Posted tagged ‘Personal’

My Hometown(s)

January 20, 2014

The world is full of “twin cities” – two cities side by side that are essentially one. Just consider St. Paul and Minneapolis in Minnesota, Dallas and Fort Worth in Texas, and Buda and Pest in Hungary. But, New Jersey, and more specifically, northern Monmouth County, is home to its own pair of cities forever linked together for better or worse. I’m talking about Matawan and Aberdeen, or if you prefer, Aberdeen and Matawan. Not only is/are it/they the most famous twin cities on this side of the Mississippi, but it/they is/are the town(s) in which I grew up.

Matawan Region HS

Matawan Regional High School…located in Aberdeen

I won’t bore you with the full  history of Matawan and Aberdeen, but just know that Matawan is officially known as Matawan Borough, and Aberdeen was originally called Matawan Township, until 1977 when residents voted to change the name to avoid confusion. Interestingly, Wikipedia tells me that the name Aberdeen was chosen so the town could appear first alphabetically of all the municipalities in the Armpit of America. Given the nature of the two towns, that is quite understandable. You see, Matawan is the older of the two and is full of history; it’s been around since the Revolutionary War and has seen a lot of action since then. Most prominent, the town was one site of the infamous shark attacks that plagued the shore in 1916. As for Aberdeen, it is the much more boring of the two, notable for absolutely nothing. (more…)

From the Jersey Shore to the North Shore

April 7, 2013

The unthinkable has happened.

I am no longer a resident of New Jersey.

No, Chris Christie hasn’t exiled me for all the shit I’ve talked about him – it’s due to personal reasons. After 29 years of living within a 30 mile radius of my birthplace, I’ve left the only state I’ve ever lived in and relocated to the North Shore of Long Island. Based on my first two weeks of living here, it is clear that Long Island is more like New Jersey that New Jersey could ever hope to be.

From the strip malls and strip clubs to highways and loud obnoxious people, I doubt I’ll ever get homesick.  If New Jersey is the Armpit of America, then that would make Long Island the smelly pit hair of America.

Anyway, so what does my relocation mean for this little blog?  I’ll still update as infrequently as you’ve come to expect.  And I’ll still be writing about New Jersey. If that makes me a poseur, then so what? It’s my blog and I’ll do what I want.

Despite being in New York, my heart still hasn’t left New Jersey.  That’s why I will still try with all my might to avoid pumping my own gas.  Even if that means taking a trip back to Jersey for the sole purpose of having someone else do it.

As sad as I am to have left the Armpit of America, things could always be worse….I could have ended up on Staten Island!

Resorts Hotel and Casino: Not Much of a Resort, Hotel, or Casino

March 1, 2011

Caution: blatant false advertising!

It’s been a while since I’ve written one of my Atlantic City recaps. Not necessarily a while since I’ve been there, my trips just haven’t been too noteworthy. But that all changed last weekend during a trip to Resorts Hotel and Casino. Don’t worry, no one else ever heard of it either.

The reason for the trip was my girlfriend’s birthday – and her venue of choice was Boogie Nights, a 70s/80s themed club in AC. The club is located at the aforementioned Resorts, which is noteworthy for absolutely nothing else. Since we knew it was going to be a late night, we decided to get a room there as well. After spending a night at Resorts, I can officially declare that the establishment is a pus-filled zit on the Armpit of America.

I never knew too much about Resorts, and I wish I could go back to my days of ignorance about it. But here’s what I knew prior to my visit: It was one of the original casinos in Atlantic City, being built in the 70s, but not much has changed since. Although all the other casinos in Atlantic City have been renovated, rebuilt, expanded, and transformed into the mega-hotels like those you’d find in Vegas, Resorts has stayed mostly unchanged. And, while all the other AC casinos have merged together into giant conglomerates, Resorts is there by itself. And for good reason.

We got there last Friday, and the trouble started as soon as we entered the parking deck. While the other casinos have split-leveled and tiered parking garages that are marvels of modern engineering, this one was small and overcrowded, with an impossibly steep ramp to get from one level to another. And, while I was trying to go up a level, the car in front of me had to stop short because another car was trying to go down the ONE-WAY ramp. Idiot. (more…)

A Little Slice of Texas at the Jersey Shore

February 15, 2011

I give this place my squeal of approval!

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of dining at Jersey Shore BBQ, a Texas-style barbecue place right here in Belmar. Now I don’t claim to be an expert in the art of barbecue; my barbecue experience is pretty much limited to backyard burgers and hot dogs and the food at the ubiquitous Famous Daves chain. Still, I know good food when I see it, and I found it here.

Jersey Shore BBQ is located in a typical strip mall behind Main Street. But don’t let that description turn you off – some of the Armpit of America’s national treasures are found in strip malls. Just look for the black sign with a pink pig on it, and you’ll know you’ve found it.

Once inside, you’ll find the dining room to be laid back and unpretentious, qualities that are becoming increasingly harder to find due to the simultaneous gentrification and guidofication of the Jersey Shore. Though nothing fancy, the interior is warm and welcoming. And no need to wait for some hostess to look at a map of tables before telling you where to sit – this place has open seating.

But enough about that boring stuff. The main draw here is the food, advertised as authentic Texas BBQ. As mentioned above, the most authentic barbecue I’ve eaten is that of Famous Daves or Texas Roadhouse – another chain, in which everything is covered in some sweet and tangy sauce. Boy was I in for a surprise.

We started with the special “Ribs Appetizer,” which, appropriately enough, was just a plate of ribs – three baby back, and three St. Louis style. While I expected them to be glazed in that familiar sticky sweet sauce, these ribs were completely different. They were smoky and peppery and just so flavorful. Though it didn’t really need anything else, I poured some of the two different types of vinegar-based barbecue sauces on the table and dipped the meat in. Wow. The vinegar just punctuated the meat, elevating its taste even more. (more…)

Winter in New Jersey Still Sucks!

January 17, 2011

...except during the winter.

About a year ago, I wrote this entry about the rough winter we were having in the Armpit of America. Well, last year’s winter was pretty balmy compared to this year. In that entry, I bitched about us getting two feet of snow last year. That might has well have been two inches compared to the three feet we got a couple of weeks ago.

Yes, three feet of snow. None of which has really melted yet. Almost every single day since that major snowfall on December 26 has been at or below freezing. And the little amount that actually does melt or evaporate just gets replaced by a new snowfall, such as the one going on right now. Luckily for me, I work from home. I can’t imagine what it’s like for the millions of New Jerseyans who have to drive to work on already shitty roads made shittier by this horrible weather.

Despite the weather, I’ve still been having fun here at the Jersey Shore. One of the good things about this winter weather is that it keeps all the guidos from North Jersey and New York up where they belong. For instance, I had quite a pleasant, guido-less night at the Boathouse on Saturday. As nice as it is when it’s less crowded, it was weird seeing the bar as empty as it was. Either way, it was a fun night. The live music was provided by Daddy Pop, one of the regular cover bands that populate the Shore and the band that played at my sister’s wedding. They were pretty good, and I commend them for only playing one of these overplayed cover band songs. It was American Girl for those interested. (more…)

I Wrote a Guest Blog!

January 3, 2011

I was recently asked to write a guest post for the travel blog, onetravelbloggers.com.  I was told I could write about literally anything.  Since there are so many places in the Armpit of America that I could write about, I couldn’t pick just one.  So, I decided to write about New Jersey as a whole. Though other bloggers have written about more exotic locales, like India, Thailand, and Romania, I think mine holds up pretty well!

Without further ado, here is my article, “New Jersey – An Unlikely Tourist Destination”.

Top 5 Blog Posts of 2010

December 31, 2010

As 2010 comes to a close, you’ve undoubtedly seen countless websites putting out some kind of “best of 2010” list or the like. Well, here’s another one!

But before getting into that list, let me just tell you some of the things you can expect to see on this little blog in 2011. First of all, I hope to update a little more often than I’ve done this year. I also plan to have some more videos (such as a “Jersey Shore” makeover!) and maybe even some guest bloggers! So be sure to come back often to see what’s going on in the Armpit of America.

Now that that’s out of the way, here are my Top 5 favorite entries I’ve written over the past year.

1) New Jersey’s Ghetto Barber Shops – Join me in my quest to find a decent barber shop. As a bonus, I you’ll see a picture of me with my afro at full force.

2) Top 5 Overplayed Jersey Shore Cover Band Songs – Go to any shore bar over the summer, you’ll likely encounter a cover band. Find out what I think are the most overplayed songs those bands perform.

3) State vs. State: Idaho – Tomatoes vs. potatoes. Springsteen vs. Willis. Find out whether New Jersey or Idaho is the better state. (By the way, I promise to do more of these State vs. State entries in the new year.)

4) The Best of NJ: Adventure Aquarium – Camden New Jersey is known for two things – gang violence and fish. Check out my experience at Camden’s Adventure Aquarium and see if I made it out of the city alive.

5) My Snook-o-Lantern – For Halloween, I made a life-sized model of everyone’s favorite star of “Jersey Shore” out of pumpkins. You can watch my video of the entire process, as I assemble my effigy of Snooki Snook from wig to pumpkin boobs.

Well,l those are my favorite blog posts of 2010. What are yours?