Baby's First Easter

Photos, Holidays, Family, Photography, Easter, Baby, Mackenzie

Her First Easter

The Easter Bunny found her!

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Skywatch on a Crown and Buckle Strap

Photos, Skywatch, Watches

Skywatch

My Skywatch on a new leather strap from Crown & Buckle.

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Cars, Honda, Photos

TBT: That Honda Civic

My first car out of college. Fully body kit and HFP rims (which nearly matched the car’s color perfectly) straight from Honda. Custom tail lenses to boot. I loved that damn car.

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Gaslight Anthem, Music

What’s Your Favorite Song?

Tough question, sure. But if you’re a music lover, I know you have one. Because “It’s hard to choose just one!” is such an incredible cop out, and you know it. Seriously – what’s the one song you could listen to on repeat for the rest of your life and never worry about it growing old and tired? The one song that makes every waking morning tolerable and every night serene. The one song that makes the greatest difficulties and challenges of life strangely acceptable.

That one, single song.

For me, it’s The Backseat by The Gaslight Anthem from the album, The ’59 Sound. It’s a song that takes me a halcyon place and can alter my entire mental state after only the first verse. Immediately, with the very first line, the expected Springsteen influences shine through with “In the backseat of burned out cars…” and draws up legendary imagery from Thunder Road (a song that wasn’t far from the crown).

The chorus -

You know the summer always brought in
That wild and reckless breeze
And in the backseats, we just tried to find
Some room for our knees

- brings me back to those invincible days of driving around the Jersey Shore in the back of my friend’s Ford Explorer, blasting music, and seeking out girls we could pretend to hit on. We would head to the beach every evening at sundown to play wiffle ball and leave it all behind – life, school, crappy jobs, everything. With a trusty Xbox, the Ocean City boardwalk, and a fridge stocked with unpretentious beer, we were unstoppable come summer.

And, of course, the verse that further brings it home –

Come July, we’ll ride the ferris wheel
Go ’round and ’round and ’round
And if you never let me go
Well, I will never let you down

Incredible.

So, then, what’s your favorite song?

My second place finishes:
* Come Back – Pearl Jam
* Badlands – Bruce Springsteen
* Climb to Safety – Widespread Panic
* This River is Wild – The Killers
* Desolation Row – Bob Dylan

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Gundam Advanced Grade 1/144

Action Figures, Gundam, Photos

Gundam 1

One of my nerd hobbies is building Gundam models. I just received a delivery of 3 Advanced Grade 1/144 models, so I’ll post pictures as I finish them.

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White Manna Burgers - Hackensack, NJ

Photos

White Manna Burgers

Hackensack, New Jersey. Fantastic burgers.

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Abandoned Soho Hospital - Belleville, NJ

New Jersey, Photography, Photos

Abandoned Soho Hospital

Belleville, New Jersey.

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Jimmy Buff's Italian Hot Dog

Food, Hot Dogs, New Jersey, Photos

Jimmy Buff’s Italian Hot Dog

Doesn’t get much better than this. A Jimmy Buff’s combo – hot dog, sausage, peppers, onions, deli mustard, and potatoes – all stuffed into a pizza roll. Straight from West Orange, New Jersey.

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If you’re connected with me via any social network (or even via real life), you’re probably aware of my deep and obvious affection for Titanfall. It’s really a fantastic game and a much needed, swift kick in the groin of the FPS genre. Seriously – just watch the gameplay footage above involving a bunch of Titans trying to work out their differences. Madness!

A few of my favorite things in the game are two Titan abilities in particular – Electric Smoke and Nuclear Ejection.

The former is a sort of smoke screen that you can deploy to cause damage to nearby Titans and also shield yourself from the vision of enemies. It has the additional benefit of just pissing people off. And Nuclear Ejection allows you to, when you’re about to be doomed, eject from your Titan and detonate it at the same time – causing, of course, everything nearby to explode. It’s fun even if you’re killed by it – and that’s a rare thing.

Anyway, I’m afraid of how you’ll feel about me after knowing this, but I actually had a Titanfall-themed dream last night involving my two favorite and aforementioned aspects of the game. For whatever reason, I was in a Titan doing chores around my home (I didn’t get a backstory) when my wife approaches me…

Chrissy: “Hey buddy, you know this lawn isn’t going to mow itself.”

Me: “Uh, yeah, well…

*DEPLOY ELECTRIC SMOKE*

The lawnmower is then destroyed by the Electric Smoke, and I use the screen to split. Brilliant move on my part.

She finds me again, unfortunately, and brings me a brand new lawnmower. At that point, I have no choice but to use the Nuclear Ejection and blow the damn thing to hell. The End.

Of course, Katy Perry eventually showed up, but I really shouldn’t get into that here.

Augusta, Georgia Waterfront
Family, Georgia, Home, Life, Photos

On The Southern Life That Could Have Been

It was nearly four years ago that Chrissy and I got married and made an attempt at setting up a new life in Augusta, Georgia. Her parents were living in the area at the time, and even as a boy born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, the south has always had an endearing appeal to me. And still does. We had nothing to lose and an entirely new life to gain.

As expected, it was ultimately a culture shock. Just the thought of a place where “How are you?” serves as a formal invitation for a complete recap of one’s day (and not simply a passive sense of acknowledgment) completely blew my mind. Life moved slower, people took their time with things, and happiness seemed to emanate from the simpler aspects of life. Like drinking cheap beer while relaxing in driveway-settled lawn chairs on a humid Saturday evening in the summer. All things I greatly appreciated.

Adding to the appeal was the fact that we could purchase a brand new, 3,000+ square foot, 5-bedroom home for the same price of a 3-bedroom, sub-2,000 square foot home in the western Philadelphia suburbs where we currently reside. With a future plan involving multiple children and dogs, that was surely a nice luxury to have, and the real estate options were nothing short of fantastic.

We enjoyed lazy Saturdays on my father-in-law’s boat on Clark Hills Lake, happily explored the culinary stylings of the south, and did our best to not simply appear as two clueless yankees always using the identification of obvious cultural differences as a means of conversation. Because “Back in Pennsylvania…” is a terrible way to get to know someone. I even once saw a woman at a pool using a confederate flag towel and did not say a word.

So, what happened? Why did we move back to Pennsylvania, buy a house, adopt another dog, have a kid, and ultimately settle down in the great Northeast? A mixture of things, really. Chrissy was unable to find a job, which, given the sparse surrounding economic environment of Augusta, wasn’t all that surprising. We greatly missed our close friends and other family members. The real estate market, while a buyer’s paradise, was atrocious from a resale perspective (high turnover rates thanks to nearby Fort Gordon was one of many reasons). We missed the place in which we came to know and love each other.

We are very happy with where we are in life at this very moment – geographically, mentally, romantically, etc. But I do, quite often, think about how things would be today if we stayed and built a home in Georgia as originally planned. If things worked out, we wouldn’t be reluctantly moving towards a search for a second home just 3 years after our first. We wouldn’t have just experienced one of the most horrendous and depressing winters ever. I probably would have been able to justify the purchase of a jet ski and motorcycle.

But alas, pondering over the ‘what ifs’ of life is mostly counter-productive. I always try to focus on enjoying the now and looking forward to the future with great hope and delight. Anyway, I’m already grooming my daughter to attend a SEC school – preferably UGA, LSU, or Alabama.

Which means that I may, yet, get to show Dixie how a proper cheesesteak is constructed. Like they give a shit.

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