House Plans

Owning a house is one of the most rewarding endeavors I have taken part in.  It is amazing to look around a piece of property and think “I own all of this”.  I have been trying to visit the house as often as possible and find projects that will help make the house a home and enjoyable for all that come over.  So far we have built a fire pit, horse shoe pit, attempting to re-do the patio and most recently purchased some ducks to have at that house.  

I am sure there will be plenty more updates regarding the house soon.

 

 

Missing a Mother

There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about my mother, and there is a large part of me that feels that I did not properly mourn the loss. In part, this is because I'm not sure I have truly come to terms with what happened, as it was sandwiched between events during what may have been the most hectic point in my life. 

Either way, that is not the point of today's post. My reason for writing today is to point out something that I have discovered. People constantly mention that there is nothing as strong as a mother's love. And while I do believe that to be a true statement, that is not what I miss most about her. I am lucky enough to have an amazing network of people in my life who truly love me, and while it may never match the love of a mother, it certainly comes close. The thing I've noticed that is not only unmatched but almost non-existent, is the worry that a mother has.  My mother, along with probably every other mother in the world has an unparalleled sense of worry that they carry for their child.  It is the urge to protect your offspring despite not being nearby.  My mother would constantly call to check in and make sure I am safe.  If there was a shooting in NYC (which happens quite a bit), my mom would call to make sure I was not nearby.  At times it was a nuisance, but it is something I miss greatly now that she is gone. When I walk home at night, there is no longer this overarching feeling that there is someone out there that is constantly concerned for my safety.  It is that overprotective safety blanket that is now gone, and I definitely have felt its absence.  Perhaps it is all connected in the concept of a mother's love, but it also seems to be a much more singular feeling.

I have talked with others who have lost a parent, and the one thing that seems to be a constant is that while day to day living will get easier, the pain of the loss remains the same for as long as you live.  With every birthday or special event that passes, you are reminded that she is not there, and it hurts.  The best anyone can do is acknowledge those feelings and let them shape you. 

 

The Death of an Icon

Yesterday the musical icon known as Prince passed away.  His style of music always amazed me and his personality intrigued me even further.  I have such an interest in men and women in the arts that maintain a self of extreme uniqueness and in some cases what just appears to be crazy to the rest of the world.  It makes me feel that what they bring is on a whole other level.  (Please note that Kanye is excluded from this list, as I believe he is faking crazy).  I did not cry when I heard the news, but I was moved and saddened to hear about the loss of such a powerful musical front man.  I wanted to take a moment and share a story I have about Prince. 

 

Growing up I listed to a wide array of music.  My dad listened to everything from Beach Boys to Kiss, while my mother would listen to Elvis, Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler on loop pretty much every day.  My musical taste stemmed from there and expanded, as I grew older.  I remember first hearing prince in the middle school.  1999 was approaching and people played the song non-stop.  I started listening to his other music and was instantly hooked.  As I entered college it became ritual.  I listened to Prince every day (Which I still do).  I made friends listen to songs at every ultimate tournament we went to.  The song Pussy Control became my karaoke go to song and sexy motherfucker was played whenever I was getting ready to go out. 

In 2009, Michael Jackson passed away and I felt a huge hit.  I remember being in talks to try and find a way to get out to see a show of his upcoming tour because he was one of a series of musicians I had still yet to see live.  Upon his death I made myself a vow to see as many of my favorite musicians as possible because life is short and you never know when a moment such as that can be lost forever.  In that time I got to see amazing groups like George Clinton and P-Funk, Hall & Oates, Stevie Wonder, and Justin Timberlake but I still needed to see Prince.

I believe the change finally occurred in 2011 when Prince was playing a show at MSG.  The cheapest tickets were around $100 and I was unable to find anyone that wanted to join me.  I bought myself a ticket and decided to roll solo to the concert.  The part that sticks out to me the most from the event was not the amazing show (which it was) but rather my experience getting my will call ticket.

As I walked into the madness of MSG I bee lined it to the will call pick up.  During my walk I passed by Quest Love and the Roots, which instantly put me into a state of celebrity shock.  I jumped on line thinking just how awesome this show will be.  It took about a minute on line before I heard a familiar voice behind me.  I turned around and discovered that Craig Robinson was standing right there on line as well.  I instantly blurted out “ Oh my god, your Craig Robinson” to which he replied kindly and simply “yes” I asked him why he was on line and he responded “how else am I suppose to get my tickets to see Prince” we chuckled at the line and I asked for a photo to which he obliged.  I thanked him and went on my way.  I sat through the entire show rocking out by myself to his hits and just thought how much of an impact he has on everyone whether they be a normal kid from Westchester of a famous comedian or even another influential musical group.  He transcended boundaries and reshaped what music was. 

I am so glad I went to that show, because as we now have come to realize, life is extremely delicate and short.  Take advantages of opportunity as they arise and never 2nd guess your self.

New Coffee Table Book

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I am a huge Back to the Future fan.  It is a film I can watch over and over again.  While interviewing a potential trivia host this week, he randomly asked me if I was a fan of the film.  While it caught me off guard I was excited to geek out about the film.  He recommended a book he just bought called . Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History .  I bought it immediately and could not be more excited to read it.  It also comes with a collection of props which are fantastic, including prom photos, a Jaws 19 poster and a picture of Marty and Doc in front of the newly constructed clock tower.  If you are a fan.  Go buy this book.

Inside my Mind - Adele's Hello

Like most of America, it is impossible to get Adele's newest song Hello out of their heads.  However, what I envision might be a little different than most.  Adele who has a beautiful singing voice has also one of the most hilarious cockney accents I have ever heard.  So every time I hear the chorus I think of the small worm from the film Labyrinth who says Allo instead of hello and confuses Jennifer Connolly. 

I have decided to turn my vision to a poorly made reality with this Youtube video.  Enjoy


The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Halloween is my favorite holiday hands down.  It wasn’t because of the candy or because of horror movies.  It was because of the costumes.  I would spend countless house brainstorming fun and unique Halloween ideas and building a costume from scratch, typically outreaching my skill set and forcing myself to learn new and inventive ways to make the costume work.  This is the first year I have not had the time to devote to creating an epic costume (for obvious reasons).  While it is sad, I am fine with it.  I know there will be plenty of years to come for me to create ridiculous costumes.  I will be spending my Halloween trick or treating with some of the cutest kids in the world and plan on finding some costume in my bag of tricks that will do the job. 

 

 

 

Apple picking at Fishkill Farms

**The photos above are a slideshow so you can see more by clicking the picture to the right**

This past weekend a bunch of us went up to Fishkill Farms where my lovely friend Kerry B. works and went apple picking.  One thing I was completely unaware of was that this is PRIME apple picking season.  There were around 17 different types of apples that currently could be picked and not enough room in my stomach to decide which of those 17 were my favorite.  I went with my go to apple Fuji and then filled the bag with an assortment of other apples.  What made the day great was that it was Clovers first time apple picking so it was a special memory to share with everyone. 

P.S. There was also a small pumpkin patch which Lilikoi and Becca enjoyed greatly

Amsterdam

For about 3 months I have had listed on my to do list "Blog about Europe trip".  Sadly I have failed so far.  Luckily no one really reads this blog so I am ok.  However, with the little free time I do have, I was able to make a panaramic photo of the Amsterdam sign which is one of the typical tourist photo spots.  Our group decided to pose in a couple different letters and we would then later combine them all.  Below is the finished product.  Hopefully once I have a free moment I will be able to do a full write up of my European adventure.

In the News

So a while back a reporter did a piece on me for Spirit Magazine (the in-flight magazine for South West Airlines).  The concept was about entrepreneurs that found careers based on things they loved doing.  Hosting and running trivia has been truly one of the most unique experiences I could ever imagine and each day I look forward to finding not only new ways of entertaining people on a weekly basis, but to find ways to expand my business and become and effective and successful business man.  Couple screen shots below for the people who didn't fly South West thatmonth

 

My review of Nashville, TN

Below is a list of reviews of various places I had the opportunity to vist on my trip to Nashville, Tennessee.  Hopefully it will serve as a usefull guide for anyone that heads down south.  Enjoy

 

Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack

Amazing food but you should definitely call ahead if you can.  They make everything to order, so if it is busy, you could be waiting there for a while.  Sadly, we ended up waiting for over an hour for our order, but it was well worth it.  Definitely the best fried chicken I have ever had.  The reviews are also accurate in that the medium is more than hot enough.  Don’t think you are a tough guy and get the hot, unless you plan on starting a war with your body.  The place is a little hood but it was a nice change of pace to see something other than a bunch of people in cowboy boots and hats line dancing.

 Grand Ole Opry

The Grand Ole Opry is a staple of Nashville and truly an impressive theater.  I, for one, am not a huge fan of country music, but this trip to Nashville left me with nothing but the utmost respect for these musicians trying to make it in Music City.  Everyone that performed was insanely talented, and it was fun to know that it was part of a live radio broadcast. 

 Jackalope Brewery

Attended the tour, which was probably one of the more entertaining beer tours I have taken.  They went into detail about the business side and not just how they make beer.  The beers were all tasty and had clever names.  It was great to hear about the growth of the craft beer community and how the breweries stick together and help each other out. 

 Yazoo Brewery

This brewery seemed like the place to go on a Saturday afternoon.  The place was filled with people inside and out enjoying samplers of Yazoo Beer.  Sadly, the tour was sold out so we were unable to see what they had to offer, but there was not a bar in Nashville where you couldn’t enjoy a Yazoo beer.  My personal favorite was the Dos Perros.  Very Tasty.

 Loveless Café

This place is an experience.  It is located in what I can only describe as Middle of Nowhere, Tennessee.  It is around 30-40 minutes outside of Nashville, however as soon as you see the sign, you notice the huge parking lot full of cars and tons of people hanging around the restaurant.  The wait was pretty long, but Loveless does everything possible to keep people entertained.  There were guys playing corn hole, some kids drawing pictures on the ground with chalk, and a cute elderly couple enjoying the day in a set of rocking chairs.  There is also an array of small shops that you can check out.  Once we got in, the food was absolutely amazing. It lived up to the hype of every previous review.  I practically was rolled out of the place because my ambition got the best of me and I went for a platter including ham, meatloaf, fried chicken and a couple sides.  I probably shouldn’t have eaten so many biscuits before the meal.

Robert’s Western World

Drinking in Nashville will lead you to some interesting places.  While wandering down the strip, I saw a busy-looking bar with a bouncer in front sporting a ZZ Top beard, and a drink menu promoting a recession special: PBR and a friend bologna sandwich for $5.  I was sold. We clawed our way to the back and got seats at the bar where the bartender made sure my drink was always full.  She poured with a heavy hand (which I will never complain about) and the Don Kelley Band rocked my f’n socks off, which was an impressive feat since I was in boots. 

Wildhorse Saloon

This spot was probably the most touristy thing I experienced on the whole trip.  It was a huge space with insanely overpriced drinks (You do however get a sweet mason jar souvenir).  The venue promotes free line dancing classes, which would have been great if the dance floor wasn’t flooded with older women wearing gaudy cowboy hats who could barely keep their feet moving at the speed necessary for the song.  A little after the intro, a band came on to play, and it was the first time during my trip to Nashville that I heard a band I did not enjoy. 

Jack Bar B Q

Made a pit stop here for lunch.  The food was good, but by this time “good” had started to become the baseline for Nashville’s cuisine.  They did have a wide variety of BBQ sauces, which made every bite a new experience.  As per usual, I ordered way too much food, but it was well worth it.  Another nice feature of Jack’s is that they have outdoor seating.   

Jed’s Sports Bar and Grill

I made this place a pit stop because I really wanted to play at a trivia night while on vacation, and this one fell perfectly into the schedule.  The bar was surprisingly large with multiple floors (trivia was played on the 2nd floor). Trivia occurs Thursdays at 8pm and was entertaining. 

Bluebird Café

This is such a fun little stop in Nashville.  It is highly recommended that you call ahead to reserve a table, however if it is already sold out, you can show up early and wait on line.  They keep a number of seats at the bar and in pews open for people that day, but you still need to show up an hour early to have a good chance of getting a spot.  We were able to sit at the bar where the lovely Martha served us drinks and told us about some of the go-to spots in Nashville.  The live music was absolutely amazing and it was really great to hear the stories behind the music as well.  

Elliston Soda Shop

Elliston is such a cute little place, walking distance from the Parthenon.  I stopped in based on the recommendation of a friend and just ordered a chocolate malt shake.  It was a perfect little pit stop, and the wait staff was very friendly.  The owner even noticed that I checked in on FourSquare and thanked me for doing so.  Sitting in the restaurant, I realized just how much I love the look of retro-style diners.  

The Parthenon

This place is an amazing attraction and a must see in Nashville.  It is truly breathtaking.  The artistry that exists in every piece of the architecture is remarkable and a wonder to know that something like that existed in ancient times.  There is also a full museum in the Parthenon explaining the history of the replica in addition to its correlation to the original Parthenon in Greece.  You will also be able to see a collection of artwork donated by James Cowan.   It is only around $6 for full access and there is so much to see and learn.  My enthusiasm for this really stems from my Classical studies in college, but who doesn’t love Greek mythology?

Arnold’s Country Kitchen

While researching my upcoming trip to Nashville, I quickly learned that Arnold’s is a place everyone needs visit, and that impression could not have been truer.  We got to Arnold’s pretty early, but there was already a line out the door of hungry people waiting to sink their teeth into some comfort food.  It has won a James Beard award and is your standard Meat & Three style restaurant.   The food was well worth the wait, and I left feeling completely satisfied.  Suggestions: Try the Collard Greens and always get the pie.