.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Chasing The American Dream

June 30, 2006


Notes taken overseas thus far.

I had a 9-hour flight + 6 hours gained. I was pampered by flight attendant Kim. We got along, we smiled, I was her favorite passenger; I thought there was potential. When the flight was over I wanted to say goodbye and give her my card, but she wasn’t in the greeting line. Oh Well. Easy come, easy go. I took a train from Paris to Brussels and the only thing I saw was farmland through the misty haze (see Flickr photo badge below. New pix added daily).

European quirks:

It’s Gent in Gent and Ghent in the U.S.
The architecture in Gent is jaw-dropping. The buildings are around 700-800 years-old.
Brother can you spare an ice cube. Drinks are served without ice.
It's called Coke Light here not Diet Coke and
it's served in a glass bottle not a plastic one.
It stays light until 11 p.m.
I'm eating dinner at 10 p.m.
The urinals sit high here.
Days have been misty grey. Have had my doubts whether sun exists here.

Day 4, yay, sun.
People are mayo crazy here. They even put it on their frites.
Frites are French fries
Smokers are all over the place including restaurants and bars.
The majority of cars, taxis included, are bubble-like hybrid cars.
The Euro is the currency. Anything under $5 is a coin.

English is language #4 preceeded by Dutch, Flemish, and French.
Electric outlets are two-pronged ‘outies’ as opposed to our two or three-pronged ‘innies.’ Thus, adapters are required.
They're called Cocoa Pops here not Cocoa Krispies.
Belgian Chocolate and Belgian Waffles are truly to die for and the bread…mmmm, the bread.

Speaking of bread, it's actually sold in vending machines in complete loaves.
Belgian Law: you get minimum 20 days vacation.
Belgian Law II: you get your car paid for. Like 500 Euros a month or $650 a month plus they pay for your gas. Can you imagine?
Thinking of moving to Belgium now? With all the taxes, you only take home 30% of your gross pay.
They have white beer and cherry (Kriek) beer here.
Ran on the hotel treadmill. Was proud of myself for a personal-best time for 2 miles. Uh, that is until I told my co-worker who said to me that the machine was set to kilometers not miles. Oops.
Last night, the lobby was filled with models. Lingerie models whose woredrobe was wide-open for all to see. Why does the man upstairs do these things to me?

Leaving for Paris tonight. More thoughts and pix to come.

June 23, 2006


For the first time in my life, I'm going overseas. Except for Jamaica and Canada, I've never been outside the U.S. I'm going to Belgium for two weeks and on my way home, I'm stopping in Paris for a day. It's a work trip but nevertheless, I'm looking forward to the change, the adventure, and the experience. See ya on the other side of the pond.

June 22, 2006


AQUARIUS: Easy come, easy go. That fascinating new hookup may leave you standing alone to pay the bill.

Wow, this is eerie. Cake's almost baked; more to come.

P.S. Yes, Peach; that's hookup, not hook-er.

June 21, 2006


photos courtesy of miamiheat.com

First it was my beloved Gators who brought home the trophy. Now the Miami Heat have brought a championship back home. I really think, in both instances, the concept of team couldn’t be more exemplified. I wish this concept was better understood in this world. Congrats to the “15 Strong” who achieved their ultimate goal. It was fun to be a part of it and experience the euphoria afterward.

June 19, 2006


It’s official. Father’s Day is the worst day of the year for me. I don’t look forward to it and I can’t wait for it to end. Except for one little nine-year-old, I received no cards and no phone calls. I don’t know why this affected me so, but this was a huge disappointment. To add insult to injury, the only call I DID get was at 11:30 p.m. when Andy finally called. His mother said something about a lost phone or whatever, but I’m sure her father got a call long before I got mine.

I also had a huge fight with the model so I’m sure my naysayers are smiling and laughing and loving this post but hey, shit happens. The only saving grace was the incredible handmade card Andy made for me. He drew pictures and pasted on stickers and he told me he loved me. And incredibly, he included $3 of his own money in the card for me to buy something I liked. What a heartbreaker.

I told Andy, we’d spend the $3 at Starbucks when I come to visit him. And yay, the visit is only three weeks away.

June 15, 2006


She actually said it best herself. It’s right there in her comment, “you don't exactly have the best track record when it comes to judging women.” I would concur because I DEFINITELY misjudged her character. She has slung some of the sharpest arrows ever commented on this blog. “See, Plantman, this is what I was talking about when I said you play the role of victim. We get the point...online dating- dating in general- sucks. But, enough already. We get the point. Perhaps its time to step away from the keyboard, jump in the shower, and scrub that target of your chest.” For that reason, I decided I no longer wanted her friendship. I don’t want or need any negativity. She’s since apologized feeling she was too harsh on me.

Today she asked me why I have tried to erase her from my life and not remain friends as I had hoped for. It has never been my intention to argue back-and-forth in a useless pissing contest. I’ve not at all assaulted her character in any way. In my response to her, I stated that her blog entry disgusted me. I’m sorry, the image of two adults drunk off their asses and flying into bed on the first meeting did just that. So I told her and she got nasty. Here’s how it went down.

PEACH: You asked if we could remain friends, and I had hoped that you were going to stand by that. I am a firm believer in not burning life's bridges. But you seem to have (tried) to erase me completely from your life, i.e. deleting all my contact information. And I just noticed that you eradicated Immediate Gratification as a part of your Amazing Blogger Family. Why?

PLANTATION: Yes, I did ask about friendship. Perhaps I would have stood by it, but things seemed to change immediately. You decided to go into attack mode for whatever reason. I've tried to remain gentlemanly cuz I don't want to get into pissing contests. You made some, what I would call, rude comments. It's your opinion and everyone has one and that's fine. It's you being brutally honest or whatever. And you apologized but I believe your true feelings really came out and later, you reconsidered. I've tried to rid negative people from my life. I just don't need any of that any more. You told me about your daughters and all that and wanting to spend time with them and less on the computer. Then I read your 'drunken sailor' post which quite honestly disgusted me. Hey, it's your life, not mine. I guess I'm not who you thought I was and vise versa.

That's just the way I feel. I'm sorry.

PEACH: I will not apologize to you for the things I do, and I certainly feel no need to justify anything to you. The fact that you are disgusted means little to me. I suggest you not read my blog then (as I will no longer be reading yours). I used my daughters as an excuse and tried to take the high road about the reasons I didn't want to see you anymore to spare your feelings. The truth is, Todd, you are a whiney little man. And I mean that quit literally.

PLANTATION: I debated responding. Like I said, I didn't want to get into a pissing contest. I don't expect any apologies or justifications nor did I ask for any. Nice dig there at the end. I'm gonna save that one.

I don’t think I need to say anything else about her. She’s done that all by herself. "The truth is, Todd, you are a whiney little man. And I mean that quit literally." This after telling me only yesterday, "I hope you know that I wish you only happiness, so please take what I am going to say in the spirit in which it was intended...I say this with friendship in my heart..."

What kind of person does this? I dunno. I treated her like royalty and this is my reward. I guess it makes her feel better to tell me what I already know about a certain body part of mine. Hey, I am what I am. I'd never in my life insult a woman's body. To me, it's perhaps the lowest thing a guy can do. But that's just whiney me, I guess. And damn, I really wish I hadn’t bought her those $200 pair of Oakley sunglasses.

June 09, 2006


Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The cake isn’t completely baked. Come to think of it, it just went into the oven.

June 04, 2006


Almost a year to the day, Andrew McMahon postponed the balance of his concert tour. He had good reason. He was diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia. Three months later, the lead singer and creative force of Something Corporate and his new band Jack's Mannequin had a bone marrow transplant and post-op battles with chemotherapy, radiation and pneumonia. Not your typical rock star profile who may have been saved by his sister who was a stem-cell match. Wow, turn the clock forward nine months and I find Andrew and his mates charging the outdoor set at Revolution looking healthy and energetic and ready to rock. And on a hot muggy South Florida night, with my view being mere feet away from the band, Andrew did just that.

McMahon and the boys ripped right through the entire Everything In Transit CD in exact order. From the opening rocker, “Holiday From Real,” to the melodic closer, “Into The Airwaves,” the young 20s crowd was in an absolute frenzy. I’m partial to piano-driven melodic vocal alternative bands but the key is pulling it off live. The Fray did it and I’m happy to report Jack’s did, too. My favorite, “The Mixed Tape,” was brilliant. McMahon’s vocals and piano were pure. If you'd like hear a live version to capture the feel of the concert, click on the above Jack’s Mannequin link. The lyrics of the song move me because they are, in essence, a re-enactment of my own CD creative thinking process. My mixes are born from love, fear, depression, happiness, and in this case anger.

Where are you now?
As I'm swimming through the stereo,
I'm writing you a symphony of sound.
Where are you now?
As I rearrange the songs again
I swear to God this mix could sink the sun.
But it was you I was thinking of.

And this is my mixed tape for her.
It's like I wrote every note
With my own fingers.

Brilliantly written and brilliantly sung. The band treated us to a three-song encore which included curiously chosen covers of Tom Petty’s “American Girl” and the Everly Brothers golden oldie “Dream.” Curiously chosen but well-sung. Man, I hated for the concert to end. Time flies and in the seemingly blink of an eye, it was over amongst raucous cheers, flying water bottles, and set sheets being snapped up like free hundred dollar bills. Chalk up another concert winner. If you get a chance, go see Jack’s Mannequin in concert. It’s a helluva mixed tape.

P.S. If you were curious, McMahon explained, in an interview with absolutepunk.net, the band name origin citing, “Originally, there was not much significance behind the name. I had thought about naming it The Mannequins, but had grown bored of the "the" band names. I finished a song early on while writing for this record called Dear Jack and just kind of sandwiched the two words together.”

June 01, 2006


photo courtesy of Richard Drew, AP

Today will indeed be different. Sadly, a little empty. I’m not a big news show guy, but I’ve grown accustomed to watching the fabulous Katie Couric each workday morning on The Today Show. I’m gonna miss her. People often ask me what qualities I look for in a woman. I don’t know when, but it hit me one day that Katie has those qualities. She’s intelligent, funny, serious, silly, witty, infectious, courageous, caring, genuine, adventurous, down-to-earth, and attractive. I’ve admired her ability to do both serious and funny interviews and news stories with equal aplomb. The Today Show can’t possibly be the same again, and that’s a shame. I’ll miss her presence, her banter with Matt Lauer, her ever-changing hair style, her squeaky laugh, and most of all I’ll miss that big smile.

I've always had this pipedream that she'd interview me on the show discussing my book. Crazy, isn't it? I’m a big fan, Katie Couric. Goodbye and good luck at CBS.