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Blind Mind

Ramblings, thoughts, observations, and inane banter. Oh, and a bunch of stuff about food too...

Last Build Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2018 09:43:23 +0000


Coconut Grove Is Not a Spot for Nightlife

Thu, 22 Dec 2011 15:41:00 +0000

This is in response to a post I read today over at Coconut Grove Grapevine. I hate to break it to ya, Grape, but the days of the Grove being popular for nightlife are numbered.  It wouldn't matter if the City told every business they could be open until 5am.  It's too late.  Time to focus on something else.  Mo's may have gotten their 5am license back but when was the last time you went to that place?  I hate to be harsh's a dump.  The leather chairs are ripped with stuffing coming out, there's dust EVERYWHERE (look at the A/C vents next time you're there and try not to puke), and the food is, well, let's just say "not good". I think they finally updated some of the TVs that were so old many didnt even have color anymore but they still don't get a crowd for football on Sundays.  That's saying something.  I'm sorry but that's not a place I get excited about spending my hard-earned money at.  To think that 5am closing is going to revitalize the Grove is just plain silly.  Had it never been taken away, maybe things would be different.  But change was made and people adapt to change.  Adapting meant finding somewhere else to enjoy a late night if that is your thing.The Grove was a happenin' spot for awhile but between the loss of the late nights and the development of South Miami, people have adapted and moved on.  The main nightlife crowd for the Grove was always the college kids from UM.  When I first moved to Miami, I lived in South Miami and couldn't believe that the area didn't cater to college kids located right across US1.  Those kids would come to the Grove to have fun but they'd have to drive, cab, or bus it.  I would do that too as I was only a few years out of college.  Now those college kids can literally walk to bars, restaurants, and clubs in South Miami.  It's far more convenient.I moved to the Grove 8 years ago because I really liked the laid back vibe and the abundance of vegetation amongst the streets surrounding Center Grove.  There were some cool spots to hang out at, most notably Cafe Tu Tu Tango which I felt did the best job at capturing the spirit of the Grove - the laid back lifestyle, friendliness, funky art, and casual fun of it.  In fact, that's the first place I would take visitors from out of town to get a feel for my Miami neighborhood.  Well, I watched as that space plummeted downhill in terms of the building (during its last CG Arts Festival there were parts of the wooden floor that you would sink into when you walked!!) and soon they were forced to vacate.  Between rising real estate costs and the decline of visitors to the Grove (for multiple reasons, lots of which have to do with the progress of other neighborhoods like S. Miami, Brickell, and the DD/Wynwood area), plus a down economy, the Grove dwindled away.In the past year or so, I think that there's been a little pickup of activity thanks to some nice events at Peacock Park, parades, etc.  The momentum that these events provide only lasts for a few days and then it's back to the current situation of struggling businesses and many empty storefronts.  I actually saw a commercial for the Grove on TV last week.  It said, "Why is the Grove so cool?"  I laughed, not because the Grove isn't cool in it's own way, but because the ad was pretty cheesy.  I think the main challenge is figuring out what makes the Grove DIFFERENT.  Late night bars and clubs are a "me too" and, quite frankly, they don't really fit the neighborhood outside of what currently exists.  What I like about the Grove is being outside, seeing the waterfront, clean streets.  There's a few decent spots to eat - Jaguar, Le Bouchon, Sandbar (for tacos and fries and football).  I think being part of the outdoors and the waterfront needs to be played up.  There's this Waterfront Master Plan that is supposed to be a game changer to our waterfront on Biscayne Bay but all I know is that the developers and[...]

I'm Pretty Tired of the Steve Jobs Worshipping but....

Tue, 06 Dec 2011 15:00:00 +0000

This is pretty fuckin' inspirational.

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Adam Carolla is a Tad Frustrated with the Occupy Movement & Today's Youth

Tue, 06 Dec 2011 03:59:00 +0000

This is pretty hilarious.  Really tough to take serious but hilarious.  I can agree with the sentiment that kids simply don't want to work though.  I see it almost every day I'm on the road.  I have customers with healthy, thriving businesses and the business owners do all the work themselves because their employees are awful.  It's pretty sad.  Anyways, back to the hilarity that is this rant.

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UC Davis: The Other Side of the Coin

Mon, 05 Dec 2011 04:58:00 +0000

Thoughts on this?

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NFL Survivor Pool - Week 5 Pick

Fri, 07 Oct 2011 18:17:00 +0000

We took a calculated risk last week taking New Orleans on the road but they beat Jacksonville easily as predicted.  So far, Arizona, Pittsburgh, San Diego, and New Orleans are off the board.This week is another tough one.  There are a few picks for people who like to gamble but luckily there is also one pretty safe play.  Here's what I'm looking at for week 5...Oakland at Houston - I was surprised to see Houston as a 6 point favorite in this game with Andre Johnson sitting out with an injury.  In fact, I think the Texans are in for a bit of a surprise and will have a tough time with Oakland on both sides of the ball.  The Raiders D has improved a lot as has their passing game.  The running game, led by Darren McFadden who is the league's top RB right now, is still strong.  I think Oakland will pull out a win in this game on the road.  But I'm not betting my Survivor life on it... Patriots at home vs Jets - This was another surprising line - Pats by 9.5?!?!  Sure they're at home but against a division rival who's beaten them 3 out of 5 times since Rex Ryan took over as coach?  Bottom line is that the AFC East teams always play each other well.  Patriots will have last year's playoff loss on their minds as well as all the bulletin board material the big mouths on the Jets will give them to fuel their fire.  Jets are intent on stopping Brady and Welker which, if they can do so, could lead to problems for the Pats.  I think the Pats win this one with a balanced rushing attack (Ridley getting more action this week), and Brady hooking up with Welker, Branch, and Gronkowski.  They will score enough to make up for their defense getting shredded by Tomlinson (he will have a big game), Holmes, and I'm also expecting Burress to have a good game since he has a huge size advantage over the Pats meager secondary.  If you're a gambler, take the Pats.  I'll wait...Giants at home vs Seahawks - This is the cupcake for the week.  The Giants made mincemeat of the Eagles a few weeks back, then survived Arizona last week.  This week they're home against one of the worst teams in the league that will be traveling cross-country from the West to the East.  That's something we love in NFL Survivor.  Giants win easy.The official pick is...[...]

NFL Survivor Pool - week 4 pick

Fri, 30 Sep 2011 20:58:00 +0000

A week full of upsets last week but luckily our pick was a winner as the Chargers held off a late Chiefs rally for the victory.  I told you to stay away from the Pats, didn't I?This week is another tough week.  We've won with Arizona, Pittsburgh, and San Diego so far so they are off the board.  Here's what games stand out to me:Tampa Bay at home vs Indy - The Bucs played great last week and were able to upset the Falcons.  This week, they get an ailing Colts team at home.  I like RB Blount against Indy's poor rushing D and I think TB Defense can keep the Colts offense off the field.Philly at home vs San Fran - San Fran is struggling this year.  Their offense is awful and once again Frank Gore has some injuries nagging him.  It's also clear that Alex Smith is not an elite NFL quarterback.  They will be traveling cross country to play the Eagles who are coming off of an embarrassing loss to the Giants.  Vick is questionable but will likely play.  Eagles take this one easily. New Orleans at Jacksonville - I usually try to stay away from road teams but this game is a lock.  The Jags have a rookie starting at QB and virtually no defense.  Other than Maurice Jones-Drew, there is no one on this team to score.  The Saints won at Houston in a barn burner last week and I expect them to dominate this week.   Green Bay at home vs Denver - The Broncos have injury woes at the RB and WR positions and have not looked like a team that can score at all this year.  The Packers, on the other hand, do nothing but score.  Their D is one of the league's best as well.  Green Bay is a strong home team and should win handily.All that said, I'm torn about this week's pick.  I think all of them are locks.  That's usually not good.  I'm going to go against my "road team rule" this week as this is the easiest matchup this team will have all season.  The pick is...[...]

NFL Survivor Pool - week 3 pick

Fri, 23 Sep 2011 14:35:00 +0000

We had an easy win with last week's Steeler pick.  They shutout the Seahawks without much difficulty.  This week there isn't much to choose from but there is one standout pick that should get the W.Patriots on the road at Buffalo - Some might think this is the week to go with the Pats.  No effing way.  They're on the road against a division opponent that always plays them tough and Buffalo's Ryan Fitzpatrick has been on fire this year throwing all over defenses.  Add to that the Patriots awful secondary and I wouldn't be surprised if Buffalo pulls off the upset.  Stay away.Chargers at home vs Chiefs - The Chiefs lost star RB Jamaal Charles for the season last week when he ran into a cameraman and effed up is ACL.  Coincidentally, he was my 1st round pick in this year's fantasy football draft.  Not awesome.  The Chiefs are awful on both sides of the ball and the Chargers looked good against the Pats last week but just couldn't stop Brady from throwing all over them.  I'm looking at their offense continuing to fire on all cylinders against the lowly Chiefs.Titans at home vs Broncos - This is the last game that I like this week.  The Broncos are traveling east to play a Titans team that is just starting to gel.  Broncos have QB "controversy" and may be without their top WR Brandon Lloyd.  They're also missing Knowshon Moreno this week, not that it's a big shocker as he too is on my fantasy team.  Not much else to say on this game.  I'd probably save Tennessee for a later week though.This week the answer is clear on who to take to SURVIVE another week in your pool...[...]

NFL Survivor Pool - week 2 pick

Fri, 16 Sep 2011 13:55:00 +0000

For the last couple of seasons, I've sauntered on over to The Chowfather's blog to engage in debate about weekly picks for an NFL Survivor Pool.  This year he has made the decision to not post his picks on his blog.  Why?  I have no idea.  But I'm picking up the slack.Not familiar with NFL Survivor?  Here's a primer for ya.  Each week you pick one team to win their game.  There are no point spreads involved, the team just needs to walk off the field as a winner when the final whistle blows.  The catch is that once you pick a team you cannot select that team a second time.  One wrong pick and you are eliminated.  Participants continue to pick a team each week until there is one "survivor" left or until there is a small amount of people left in the pool who agree to split the pot.  It's pretty tough but it's a lot of fun.Last week, both Chowfather and I selected the Arizona Cardinals to beat the Carolina Panthers and boy did we sweat that one out.  A late punt return TD gave the Cardinals the victory.  This week, there are a few enticing games to select.  Here's what I'm looking at:Pittsburgh at home vs Seattle - The Steelers looked awful against the Ravens in week one and got their asses handed to them.  The Seahawks aren't even close to the caliber team that the Ravens are and they'll be traveling across the country to play as the road team in the Steelers home opener. NY Jets at home vs Jacksonville - The Jets came out slow versus Dallas last week but managed to stick around long enough to capitalize on the eventual Dallas meltdown to win the game with a late 50yd field goal.  Jacksonville gave up on QB David Garrard this season and MJD is sure to see his fair share of "gang green" when he's handed the ball in the backfield.  Jets D is solid and should keep the Jags offense on the sidelines most of the game. Detroit at home vs KC - Detroit hosts their first home game of the season against the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday.  I gotta admit that I hopped on the Lions bandwagon during preseason early this year so this pick is a bit of a reach.  The basis behind it is that Kansas City looked awful last week, giving Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Bills a career passing day that ended with him tossing 4 TDs.  That's the Bills, on the road at KC, with an OL that is almost non-existent.  I'd like to think that the Lions are an upgrade to the Bills at every position on both sides of the ball and they are at home.  Again, this pick is a reach but worth consideration. I also have light feelings for the Giants at home versus the Rams on MNF since the Rams are without RB Steven Jackson and WR Danny Amendola and a finger injury could cause issues for QB Sam Bradford.  But I also don't trust the Giants OL to protect Eli Manning who seems to get murdered every game.All that said, my mantra in NFL Survivor is to focus on the current week and not worry about "saving" a team to use them later in the season.  So, this week my official pick is...[...]

Things We Already Knew: People on Welfare Are Not All Druggies

Tue, 30 Aug 2011 23:22:00 +0000

Was driving through Atlanta, GA today listening to some local talk radio when the jockey who was on at the time mentioned brought up the state of Florida's projected $178 Million dollar study (in fiscal year one) to drug test people who collect welfare checks.  So far, the study has found that while 2% we cited as drug users, 96% of these people do not use drugs.  This is less than the national average of people over the age of 12 who use drugs (8.7%) and over the age of 26 (6.3%).  It also disproves Governor Rick Scott's ridiculous statement that people on welfare are more likely to use drugs than people who are not on welfare.  Wow, imagine that? When asked for comment, it appears that the Governor's office declined.  Wow, imagine that? 

The jockey went on to call out Governor Rick Scott for wasting $178M of taxpayer money on a ridiculous study when the state is struggling to fund other programs and cutting the jobs of teachers, firefighters, and policemen.  He ended by saying, "This guy has got to go.  People of Florida need to make sure their voice is heard at the next election".

I found it pretty funny that here we had a disc jockey for a radio station in the next state that was more in tune with the politics of Florida than most Floridians are.  I wanted to call in and let him know that I agreed with him in full but the sad part is that an asshole like Rick Scott is likely to be re-elected because people in Florida are asleep at the wheel when it comes to politics.


Tue, 23 Aug 2011 17:15:00 +0000

I thought I'd respond to SFDB's post about how he doesn't like when people say that they enjoy a hurricane.

I've spent hours putting up shutters in the hot Florida sun and they were for someone else, not me.  Not fun.

I've heard the roar of the winds, watched the trees bend and fall.  Cool stuff.  My car was damaged by a falling tree.  Not cool stuff.

I've been without ice but was smart enough to have water on hand.  I've had to ration food from my fridge and pantry and I've shared with neighbors.

After Wilma, I was without hot water for 3 months (might've been close to 4) and took ice cold showers daily.  Not fun.

I've not seen firsthand the devastating effects of a Category 4 or 5 hurricane and I feel horrible for those who experience loss in such storms much like I do when other parts of the country have tornadoes or earthquakes that are violently destructive.

Having said all that, as I said the other day to Rick of SFDB on Twitter, I enjoy a hurricane.  I guess I'm talking about a Cat 1 or 2 when I say that, as I certainly wouldn't want to experience a Cat 4 or 5.  The smaller ones usually leave little damage and flooding.

But I do enjoy a hurricane.  I enjoy the feeling of fear of the unknown, the power of the weather as it hits, the knowledge that Man cannot control EVERYTHING.  That we are powerless.  That we sit and hope for the best while preparing for the worst.  And if the worst happens, we band together and deal with it and move forward.

I guess you could say it makes me feel...


Bombs away!

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 01:25:00 +0000

Part of traveling a lot for a living means you are susceptible to uncomfortable situations and lots of them.  Like having to sit in an airport for 6+ hours because a flight has been delayed or because you've finished early and there is no earlier flight to catch.  Or maybe you booked a hotel in a new area and it's a dump but you just have to suck it up and get some rest.  Or maybe, just maybe it's the worst of all situations...having to take a dump in a public bathroom.The public dump is something I try to avoid at all costs.  There is nothing more uncomfortable than having to hover over a toilet and drop cable while others are raining down brown of their own.  Public bathrooms are dirty, smelly, and just not somewhere desirable to take a crap.  They can be entertaining sources of laughter though, like when you're trying to pinch a loaf and the guy in the shitter next to you is farting out some machine gun diarrhea.  The sound of farting always cracks me up, even more so when it's accompanied by a stressful moan or sigh of relief.I've compiled a list of the worst public places to take a dump.  Why?  Because I'm stuck at an airport for 6 hours and need to entertain myself and fart/poop stories are just plain hilarious.  Plus, just before I left for the airport I felt last night's dinner and post dinner bourbon fighting like a UFC battle was going on in my stomach and made sure to drop my payload in the comfort of my hotel room.  Veteran move.The Convention Center Dump - Seems like every time I need to take a leak while working a convention I enter the bathroom only to hear someone annihilating the toilet and the air with a stink bomb.  I've been able to avoid this dump, choosing to hold it in for hours if necessary as these bathrooms are usually filthy.The Fast Food Dump - Once I was on a business trip driving thru the middle of the country when I knew I needed to take a shit at the first opportunity I could.  I could feel "the wave" in my stomach and knew I wouldn't be able to hold out for long so I stopped at a Wendy's and tore that place up.  It was all sorts of awful.  To make matters worse, the toilet was broken and wouldn't flush.  Well, that didn't make matters worse for me, so to speak.  Actually, I got a good laugh out of it as I pictured some poor soul who would have to take care of the nuclear fallout I'd left behind.  The fast food dump is usually avoidable because usually where there is a fast food joint off the highway, there is also a hotel and hotel bathrooms are usually pretty clean.  Yeah, you know you'll thank me for that tip someday.The Rest Stop Dump - Another doozy.  Rest stop bathrooms are poorly maintained and/or have heavy traffic.  As a result, you're gonna be in for harsh conditions and a total lack of peace and quiet should the brown bandit come to pay you a visit on the turnpike.  I was 22 years old and on my first ever business trip with a female coworker who was in her early 30s going to visit a client.  I don't know what the hell I ate the night before but about 45 minutes into the 2hr drive it wanted to exit thru the back door in a hurry.  She was driving so I said I had to take a leak and we stopped at a rest stop where the bathrooms look like an elevated trailer home.  I'm in there at least 15 minutes just punishing the toilet with ass fury.  Every time I think it's clear to go, another round of explosive diarrhea hits and I gotta stay a little longer.  I eventually get back to the car and said I got sick and was throwing up.  I know, totally wussed out.The Port-O-Potty Dump - Can't say this has ever happened to me and if it has it was so horrific I erased it from my memory.  [...]

Ike & Val Woods - Live @ Upstairs @ the Van Dyke!!

Fri, 04 Mar 2011 20:00:00 +0000

If you're a fan of blues, funk, soul, and gospel music and love to see a kickass musical performance then boy have I got somethin' for you.  My favorite band in Miami - Ike & Val Woods - will be playing this Saturday night Upstairs @ the Van Dyke on Lincoln Road.  Show starts at 9pm and the place fills up quick so get there and grab a table or shore up at the bar and get ready for a great time.  I love seeing live music at this venue because it's small and intimate.  Bar prices are reasonable for South Beach too.  Also, you may want to wear a Teflon face mask because there is a pretty good chance Reverend Ike might melt your face off with one of his face-melting guitar solos.  Ike IS the blues and I am so thankful to have someone like him here in Miami playing music that I love.  Ike & Val and their whole band pour their entire lifeforce into every performance and it's awesome to see.  Their drummer had an epic drum solo a few months ago that was so awesome I bought him a beer when the song was over.  Check it out, you won't be sorry and you'll leave there feelin' real good.

One for Ricky

Thu, 03 Mar 2011 13:57:00 +0000

I usually don't read forwarded emails.  Yup, usually they get the delete key at the preview screen.  Today I happened to read one because it came from a pretty good source and was titled, "Something to think about..."  The email indeed was something to think about and also took a political tone that of course reminded me of Rick at South Florida Daily Blog and his political posting that his readers suffer through each week.  :)

I've taken the liberty of copying and pasting the email below.  Share your thoughts...

To: SteveBM, etc, etc
Subject: Something to think about...

There is something in here that I imagine all or most can agree on - except
ex-congressmen/senators and current ones! I like the thinking at any rate.

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took
only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people
demanded it. That was in 1971...before computers, before e-mail,
before cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or
less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.

I'm asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty
people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have
the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

1. Term Limits.

12 years only, one of the possible options below..

A. Two Six-year Senate terms
B. Six Two-year House terms
C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

2. No Tenure / No Pension.

A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay
when they are out of office.

3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social
Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social
Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans

5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional
pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in
the same health care system as the American people.

7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American

8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective

The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen.
Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers
envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s),
then go home and back to work.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only
take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message.
Maybe it is time.

THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!! If you agree with the above, pass it
on. If not, just delete

You are one of my 20+. Please keep it going.  

Press On

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 15:09:00 +0000

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

-Calvin Coolidge

9 Years and 10 Games of Patriots and Doll Fans

Thu, 07 Oct 2010 23:37:00 +0000

It was a warm fall day when I pulled into my new home in South Miami on October 6th, 2001.  I had just moved down to Miami from Boston for absolutely no reason at all.  I was jobless but looking forward to the adventure of starting a new life in a new city.  I arrived to an empty house and began unpacking.  My roommates were out on the water for the Columbus Day Regatta and came home all sorts of riled up.  They decided to throw a party to welcome me that night which was pretty awesome.  I met a lot of cool people that night but the one who surprised me most was a Colombian girl named Maria who was into classic and alternative rock.  We talked for a bit and somehow sports came up and I mentioned I was a Patriots fan.  She didn't know much about football so that was that.  The party ended around 5am from what I remember.  Good times.The next morning at 10am, there is a knock on the door and someone ringing the bell.  "What the hell is this shit?", I remember thinking to myself as I trudged over to the door in a zombie-like state.  It was a guy who said he was Maria's cousin.  He had two tickets and a parking pass for the Patriots/Dollfans* game and would sell them to me if I wanted them for $80.  Sold!  My first day in Miami was off to a great start!  I vowed that from then on, I would make it an annual event to go to the game when the Patriots were in town.  It's been 9 years to the day and I've kept that vow, having attended 10 Pats/Dollfans games since. 2001 - Not much tailgating for this one since we got the tix that morning.  My roommate and I got to the game right before kickoff and parked in a lot far from the stadium, guzzling a few beers on the walk in.  On our walk from the car to the stadium, Troy Brown ran the opening kick back to the Dollfans 5 yard line.  We then heard from other tailgaters that the USA had begun bombing Afghanistan.  It was 1 month after 9/11.  The Pats took a 7-0 lead but it was all Dollfans after that as Lamar Smith ran all over the Pats D.  The final score was 30-10, Dollfans.  Two more things about this game...  Having moved to Miami from a small un-diverse town just North of Boston, I was experiencing major culture shock.  It seemed like no one spoke English in Miami.  At halftime, I was very moved when the American flag was draped across the field and a moment of silence for our brothers and sisters in war overseas was observed by all in attendance.  The other part about the game wasn't so surprising.  Jay Fiedler was having a great game.  He threw one pick in garbage time when the game was out of reach and was booed like no tomorrow as Doll Fans around me talked about how much he sucked.  Way to get behind your team.  The Pats would finish the season as Super Bowl Champions for the first time in my lifetime.  Figures the year I move away they win it all...haha.2002 - A buddy of mine flew down with his girlfriend for this game.  We had an awesome tailgate with Pats fans who seemed to outnumber Doll Fans 2-1.  At least we got a nice buzz on because the Pats lost again 26-13.2003 - I went to this game with my buddy, Ryan, whom I was also battling in fantasy football that week.  We sat in the upper endzone and he was rubbing it in each time the scoreboard flashed scores from other games where his players were scoring points in our matchup.  I had Tom Brady on my team and as the game went on, my fantasy team was making a comeback.  Our match was close when the Pats game went to overtime.  The Pats made a key defensiv[...]

Wow, Good People In Miami

Sat, 28 Aug 2010 01:58:00 +0000

I'm blow away by an event that has transpired over the past 2 days.  I arrived home from work yesterday and got my mail and found I had a letter from the Traffic Citations department of Miami.  At first I thought it might have been those new video cameras in Coral Gables that had busted me doin' a "California Roll thru a stop sign or something but when I opened it up I found a parking ticket inside.  ""WTF?", was the only thought that entered my mind.  Not that I'm immune to parking tickets by any means.  I get them occasionally when I don't have change or something.  This one was different though.  I knew I didn't have my car that day.

I went online and found out where the ticket was issued.  It was a place I'd only been to once.  I had turned in my car that morning at Bimmer Shop, a BMW repair shop located caddy corner from Braman BMW.  I had wires on both tail lights short out and needed to replace the whole damn panel.  Bimmer Shop repaired it and did a great job.  In fact, I was impressed with how nice everyone that worked there was and that they completed the work within hours.  However, I guess at some point they had to move my car to a parking spot (their place isn't enormous) and while it was there it was ticketed.  I'm assuming they took the ticket and intended to pay it but forgot or something because I never saw it.  I knew nothing about it until I got the late notice yesterday in the mail.

I left a voicemail and sent and email to their office because it was after hours.  I also called the next morning. The girl who answered the phone was really nice and had just listened to my message.  She asked for my tag number and said they would take care of it.  Most of the time in Miami this means you have to call the person every day to remind them to do it.  Not this company.  She called me back within 10 minutes and let me know the ticket had been paid.  I couldn't believe it.

Bimmer Shop will definitely be recommended to any and everyone I know.  They can do body work on any auto and mechanical work on any BMW and they do a really good job in a short amount of time.  The people in both the office and shop are friendly and they showed me that they will make amends to any mistakes they make.  Good stuff all around.

"For a minute there...I lost myself."

Wed, 04 Aug 2010 05:51:00 +0000

Those lyrics from Radiohead's "Karma Police" couldn't better describe the events that transpired around 4:45pm at my workplace today.  After years of snide comments, insults, misrepresentations, mountains of disrespect, and casting it all aside, I couldn't accept it anymore.  I lost it.

I can't remember ever being that angry ever in the thirty-two years of mornings I've been blessed enough to wake up for.  Sure, there have been times where I've been angry but never teetering on the edge of physically assaulting someone without following through with it.  At least when I'd get into a fight there would be anger leading up to it but knowing that a scrap would end things right then and there made it easier to not be so angry if that makes sense. Even if I wasn't the victor (and believe me, I've taken my fair share of shots) at least my feelings were communicated in a way that was easy to understand.  As time aged on I sought out the path of more reason, telling myself that there was nothing worth getting so worked up about.  I let things go and it worked.

But there I was at 4:45pm, hands shaking as rage coursed through my veins causing them to pop out of my forehead and neck, turning my face tomato red.  I removed myself from the situation three times because I felt as if I couldn't trust myself to stay cool and, no matter how good it would've felt to communicate my feelings physically, that the repercussions in the end would not have justified the means.  Unfortunately, that just fanned the flames.  This was my job, my means of living life, and that was being used as leverage against me.  I felt trapped.  I felt owned.

My buttons had been pressed for years but this time the "out of order" light didn't illuminate.  Action was getting reacquainted with reaction.  I took all my frustration and anger and I let it go in a verbal way, refusing to give in and turn the other cheek.  I didn't curse (I'm still in shock I was able to do that) but instead chose to finally let all my feelings fly with the understanding that my little share session could result in my termination.  I didn't care.  I was not going to take one more ounce of disrespect and I was there to make sure everyone knew that.

In the end I was a little disappointed that I blew my stack because in a way I felt as if I'd lost the mild mannered person I'd worked so hard to become.  Overall, however, I was proud.  I was proud of myself for taking a stand, even if it was potentially my final stand.  I'd rather starve than feel owned like that.  After all, at the end of the day I report to myself, not a boss, not friends, not family, not God.  Me.

Wow, something's wrong with me

Wed, 14 Jul 2010 17:11:00 +0000

I love to gamble.  I gamble on sports occasionally, but my real love is the casino.  Lately, I've been hitting the blackjack tables but my real love is playing craps.  Nothing beats the camaraderie of a table full of people exploding with glee when a point is made or when a shooter gets hot and rolls for awhile.  I'm not a big gambler because I like to play for awhile and don't want to get busted early.  My conservatism also comes with a slight whiff of responsibility, you know, just in case I get busted.  Besides, I gamble because it is fun.  I don't gamble like it's a second job because one job is enough for me.  Knowing all this, you would think I would be excited to head to Vegas for a week on a basically all expenses paid trip?  Truth is, I'm really not that excited.

Gambling has been a real bitch to me ever since 2008 when I raked in about $8500 in winnings on four trips, the biggest being $3200 on my last trip of the year.  Since that epic year I haven't walked away a winner on a gambling trip.  It's been about two years of losing that has gotten into my head.  Yes, I gamble because it is fun but, for crying out loud, losing all the time kinda takes away from the fun.  And by "kinda" I mean "majorly".  I attribute most of the losses to playing more blackjack than usual after hitting big a few times in 2008.  Blackjack can be a very frustrating game.  When you constantly get dealt 12-16, the worst hands to be dealt, it's demoralizing.  I also blame my decline on my decision to gamble at the Hard Rock in Fort Lauderdale.  That place is full of losers and I think their funk has rubbed off on me.  The final piece of blame lies in my attitude when I get to the tables.  I catch myself nervous about losing and feeling cursed instead of saying, "Win or lose, who gives a crap, let's have some fun!"

On my last trip to Vegas in April of this year, I couldn't believe that I spent less than 30 minutes gambling on my entire trip!  And that was a 4 night stay!  I think it was good for me though.  I got back to having fun in Vegas the old fashioned way, with good ol' alcohol and partying.  Maybe that's what I needed?  A kickass time in Sin City without gambling to boost my spirits and get back to having fun in Vegas.  With a pocket full of cash and a flight that leaves soon, I guess it's only a matter of time until I find out.

Dear Joe Garcia

Tue, 01 Jun 2010 14:41:00 +0000

Dear Joe Garcia,

Today, for the THIRD TIME I had to send you ANOTHER REQUEST to stop sending me your spam email about your campaign.  What does it take to get it through your thick head that I do not wish to be solicited by you?  STOP SENDING ME EMAILS ABOUT YOUR CAMPAIGN!!!

There is now absolutely NO WAY I AM VOTING FOR YOU, douchebag.

Things That Puzzle Me

Thu, 27 May 2010 18:31:00 +0000

Rick at South Florida Daily Blog posted a link yesterday to a website that reviews the most disgusting fat-laden dishes at some of the more popular eateries in the US.  With his post he included this image...

Slightly disturbing, wouldn't you say?  What puzzles me does this person take a dump?  I mean, that chair is clearly bigger than a toilet and it's practically being swallowed by that giant ass.  Maybe they make over-sized toilets for over-sized people?  Or maybe the person has to spread their butt cheeks around the bowl to drop some cable?  That can't be comfortable and I would imagine that an ass that big would basically devour a toilet.  What about wiping?  That must be difficult and messy.  I suppose they could use a bidet but it would have to have the strength of a fire hose to get in there.  I can imagine dingleberries are probably an issue too.  Their laundry is probably filled with undies that have huge bacon strips in them.

This puzzles me but it also makes me crack up.  I am my own best audience :)

Arizona - A Real Problem But What's the Solution?

Fri, 07 May 2010 13:44:00 +0000

The state of Arizona has been all over the media lately for the implementation of a law that aims to identify, prosecute, and deport illegal immigrants.  The problem with the law is that it requires anyone and everyone to carry immigration papers on their persons in case an officer of the law asks to see them.  In a nutshell, it's racial profiling and Hispanics are the targets.  

I am a firm believer in the fact that the United States of America has a serious illegal immigration problem.  I also believe that something needs to be done to remedy the situation.  Digging ditches and building walls is only a band-aid fix.  Walls can be scaled or tunneled under and ditches can be crossed.  The other day, I was having a conversation with my boss, a stout Republican who leans pretty far right, about the situation in Arizona.  He was all for it which I was slightly surprised about but then again not really.  I agreed with him that illegal immigration is a problem and denies legal citizens jobs but made the point that the law is basically racial profiling and that I think that isn't right.  He asked, "Ok, then what's the solution?"  I had no answer.

So, for everyone who gets on their soapbox and bellows about this Arizona immigration law and the injustice it has caused, I have one question...  What's the solution?

Life In the Hands of Strangers

Mon, 22 Mar 2010 10:39:00 +0000

This morning I was up at 4:15am and headed down to the lobby of my hotel to catch a ride to the airport.  I was just outside of Charlotte and had a 7am flight to Memphis, so I scheduled a ride for 5am.  I got down to the lobby at 4:55am and found the driver, Jerry, waiting for me which was a nice surprise since usually these services run a little late.  After helping me with my bags, Jerry got us going.  It was early but both of us were wide awake so we made small talk about golf as we made our way up the on ramp of I-85 South. 

About 10 minutes into our ride, we passed an 18-wheeler who was in the center lane.  We were in the right lane.  The next thing I knew, the semi clipped our car on the rear driver's side, sending us into a skid.  Jerry jammed on the brakes as we skidded across two lanes heading for the cement divider.  Our car had done a 180 and I noticed we were going to hit the wall on my side, right by my door.  Luckily, Jerry was able to control the car enough so that we hit the wall at the back bumper of my side and the impact was minimal.  We were somewhat safe.

Jerry asked if I was ok and I told him I was fine.  The funny part was that I was a little scared at first but it didn't last long.  I knew we were going to hit the wall but I knew it wouldn't be bad.  My fear was erased at impact and a new fear set in - the fear of missing my flight and having to cancel all of my appointments for the day.  That's pretty effed up.  Jerry called the police and then called his co-worker to come meet us and get me to the airport.  In that short span of about five minutes the driver of the 18-wheeler, who had originally pulled over, took off.

I was uncomfortable with our position because we were facing oncoming traffic on a highway.  I asked if the car would start and Jerry gave it a shot.  It started up and he straightened us out and then called highway patrol to get them on the lookout for the trucker that hit us.  We surveyed the damage on the car and it didn't look that bad.  When traffic died down for a minute, I said we should try to get to a safer spot on the other side of the road and Jerry agreed.  The car was in good enough shape to get us across the highway to the breakdown lane where we were able to stay safe until the police arrived.

The patrolman took our info and had us write up a statement explaining what had happened.  I wrote a nice detailed description because I really wanted to make sure that Jerry was not found at fault.  It definitely wasn't his fault.  I was also grateful that his instincts kept us from really getting smashed up and that he had called and arranged for a co-worker to get me to the airport so I could have a chance of making my flight.

I'm sitting at my gate now, safe and sound thanks to a stranger.  It makes me think about how I basically put my life in the hands of strangers every day on the road, whether it be a cabbie, driver, or pilot, trusting that they will keep us both safe.  The driver got me here safe but not without difficulty.  Hopefully the pilot will do the same!

Great Letter to Marc Sarnoff

Fri, 12 Mar 2010 00:23:00 +0000

I read this on the Coconut Grove Grapevine today and urge others to read it as well.  I've actually met Liz Goings before and she put together a solid letter regarding this ridiculous "don't feed the homeless" campaign that is being tossed around and is totally absurd.  Here is the link to the letter.  Grapevine isnt taking comments so feel free to leave em here but dont be a dick and make disparaging remarks.  That aint gonna fly here.

And for what its worth, I'm predicting that there will be a bad hurricane season for us in Miami this year.  I base this on no knowledge of weather systems but rather on history.  The last time I can remember it being this frosty outside for as long a period of time as it has been this year was the year we had Wilma and Katrina.  Maybe I'm wrong.  As much as I'd enjoy a Cat 1 or 2, I wouldnt wanna see a Cat 5 here, especially with this city in the condition its in now.

On the Road: Tacos El Gordo, National City, CA

Wed, 10 Mar 2010 16:36:00 +0000

It was bound to happen sooner or later...  I posted here what I meant to post at Blind Tastes.  Follow the jump for the correct post here.

Dear Chinese Porno Link Guy

Wed, 10 Mar 2010 02:16:00 +0000

You have been posting in the comment section of my blog for almost a year now.  While the Chinese characters look cool and although I have no idea what they actually say, I find it really annoying and really wish you would get the hint and stop posting them.  I can't imagine that my blog really gets that much traffic for you to find it worthwhile to put your porno links in the comment sections of my posts, nor can I imagine that anyone even clicks on them.  It's really a waste of your time and mine.

A few days ago, I admired your efforts to be tricky and use "donna" as an alias to disguise your identity when you left your Chinese porno links.  I even laughed at the fact that you thought that would work.  Silly Chinese porno link guy, I get emails when comments are posted and I noticed you felt the need to comment on 11 of my posts.  That was a big red flag.  The other red flag was that, other than the letters "AV" at the start, your comment was all Chinese characters, thus giving you away.

I really don't want to moderate comments because that is a pain in the ass, so I'm going to ask that you please stop posting in the comments section of my blog posts.  I will delete the comments every time, so find somewhere else to post your links to Chinese porno.  Thanks, buddy.