Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What "The Walking Dead" has taught me


In my last post, I talked about my plan to get in shape like never before to prove that I can "overcome" turning 40 years old. That is moving along just swimmingly and I will have more deets for you in a soon to be published post.

So in keeping with that "masculine" challenge, I have an update on what I've been watching on the good ol telly.

Forgive me for being late to the party, but I just starting watching "The Walking Dead" about two weeks ago.


Yes, I know about all of the hype with this show when it started two years ago, it just took me some time to finally commit to it. I have never been much of a "zombie" guy, but from what I could gather, this was more of a show about survival in impossible circumstances. That appealed to me.

Well in two weeks, I watched seasons 1 and 2 and caught up to season 3. To say I am obsessed with it is an understatement. The show is consistently unsettling, disgusting, terrifying and beautifully shot; all at the same time. My wife is grossed out by it and my kids vow to never set foot out of the house if they see even one clip of a zombie. Me, I can't get enough carnage.

So after consuming this show like no other show before it, I realize how much it has already impacted me in a number of ways.

They are:

1). I need to be more of a man - It is time to buy a crossbow and maybe a few guns. I've never used a firearm or a bow in my life but maybe I should start training. You never know when the apocalypse will hit and I need to be prepared. Not to mention, I would look damn cool brandishing a crossbow:

               
Let me also add, I need to start cutting the sleeves off of all of my shirts. Ah ... swoon. My new "man crush".

But seriously, it is time for me to man up. Kick ass and take names. I will say yes to the first person who wants to go hunting, or four wheeling or even wants to play paintball. F yeah!  

To prove I'm serious about this manhood thing, I have been growing a beard since I started watching the show (the beard will be photographed and shared with you all real soon).

I now look pretty bad ass and I can tell people fear me just a bit. Nice.

Mr. Intimidation is here to stay.  

2). I need to remind the kids just how good they have it - My kids eat cheeseburgers and pizza without a care in the world, but they could easily be dining on raw possum or berries like the kids on The Walking Dead.

They play their video games and watch TV without once considering all poor Carl has to go through day in and day out. Could they shoot a zombie? Or watch their friends get devoured by zombies? Or shoot their mother on the floor of a prison just after she gave birth? I think not.


Starting this week, I am making them hunt for their own food and will make them build their own shelter in the woods in the backyard. They will have to live there two days a week, regardless of the outside temps.

Better yet, maybe I'll create our own Hunger Games where they'll need to hunt down each other. My money is on my daughter.

And they will thank me when they get older.

3). Critics really do impact the way I watch TV shows.movies - Before I started my run of watching "The Walking Dead", I assumed that critics across the board loved the show. And after finishing seasons 1 and 2, I would have agreed with them.

But before starting season 3, I read reviews of the show for the first time and most buried season 2 as being slow and boring. I didn't even realize that the original producer of the show, Frank Darabont, had been fired at the midway point of the season. The new producer brought on was charged with speeding things up and upping the zombie body count.


I never sensed that the show slowed down and thought season 2 was fantastic, but after reading all of the criticism, I started to look back on it differently. And that really bothered me.

Am I that easily influenced by critics? Am I too simple and missed the show heading in the wrong direction? Do I simply just like watching zombies getting slaughtered?

I like to think I am a somewhat intelligent TV viewer and can see the deeper meaning of a show, but maybe I allow others to put those thoughts in my head. I always assumed that delving deeper into a show by reading input from writers/critics made it a more enjoyable experience, but maybe I was dead wrong. Maybe "critic free" is the way to go.

Or maybe, it is all about HOW you watch a show. Which leads to my next point.

4)Watching a serialized TV show rapid fire, one episode to the next is the way to go - I have never watched a show as rapidly as I did with "The Walking Dead". Typically, I would DVR a show and then watch it on a weekly basis. "Lost" and "The Sopranos" were both perfect example of this.


The build-up to each show was HUGE and almost always lead to overblown and unfair expectations.

Now these two shows almost always delivered each and every week (yes, even The Sopranos finale) but I wish I could go back and watch these shows differently. There is much better pacing when you watch one episode after another where you aren't constantly seeking the "A ha" moment for that week. It definitely plays out more like a movie and for me, that is a much more enjoyable experience.

And now that I am watching "The Walking Dead" on a weekly basis, I have to admit, the shine is off of the package a bit. I shouldn't have caught up so quickly.

Last and "most bizarrely not least", I present a potentially ingenious idea and my last inspiration from the show ...

5). The perfect TV mash-up: "The Walking Dead" meets "Honey Boo Boo" - Stay with me here. And if you actually get this, I friggin love you.

I have been fascinated by TV shows that cross over and mash up with each other ever since The Flintstones met The Jetsons (logic be damned).


When two of my favorite TV worlds collide, it is magic. So here we go:

"The Walking Dead" takes place in Georgia and "Honey Boo Boo" takes place in ...? That's right, Georgia. We've already got the geography equation solved.

So let's say Rick Grimes and group get booted out of the prison they are currently taking residence in and stumble upon an abandoned train. Miraculously, they start her up only to have it crash in let's say McIntyre, GA (home of the Boo Boo's). Conveniently, the train stops right on their front lawn because, for those of you who watch The Boo Boo's, you know the train LITERALLY bumps up against their front door. It is the absolute funniest part of the show and a can't miss.

So "The Walking Dead" gang slowly approach the front door and are about to shoot what they think is a zombie:
.      

Only to realize it is "Mama", so they hold their fire.

The newly formed group unite to create a new "family" and well, I'll need to work further on the script.

Am I on to something here? Did I lose you completely?

I've got two more shows lined up for the winter - "Breaking Bad" and "Sons of Anarchy". I plan on watching them rapid fire style as well, so watch out. I may be soon dealing meth off of the back of my bike while doing preacher curls.

Now that is f'n manly!                  

              

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Age will not take me down

"Research suggests that between 40 and 50 years old, a person loses 8 percent or more of their muscle mass."

Uh oh ... it's all over.

I read the quote above on the Men's Health website recently and it really knocked me on my "tookus". Is this the beginning of the end now that I am 40 years old? I can almost feel my muscles slowly deflating as I type this. 

It feels so cliche to be deeply affected by turning 40, but I must admit, it has taken a bit of a toll on me. I have no complaints about my family, my job or my health, but I do feel like a window is slowly closing on me. And I can't really define why that closing window has had such an impact. 

Maybe taking that chance on some entrepreneurial venture is no longer a possibility.

Maybe it is the reality that some of the players on my favorite sports teams could actually be my children.

Or maybe it is the fact that my body has now started the inevitable decline. 

That last one seems to be the one that really hits home. I realize we are talking about minimal decline here, but it is the idea that age 40 is identified as the beginning of the end. It doesn't feel that way but I'll have to side with science here. 

I can't seem to shake this concept of muscle mass loss and I think I'm ready to defy it in a big way. I am a regular weight lifter and runner but not hardcore by any means. I do enough to stay in decent shape and to effectively "check it off the list". It is difficult to find the time to work out with a job, family and kids activities but I make do.

The final inspiration to take 40 and beat the hell out of it came from an unexpected source. He is an actor who is 50 years old and is on my TV each and every night. Can you guess who it is? Actually don't bother, unless you have children between the ages of 6 and 12. He is this guy (on the left):
                          
Eric Allan Kramer on "Good Luck Charlie" (my kids favorite show). Seriously, check out the guns on this guy. This is how he has looked on the latest season of the show and it is damn impressive, considering this is how he looked not too long ago:

Not a lot of muscle loss there, eh?

I made the comment to my son that "Bob Duncan looks phenomenal". He then proceeded to look him up on Wikipedia and said to me (without any indication of busting on me) "He is FIFTY years old". 

That was it. Game f'n on. If he can do it, I can do it (of course I don't have access to the personal trainers and nutritionists that he does, but that is besides the point). 

I started to formulate my plan and tried to come up with an impressive end goal. But I couldn't figure out what that would be. Is it running a marathon? Is it competing in a bodybuilding contest (I kid)? Is it drastically improving my BMI (Body Mass Index for those of you so embarrassingly uninformed)? 

Nope. It is clearly none of those. In fact, I realized it is not about a goal at all. It is all about the process. I want to work hard, eat clean because I still can. I am young enough to still make an impact on this one body I've been granted and that is what I will focus on. 

I'm going to run.

I'm going to do sprints.

I'm going to do circuit training.

I'm going to do yoga.

I'm going to eat more protein.

I'm going to eat less sugar.

I'm going to drink more green tea.

I'm going to mix shit up like never before.

And it isn't about letting it take over my life. I will train smarter, not longer. I will make smart choices along the way and hopefully that will provide great results. But more than anything, I am going to thank my lucky stars that I can still do it all. 

So keep coming back for updates on my successes and failures and how I feel along the way. 

AND ...... I would never leave out my partner in crime, Matt, from this POA. In fact, he will be posting his take on the topic right after me. His take is a bit different and he has some fascinating history to share with you all. But when all is said and done, we are both striving for the same thing ... to defy age and knock it on its ass.

Hope you will all tag along for the ride.


TGAL                      

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Real Housewives of New Jersey - "Where are they now?" Part II


Hopefully by now, you ready our first installment of the RHONJ, "Where are they Now?" the 2015 edition. If not, you can read all about it here

For today, here are three additional updates on some of your favorite "characters" from RHONJ. 

Enjoy    

KATHY WAKILE 
  • After the debacle that was the reunion show, Kathy put all of her time and energy into her dessert line "Dolci Della Dea" which translated from Italian means "Now it's my turn to make some cash with my recipes due to my new found celebrity". She did real well selling them on QVC ... and outside of Teresa's book signings. 
  • After announcing she had created her own cocktail - Red Velvet Cosmo - Teresa went all sorts of nuts accusing her of yet again copying her road map to success. To get her back, Tre made a secret appearance on one of her QVC spots and if you look closely in the background, you can see her pretending to vomit when drinking the cocktail. The stunt proved to make Teresa look bad yet again, so in a moment of desperation, Tre just accused Kathy of being a stripper. After exhaustive research, TMZ discovered that Kathy had actually worked at a strip joint in Paterson back in the 70's, but turns out Kathy didn't actually dance there; she just baked for all of the girls on the weekends.
  • As Kathy became more and more popular by the end of 2013, the job opportunities were plentiful and she eventually settled on her own daytime talk show on CBS. "Kathy's Place" was clearly inspired  by the "Rachel Ray Show" as she had on B to C level celebrity guests and then baked for them. It was a moderate hit into 2014 until she not so smartly, set up a RHONJ reunion show and all hell broke lose. Teresa stirred things up yet again by accusing Kathy of stealing her idea to "bake a cake in an oven". Kathy's sister Rosie had seen enough and attacked Tre with a rolling pin on the stage. The show was sued for 10 million dollars and had to be abruptly canceled.
  • As of today, Kathy sells her desserts roadside at her husband's Exxon station in Wayne, NJ. She is also working on a tell-all book - "I Baked Like a Champ and Then a Guidette Friggin Ruined It" - where she promises to dish on the Teresa none of us knew prior to the start of RHONJ.                       

RICH WAKILE
  • Rich Wakile, fresh off of watching all of his cast mates deal with bankruptcy in season 4, decided to venture into other businesses outside of gas stations and started a clothing line at Men's Wearhouse. The "Richie W" collection featured polo shirts with the collar permanently turned up and sold like mad. Together, he and Kathy were rolling in the dough (pun intended) so they took the opportunity to also move away from the Giudices. They bought a house in Westchester, NY where they hoped to spread their "Jerseyness" across the Hudson. 
  • Well, just like his fellow RHONJ'ers, Rich made some questionable moves soon after the polo shirt explosion that started things rolling down the wrong path. First, he invested heavily in a discotheque in Long Branch, NJ that went terribly wrong from the outset. He had Melissa Gorga perform opening night and while she performed admirably, a brawl broke out right after she performed her new single "No, now I'm totally on display". Turns out Kim D and Kim G had invited some shady rival salon greeters who took the opportunity to settle their differences on the dance floor. Needless to say, the club never recovered.
  • Rich then ventured into the restaurant business and opened what was supposed to be a Lebanese restaurant in Weehawken, NJ. Turns out, all of the food was actually Italian as Rich yet again, forgot that he actually is not of Italian descent. The restaurant closed within four months. As we all know, NJ doesn't need another Italian restaurant.
  • By early 2014, just as Kathy's talk show was crumbling and things looked bleak, Rich went back to what got them wealthy in the first place - gas stations. He bought up a few back in Bergen County and forced his son into the business. As of today, business is thriving yet again and he's hoping Kathy can get back on her feet selling her desserts to those waiting on their gas to be pumped. Rich also opened a new restaurant with his fellow male cast mates that is looking promising as of the day of this story.                                

CHRIS LAURITA
  • Chris went into a depression after the taping of the reunion and vowed to bring his family back together. He arranged one of those survival, out in the wilderness bonding weekends with both his sister Dina and his sister Caroline. The experience was taped as part of a Bravo special "The Three Lauritas". The experience not only brought them all closer together, but launched the idea for the three siblings to travel the country and attempt to bring families closer together using the same method they used. 
  • With the success of the Laurita siblings new venture, Chris immediately dropped out of the BLK Water enterprise. He handed the reigns over to his step daughter Ashley who had made serious strides both personally and professionally while in Cali. In an unfortunate incident, Chris was captured on video laughing while talking to Joe Giudice and yelling "Who the f wants to drink black water any way. Shit looks nasty. Good luck Manzo boys dealing with Ashley now." 
  • With the success of the family survival business, Chris was able to turn that into a partnership with Tony Robbins and began traveling the country giving inspirational speeches and offering up advice to small businesses and self-starters. He even had his teeth professionally whitened to keep up with Tony  and through the magic of P90X, got himself into the best shape of his life.
  • Like we see so many times, the personal success Chris achieved had an adverse affect on his family life. By the time 2014 rolled around, he had seen so little of his wife Jacqueline while traveling non stop and they drifted further and further apart. In desperate need of attention, Jacqueline turned to Albie Manzo and they secretly had a steamy affair until Caroline found them in a compromising position on a couch in the back of The Brownstone. The chaos that ensued was the perfect set-up for the season finale of season 6 and it tore apart the Lauritas yet again. Chris now lives with Joe Giudice in an apartment in Red Bank and they opened a restaurant with Joe Gorga and Rich Wakile that is still thriving as of today.                           

Monday, October 22, 2012

Shopping cart etiquette

I'm annoyed again and here's why. 

Wegmans is heaven on earth and if you've read this blog, you knew that already. The lunch options exceed anything I've ever seen and each day is a new meal time adventure. It's like Disney World for lunching adults.  

You want Asian food? Check

You want Indian food? Check

You want old school subs (if you call it a hoagie please leave now)? Check

You want a crab cake sandwich? Check

You feeling me dawg? (I know, 2005 called and they want their reference back)

And it's not only the food choices that make it so off the charts awesome, but how the stations/displays are laid out to perfection. You can tell a lot of thought went into where you get a fork, or where you find the blue cheese for the wings or where you get the rice as the base for the Asian Wokery selections. 

Which brings me to today and a major violation Matt and I witnessed while scarfing down our lunch and enjoying the crowds shopping for their lunch below. 

Right in the middle of the Wegmans market, there are rows of ethnic food/salads where you can happily pile heaps of deliciousness into a container for later consumption. I may have Sesame Chicken and Lasagna and Thai spring rolls all lumped together in one container. A party like no other. 

While one mulls over their options and fills their container, there are a few simple rules to follow so everyone has the same enjoyable lunch experience. Pretty easy stuff if you ask me.

Number 1 on that list is to NOT do what you see in the photo below:               


Never, ever, under any circumstances, can you bring your cart into the buffet area. It immediately clogs up the aisle between the various food sections. It is so much fun to bounce from the "Asian Wokery" to the "Fresh Foods" section without fear of tripping over a cart. Are you that self absorbed that you don't realize what chaos you are bringing to the situation? Do you do the same thing at Home Depot while searching for caulk? Do you also slow down on a highway when searching for your exit ignoring the danger you are causing behind you? Are you that person that elbows my kids while looking for the rare Lego sets at Toys R Us?

The answers are yes, yes, yes and yes.      

**Side note - the individuals included in the photo below are not guilty of any shopping cart indiscretions. They are merely victims of a selfish act committed by a heathen I was never able to identify.

There are other rules that I will divulge in a future post, but for now, I would like to present you with the solution for handling a shopping cart properly. Simply follow the "rules of the mailman" (still the best job I ever had, albeit for one summer only). This normally applies to food shopping at holiday time, but can be applied to this situation as well.

Let me explain.

When approaching a crowded area in a supermarket, simply find an area off the beaten path (like near the smoked fish display), park your cart there, determine all that you need within the circumference of the affected area, walk cart-less to said area, pick up all of the items by hand and return to your cart.

This is the same method a mailman follows when he parks strategically on the street corner, grabs the necessary mail, walks the length of the street down one side and returns back on the other side of the street. Real simple stuff.

So next time you see a cart resting in a crowded area in the supermarket, feel free to push it away knowing how much you are benefiting the rest of us.

Thank you.


TGAL                            

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday pet peeves


JOHN HERE:

I could create a blog dedicated entirely to parking lot annoyances.
  • Those elitists who take up two spaces because their car is more special than all of ours ( “keying” said car is encouraged).
  • The driver forever in search of a better parking spot even if it means stalking people leaving an establishment and then clogging up the driving lanes for minutes without a care for the rest of us.
  • Those a-holes who walk down the middle of the parking lot chatting away with their friends as if they were walking in the mall. No, it’s OK, finish your conversation and I’ll idle in my car until you’re done. No rush. 
But there is one parking lot move that annoys me like no other. And that is:

Guy who always has to BACK INTO a parking space 

And let me qualify this a little further.
  • It is OK to pull into a parking space and drive ahead to the space in front of it so the car is facing out. Completely acceptable and a no-brainer. 
  • Women are off the hook in this one as I’ve never witnessed one of them pull this maddening stunt. 
  • It may even be OK for nervous/worried guy to back in slowly as I understand you may need to do so to calm your nerves or fulfill some OCD task. I get it. 

I take umbrage with cool guy who flies into the parking lot, pulls the car perpendicular to the desired parking space at just the right angle and backs into the spot violently with only one hand on the wheel.


And has the window down.

And has sunglasses perfectly perched atop the head.

This guy deserves to have his tires slashed.

I could go on and on analyzing this parking lot “tool” but I’ll keep it simple with a few facts about said “tool”.

He definitely:
  • Watches Two and a Half Men 
  • Still calls his friends by their fraternity nicknames:

  • Has or is working on a “man cave” in his house 
  • Has mastered the art of the "brohug"


Unless you are parking at a large sports event or a concert, where it is difficult to get out of the parking lot, are you really gaining all that much by backing in? Didn't think so cool guy. 

OK, I’m done.

MATT HERE:

Love the parking stuff so I'm going to stick with the "car" theme myself.

It's dark out, everyone and their mother have their lights on (which your supposed to do when it's dark).
Have you then ever been about 100 yards or more from a car on the other side of the road coming at you with their lights off? Oh that's just wonderful and exciting!

When this happens, I'm extremely quick to go right to my brights and flash them as if I'm playing a video game and you have to fire real quick to kill the bad guys. Can you picture me hitting the brights? "Flicker, Flicker, Flicker":


The pet peeve of the story is not that this jerks lights are off, but that by me giving them the brights never makes them think for one second that their lights are off. I could turn my car into a brick wall and put that in front of him and this dope would drive right through it without a care and keep driving with all the bricks all over his car:


Probably cause he's texting.

OK that's my venting for one day. Out of breath and annoyed just thinking of this.


TGAL

























Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Real Housewives of New Jersey - "Where are they now?"


Good evening. We come to you today from the future.

We have like this really cool time machine that we'll some day show you. But we have more important business to take care of right now.

It is January 2015 and a lot has happened the past three years. I can't give away too much because it will mess up the future of the world and that would really suck.

What I can share with you however, is what has transpired in the universe of the Real Housewives of New Jersey these past three years. Some pretty crazy and unexpected stuff.

Today, we give you part one of a three part series where we fill you in on what has happened to some of our favorite "characters" from RHONJ. I think you'll be shocked to when you read below.

Deep breaths ... and go:        

TERESA GIUDICE
  • Teresa’s 4th cookbook “Fabulicious Grilling” was released in 2013 and was immediately crucified by the critics as Tre claimed to have invented “grilled chicken” and a “medium rare” cheeseburger. The book still sold well though, as the foreword contained cartoons Teresa drew of Melissa as a stripper and Caroline as the Abominable Snowman.
  • Teresa’s 5th cookbook “Fabulicious Food for Strippers” was released in late 2013 as she looked to pounce on the marketability of strippers. Some of the more notable recipes include: “Meatballs on Display” “Gold-digger Chicken” and “I Just Wanna Manicotti”. She vehemently claimed  that any of the names that resembled a certain someone were merely a coincidence.
  • In order to make some easy cash when times were tough, Teresa lent her name to a new Spike TV game show entitled “Are You Smarter Than a Giudice?” It was hosted by go to gameshow host,  Chris Manzo, and became the network’s biggest hit to date.
  • After divorcing Juicy Joe in early 2014, Tre, in a shocking move, teamed up with Danielle Staub to star in the re imagined off Broadway version of Thelma & Louise called “Two Sick and Crazy Bitches” produced by Greg Bennett. It became a critical success for its dark humor and as one critic penned, it was “lunacy never before seen on the stage”.
  • By late 2014, after The Real Housewives of New Jersey was put on permanent hiatus. Teresa continued her downward spiral and had no choice but to check herself into "Celebrity Narcissism Rehab with Dr Drew". She made great strides early and appeared to make some connections with her housemates only to be thrown into the depths of despair when Melissa Gorga entered as a mid-season replacement for Honey Boo Boo (turns out she was too young for such a program). 


JOE GIUDICE 
  • After watching his disturbing appearance on the 2012 RHONJ reunion, Joe immediately got himself clean, shed 25 pounds and swore off creepily groaning on the phone with his Italian male coworkers. 
  • Just as Teresa was releasing her new cookbook in early 2013, Joe moved out of the mansion in Towaco, NJ and moved into his parents garage. He got back to his roots and started working in construction, albeit as low man on the totem pole. The kids would come visit often and begged to live in the garage with him. They called him “the sane one”. 
  • Joe made up with all of his male RHONJ co-stars and they all opened up an Italian restaurant, "Momo's Kitchen" in Weehawken, NJ. It is similar in style to Planet Hollywood and The Hard Rock CafĂ© in that it counted on show memorabilia and props to pull in the crowds. Some of the more infamous pieces included Joe Gorga’s “banana hammock”, Rich Wakilie’s white polo shirt (collar still up) and Joe Giudice’s cell phone.
  • Joe and Teresa called it quits and made the divorce official in early 2014. When Teresa entered rehab, Joe was awarded full custody of the girls and he moved them into a modest home in Paramus, NJ.
  • Figuring he would strike while the iron was hot, Joe opened up a string of “Juicy Joe” juice bars throughout the tri-state area where he partnered with The Situation. All of the locations are thriving and he even made a plea to his ex-wife to work in one of them to help her "get back on her feet again or whatever".


JOE GORGA
  • Joe Gorga’s appeal was made evident to all after the 2012 reunion and he was immediately contacted by Hollywood types to start planning the next aspect of his career. He sold his “business” to Rich Wakilie, who in turn sold it to someone else (and made a nice profit as a result).
  • Joe landed a supporting role in the movie "Mad Mike II" and was able to show his considerable "talents" to a larger audience. His character name of “Rod Long” became a lexicon in pop culture and lead to many new opportunities in show business.
  • The next move was a no-brainer, as he upped the family from their home in NJ and moved them all out to Los Angeles. Melissa pursued her singing career and Joe could walk around in his skivvies and get paid for it.
  • Unfortunately, it fell apart quickly when studios realized that Joe was only 4 ft 11. He could never be a leading man so the calls stopped coming. By late 2013, Joe was appearing in low budget “B” movies, most often as a street hustler. Times were tough.
  • To make matters worse, with the new law banning Autotunes, Melissa was left without a singing career. She did appear on a few RHONJ cruises where she could sing “On Display” for faithful fans but it wasn’t enough to pay the bills.
  • By 2014, the Gorga’s moved back to New Jersey and Joe made up with his former brother in law and they opened the aforementioned restaurant. Melissa couldn’t recover from her loss of fame and kind of lost it. She seized the opportunity to join Dr Drew’s "Celebrity Narcissism Rehab" knowing Teresa was already there. She figured firing up Tre brought her success in the past so why not give it another try. Only time will tell.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Random photo interpretation time


John here:
Matt and I are excellent at over analyzing things that probably never asked to be analyzed in the first place. It is a talent that we are both proud of and one we challenge each other on all the time. 

Case in point. 

For today's post, we each agreed to post a random photo found on the internet for the other to analyze. What appears to be a pair of completely harmless photos actually has so much more to offer upon further inspection. 

We didn't take this exercise lightly so we hope you'll do the same when reading our results. Really allow yourself to get lost in the photos and analyze along with us. You'll feel better about yourself after doing so ... I promise.

So first up, here is the photo I presented to Matt:       
And here is his beautiful interpretation:

Matt here:

Wow, what a pic. Says a lot.

Couple on the left:
Young married couple, definitely from Hoboken, NJ. To me, anyone who gets married young, has a lot of friends, likes to go out to eat and almost look like each other (these two do), they want to live in Hoboken (it's the cool thing to do). They've been together since high school, had the big wedding and bridal party and went to see the last Chris Daughtry concert. They live a conservative life. This sounds like an old Billy Joel song.

She goes for the plain slick back hair (nothing fancy), no elaborate jewelry or clothes. She's got her masters degree in Business Administration and just loves her job. Woo Hoo! Exciting! Talks to her family 50 times a day.

He has just enough hair gel so every hair is in place. He's got the sides a little short and the top perfectly trimmed to perfection. He's probably had this dew since they met. Nothing extreme right down to the plain dark sweater. I wish I could tell him to please trim those eye brows. This guy is gonna need a weed whacker to trim those babies. He works for Fed Ex and iron's his uniform every night before bed.

Couple on the right:
Could not be more of a mismatch. She is an accountant and he hasn't worked a real job his entire life. These two live in the "Sticks". Somewhere out in "no mans land" where you have to drive about 40 minutes to get milk and bread.

She is boring. Works for accounting firm and brings her lunch everyday except Fridays when the office orders out for lunch. Yeah, riveting. Doesn't get excited about anything but maybe Thursday nights when the Big Bang Theory is on.

He talks with some kind of accent but I can't really tell from where it's coming from. Can you? I just know it's annoying. First, not a muscle to be found on this guy. Drinks Tea and hates coffee. Knows every REM and Beatles song every made. Favorite album is Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and favorite movie is "Clerks" or "Rocky Horror Picture Show". Can definitely change his own oil and only wears sandals.  They met on the train.

And for you John.....


John here:


Nice choice Matt.

The wheels are turning. Love this guy already.

Alright, here's the goods on this guy (resume style):

  • Name - Anthony
  • Age - 33
  • Born - Belleville, NJ
  • Lives - Belmar, NJ
  • Occupation - Construction but is real close to opening a gym with his buddy who "knows a guy" that will financially back them
  • Favorite baseball team - The Yankees, but couldn't tell you who took over for Mariano Rivera as closer
  • Favorite football team - The NY Giants and gets all his news on the team from the New York Post
  • Favorite food - Will only eat Italian so it has to be the stuffed shells
  • Favorite TV show - Orange County Choppers and Ink Master
  • Favorite movie of all time - Tie between The Godfather and Scarface
  • Favorite pastime - Working out
  • Favorite tattoo - The Chinese proverb between his shoulder blades that means ... umm ... he doesn't really know what it means but it impresses the chicks at Jenkinson's.      
  • Religious beliefs - Catholic and thinks by wearing a cross around his neck he can do whatever he wants
  • Who he will be voting for in November - Not registered to vote but if he could, it would be Romney because Obama isn't even American
  • Marital status - has had the same girlfriend for over 5 years but there are no talks of getting engaged. He needs to work on his business (the gym) before he can even think of it.
  • Girlfriend name - Kristina with a "K"
  • Favorite catch phrase - "Working hard, playing hard."
  • Dirty secret - Once posed for a men's magazine in a seedy NYC apartment and only made $100.
  • Obvious secret - There isn't a hair to be found under that bandanna
  • Greatest accomplishment - He and his buddy did shots of jager with Pauly D at Karma
  • Greatest accomplishment #2 - Put up 225 ten times at Gold's Gym in Jersey City
  • Greatest accomplishment #3 - His cousin Sal helped build the deck on Jon Bon Jovi's beach house a few years ago 

And there you have it.

You can thank us later for the enlightenment. Or maybe try doing one yourself and let us critique it.


TGAL                  




Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A day in the life of TGAL

John here:

If I had to describe the quintessential Matt and John lunch, today was that day. 

We start out slow and sluggish on the ride to Wegman's:
The topics of discussion ranged from how our fantasy football teams performed on Sunday to part 2 of the Real Housewives of NJ reunion show (more on that later). It was a mellow discussion without a lot of gusto.   

I went all Indian food today and couldn't have been happier. The selection available at Wegman's defies description and when I die, I want to have a heart attack right into the food display with curry dripping off of my nose.

Reach a nice steady and heated pace as we dine:
Of course, as we scarfing down lunch, we had a passionate discussion about all things RHONJ. And it wasn't like we were laughing or joking. Serious psychological analysis was going on and we were way deep into it. We relived our live tweeting during the show the night before and were very proud of our accomplishment. Without fear of your wicked feedback, I give you just a sampling of our tweets:      
 You feeling our passion?

And hits the ultimate crescendo of insanity as we "shop" after lunch
Matt is in the know on all things nutrition and what is slowly killing us in our food and this pic below typifies what he does for minutes on end as we "shop": 


Well, I'll let Matt carry it from here.

Matt here:

Thanks Bud. Yes, you are correct in that I read all labels all the time. There are many ingredients that I know are just not good for you and those that are awesome for you. Let's just say, anything that says flax seed, fish oil or organic and I am purchasing it like a little bi%$#. Finding a food item with the perfect balance of protein, fiber and low carb and I hear my boy Paulie D yelling out "Oh Yeah!".

But not to bore you with my weird obsessions (we'll do that in another blog post), John pulled a move today that was right out of my book. He goes on a mad man hunt for this gluten free, wheat free, everything in the bag is just the best thing for you, etc., etc. etc 100% corn pasta,.

Here ya go


He finally finds the pasta he was looking for (all excited) only to make another mad dash now to the candy isle. We hit the candy isle so John can decide which M&M product he is going to devour at the 2:30 pm pick me up hour. Now we're not talking about a regular 2 oz bag of M&M's, oh no no no, he don't mess around my BFF. Holding the 2 bags of the gluten free, 100% corn pasta, he is analyzing how many calories are in the entire bag of M&M's with peanuts. Convinces himself that "they say" if your going to have M&M's stuffed with something, the peanuts are the healthier choice. He was so in the zone there was no way I was going to break his concentration. It was priceless.

Holding the 19 oz bag of dark chocolate M&M's with peanuts ("they say" that's the healthier choice) he now starts to calculate how many grams of sugar are in the whole bag since he knows this huge bag is not making it past 3pm (don't forget, he's still holding the gluten free pasta). After realizing the whole bag amounts to the same sugar in 5 cans of coke, he decides on Justin's organic peanut butter cups. C'mon wouldn't you have done the same thing? Yes, they do make'em organic and no I didn't buy'em. Weird going from all out 19 oz bag of happiness to something only seen on the Dr. Oz show. John had some tough decisions to make today and I lost him for a short while, but in the end my buddy found his way back home to healthy-ness. Way to go John.     


John here:

You watch, corn pasta will be everywhere within the next two months. Guaranteed. Wheat is so last year and gluten free is in.

One last thing. While at checkout with our corn pasta, sugar free caramels and peanut butter cups, we were each asked "Would you like to donate a $1 to blah, blah, blah." I answered no thank you since I am anti charity and moved on. When Matt was asked the same thing, he answered with a big "I'm good".

"I'm good"? Oh, I didn't realize they were offering you a $1.

I'm still laughing about it.



TGAL  




Thursday, October 4, 2012

Random thoughts

John here:


I wanted to provide some light reading for you all today to show it's not always about ranting and raving, bitching and moaning. We have a light side too.

For instance, Matt likes to sew in his spare time and can't get enough of those adorable kitten videos on Facebook.

I tinker with scrap booking and can create the most beautiful fresh cut flower arrangements.  

So without further ado, here are my random thoughts for today (in bold) and I "allowed" Matt's commentary to be included as well.

What he doesn't know is that I added my commentary to his commentary. Deep huh? Enjoy:   
  • Does anyone count each deodorant stroke under their arms to make sure the left and right arms are getting equal coverage? Yeah, me neither. Do you count each stroke when you're painting your toenails also? I never count, I lather it on like Benjamin Moore paint in the fear that I may sweat at some point during the day. More importantly, do you know the diff between anti-perspirant and deodorant? Get back to me on that one.   
  • How is/was it ever legal to purchase Gobstoppers? Kids are a lock to choke on them ...like immediately. I know, but how incredibly good are there? I can go through a box in no time. However, the fear of chipping a back tooth and agonizing in pain if that happens scares me more than the movie "Paranormal Activity". This says a lot since Matt has told me he is frightened by the old Scooby Doo shows (sans Scrappy Doo).   
  • Has a story from The Onion ever been funnier than this? Great article. Their articles are so convincing at times that I have to remind myself they are not real. I guess if “They’re not going to take it”, is Foreigner now going to say they realized they “Don’t wanna know what love is?” No exaggeration, Matt has Foreigner on his workout play list. How's that for contemporary?  
  • How did this scene get deleted from the movie Step Brothers? Classic Will Ferrell at his best. Frustrated, funny, straight face comedy. Classic line in this clip “A f’king wallet?” We have watched this scene together at least 75 times. 
  • I am a monster NHL fan, specifically, a New York Ranger fan, and the thought of the season being lost to a lockout is unthinkable. So what will I do? Drink more Stone IPA and pray. Wish you the best here bud, but my hockey knowledge goes as far as just seeing how much Ron Duguay resembles Jon Bon Jovi. A future post will explore Matt's unhealthy obsession with Mr Bon Jovi and George Michael. I kid you not.   
  • A new pet peeve - people who wear ties when they are clearly not a requirement. Are you that much better than all of us? Do you think you will actually stand out and be rewarded in some way? It's more likely you will be looked at as a "tool" and ignored for the rest of your life. Enjoy. I always envisioned the “Tie” wearing guy to be a very old school 1970’s kinda guy. The salesman type. A guy that still has a moustache, glasses and wears shoes that involve a buckle of some sort. I'm still working on obtaining a pic of Matt and his bolo tie. It's all kinds of awesome.  

Until next time ...


TGAL



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Time to vent

Matt here:

I know you're probably saying that all John and I do is complain about how we hate this and how we hate that ... well you're right.

But it’s our duty as men in our 40’s to be grumpy, annoyed, furious, agitated, bugged, irked, troubled, ticked off, displeased and flat out pissed off once in a while(ok maybe a little bit more than just once in a while). 



Believe it or not, we find laughter in everything and that is what gets us through the day.

But being angry and annoyed is when we are at our best, so I wanted to share with you some quick bits of frustration for today.


John here:

Sorry to cut in Matt. But after previewing your "frustrations", I got all fired up too and just had to add my thoughts on top of yours.

So for ease of reading, Matt's angry thoughts are first in bold, and then I added my comments after.

Now onto to the anger release:    
  • People who walk around with a pen behind their ear. Do you really write that much that you need to be ready at all times? In this day and age with technology where it is, unless you are a contractor and need a pencil to measure, this should never happen . Almost bad as carrying a murse (man purse for the uninformed).     
  • Food shoppers in front of me who have 894 coupons during checkout. Where do they find these coupons and who are these people that still cut these out? Are they just buying it to brag about the 4 cents they saved or is it an absolute need? I watched Extreme Couponing once on TLC and hated every single "couponer" with a passion. They hold up the lines for hours and terrify the checkout peeps all in the name of scoring 487 cases of Tic Tacs. You have not accomplished anything and have nothing to be proud of jackasses. 


  •  Zits that just won’t pop but we insist on trying over and over making it worse. I know gross. I won't touch this one with a ten foot pole ... or a Clearasil pad. 
  • Why do we call them love handles? Not seeing the love at all. Matt - I looked this one up and turns out the "love handles" are used for grabbing a hold of during coitus. Yes, I used the term "coitus" and feel ill after doing so.    
  • What’s the right way to wear a baseball cap these days? Do I go old school, new school, curved brim, flat brim, tight, tilted or straight ahead? Easy one, you stick with how your generation wore them. For us, it is a slight bend in the middle like we wore in the late 80's, early 90's. Not like Felix Hernandez wears today, slightly turned to the side
  • Anyone eating potato chips within a 5 mile radius of me. The crunch sound (soft or loud) hurts more than having to watch the NY Mets play another game this year. Ditto, and if said person throws them in their mouth like a pelican, double the pain. 
  • We have got to stop the texting while driving. How much money do you think you would make if you drove around for 2 hrs just looking for people who text while driving? $20 a car – My guess….$500 easy (I think I can find about 12 people an hour). You know I’m right. And there is your PSA for the day.   
  • OK, so trying to keep things positive here, cause I am all about positive energy (wink). I will tell you one thing I absolutely love ... ya ready?…….Those little green plugs you get at Starbucks that you insert into the tiny hole at the top of your coffee cup so the coffee won’t spill. Brilliant idea. I’m sure that’s all built into the price of my $4 coffee. I have no idea what Matt is talking about here cause I "keeps it real" and only buy coffee from Fair Trade companies and only organic. Matt, you need to be more of a careful shopper. Deeply ashamed.

There you have it! Hope you enjoyed my venting. I did Matt, thank you.

Don’t be shy to comment and add one of yours below. You know you have a few. 


TGAL

Saturday, September 29, 2012

"We are not real men" - a new TGAL feature

John here ... 

A funny thing happened to me recently that served as the ultimate reminder that I'm really not a "man".

A neighbor had asked me to participate in a paint ball ... game ... match? (see already the masculinity is waning) and I felt shrinkage down below immediately. Shit, I don't know if I've ever held a gun in my entire life. If I do this, I may be known as "that guy", the one no one wants on their team or who they lose respect for from that day forward. The guy eliminated from the battle in the first five minutes.


I thought about acting all psyched to do it only to remember that I had a "thing" that same day. Maybe I was going to the antique car show or maybe the shooting range or maybe even a UFC fight. But I couldn't pull off the lie fast enough and just kind of hesitated and made it obvious that it "wasn't for me". 

But what really hit home was when later that day, as that same neighbor was driving by my house and waved, I waved back and looked like this:    


Yes, I had a flower pot in my hand as I waved to the paint ball guy. Pretty masculine, eh?

Many of you know that I spend most of my free time out in the garden. It is my true passion. It isn't the manliest of past times, and when gardening and paint ball collide, paint ball greatly outweighs gardening on the manly scale.  

I shared this story with Matt at lunch the next day and we got into a discussion about how we are so "non-manly" in oh so many ways. Matt shared a story with me from that same morning that brings into question whether or not we actually have testosterone in our bodies.

Matt here ... 

Yes, there are many things that a man should just know, that I could care less about. I can’t put a nail in the wall, I don’t know how to find a stud (yeah I know I should buy a stud finder), I hate when a guy says they put up dry wall or “gutted the place”.


All that stuff infuriates me. I’d rather go on Fear Factor and eat 50 spiders then hear about how a guy renovated his house because he’s “handy”.

I don’t own a tool belt, construction boots, or a saw. I know how to use my iPad, my cell phone and my computer.

There you have it. Go ahead and laugh all you want.

The other manly thing I never got myself into is cars. I know nothing about them but filling them up with gas and changing the oil every 3,000 miles. That’s what they say you should do. No idea why and I don’t care to hear why.


So back to the story John referenced.

Yesterday, I took my car in for a tire and oil change. I asked the guy to check to see if I also needed a wheel alignment (figured something was up based on how my tires were wearing down). Of course asking a mechanic to check to see if you need something is like asking if they can please just add an extra $200 to your bill. Happens every time. I've never had a mechanic say “nah, your good for another year with that, save your money for now”. Yeah right.

After I asked him to check on the wheel alignment the pupils in his eyes changed to dollar signs. “Sure we’ll check that for you buddy” - Can you hear "cha ching"?.

Anyway, on the way back from dropping my car off I told John that I’m having the guy put a new tire on, oil change and to see if I need a wheel alignment. After the words “oil change” came out of my mouth John was done, complete deer in the headlights look as we both could not loosen a lug nut if our lives depended on it.

The only oil I know is olive oil. When it comes to cars we say “just tell me how much” and move on. I'll show all of you how manly I am once I get my tattoo sleeve. OK, maybe I'll just start with just changing the wiper fluid. 

John here ...

So look for a new weekly feature where Matt and I bare our souls and admit to our lack of manliness. Yes, it runs that rampant that we can actually create a weekly feature out of it.

Until next time ...


TGAL  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Real Housewives of New Jersey - A "character" analysis

What you are about to read will more than likely make you lose all respect for the two of us. 

Seriously.

Matt and I are over the top fans of Real Housewives of New Jersey and we just both watched the finale this week. Good times.

I grew up right outside of Franklin Lakes so I have a great perspective on these type of people and that adds to the intrigue. They're all insanely wealthy (until they're bankrupt) and you have to love Italians living in Northern New Jersey.   

It was THE topic at lunch the other day and I'm pretty sure this show wasn't meant to be analyzed and studied as much as we have. We're not talking Lost here.

We started to do a character analysis (kick me in the shins now) but realized why not write it up here so it can be studied by all of our wonderful readers (thanks Mom!). 

So here it is. You didn't ask for it, you have no need for it and you'll feel sick in the morning after reading it.

Enjoy:      

JOE GIUDICE

















John's take: My guess is that Joe wishes this show never existed so he could have slid under the radar with his job as "entrepreneur". Over/Under on him announcing that he is entering rehab is at 6 months.
Matt's take: Just when you thought "Juicy Joe" could not top having a fake drivers license, a DUI,  claiming bankruptcy and getting a "mystery call" while on vacation, he chips his tooth break dancing in the dining room. Way to go Joe!




JACQUELINE LAURITA
John's take: The so-called "sweet one" is seriously losing her shit. I'm still not sure why the loss of friendship with Teresa has her all jacked up. Nervous breakdown is knocking at the door if it hasn't shown up already.  
Matt's take: Definitely the beauty of the bunch. Just when you want to cheer for her standing up for herself, shes a crying mess over losing Teresa as a friend (and such a good friend "Tre" was to her) or hearing about Ashley's new tattoos. Lay off the alcohol "Jac".



RICH


















John's take: He's the guy who makes the obvious joke in all situations and thinks he is funny as hell. By the way, he IS funny as hell and by far my favorite "character".
Matt's take: I have never seen a person wish they were Italian more then Rich. He's the only guy who could still wear a polo shirt with the collar up and get away with it.



TERESA GIUDICE

John's take: What is there to say any more? In 2020 when universities are studying the effects "Reality TV" had on the culture and their "stars", she will be the ultimate case study in how the overexposure can remove every ounce of decency out of your body.
Matt's take: I know you're expecting me to bash this wack job from outer space. But, how can you make fun of a best selling author who says "ingredientzes" and "she hurted me".



CAROLINE MANZO
John's take: People love her as the voice of reason. I am so sick of her claiming to be the voice of reason.  I cringe when she talks all godfather-like. This season also demonstrated how her boys can do no wrong (vomit inducing) and how much she can't stand her daughter Lauren.  
Matt's take: The Warden. Mrs. Serious. The matriarch of Franklin Lakes. "We fight big and we make up big". Classic Caroline slogans. Ughh. When is the last time you saw her smile? Ummm Never. Smile Caroline, if it wasn't for the show you'd be at the Garden State Plaza mall everyday spending Albert's money holding a poodle.



MELISSA GORGA

John's take: I still laugh my ass off every time I hear anyone sing "On Display". I'm still trying to figure out why she is always "on display" but I guess I'll just have to trust her on that one. I do like her more than all the other women on the show.
Matt's take: I love how she can wear the skimpiest outfit and play it off like she is not "On Display". Is she the "Soul Diggaz" #1 superstar?.



JOE GORGA

John's take: Over/Under on admitting he is bi-sexual. Three months.
Matt's take: This guy just might just be the most honest of them all. Just says whatever comes to his mouth. Scary right? BTW "Tarzan",  shave that horrible 5 o'clock shadow and stop with the creepy bond you have with your sister, it makes me uncomfortable.



ALBIE MANZO
John's take: The true definition of a "Momma's Boy" ... and not in a good way. Borderline creepy. Congrats to getting out now Lindsey
Matt's take: Am I dreaming or was there an episode when this prima donna left law school to go into the police academy? Yeah, that was gonna last as long as his relationship with the cheerleader did.



CHRIS MANZO
John's take: The "goofy" one and I don't really find it endearing. May need to drink more BLK water and less beer based on that ever expanding belly.  
Matt's take: I wish he started the car wash with the girls in bikini's. What else fits this character?



CHRIS LAURITA

John's take: Chris continues to be a man of few words but he maximizes the impact of those words. I wouldn't cross him ... EVER. I do hope he keeps the boys in line with BLK as I found myself wanting to fire them all when they traveled to DC.    
Matt's take:  My favorite of the show. Everything he says makes sense, says his piece and regrets nothing. Never gets flustered. Also never has a hair out of place. I wanna be Chris when I grow up.



KATHY WAKILE
John's take: A true sweetheart who I could watch say "respect" all day and night. And me thinks her food blows away Teresa's. A class act.  
Matt's take: Well said my friend. Kathy is classy and does not steal recipes and does not look like a frog Mr. Juicy Joe. However, I will say that her eyes were a bit protruding in Punta Cana saying Teresa is "Coo Coo Coo Coo Coo Coo".



And there you have it, an analysis like no other. Feel free to add your own thoughts in the Comments section. This is important and deep stuff. Let's keep the dialogue going.


TGAL
Template developed by Confluent Forms LLC