3 Day Weekend

The big Memorial Day Weekend kicks off today.  The weather is looking beautiful and it’s only getting better.  Tonight, we party with the Edman, I’m thinking about the zoo on Saturday, big softball tournament on Sunday, and on Monday, my brother is adopting my big TV. 

I’m giving the monsterous TV to my brother because it takes up way too much space in an apartment.  We’re going to get something a little smaller and flatter instead.  We’re moving into Doylestown on Thursday, 5/29, less than a week away.  I’m starting to get a little sentimental, I will definitely miss some parts of Frenchtown, but I am sure those voids will soon be filled by Ooka, Lilly’s, Burpee Park, new friendly neighbors, and the pool in our apartment complex. 

It would be really cool if we could all go back in time to visit the 26 year old Rob Deem and explain how the Frenchtown experient would turn out.  We could have a big surprise party for me as I walk into my apartment for the first time in July 27, 2005.  I would ask questions about the upcoming softball seasons (I would be shocked to hear that we lose every game for an entire season), I would love meeting Winston, I’d give Jaclyn a huge hug, I would shake the hand of the present day Rob Deem, and then I would probably ask present day Rob Deem to talk with 26 year old Rob Deem and ask him a couple of questions:

26 Year Old Rob Deem:  Do I need to do anything differently?
Present Day Rob Deem:  Cram in a little more softball, protest the sale of Cucina Del Sol to new management, and make sure you go on all the spectacular dates you can cram in with Jaclyn before the baby arrives 

26 Year Old Rob Deem:  Do I have anything to be worried about?
Present Day Rob Deem:  Nothing to worry about, but your son is a wild human being.  He is constantly running around, climbing, and getting into things he shouldn’t be getting into.  Oh, and your best friend will be moving to San Diego, it fact, it will start a trend of seeing your friends less in general.  With you having the family and your friends getting into serious relationships, it just gets tougher to see each other regularly. 

26 Y.O.R.D. – That sounds like my son alright.  Which friends are in serious relationships…it’s not Jay is it?
P.D.R.D. – It’s Jay! 

26 Y.O.R.D. – Wow!  I didn’t see that one coming.  Do you have any more advice?
P.D.R.D. – Bet a lot of money on the Giants when they play the Patriots in the SuperBowl and write a blog, it keeps you honest and it encourages you to pack excitement into your life.  You don’t want a boring blog. 

The final 3 best moments in Frenchtown
#3 – New Year’s Eve Party 2008.
  We tried to step it up a little with a martini bar, gambling theme, and the 2007 recap presentation.  New Years is my favorite holiday, it really forces you to take inventory on where you are, where you’ve been, and to celebrate that you’re all alive to cram more in another year.  Other highlights include the Edman’s outfit, Walt’s appendix bursting, the wheel of death, and San Diego Dave making an appearance.

#2 – Winston coming home from the hospital.  Winston was born on January 4th, we were allowed to take him home on the 7th.  For some reason, fireworks were going off over the Delaware River and we were all alone with him for the first time.  At this moment, I felt extremely uneducated about parenting, but I wanted to learn and I just did my best.  I still remember the ride home from the hospital, I think we drove about 15 miles per hour the entire time. 

#1 – Getting engaged next to the Delaware River.  I took Jaclyn to an old stone platform that overlooks the Delaware River.  I wanted it to be private, I wanted it to be a place that we could always go.  Kind of like Eternal Sunshine and the Spotless Mind, I wanted this to be our Montauk.  It’s always there for us and I always think about it whenever I walk by that spot.  I think we’ll come back and visit that spot from time to time for the rest of our lives.



I took this photo on my cell phone while driving home from work

Guns or Fireworks?

The goods news is, a crazy bastard can’t get his hands on fireworks, the bad news is he can easily buy an AK-47 or Barret 50 Caliber Sniper Rifle over the internet.  Goodness gracious, imagine if someone was so pissed that he couldn’t get fireworks, he bought a gun? 

Actually, I was able to purchase fireworks last year, through some legal loophole that made it possible for someone with an out of state license to purchase fireworks in Pennsylvania.  I’m not talking sparklers, I’m talking big ass fireworks that shoot way into the air and burst into vibrant stars.  You have to fill out all kinds of forms explaining that you’re not a Pennsylvania resident and you have to show proof that you’re not a resident (NJ Drivers License) and then you have to sign a form saying that you are going to take these fireworks far away from Pennsylvania where you promise to use them in a state that is legal.  I showed them my New Jersey license and was allowed access into the Fireworks Super Store in Easton, Pennsylvania.  Unfortunately, after purchasing the fireworks I had to make it through New Jersey which was heavily advertising their commitment to bust anyone carrying fireworks or lighting fireworks in their state.  I had a huge payload and didn’t want to get busted, I felt like a drug dealer smuggling 100 kilos of cocaine across the border. 

Anyways, I was talking to a guy from Switzerland about this crazy ordeal and the amount of hassle it is to acquire decent fireworks and he was astonished.  He said, “You’re telling me in America, where everyone owns guns, it’s a real hassle to buy fireworks?”  I thought about this for a minute and said, “That’s a real good point, it would be a lot easier for me to acquire a gun than a bottle rocket (and I wouldn’t have to break the law). 

So, I’ve done a little research and I can tell you this, it is very freaking easy to buy a bad ass gun.  With a few clicks of the mouse, I was able to get a click away from owning an AK-47 and a Barret 50 Caliber Sniper Rifle.  Apparently, if I had ordered those guns (which would have set me back about $800 for the AK-47 and $7000 for the Sniper Rifle), I would have had to pick them up from a dealer who would give me the standard background check.  So, as long as you don’t have a history of doing something crazy before buying an AK-47, the deal should go through…but isn’t the act of buying an AK-47 a good sign that you’re kind of headed to Crazyville? 

QUIZ TIME!!!

1. Which one of the following items could get me arrested for purchasing?:
2. Which item can’t I purchase over the internet?
3. Which one would make me look coolest if I was holding it with my shirt off?

A)  AK-47 (useful for killing police officers and wiping out rival gangs)

  Barrot 50 Caliber (I could blow off the head of an elephant with the sucker!)

C)  Bottle Rocket

Answers:
1.  C  2.  C (you can add it to your shopping list, but not to your cart for checkout)  3.  A (the bottle rocket makes me look fat)
 

Frenchtown Commons – Frenchtown, New Jersey (My Review)

It’s tough finding apartments near the Delaware River in New Jersey, it’s even tougher to find a review of an apartment complex in that area.  So here’s my service to the community, a review of the Frenchtown Commons. 

I’ve been living in the Frenchtown Commons for a little over 3 years and in general, it’s been a great experience.  The apartments have central air conditioning and the manager of the apartment complex takes great pride in landscaping, maintaining, and fixing problems promptly. 

The best thing about the apartment complex is the location.  The apartments are located on Route 29 (River Road) and the center of town is about a quarter mile away.  The river is also about a quarter of a mile away (or closer if you cut through the business across the street).  The town is beautiful, but lately (2007/2008) the town has experienced a decline of sorts, several restaurants and small shops have gone out of business, it’s nowhere as nice as it was a couple years ago, but it could be a lot worse.  We have some great restaurants that are still open, plenty of cafes, and quite possibly the best diner in Hunterdon County.  The river is absolutely beautiful, clean, clear, and perfect for kayaking, canoing, tubing, or just taking a swim.

While the location is scenic and serene, the downside is that you have to travel about 15-20 minutes to get to a Shopping Center.  There is a little grocery store in town which can get you by, but most people will need to visit the Shop-Rite in Flemington or Clinton. 

There’s an interesting mix of people that live in the Frenchtown Commons.  I think a substantial percentage of people that live here are living here with government assistance.   There’s a decent cohort of elderly people and a couple of families that make the Commons their home.  In my 3 years, I have never been disturbed, I have never witnessed or experienced criminal activity, it’s just a friendly community.  To be honest, I’ve probably been the biggest disturbance with my New Years Eve parties and occasional summer fiestas.  My neighbors never complained, they are good people. 

The apartment itself is very spacious and the rent is very affordable.  In fact, when I signed up for a 1 year lease, I was given the first month of rent for free. 

If you’re in your twenties and you’re looking for a crazy nightlife, it’s not the place for you, but if you love the river, an artsy vibe, or just want to get away from it all, this is a great place for you. 

One last thing, there’s three great BYOB restaurants in town, BYOBs are great places to take a date on a budget.

Favorite Frenchtown Moment #4
Rope Swing on the Delaware River – Jaclyn, Dave and I all went to a monster rope swing near Bulls Island on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River.  The rope swing is obviously tied to a tree, the rope hangs about 50 feet down with a big knot at the end.  The tree is on top of a steep river bank and you have to climb up a ladder that is permanently hammered into a tree to get the velocity needed to propel you way into the Delaware River.   For the crazy people, there’s a tree further back that can launch you even further into the river, but you have to be half Tarzan or insane to attempt.  Dave did it with no problem, but I was too scared.  Jaclyn swam across the Delaware River and I did the same, but it was a lot tougher for me than Jaclyn.  Since this rope swing eludes many people, here’s a map to find it.


Pics of Frenchtown, NJ

Niagara Falls – The Down Low

It was Jaclyn’s 26th Birthday this weekend and we went up to Niagara Falls to celebrate.

Here’s what you need to know about Niagara Falls:

Q:  Is it difficult to see Niagara Falls, do I need to do a tour, rent a helicopter, reserve a penthouse suit at the top of a fancy hotel?

A:  It is extremely easy and affordable to see the Falls.  You will see them when you cross into Canada on the Rainbow Bridge, there’s a path that goes right along the Falls that is just a couple of feet from the roaring water, and several hotels have restaurants that are affordable and give you a beautiful panoramic view from way above the Falls.  At the Hilton, we received a complimentary breakfast each morning at their restaurant on the 33rd floor.  We had spectacular views for free.  I’m sure a helicopter or penthouse suit would be nice, but it’s certainly not necessary to get a breath-taking experience.

Q:  What was your favorite thing to do at Niagara Falls?

A:  The Maid of the Mist.  The Maid of the Mist is the only boat that actually takes you down to the base of the Falls.  It’s about $14 a person and it was one of the best experiences of my life.  You ride right down to the bottom of the American Falls which are spectacular, you take a bunch of pictures, you feels the gentle mist, and you gaze in wonder, after about 10 minutes of checking that out, the boat moves along to the grander Horseshoe Falls.  This blows your mind, the wind picks up, the gentle mist turns to a gallons and gallons of water being thrown full force at your body.  You try to look up to see it all, but too much water is coming down on your face, you can barely hear anything, it sounds like you’re in the middle of a thunderstorm.  The currents violently swirl around you, waves crash into the boat, it’s just the most insane ride I’ve ever been on.  Everyone is given a poncho before you board the boat and it’s the most use you’ll ever get out of a poncho. 

Q:  Is there anything else to do in Niagara Falls, besides looking at the waterfalls?

Yes, there’s a bunch of stuff which I will outline quickly.

  • Clifton Hill – this is weird part of town with a carnival type atmosphere.  Places like Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, Hard Rock Cafe, WWF SuperStore, Rain Forest Cafe, and several other strange franchises.  It’s not my cup of tea, but if you like wacky museums, haunted houses, and lame souvenirs, this is the place for you.
  • IMAX Theater for the rainy day
  • Indoor Water Park
  • Niagara on the Lake – Just follow the river down stream for about 7 miles and you’ll run into this beautiful little yuppy town.  You’ll pass about 30 wineries on the short trip too.  If you like wine, this is the place for you.  The town’s shops focus on gourmet food, supplies, and wine.  You can also find upscale clothing, horse-drawn carriages, and ice cream, but you’re here for the wine and gourmet food.  They offer bus tours that will take you to a ton of wineries and you can sample and purchase all kinds of wine, it sounds like a blast, something I would love to do later on (maybe when all my kids are 21!).  It really is easy to find, just follow the road down river until you run into it.
  • Casinos, there are several casinos that appear to be very nice and upscale.  We didn’t go inside because Winston was with us, but they looked like they could be a lot of fun.
  • Plenty of bars and clubs for those who like to party.

Q:  Currency?

A:  Just bring your debit/credit card and pay for everything with your card, everyone accepts it and it saves you the hassle of converting US dollars.  Just bring some petty cash for tips.

Q:  Any last tips for someone thinking about going to Niagara Falls?

A:  The nights are pretty incredible.  They usually have fireworks and they light up the falls with some laser light show after 9PM.  The whole town gathers along the sidewalk that’s built along the Falls’ ledge.  It’s festive, beautiful, romantic, and free.

Here’s a couple of my favorite pics:
Breakfast on the 33rd floor of the Hilton (Horseshoe Falls in the background – but you could easily see both Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls)

I snapped this pic of the American Falls from the Maid of the Mist


I tried taking several pictures of Horseshoe Falls from the MOTM, but there was just too much water.  Here’s a picture of Jaclyn and Winston while we were getting soaked at Horseshoe Falls

The yuppy Niagara on the Lake – it is very quaint and upscale, but it’s still affordable. 

Horseshoe Falls at night – this pic was taken from the public sidewalk, you are so close to the Falls that your heart beats twice as fast

It’s Jaclyn Fellman Deem’s Birthday Yo!

Tomorrow, May 16th, is Jaclyn’s birthday.  Jack, Win, and I are all heading up to Niagara Falls to celebrate.  None of us have been there before, so we’re pretty excited to check it out. 

We’re taking tomorrow off so we can spend a long weekend up there.  I’ll take plenty of pictures and report back on what to do if you ever go up there too. 

If any of you want to wish Jaclyn a Happy Birthday, please give her a call or leave a nice comment below. 



Coffin, Cremation, or Cryogenically Frozen?

Here’s my take on each option:

Coffin – You’re put into a protective case that helps slow your deteriation and ultimate return to the Earth 
Cremation – Expedites the natural progression of deteriation and returns you to the Earth immediately
Cryogenically Frozen – Really delays your deteriation, but it doesn’t seem like an exact science, I personally don”t trust the technology yet (freezer burn, freezers malfunctioning, etc.)

When it’s listed out, it seems like Cremation is the way to go, you won’t take up space in a cemetary and you’re immediately a part of life’s amazing cycle, but how terrible would it be if you found out after you were dead that it was a really a bad idea to have your body burned.  Like, the concierge in Heaven was like, okay dude, what’s going on with your little cloud like appearance, don’t tell me your family went ahead and got you cremated.  Hopefully, Heaven will have that all squared away, like you could borrow someone’s body or create your own.  I’d make myself look like Yoda. 

No matter what, there probably won’t be a Vladimir Lenin option for me where I’m enclosed in glass and everyone can check me out.  I don’t think I’d select that option though, I don’t want to be confined when I die, I think it would be cool to be returned immediately to Earth, maybe right into the Delaware River.  I could be reunited with my wedding band that I lost on a fishing trip and I could be part of the Smallmouth Bass people are catching and the wild flowers on the river banks. 

After thinking about this, I am finally going to become an Organ Donor, but if I show up in Heaven without eyes and the concierge rips me for being eyeless, I will be very annoyed. 







Ralph Stover Park – High Rocks

Winston and I went hiking up High Rocks this weekend.  It’s such a gorgeous park so close to home, I recommend that you take someone you love out into the woods and take in the beautiful Spring days. 

There’s two ways to get to Ralph Stover’s High Rocks, one way is to go down Stump Road until it dumps you into the park.  This entrance drops you off at the bottom and you have to cross a stream on an old wooden bridge, then you walk up a steep curly road that never has any cars until you see a yellow road sign indicating a possible road intersection ahead, there’s no road ahead, but a path immediately after the sign, make a right onto that path and you’re on your way to High Rocks.

The other entrance is off of Dark Hollow road, look for a road sign called, State Park or High Rocks, it will be on your right.  Make a right onto that road and it will dump you off into a parking lot at the very top of High Rocks. 

Given the choice, I prefer starting at the bottom, you get a feeling of accomplishment and perspective when you start at the bottom and make your way to the top and the stream you initially crossed appears to be very small when you walk along the steep ledge.  The walk itself is very easy, I think anyone can do it, I did it carrying Winston the whole time.  Along the steep ledge, there’s a protective fence to allow you to get very close to edge without falling off,  it actually enhances the experience . 

The Spring morning was absolutely gorgeous, the trees were a magnificent green and the rain made the bark a very dark brown, the contrast was really breath-taking.  Of course I forgot my camera, but I found a wonderful site with some fantastic pictures, so I will post some of these instead.
 
http://www.davidhanauer.com/buckscounty/highrocks/

This site also had a brief history of High Rocks which I will share with you as well.

The following pictures are from the area of Ralph Stover State Park
known as High Rocks. It was originally known as Boileaus Rocks. Here
there is a 200 foot sheer rock face cliff overlooking Tohickon Creek.
The name Tohickon comes from the Lene Lenape Indians who named it to
mean “Deer-Bone-Creek.” Ralph Stover park was created in 1931 when the
heirs of Ralph Stover, the owner of an 18th century grain mill on the
site, donated the land. The High Rocks section of the park was donated
to the state by author James Michener.


Blog Dreams Are Made of These

So I have a long-term goal for my life.  I want to be number 1 in the world in kills on Call of Duty 4 for the Xbox 360. 

When I load Call of Duty 4 on my Xbox 360, I have the option to play the single player campaign or to play online against other dorks like myself.  I beat the single player campaign a long time ago, so I dedicate myself to online play.  How does it work you ask, well it’s simple.  There’s typically two teams of 6 people and you need to capture bases and keep the other team from overtaking the bases you have captured.  For every second you hold down the base, you earn points, the team that gets to 200 points first, wins.  The cool thing is, every time you shoot someone, Xbox tracks your stats and posts them for you to see, you also see how your stats compare to the rest of the world.  Right now, over 9 million people own the game (across all consoles) and my rank is around 389,000.  (FYI – it also tracks your shooting accuracy, wins, win %, score, and overall time you’ve dedicated to this game). 

Whoever guesses the amount of online people I have killed will win a blog entry completely dedicated to them.  You have to be closest, it doesn’t matter if you’re over or under.  

Here’s a hint, to get close to the top of the list, I would need 220,000 kills.  My hope is that other people stop playing the game as much and in the next couple of years, I gradually move up the list since all the other uber geeks have moved on to newer games.  

The challenge is, I can only play when Winston is sleeping, so I usually have to play late at night before going to bed.  Cramming a couple hours of violent warfare before sleep can lead to weird dreams.

Blog dreams are made of these
Who am I to disagree
Traveled the World and the Seven Seas
Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to be used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused by you
I want to be #1 in Call of Duty
Keep your head up, moving on
Hold your head up, moving on
Keep your head up, moving on
Hold your head up, moving on
Keep your head up, moving on
moving on!

Frenchtown Moment #5


The Frenchtown Flood of 2006 – I don’t really remember is raining very hard, I guess it just rained for a long time.  I didn’t think anything of it until I was at work, passed a TV with CNN showing Frenchtown and how the river was covering up the roads.  Since our apartment is on River Road, I immediately left work to determine if my belongings were under water.  Luckily, the apartment stayed dry, but the road was so flooded, I had to park my car in town and cut through the woods to get to my apartment.  I could have rafted from my apartment to the pizza place or to Thai Chili, Frenchtown looked like Venice for a couple days.  

This is the road I live on



Here’s a video of the flood, taken from a bridge further down the river, but it looked just like this in Frenchtown.  Normally, the bridge is about 30 feet above the water, during the flood, trees were slamming into it. 


Gas Prices & Politicians

McCain and Hillary are proposing to suspend the federal gas tax to lower gas prices by 16 cents.  George W. Bush (did you know the W stood for Walker?) wants to initiate drilling in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge (but he likes to call it ANWR, which sounds a lot less beautiful and worthy of conserving), to halt the rising gas prices.  If you ask me, these are possibly the two dumbest ideas I have ever heard.  If we suspend the gas tax, demand will go up and the price will rise back to the current level in a couple months and we’ll be without the benefit of the federal tax that pays for road repairs.  If we drill in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge, we’ll just wipe out our own supply, destroy a wildlife refuge, and have no long term solution.  US isn’t even close to paying the most for gas, this is not a result of politicians screwing up, national security, or high taxes, it is simple supply and demand and the value of the dollar decreasing.  Let’s suck it up, pay more for gas and drive less, use more fuel efficient cars, and maybe we’ll come up with less expensive and more environmentally friendly options. 

Nation City Price in USD Regular/Gallon
Netherlands Amsterdam $6.48
Norway Oslo $6.27
Italy Milan $5.96
Denmark Copenhagen $5.93
Belgium Brussels $5.91
Sweden Stockholm $5.80
United Kingdom London $5.79
Germany Frankfurt $5.57
France Paris $5.54
Portugal Lisbon $5.35
Hungary Budapest $4.94
Luxembourg $4.82
Croatia Zagreb $4.81
Ireland Dublin $4.78
Switzerland Geneva $4.74
Spain Madrid $4.55
Japan Tokyo $4.24
Czech Republic Prague $4.19
Romania Bucharest $4.09
Andorra $4.08

Top 10 Frenchtown Moments cont.
6.  Wine Fest – We’ve had the opportunity to go to a couple wine fests in Frenchtown and they’ve always been a lot of fun.  The first wine fest we hit up was with Andy and Lauren.  It ended up raining a lot, so we hung out longer in each store sampling more wines.  By the end of the day, we were really tipsy, running through the streets in Frenchtown, trying to get to the next venue’s sampling without getting soaked.  There’s typically 10 stores/restaurants participating, each store has 5 or 6 different wines or beers to try (do the math, it’s a lot of samples!), it’s never too crowded and there’s always plenty to try.  This year’s wine fest takes place June 7 and 8th.