by the rules of the quiet car. Whether these people honestly don’t care to be quiet or they just aren’t aware of the rules of the first and last car  of the train during rush hour… there are always people not following the rules. The rules are simple. BE FREAKING QUIET. But again, all the time, there are people who just aren’t.

Now…when someone is breaking the rules I brace for impact. I think “T-minus….5….4….3….” and the countdown continues until someone YELLS at the rule breaker, “QUIET CAR, THANK YOU!”. Consider this your warning shot rule breaker and I advise you to kindly shut the f up because the next time it’s not going to be so pretty. Mother of 3, business man trying to finish up a call, tourist lost in transit land…Doesn’t matter.

Sometimes the offender laughs it off and other times he/she/they try their luck and continue the bad behavior. Oh boy…in-coming……… “Excuse me!!!! QUIET CAR!!!!!! THIS IS THE QUIET CAR!!!!!” Yells at least one other person in addition to the original person who fired the warning shot. Everyone roles their eyes and now…it’s on.

People get mad at the people who are yelling for the people to get quiet. Imagine that!? A crazy chain reaction to it all. People yelling at the people yelling at the people to be quiet leads to even more ridiculous noise and now everyone is angry and there is crazy tension because everyone almost got in a fist fight because someone’s cell phone rang. Sheesh! So much for my nice quiet ride home.

Frankly the non-quiet cars end up to be more relaxing. There, in the “non-quiet” cars, if someone happens to be chatting on their cell phone for a few minutes you don’t have to ride in fear of the violent backlash from those nasty quiet car militants and can avoid intense tension while getting home to your family after a busy, stressful day. Mind you…I believe in the rules and hope they can be followed. However do we need make matters worse when someone first steps ever-so-slightly out of line by erupting and compiling the problems while causing a big ol’ scene? I think not. The quiet car is really a microcosm of LIFE and can teach us a lot about society if you let it. I say…Look to the quiet car!!! There are lessons everywhere  – even on a stinky commute home on NJ Transit.

Life Lessons brought to you by Chris….you’re welcome.

May your commutes be quiet, friendly and tension-less.

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James Gandolfini checked out appropriatley

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I’d like to think Tony Soprano himself would have been proud.
James, just hours before his massive heart attack, pounded booze, fried food and fancy cheese with his family on vacation in Italy. Healthy? No. But fitting for a lasting image.

Reports are saying big Jimmy downed a total of 6 shots of RUM (via 2 pina colodas) and two beers at dinner. I’m SURE this was merely a continuation of some serious indulgence that was happening during the day time as well. HEY…the dude was on vacation. Oh, that’s not it…he also reportedly chomped on TWO orders of fried prawns, smothered in mayo-chili sauce of course, and a large portion of foie gras.

R.I.P. JAMES – While you left us too soon, I’m glad you went out happy. I hope the capicola is soft and chewy up there.

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Antoni Gaudi – brilliant architect or big ol’ trickster?

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I saw this repeat of 60 minutes (http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50142539n) last night and it really had me scratching my head. I remember, when I saw it the first time, I was equally confused yet intrigued about this story. Did you see this one? It was about a 20 minute piece, covered by that lovely Australian (or is she South African?) coresrepont Lara Logan, about Antoni Gaudi and the building of the massively insane church, Sagrada Família.

This is a super crazy story and intense history of a guy. I won’t go into too much detail here – as this could easily turn into a essay paper (and my inner 15-year-old refuses to write a 5 page homework assignment http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoni_Gaud%C3%AD ) – long story short is… this guy was considered a super genius architect, dressed liked a bum and people are still working on completing his building that he concieved…about 100 years after they started it and way after he died. For a little more context – The Sagrada Familia is a church in Spain that depicts everything that is in the bible with symbolism and design. YES. Everything. “It’s the bible written in stone” Said one dude. So…as you can imagine this is a pretty big building (when completed = tallest church in the world) and the details are insane – thus the 100 years or so it’s taken to complete.

Really interesting stuff here Lara Logan but I need take your “this guy was amazing and way ahead of his time” spin and toss it right back at you because I just don’t agree.

I found it totally shocking that people have dedicated their entire lives to completing this building and spend every single waking moment trying to put together the pieces of this puzzle that Gaudi left behind after he died. Just doesn’t add up to me. They showed this one Japanese stone carver/artist guy who works literally every day, and has for over 30+ years, on carving the stone for this church and I thought “doesn’t this dude want to do something else at some point in his life?” Even more shocking was the project manager guy who, I believe is a relative of Guadi, probably won’t even be alive when this thing gets finished! Could you dedicate your life to something (your ENTIRE life) knowing well that you probably won’t be around to see it completed and/or enjoyed? Not me. I’m a finisher. I want to see things done at 100% especially the things that I care about.

60 Minutes, Laura Logan and everyone who was interviewed in this piece praised Antoni for being a forward thinking visionary who was way ahead of his time. I think Guadi…is just an absolute maniac.

On what planet can someone go to their Church, State/Federal Government, Representative and say “Hey…I have a great idea…It’s just going to take a couple hundred years to finish, ok?” And have the response be “Sure, go for it dude!” It’s just not even in the realm of possibilities – and while some may think that is why Guadi’s church is so special I’d, again, disagree.

Interestingly enough the show never mentioned just how much this would cost BUT they did mention that the entire project has been funded by “donations from the Church”. Does that sound strange to anyone else? Well…maybe we shouldn’t dig too deep or question his will. Because Gaudi asked for it – it must have made sense right?

I think there is something to be said about leveraging real-time capabilities and executing on a plan to completion and providing real functionality to the world. To me…designing something that literally cannot be completed in one’s lifestyle is somewhat of a crock. I’m pretty sure there are a lot of people who could put something down on paper that is pretty insane, that would look amazing, set records, change the world etc…but if it literally can’t come into fruition or be built in actuality in someone’s LIFETIME (or two for that matter) does it really count? I don’t think so.

I’m sure this is going to be one lovely Chruch. No doubt about that. But I need to question the glorifying of this entire process and the guy who designed the un-buildable building.

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City vs. The Suburbs

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Suburbs win. Let’s get that out-of-the-way right now. Living in the city is like being in college…totally awesome (!!!) for a certain period of time but after which it’s time to grow up, move out of your dorm room and get a real job. Sure it’s great to walk out of your door, turn in any direction, and walk about 30 feet to your nearest deli/bodega where you find all the splendors a hungry human being could want…BUT you know what’s not great? NOT being in the suburbs.

Took me a minute to adjust and truly admit this when I first left the cozy womb of NYC…but the suburbs are AWESOME. I lived in the city for around 6 years and I was sooooo into it. I was that Manhattanite that never left the city really for any reason and wouldn’t even go to Brooklyn because it was too far away. Once I swallowed the pill of adulthood and took the plunge in moving outside the city…I was actually surprised as to just how awesome it is. Some may call me a boring old dude but I’d ask those people to face some facts…

More space to live in, fresh air, power tools, lawn mowers, bicycles, not crowded restaurants, lawn furniture, proper outside grills, Ice Cream trucks, parks, local bars, garages, basements, fresh air and friendly neighbors…what’s not to love? OK…so you need to commute. BIG deal – if the first thing on your list as to why the city is awesome and or why you could “never, ever, ever imagine leaving the city” is convenience then I just might say you should re-evaluate your situation as adults.

Notice, before everyone gets all up in arms here, that I said “adult“. If you are young, some kind of artist and or single you don’t fall in this group…You all are free to live in city as long as you like. Live it up PETER PANS! But everyone else….time to pack it up and move to the burbs. Don’t be scared I’ll show you around.

Obvioulsy the city is great to work in, no doubt. That’s where the action is…big companies, big jobs, big money, lots of action -but I have to go back to my reference about college. Living in the city is like living on campus…Sure, it’s easy to get to class in the morning after a late night out and the cafeteria is less then a few blocks away BUT do you really want to put up with high tuitions (RENT), smelly roommates (everyone, everywhere) and overcrowded bars forever?
Disagree? I respect that…and I invite you to come to my house, we can sit in the back yard and discuss. We’ll grill some burgers, drink some beers while sitting on my lawn furniture, listen to the birds and if you’re lucky I might even let you ride my bicycle.

Moments of clarity

You know those moments that happen once in a very long while where everything makes sense and you feel as if you are exactly where you should be? Sometimes it’s the right weather, perfect song, location and or overal state of mind that help induce these special brief moments of supreme happiness. No matter how or why they happen… doesn’t matter. Don’t ignore them. They are fleeting so when you catch one cherish it.

Pick Your Poison

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Popcorn, McDonald’s, pork rinds, ice cream, beer, pizza. What do all these things have in common you ask? All are on the long list of items that can be found in the hands and being consumed by folks commuting each and every day.

I love checking out people’s choice of unhealthy vices on the way home. I always wonder what, if any, reason is to blame for their choice…
Hard day? Grab a Big Mac. Feeling stressed out? Pound a Bud light pounder in a brown bad. Boss was being a jerk? Stuff your face with some popcorn.

Or is it a race?
Wife won’t let you have pork rinds at home? Better get your fill now. Kids will keep you busy from the moment you enter the door to the moment you go to sleep? Grab that ice cream and take it down.

Or maybe you are just an alcoholic and need your fix? A diabetic needing some sugar in their veins? It’s really anyone’s guess.

I don’t judge. I hope that’s clear. I just find it fascinating. Maybe one day ill write a book and each chapter will entail an in-depth look and a NJ transit passengers and their picking of poisons. I can see it now! Who are you and why do you do the things you do? A real human interest piece. File that under…brilliant ideas. One day ill get around to that…but first let me finish my coors light pounder while I wipe the popcorn off my tie.