Posted tagged ‘Personal’

An Evening with Michael Pollan

October 9, 2010

Hahahah never heard that one before....

Back in September of 2001, I was a nerdy, overweight freshman at Rutgers.  During that first semester, I took Expository Writing 101 (AKA Ex-Pos), the dreaded freshman writing course.  The first assignment for that class was to read an essay about genetically engineered potatoes and write a paper about it.  The author of that essay was a certain Michael Pollan, a fact I only remember because I thought how funny it was that a guy named Pollan wrote about plants.

Before the teacher handed back those first assignments, she said most of the class did pretty poorly.  She explained how that can be expected on our first papers and that we shouldn’t get too discouraged; we can only get better.  When she handed my paper back, I was shocked by my grade.  It was a B+.  That’s when it happened.  It was at this point, dear reader, that your humble narrator realized he could write.  Since then, I’ve pursued writing educationally, personally, professionally, and blogally.

So where am I going with all this?

Nine years (holy shit) after that fateful day, I heard that Michael Pollan was giving a talk at Rutgers.  I couldn’t pass up the chance to hear the guy who indirectly launched my writing career at the place where it started.  So, this past Wednesday, I headed up to the College Ave gym, where the talk was being held.  On the way, I passed the Rutgers Student Center.  There was a big sign in front of the building saying there was going to be a memorial for Tyler Clementi that night.  The sign also said that both New Jersey senators, Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez, were going to be there.  I thought about ditching Pollan and going to this event for no other reason than the remote chance that I could convince one of the senators to sit down for an in-depth interview for this little old blog.  But they clearly had something more important to do that night. (more…)

The Wild, The Inebriated, and The E Street Shuffle

October 5, 2010

 

One of my souveniers from the night...the other was a hangover.

 

I’ve never been one to make a big deal out of my birthday.  Well, aside from my epic 21st birthday weekend (My birthday was on a Friday that year, so we went to the bars at midnight on Thursday, went to the Breakfast Club Friday, and had a house party Saturday), that’s mostly true.

This year, things were a little different.  Now that I have a beautiful apartment in Belmar, along with plenty of bars within walking distance, why not go all out?  So I invited a bunch of people over to check out the place and then hang out at a bar.  Even though my birthday was once again on a Friday this year, I limited the celebrating to only one night.

After the guests started arriving, I tried to order a couple monster pizzas from 3 Brothers.  Alas, they never answered the phone.  After calling a dozen times, and after a few other people tried to no avail, I ordered pizza from some other place.  Though perfectly adequate, this regular pizza is nothing compared to giant 3 Brothers pizza.

After hanging out at the apartment for a while and getting sauced up, we headed out for the Boathouse.  As luck would have it, there was a live band there that night.  Even luckier, it was The E Street Shuffle, a Bruce Springsteen tribute band!  Though I never heard of them before that night, I was impressed.  They did a great job, playing both the hits and the lesser known songs. (more…)

Belmar: The First 48 Hours

September 6, 2010

Two days ago, I moved out of New Brunswick and into a beautiful oceanfront apartment in Belmar. Though New Brunswick will always have a special place in my heart, having lived there for five years, I’m happy to leave that city behind. One can only take so much dirt and crime and shady people. While the Armpit of America has more than its fair share of these things (hence the nickname), Belmar is a safe haven from such deviance. Or at least it’s relatively safe compared to elsewhere in the state.

Saturday afternoon, I rented a U-Haul and the woman and I brought all my stuff to the new place. After spending a couple hours unloading (somehow the two of us were able to carry two couches up a flight of stairs), we drove back to return the truck. We didn’t get back to Belmar until 10:30, at which point my roommate, his girlfriend, and three of our friends showed up. We ordered a giant pizza from 3 Brothers Pizza and spent the next couple hours setting up. Since we didn’t have cable, and still don’t as of right now, we tapped into my DVD collection. The Robot Chicken Star Wars episode and Yellow Submarine were the DVDS of choice. Though we talked about hitting up the bars, everyone was too tired and sweaty from moving to go out, so we just hung around until 2:00 before going to bed.

Sunday was spent shopping around at the saddest little Shop Rite (hard to explain but it’s just depressing) and K-Mart and finishing unpacking and everything else. When it was dinner time, we decided to try something different and went to Kaya’s Kitchen, a completely vegetarian restaurant run by hippies. (more…)

More Stuff

June 8, 2010

Well I’m back from vacation.  After spending a week in California, it’s great to be back in the Armpit of America.    Now that I’m back, you can expect me to post more regularly.  And you can expect a couple entries comparing New Jersey to that state on the west coast in the near future.  Who needs California and its beautiful scenery, laid back atmosphere, and readily available medical marijuana anyway?

Now onto some other stuff.  About two weeks ago, I got an e-mail from someone at a PR company.  She told me that her company is launching a new website and a campaign aimed at defending New Jersey from all the bullying it falls victim to.  The name of the campaign?  “Jersey Doesn’t Stink.”  Naturally, I assumed this was all a joke.  Who in their right mind would spend the time to create  a website defending the Armpit of America (aside from me, of course).

Well, I was just notified that the site has launched and it is indeed real.  It contains a petition to stand up for our little state.  There’s also a hilarious video in which this guy walks around New York City asking people how they feel about New Jersey.  So if you love New Jersey as much as I do, then go check out Jersey Doesn’t Stink and join their fight.

I Ate A Jersey Burger!

March 21, 2010

Mmmm......New Jersey....

This should come as no surprise to any reader of this blog, but I’m a little obsessed with New Jersey. So, when I saw something called a “Jersey Burger” on a menu last night, I had to get it.

The item was on the menu at the legendary Stuff Yer Face in New Brunswick. I call it legendary because, aside from being a staple of that city’s nightlife, celebrity chef Mario Batali actually got his start in the restaurant business at this place.

Stuff Yer Face is most famous for its wide selection of “bolis,” their version of the stromboli. They have at least 50 different varieties, all filled with some combination of meats, cheeses, and vegetables. You could also create your own, with over a billion permutations. Although I was originally going to pick a boli to eat, I turned the page to the less frequented sandwich page of the menu. Imagine by surprise when I saw the Jersey Burger there.

I’ve never seen or heard of a Jersey burger before, so I assume it’s a unique creation of Stuff Yer Face. Just as a California burger contains avocado and a Mexican burger has jalapeños, a Jersey burger is topped with used condoms and hairspray. Just kidding.

The Jersey burger includes a couple slices of pork roll and mozzarella. For whatever reason, pork roll (also known as Taylor ham or poor man’s sausage) is perhaps New Jersey’s most famous contribution to the culinary world. Though usually eaten in the Armpit of America as one-third of a pork roll, egg, and cheese sandwich, it is a welcome addition to a hamburger. As for why mozzarella was put on the Jersey burger, my only guess is that it pays tribute to the too many Italians in the state.

So now that I’ve described what the hell a Jersey burger is, let me tell you what it tastes like. It tasted like a hamburger with pork roll and mozzarella. It wasn’t the best burger I ever had, but it got the job done. The name definitely made it taste better. So, if you ever get the urge to take a bite out of New Jersey, go to Stuff Yer Face and order the Jersey burger. God knows, the state chews all of us up, so why not return the favor?